Friday, May 16, 2008

Making the transition to home - Part 1

I have had many women ask me to write on how I made the transition from the working world to home. It can seem almost impossible to many women that they would ever be able to quit their jobs to fulfill their dream of coming home.

I am really excited to start this series. I can't tell you how long it will be, but I do have lots to say on the subject. You may or may not agree and that's ok. This series is not to coerce you to quit your job if you don't want to. It is for those who really having that burning desire to be a stay at home mom, and would like some practical tips on how to do just that. At the end of the series I have a special giveaway planned. So stay tuned!

Before I get into how I actually made the transition, i'd like to share a bit of my background. If you've read my profile you will know that I have not always been a stay at home mom. I was actually an RN in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for many years. I didn't quit until I had my last child, two years ago. I had a great income and a great career. In fact, I brought in more than half of the income for our family for quite some time.

There was a defining moment for me that made me rethink what I was doing. It was when I received the call that my son had to be resuscitated at daycare while I was in school. It happened two more times in the next two weeks as we were trying to find out what was wrong with him. I almost lost him, and more than once. In that instant my world was changed.

For those of you who have been through nursing school, you know how intensive it is. I really had little time to be with my children. It was filled with clinicals, studying, and papers. What happened to my son made me re-examine what was really important in my life though. It didn't matter anymore that I graduated with honors. What mattered was my family. Taking care of them and getting to know them.

I thought that by going to college I was doing what was best for my family, but when you have something like that happen, your whole perspective on life changes. Think about it. If you knew that you only had a year to have your children, what would become important to you? You would spend every moment you could with them. You would make memories, take pictures, explore together, live together, work together. I came to the realization that I barely knew them. I had missed first smiles, first steps, first days of school. Here I thought I was sacrificing everything for my family so that they could have a better life, but what I was really sacrificing was my family itself.

I would like to say that I was able to drop everything and came home immediately, but I still finished school. After school I worked for six years before I was able to be where I am today. One of the main reasons was because my husband wanted me to continue. I had accumulated quite a few student loans due to going to school and there was no way at the time that we could pay for them with just his income.

This brings me to an important point I want to stress today. Before you ever begin this journey, you and your husband have to be in agreement on this. If he is not behind the decision, do not continue to ask and plead with him. It can be the cause of many problems in your marriage. Pray about it. Start to make preparations. Men are usually more practical, and if you are already struggling financially he will not see how you could ever make it on one income.

There is still hope though. Just because he may not see now how it could work, does not mean he won't ever. I remember thinking that it was a lost cause, but I also knew that Scott loved me more than anything. He agreed that it would be better if I was home, but he also thought it would be unwise financially if I just quit because I brought in so much of the income. So just because he didn't want me to quit, did not mean that he didn't love me or care about what was important to me. We respect each other, so I worked.

Even though it took so long, God brought me home at just the right time. Looking back over the years I can see now how He was preparing us for that day. Both of us. Yes, it was hard for me to wait and trust in God and my husband, but in the end it was perfect.


Cajunchic said...

Great series. You are so right about God's timing. I tried to stay home when Monkey was little before I think God wanted me to but I had no desire. I just did it because it was what Earl wanted. It ended up in ruins. Now I could not be happier this time around

Anonymous said...

I completely understand what you mean about thinking that by going to college that you were doing the best thing for your family. I was taught that. I just thought all the adults around me knew what they were talking about. I'm sure you've looked at the calculator that figures how much mom really makes when you calculate all the extra expenses that come with mom working. I'm amazed at how little it comes out to. I heard someone say, "You can have half as much and be ten times better off." I agree.

Melissa said...

thank you for doing this, teresa. i've been waiting. this post made me cry.

i appreciate you posting that it took over 6 years between the time you first had the desire to stay and when the time was right for you to stay home. i live sometimes in so much pain because i work outside of the house. being patient for the time God has chosen is so difficult.
but, i know it will happen.
thanks again.

Niki said...

What perfect timing. I am so glad I found your blog. I just gave my notice to work last week after my year of mat. leave after my second was up. This was a very difficult decision as I felt part of my was dying (I know SAHM is a job) but part of me misses the stability and comfort as well as identity my office job gave. It is getting easier and I love each and every day. The thing that makes me make it is I view each day as a job and do it the best I can.

