Empty Nesters and Stay at Home Moms



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empty nest stay at home mom

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

 

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.

      -Jill

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

Comments

  1. MJ says

    You know your article got me thinking. I am a working mom, not because I want more and more money but because I was not lucky enough to have a husband who can make 80K a year and have insurance. My husband works for a small construction firm that does not offer vacation/sick time. If he is sick, he either works or takes the day off with pay. They do not offer insurance either. We have no debt but I still HAVE to work.

    What really gets me thinking is all this talk about working moms and stay at home moms and that the kids need their mom. I agree but what about all the working dads? Don’t the kids need their dads too? I know at least 5 stay at home moms at church who are always alone with their kids, at functions, because daddy has to work. One of the kids, told my daughter how lucky she was cause her daddy is always with her at functions and stuff.

    We decided early in our relationship that we would both work but family would be first. He does not have to work overtime to ensure we can pay our bills and I can stay home and I don’t have to work overtime to buy luxury items like Iphones, Ipads, LCD/3D 55in big screen tv’s, fancy cars or RVs.

    We are both there for her after her school lets out at 4:30, we are both there on the weekends and we go camping (with a tent) and live comfortably.

    So what I am saying, I wish people would stop talking about the hardaches of working moms and stay at home moms and just realize we are all moms, trying to do the best we can for our families and should be proud of ourselves and what we can do for them, whether it is working or staying home. Neither decision is bad but neither decision is the best and only one.

    • says

      One of the reasons we usually address the moms and not the dads is this is a web site gear mostly for women even though we do have a few men who read it.

      Now that doesn’t mean I don’t agree with you. I even took what you said one step farther. My husband and I had our business in our home that way not only was I with then 24/7 but so was my husband. I always think part of the reason my kids turned out to be such well adjusted and responsible adults in spite of my husband leaving was they had had both of us with them most of the time while they were growing up.

      Of course why the moms are usually addressed in the matter of being with the kids too is God has given women in most cases a stronger nurturing instinct where men have a stronger providing and protecting instinct. I know there are exceptions but that is usually the norm.

    • Tami says

      I hear you. As someone with a pre-existing medical condition, under the Affordable Care Act I will have to work until I die. Come heck or high water I will be FORCED to pay $575/month for health insurance. My dh is a tad older than I and has Medicare. Since my children are grown I can’t get Medicaid. Those of us in our 50’s with a pre-existing condition are being forced into the work place full time and I suspect many stay at home , homeschooling mothers will find themselves in the same boat. The conflict over staying at home or working has been decided for most women already and come January 1, 2014 the lives of millions of women will be irrevocably changed.

      • Cindy says

        Hi, Tami I am in my 50’s with a pre-existing medical condition. I don’t understand why you will hav to buy insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Don’t you have to have it now? Not really my business, I just get a bit worried when I realize I may have the same situation.

  2. Kate says

    Yes, true women’s liberation is being able to make the choice that is best for you and your family and not to feel guilty for it or be judged for it. If staying home is best for your family, do it. If working is best for your family, do it. I know mothers who would be miserable at home, and their families would be miserable too, so they are better off working. And, it’s okay to work, then stay home for a while, work, then stay home. Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State under President Clinton, stayed home to raise her kids, and it didn’t hold her career back any!

  3. Peggy Lorenz says

    Thank you for this article! I have struggled with negative attitudes about this from others for all of the years I’ve been a stay-at-home mom. Not only am I doing almost everything here at home to keep it running, I am also an unpaid bookkeeper for my husband’s small business. It hurts when I hear “you need to get a job!”…I already have a job that I love, and I work very hard doing it! Your mention of false guilt was something I’ve never thought of before…thanks for a thought-provoking piece!

