Life demands, but you dream. You dream of having that picture perfect life where you can be there for your kids. All outside pressures aside, the idea sounds like a great one, but when you begin letting all those outside voices enter your dream, panic begins to set in. Thoughts like, “Will we be able to afford it?” and “Is it really the best thing for my family?”. Then there are the questions of “How will everyone relate to me if I am a stay-at-home parent?”.
First-things-first, can you afford it? You may be surprised to know that after you erase all those expenses you were dishing out for coffee, snacks, lunches, gas or other commuting costs, childcare, laundry bills at the cleaners, new clothes and personal effects to keep you looking your best and possibly the after work dinners or business trips that often end up costing you anyway, you might even get paid to stay home.
Granted, if you want to ensure that you make it on a lower income, you will have to change how you live. You can’t go out and eat like before or buy those expensive clothes etc. and reap the rewards you are looking for, but if enjoying your children and being there for them during their growing up years means more, then it will be the happiest trade off you ever make. You’ll be able to relax knowing you won’t have to wake up one day with a boat load of regrets of not being there. Many parents value the thought of being there for their kids so much because their parents couldn’t figure out how to be there for them and still get by in life. Times are changing.
A very handy on-line calculator will help you get past this first hump in the decision process. Just type in the information they ask and you can get a good idea of how your household expenses will look after you quit your job and stay at home. This is a great tool to calm the fears of how everything will come together.
If you are serious about making stay-at-home parenting work, then be looking for the follow-up articles in this series which will cover the myriad of issues that come flooding at you before and after you become a stay-at-home parent. This series will not only help you decide if staying home is right for you and your family, but it will also address the tough issues that only someone who has accomplished it can approach. The struggles and joys of being at home to raise your own kids is a subject Atlanta Page understands quite well and is prepared to dive into with you after 19 1/2 years of successful parenting from home herself. How it affects you as well as your children will be among the subjects discussed.
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