What could life be like if we just had more time?
After having our daughter and spending a wonderful 9 months on maternity leave, I got a taste of what life could be like for us if we just had more time – more time for each other, more time to achieve our goals and more time to pursue our dreams.
I returned to work because I felt I had to – we needed the money and that was just the way things go. Thankfully I was able to go back part time, working 3 days per week instead of 5, so I felt like I really couldn’t complain – not when many mothers have to go back to a full time job and some have to return much sooner than I did.
However, I struggled to adjust because it felt like I was trying to squeeze my full time role into 3 days and failing. Simultaneously, I felt I wasn’t doing my best at being a mum, as I wasn’t there for my little girl. Every working mum probably goes through this, so I just did the British thing and put on a stiff upper lip.
Keep calm and carry on (or don’t)
The months went on and it wasn’t getting any easier. If anything, it was getting harder. I became more and more unhappy, often holding in tears (sometimes not successfully) as I walked to work. Eventually I couldn’t carry on any more – something had to give. My husband was amazingly supportive and told me to quit my job (he’s always had a fantastically simple way of looking at things and isn’t as risk averse as I am). I said to him, “That would be great if I could but we can’t afford for me to do that.”
It sparked hope though. I latched on to the possibility that we could afford it, so I sat down and logged our monthly income and outgoings. I was surprised to see that, on paper at least, we would just about be able to scrape by on just my husband’s income (which begs the question, ‘What on earth were we spending our money on?’). It would be tight, we’d have to start being a lot smarter with our money, but it seemed doable.
I checked my spreadsheet about 5 times before I satisfied myself that quitting my job to be a stay at home mum was a feasible option. I had to fight the thoughts in my head telling me that I was being irresponsible, that I should just grow up and get on with it – work is just part of life.
Changing my mindset
I didn’t really believe that though. Shouldn’t we work to live, not live to work? Besides, being a parent is a job in it’s own right, you just don’t get paid for it. I actually found it much easier going to work that looking after a baby/toddler, which can be utterly exhausting. However, while going to work is easier, for me it’s definitely not better.
A few days later, I took the plunge and handed in my notice. I immediately felt a weight lifted off my shoulders.
I have a few weeks left at work and then it’s crunch time. Time will tell if we can make it work. We have a small amount of money saved up to make the transition a little bit easier (a ‘buffer as we call it).
If it doesn’t work out, I can always earn more money but I’ll never get this precious time with my little girl back. To me it’s a no brainer. It took some mindset work to get me there but I know this is the right thing for my family and me.
I’ll post an update with how things are going in a few months.
Do you want to be a stay at home mum (or dad) but feel it’s not realistic? Let me know why. What fears, worries or questions do you have? I’d love to help you get past any barriers, so you can have more time together as a family and live more simply too. Comment below or contact me.