  4. Bella Jesus says

    I am sure there are many families out there right now that are dealing with an unfamiliar “problem” with possibly BOTH parents being home right now. I pray for those in our country who are jobless and dealing with everything from displaced husbands not quite knowing what to do with themselves, re-adjusting everything to accommodate another person to include in our daily activities and possibly depression of one or both parties. This is a time, I feel, when we need to get back to basics and turn away from feelings of entitlement and not having as much as we think we “need”. Some of us might even forget that at one time, we didn’t own a television with 500 channels, or a portable phone, and that eating out was a treat, not a given.
    When my first son was born, I took one look at him and I just couldn’t go back to work. I had a job I loved with very nice pay, but I couldn’t let someone else raise my son. So I stayed home and it was really difficult the first few years. We had to adjust to one income, but it taught us to budget and get out of debt. We wonder if I would of went back to work if we would be where we are today or under a truckload of debt by buying a house we couldn’t afford and car payments and all the other things people go into debt for. You see, the company I worked for went under and a thousand plus people were out of work here in Elkhart, Indiana. The RV capital of the world seems to be having a domino effect. More and more busniesses are closing. The little Mom & Pop places are having it the worst. I’ve seen places I never thought would ever close are now up for sale.
    It makes sense for me to stay home. I have a sister-in-law that has a hard time with letting her degree “go to waste”.
    You have to decide what is best for you and where God is calling you! These days with my boys (they are 8 and 9)are fleeting and I wouldn’t trade them for any THING!

  5. Jenifer M says

    Thank you for this.
    I needed it today.
    My husband and I decided it was best I stay December of 2010. Our daughter was in 1st grade and 7 years old.
    I have felt a load of guilt staying at home while she is in school and my husband it out of the house working hard.
    I don’t give myself enough credit and society certainly does not give SAHM’s enough credit for the job we do.
    The main reason why we decided for me to stay home was because my income was no longer beneficial to our financial situation. With the price of gas, the commute, and throwing us into a higher tax bracket, it no longer made sense.
    I use to be one of “society” thinking SAHM’s had it soooo easy. Now that I am on this side of the fence for the 1st time ever, I have a totally different perspective.
    Do I feel fortunate that I can now do all the home stuff and have some “me” time? Very. But being at home is also very mentally draining, unlike when I worked outside the house.
    I am slowly easing into my new role, as I am coming upon the 1 year mark of staying home. My house is always clean, laundry is always done, supper is made 97% of the time for hubby and daughter when they get home, I can help take care of my terminally ill sister, I can babysit for friends and family when they are in a bind, and I am usually not dead beat exhausted from trying to do it “all”.
    I still deal with false guilt, but I am getting better.
    Your article helped me a ton today :)

  6. says

    Nine years ago we were faced with my unemployment, at the ripe age of 50. Our lifestyle was not lavish but we spent a lot of time and money combatting the stress of two careers. I became a stay-at-home wife, as well as an empty nester.

    While we aren’t taking the european vacations or buying the $40 bottles of wine (except the 40th anniversary) we have found a better quality of life. My new vocation is saving money and I do it very well, thanks to a little help from all my cyberfiends.

  7. mary says

    I stayed home with our daughter from the time she was born until she was in middle school. After that I had a job with similar hours and days off. During my time at home I cooked everything from scratch, sewed clothes for the two of us (and altered and mended things for my husband), grew a garden and canned and froze produce from it, and volunteered at church and my daughter’s school. My husband had a relatively expensive hobby (an antique car). We did well enough on my husband’s salary (we even saved some) that someone in his office asked what our outside source of income was!! My husband said “no outside income; just a wife who was a good manager”. That really made me proud of my efforts. The thing we differently when I worked was put aside money to help our daughter with college expenses. She did her share to pay her way, and we helped make it possible for her to graduate without debt. Then we worked to make it possible for us to retire early and do some of the things we had dreamed of doing. Since retiring we have travelled some, volunteered at church more, and enjoyed our hobbies. We still are careful with money, but it is not as much of a strain as it might have been if we hadn’t learned how early.

    • Bethany says

      Hi Mary, could you share how you did this? I am very curious how to make it work. I would love to hear details how make it work so well!!! Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Jana says

    Love this article as we just began making these decisions. My husband just left his career to stay home with our boys. Money is tight but the home front is so much better for it! We are a happier family all the way around even if we can’t eat out anymore:)

  9. Kate says

    I think Jill’s response was right on the money (no pun intended).

    I must work outside the home, unfortunately. Because my husband has had an extremely rocky career, with several periods of unemployment, I realize that my job is a gift from God, even though I’d rather stay home (even now, with our only child an adolescent). My job provides a stable income (in fact, since I’ve been steadily employed and moved up the ladder at work, I now outearn my husband) and health care benefits, which we need.

