Empty Nesters and Stay at Home Moms
We are new empty nesters. I have always worked at least part time and make decent money. However, now that the kids are gone, the budget is a little easier and we can make it easily on my husband’s income. I want to quit work and concentrate on doing things at home to make things easier on both of us. I am feeling guilty for doing that now, though, and wonder if it’s being too selfish.
Sunny, I’m not sure why so many women feel guilty and selfish for staying home or wanting to stay home. You are suffering from false guilt. It happens all the time. We feel guilty not because we are doing anything wrong but because others have told us we shouldn’t do it since they themselves don’t agree with it.
You probably went to work with the idea that it would make your family life easier and more comfortable. Now you want to stay home to make your family life easier and more comfortable. You are accomplishing the same goal. You’re just doing it in two different ways. Why should working outside the home be more right than staying home when they both accomplish the same goal?
I was just talking to an empty nest couple yesterday where both spouses work. The couple is stressed to the max, meeting themselves coming and going. I too am an empty nester and I can honestly say I am almost busier now with my family than when my kids were living at home. Just because the kids are gone doesn’t mean your that life ends or that you aren’t just as busy.
The couple I talked to yesterday was really in a pickle. Their married daughter had to have emergency surgery and the daughter needed them to watch her baby for her. I told them that people are more stressed today because there is no one home to do things like go get the car tags, deal with the bills, prepare the meals and do the laundry. Most of us are trying to squeeze these things into a couple of hours at the end of a work day.
I don’t know when we are going to wake up and realize that doing all of these things takes just as much time and can easily be as much work as a full time job. We can’t just make taking care of our homes and personal business an afterthought at the end of the day with the attitude that if we squeeze them in, it’s fine and if not, oh well. When we do this, things start piling up and getting more complicated and that is where the chaos comes in.
Families get stressed when they don’t have clean clothes or home cooked meals and they live in a messy, unorganized house. We are trying to fix the wrong thing. We think that if we work longer hours making more money it will get rid of the stress but all it does is add more stress.
I am the first person my kids call when they are at the emergency room and need someone to come pick up the kids for them. I am the first one my kids call to watch the grandkids when they need to go to the bank trying to get a bank loan, to load the moving van or to bring cookies to a grandchild’s school party. I am the first one my neighbor calls when she needs some kind of help at her house. I can do so many things for others and those I love that I could never do if I worked. For me, I would have felt guilty working.
I always find it interesting that “women’s libbers” say you need to put yourself first, make sure you have “me” time, do things for your creative side and so on but if someone in your position decides to stop working and stay at home, the same people often try to make you feel like you are being selfish. Didn’t they say you should put yourself first, make sure you have “me” time and do things for your creative side? When you decide to stay at home to accomplish that, you are made to feel guilty. Be careful– Just because you decide to do something in a way that is different from the way someone else thinks it should be done does not make your way wrong.
Besides, have you thought that maybe your family doesn’t need more of your money but more of you? Even if you don’t have grandchildren and your kids don’t need you, you have done your job. You have raised your children, working hard at the same time and are now comfortable. It’s time for you to reap the rewards of all your hard work and if that means you want to stay at home and enjoy it, I say go for it.
One of the most freeing things that ever happened to me was when a pastor’s wife told me that false guilt is one of the things Satan uses to make God’s people miserable and so many people, especially women, fall for it all the time. You decide with your husband what is best for you two and then just go for it.
The bottom line is this: Making more and more money isn’t the total of what life is all about and it’s not where all, or even most, of our happiness should come from.
P.S. For those of you who need more information to help you decide if you should be a stay at home mom or to learn how to be a stay at home mom, I have just typed the last page for a new book on this subject, so keep your eyes peeled for it. We will let you all know when it is ready.
If you would like to know Jill’s story about how she raised 2 teenagers on $500 per month, check out the Penny Pinching Mama e-book.
Photo By: Ann Oro