As I sit here in the middle of my house that needs to be cleaned and hear my four children starting to wake upstairs, I sort of know what my day will be like as a stay-at-home mom. I do a lot of cleaning, cooking, dressing, redirecting, correcting, hugging, changing, helping, and laughing. However, as I think back to what I thought my days were going to look like in this stage of life, it was a very different picture.
I’m intentional about most things I do. But being a stay-at-home mom was not one of them. I didn’t always or only dream of being a full-time wife and mom. I graduated from college fully convinced I would have a 30-year career in teaching. When we got married, we didn’t start saving for me to stay home in the future. Even after I got pregnant with our first child, we just didn’t feel like we could afford for me to stay home full-time. I did transition to a part-time job because I wanted to be with my new baby more than I was away from her and that worked for several months.
So how did I get to be at home full-time? Well, again, it wasn’t because of a great plan or a big promotion where we could afford it more. It was a mixture of desires and a failed business. The older Karis got, the more I wanted to be home with her every day. The back and forth of working every other day was wearing on me and I wanted a more consistent routine with managing my home and being a mom. Then an opportunity came up for me to take over a local advertising business that I could mostly do from home and make a lot more money.
This seemed like a great plan until the Recession hit that year and it became evident that this business wasn’t quite in the successful state that the previous owner had described. I was about 6 months in running that business, working a lot more hours than I expected and just trying to break even with the costs of the business. Then I found out I was pregnant with our second child.
So, Dee and I started discussing how we could make it work for me to stay home full-time. It just didn’t seem like a feasible thing to do until it hit us somewhere in the middle of those conversations that I hadn’t brought home a paycheck in 6 months anyway. Even though the numbers didn’t add up to be able to make it on just Dee’s salary, somehow we had been making it since the business had not been profitable at all. It was giving me long hours, lots of stress, and a good bit of debt.
We decided to shut down the business since it definitely didn’t look like it was going to turn around. We did examine our budget on paper to see how it could work on one salary and began a stricter financial journey to get rid of our debt. Due to the expenses of the business, we had doubled our credit card debt (which we just completely paid off a couple months ago, but that’s another story). We learned to live on less and be more faithful with what we have.
What did we learn from all this? Don’t make plans because they don’t work out anyway? Well, no. I’m still very much a planner. I just aim to hold those plans a little more loosely in my hands.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
What’s your story? How did you get to where you are now? I would love to hear more about you!
Come back the rest of the week for more “accidental” decisions I’ve made in parenting.