    But here’s my point: I have a hard time keeping up with housework, providing healthy meals for my family, getting the best deals when shopping, and taking care of my health through exercise and getting enough sleep, not to mention parenting, nurturing my marriage and also keeping up a good relationship with my mother, who lives nearby and will almost certainly need us to look after her someday. AND I try to be active at church and would like to pursue some dreams that are not fulfilled through my work and relationships! I do my best, but if I had the opportunity to stay home, I’d do it in a heartbeat!

    There is NO need to feel guilty about staying home if that door is open to you. There are so many ways you can bless your family at home! I don’t believe it is a sin for both people in a marriage to work outside the home. But I think it is so much easier in life if one person stays home to manage the myriad details of the house. You are blessed. Enjoy this blessing guilt-free! :)

  10. sarah says

    This is a hot button subject for so many which baffles me because there is no right or wrong answer. Every family is different and within that seasons of life are different and mean that solutions have to change or be flexible. I’ve been home for almost 8 years. This time last year I tried to go back to work part-time. I got very sick and my kids were miserable and or getting in trouble. Ultimately I left the job for numerous reasons, so much of me wanted to feel guilty for leaving but I felt bad not being home for my kids, it was a total trap of false guilt. Everyone’s circumstances are so different and I just think we need to encourage each other in the decisions we have made for the best of our family. Listening to God and his direction is paramount. I’ve realized that I’m like one of those dumb sheep who wind up in a pit when I try to do it my way instead of listening to his perfect direction.

    • says

      Sarah you almost quoted me word for word from the book I just finished writing. I wrote the whole thing along those same lines. There is no right or wrong but only what you feel God wants you to do and you and your husband are in agreement to. I doesn’t matter what anyone else says or thinks. It is so freeing to do what God wants you to do. Once you truly get to that point you don’t give what others think as much thought.

      I wrote the whole thing not with the idea you must stay at home but to try to teach everyone how to figure out and see what is best for them then I gave them ideas on how to do what they decide to do.

  11. Marcia says

    I agree with Jill one hundred percent. I was presented with this a few months back with one of my friends. When we were out for lunch together she gave me the spiel (as she has often done since I quit work six years ago) that I should get some kind of job (which by the way aren’t readily available in my area due to the economy) so I would have “something to do.” This friend happens to have a disabled daughter who she has to take care of 24/7 and I have done respite care in her home for her daughter many times so she can have time off. Lo and behold we were out to lunch again a few weeks later and she asked me if I could take care of her daughter so she could take a trip to see her other children (and I had to give her an answer four months in advance) and this time her plea was that I was the only one available to do this for her! I wondered if it ever occurred to her that if I had a job I would in all likelihood not be available to take care of her daughter! I thought, “Girlfriend, what exactly is it that you want from me?” The truth is that you can never please everyone no matter what you do and you have to do what is best for you, your nearest and dearest, and your situation. If we always worry about what other people think we will never be at peace with ourselves. We can’t be everything to everyone.

  12. Mary Beth says

    I had been working part time since my 2 sons were school age. A few years ago I lost my job, and could not find a job anywhere in our area. It was a little scary at first, going from 2 incomes to only one. Boy, was that the BEST thing that ever happened to our family! By having to cut back, I learned how to do so many things I have come to enjoy, such as cooking nutritious meals with FRESH foods, baking, and I planted a HUGE garden which saved so much on groceries! I learned to can my produce too. The money I saved makes up for what I would have earned working outside the home, and I am here to pamper my family at the same time. It really paid off when my youngest son,age 16 came home from school and smelled the homemade cake in the oven for that night’s dessert, and said “Mom, it seems like a holiday around here”. Working outside the home never gave me the time for those little things like fresh baked treats when they came home. My sons say they prefer my being home than having more money. And hubby does too!

    • says

      Speaking of cakes. I don’t think we realize how much often can be saved when staying home. I just saw an 8″ round cake for sale for $30. Not decorated just a round cake. Compare that to the $.99 I just spent for a cake mix and maybe $.75 more for frosting and eggs that is a huge savings and like you said the smell – oh yum! How can you even put a price on that?

  13. Kristi says

    I’m actually surpised to hear how many SAHM’s say they feel guilty because they do not earn a paycheck. I work outside the home partially out of necessity, partially because I want to. I get a different impression: that since I work outside the home I am somehow doing my family a disservice and that I am the one who should have feelings of guilt. It seems there is “false guilt” on both sides of the fence.