Dani said...

You know that this speaks so directly to me. I really need the patience to wait for God's perfect timing for me to be home full time. I know that God has placed that desire in me and I know he will provide for it to happen, I just have to trust Him.

The one piece of advice I now give to every friend that gets married is that if she wants to be a SAHM to only live off the husbands income and make it work. Because, once you start living on both incomes it is so hard to back track.

Thanks so much for doing this series. This is Dainelle BTW! :)

Brooks said...

I totally understand about God's timing. When I found out we were having twins I didn't know how we would manage. I had always wanted to stay home for atleast the first year with my child and I never thought I would be able to with two! Right before I gave birth my husband got an opportunity to move up in his company and I was able to stay home. Every time a hurdle comes our way God helps us jump over it.

Cajunchic said...

I sent you an email. I hope everything is ok with your grandfather.

Teresa @ A Life At Home said...

Thanks for asking, Nicole. He is hanging in there right now. I actually put off visiting him last week in hopes that they would send him home. I don't know if that will happen, but I plan on getting an update tomorrow evening sometime.

I also plan on talking to my doctor tomorrow to see what he thinks about me traveling now. not that he has a choice, but maybe he can give me some tips to keep contractions away. :-)

Anonymous said...

I agree with Melissa! Knowing it took 6 years was the most encouraging part. I KNOW DH is not ok with me wanting to stay home because of financial reason. Just to know because I long to be home but can't does not mean it will never happen. It is not a lost cause & I can put the wheels in motion now & trust God has a plan for me. I read so many comments & talk to people who say just do it but w/o DH support or a financial plan, it just won't happen now. I now have a new life goal. Thank You Teresa!!

carrie said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I loved reading this and knowing that it took 6 years is incredibly encouraging. I have gotten to stay home for 3 of the last 5 years, but have returned to work b/c my husband asked me to. We are both teachers and he just totally stresses about money. Now we are considering another child and he is even worried about financially being able to handle that--and I work full-time!
Yes, I would love to be home MORE--I would even be happy being home a couple of days a week. I have been on a journey this year of ups and downs regarding being home and at work. I have finally come to some peace about working and some peace with my husband. You just CANNOT do this and expect it to work without his full support.
I am encouraged to being praying again about this matter, leaving it in God's hands, for His perfect timing.

Teresa @ A Life At Home said...

I am so glad to know that all of you have been encouraged by my story. I know how hard it can be to wait. We can never see the big picture though. We just see what is happening now. When it is time it just works out somehow. Not to say that it is all glorious and without any bumps and bruises though.

Anonymous, making that decision when your husband doesn't support it can be disastrous on your marriage. I used to get so frustrated at every frivolous purchase Scott made. To me it was a decision that would keep me working even longer. God did work on his heart though, without my help too. :-) Be encouraged and keep praying.

Carrie, you are doing what is right. I am so glad that you have peace about your situation.

Andrea said...

What a great post! I too stopped working to stay at home. Unfortunately it took a death of a loved one to get me to see that the corporate world wasn't important anymore. I needed to make my God and my family the priority. Hey, now I'm in nursing school (like you were). The Lord's timing is perfect and I know this is His will for my life.

I can't wait to hear more in this series.

Candace @ A Garden of Blessings said...

Hi Teresa,
We have alot in common (other than the chickens:). I am also an RN. I worked with adults and in the OR, though. Not quite sure I could handle the NICU.
I always thought I'd have a career outside of the home. It was how I was raised.
I left work about 2 years ago, I guess. It's a hard decision when the money is so good and the schedule so flexible!
I have never regretted it.
Unfortunately, I didn't get my loans payed off first. So, money is tight, but it's so worth it.
I am going to go poke around your blog some more:)

Teresa @ A Life At Home said...

Candace, I think I could only handle adults IF I worked in the OR. I much prefer my babies. :-) Don't get me wrong, it was intense at times. There's nothing worse than losing a baby, but it was very gratifying to take care of them.

You're right about a flexible schedule, except for the daily calls pleading for you to work. I mean, it got hard to turn down double time pay. I was always a sucker.