Don’t Presume To Know My Life

I read an article that discussed the top 7 things to never say to a stay-at-home mom.   Most of them I nodded my head at and said, “So true, so true.” I even had a slight chuckle from time to time and sighed with content knowing that so many others were experiencing the same things as me.  

But there was one particular “faux pas” that really angers me every day.   I hear it from our friends, I see it in their eyes, in their snide comments, and it really has my blood boiling.   I don’t like for them to look at me differently or to look at my son differently and I don’t like feeling bad either.  

Let’s get one thing clear…just because I am a stay-at-home mom does NOT mean that my husband and I are rich.   We do not live paycheck to paycheck, but we also do not go out to fancy dinners, go to movies, and spend money on happy hours or new clothing.   We chose a lifestyle that meant we had to forego a lot of the little luxuries we had been privy to when I was a full time contributor to our monthly income.  

My choice to stay home meant that I had to resort to not being able to go grab lunch with the girls on a regular basis.   I don’t get the luxuries of my café mochas at Starbucks anymore (gift cards at Christmas are like the Holy Grail for me).   I buy the $1 bottle of chocolate syrup at Wal-Mart and mix it in with my coffee every morning in order to get the same effect (or at least close to it).   I haven’t bought myself a new piece of clothing in months.   I bought my first new pair of shoes in over 6 months just this past November, and I haven’t bought another pair since.   My husband and I eat in most every night, have date nights once a week in front of our television with Red Box movies and popcorn.   We ride our bikes together, walk together, and hike together, little things that do not cost any money from our pocket.   We’ve changed our lifestyle to accommodate this new lifestyle.

I feel like there’s this stamina that is associated with stay-at-home moms these days.   You have to be rich or well off to do it, and it’s a lie.   You have to be disciplined and willing to sacrifice your normal day-to-day comforts to do it.   I’m tired of people saying they could do the same thing if their husbands made as much as mine does.   And here’s the funny thing…my husband doesn’t make a ton of money.  He’s just smart with it, saves it, invests it, and refuses to buy ANYTHING on credit.  

My biggest adjustment has been that I now must rely on my husband for money, something that I haven’t had to do in nearly 20 years.   I’ve always had my own money and have always worked, even three jobs at once while I was in college.  I was not dependent on anyone else, but I’ve become dependent on my husband because I’ve chosen to be home with our son.   I’ve chosen to put my pride on the shelf and be the one to raise our child.  

I don’t judge others who are still working.   I don’t presume to know what their financial situations are like, nor do I gossip behind their backs about their lifestyles of choice.   So, why should I have to suffer through their jealousies and snide remarks, especially those working moms out buying new Kate Spade shoes, driving BMWs, and getting weakly pedicures while having their mimosas?   I gave that up to be home with my son because in the end my memories and time with him are worth more than a lifetime of tangible and materialistic possessions.

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