    • says

      Kristi that is so true. I laugh because one of the main issues I deal with my book is false guilt from both sides, how to deal with it and the fact that you need to get rid of it in all areas of your life because if you don’t no matter what you decide to do it will make you miserable. As a matter of fact several sections I start out with the words “there is that false guilt again” for so many things.

    • Leah Dunn says

      Kristi I have felt the same way so many times! I, like you, work outside the home partially because I need to to keep the lifestyle we have and partially because I enjoy it. I’ve made the decision to go back to school in the winter (at 31 years old) and I know that will demand even more of my time since I plan on working full time while I go to school. There are mornings that are really tough. My daughter receintly started in the pre-school class from the toddler class and the transition was a little rocky. She would cry and hold on to me but you know what I found out today? I told her that if she was a good girl and didn’t cry, she could keep her kitty blanket along with her normal blanket at school. Funny thing happened. She didn’t mind at all that I was leaving! I call it teaching cause and effect. If you’re a good girl, you get an extra blanket but if your bad (like she was yesterday not giving Daddy kisses bye bye) we won’t listen to the Lighting McQueen song she loves so much!
      I digress. The point is no matter where you find yourself, as long as your doing the best for your family and doing what God has called you to do, life will be easier. I didn’t say easy, I said easier!

  14. Mandy says

    I just wanted to say that my mom was a homemaker and not sorry for it. She taught me that the person who runs the home is far more important than most people want to admit. She also taught me that there is no shame in taking care of your family in the way tht God leads you. God lead her to be a housewife and that was her calling. Others might be lead to be a nurse or an executive or a missionary God has a different calling in each persons life. I have worked since my oldest son has been born and our homelife was horrible. No clean clothes no home cooked meals. My husband expected me to work full time PLUS so all the homemaker duties. I think this happens a lot most women that work also do almost all of the cooking cleaning etc. This isn’t the case in every family but in the majority it is. So my husband and I had a long talk and he said I should work from home so then I could get more things done around the house. I tried that and it didn’t work either. Then my husband said for me to be a homemaker. He would rather work overtime than to have to wash dishes or do laundry !! LOL !!! That’s fine by me I love what I do and I am so thankful to God to be able to stay home and do all those little things that help make our lives so much easier. NO FALSE GUILT !!! AMEN !!!

    • Diane Marrazzo says

      That’s right- sometimes we as moms do take on guilt we do not deserve and then let others tell us what is best for our families… It took a long time to get over that, but I finally am… :-)

  15. Fru-gal Lisa says

    Sunny,
    Do what works for you! Do what is best for your life, and your and your husband’s (and family’s) situation. Do not feel guilty! Life is not a one-size-fits-all situation. No one else can make the decisions for you and your household.

    Prayerfully consider your choices, then go with what you feel is right. Don’t be scared. After all, it’s not a “life sentence, no parole” –if something doesn’t work out, you can change it.

    Whatever you decide, you go, girl! Take the plunge! Enjoy your life. Sounds like you’ve earned it!

  16. jennifer says

    I work full time, take care of everything at home, and homeschool my 2 children. I don’t want to work full time. In three years, I will be able to go part time. I would rather be a SAHM, but I am counting the days until I can cut back my hours. I don’t care that we will have less money. With me staying at home, I can also save in some ways that I just don’t have time to do right now. If my hubby said right now “honey, you can quit your job”, I would be done so fast you wouldn’t believe it. The e-book you had on here “when queens ride by” was pretty good by the way.

  17. Diane Marrazzo says

    Thank you for the newsletter on empty nesters and stay at home moms. I have been a stay at home mom since my kids were born; first one was 29 yrs ago! You are correct that sometimes our family needs us more at home (for all the reasons you mentioned!) than they need the extra money. It’s so true and so contrary to what many of us hear – and what some of us have heard for years! We are moving gradually into the empty nester stage with child #1 gone and #2 still here, but as you mentioned, the cycle is starting over again but in a different way; not a bad way, just different! It’s not selfish to give of yourself to those who need you; family and friends. Once grown, both our children have thanked us for mom being at home- they saw that most kids didn’t have that; they now appreciate what they had growing up… Tell people they only get one chance per child to do this! Thanks for your writings, I love them!

  18. says

    I’ve been a stay at home mom pretty much all along, and am constantly criticized by family members for this. Mostly I’m accused of being lazy. I cook all meals from scratch, clean the house every day, have homeschooled off and on, etc. My husband is active duty military and frequently gone for long periods. He’s gone as long as 14 months at one time. We move an average of every six months to two years. We decided early on that it was important for our kids to have at least one parent who’s there 24/7. Every situation is different. Some moms would go crazy if they had to stay home, and some just can’t afford not to work. I guess I’m saying every situation is different, and I wish moms would stop criticizing each other and help each other out.

  19. D.T. says

    i appreciate your perspective on this subject that not only applies to empty nesters but to stay at home mothers or those who want to stay home. Work in the home is honorable and i think we have forgotten that.
    Your recent book “When queens ride by”(?) made such an impression on me and as pointed out it was written in the 40’s, but the concerns are the same today…are we spending quality time with our children? wish we could enjoy a home cooked meal each evening and when am i going to find time to clean house and do the laundry?

    I work partime and my husband is retired and our grandchildren live in close promimity and come every evening for an after school snack. We are enjoying this special time, knowing it wasn’t an option when we were raising our children….God is good!

  20. Diane says

    I’ve always felt that, working (when I didn’t NEED to ) deprived others (who DO need to) of jobs. That’s particularly true now, when the job openings are few & far between. I would feel guilty going out to work, when there are so many people, in desperate need, looking for jobs.

  21. says

    I loved this article.
    My kids have been gone from the home for 20 years. I have stayed home and enjoyed the grand kids, my kids, and especially my hubby.
    I do not have to do as much work in the home, but I am busy most of the day.
    In this economy I have put the same skills I learned to live on one income with a family to surviving with just 2 on one income.

  22. says

    Fantastic article, Jill! I have been blessed to have been mostly a stay-at-home mom (I’m a nurse and have worked several very part-time jobs). Our son is now a sophomore in college and our daughter is a senior in high school. My husband and I were recently talking about how we’d done things and we agreed that even if I had worked full-time, we probably wouldn’t have any more money in the bank…and we feel our kids are definitely better because I was home with them.

    My husband has his own business and because I was at home, he was always able to travel as he needed to and work long hours. I’ve always helped him with various aspects of his business. When I’m here to take care of the details of meal planning, shopping, preparing meals, laundry, general home upkeep and management, HE doesn’t have to do those things and can concentrate on his business.

    AND I’ve been able to live some of my dreams, including publishing several books and editing and publishing a Christian newspaper.

    Recently my in-laws (who live just down the road from us) have had health problems, and it’s been a blessing to all of us that I’m able to check on them, go with them to the doctor, and so on. Just this morning I took my mother-in-law to have her second knee replacement; I was also able to go to the doctor with her to prepare for surgery, and will be able to take her to rehab appts too. I don’t mind doing this as I know I AM contributing to the family, if not with a paycheck, with the spiritual well-being of knowing that I am helping.

    I hate the designation “working” and “at-home” moms–EVERY SINGLE mom is a “working” mom! If you are an “at-home” mom, know that even if you don’t get paid in cash, you are doing God’s work and the most important thing in the world in raising your kids! Take pride in everything you do; remember to do it as if you are doing it for the Lord. If you get credit for what you are doing from your friends and/or family, you are blessed, but if you don’t, you are still doing the most valuable thing you can be doing in raising your kids!

    I’m not judging moms for working full-time or part-time although personally I would not give up a second of time with my kids!!! The time with them goes sooo fast. If you even have an inkling of maybe wanting to stay home, please, give it a chance! You will NOT get bored! :-)

  23. Laureen says

    AMEN! Wise article and wise responses. As Renee spoke so wisely, we moms need to help each other out instead of tearing each other down in order to squelch that false guilt.

  24. says

    Good post.

    Two years ago I was laid off from my job. I could not find another job for anything. We were so worried about how things would work out. However, a funny thing happened….when I was at home we were much happier, our house was cleaner and we actually saved money. We were able to pay off 30,000 in debt on one income!

  25. says

    Maybe I’m way out of line, but it always seemed to me that it was just as good to trust in God to take care of us in illness as it was to be able to afford insurance. For a woman to feel compelled to work just for insurance seems weird to me. I’ve never worried about it.

    Great article, by the way!

    • Kate says

      If you mean my story, I’m not just working for insurance, though I was grateful for it when my kid got appendicitis. My husband has been unemployed multiply times over the past 11 years, twice for stretches of six months or more, and as I said, it’s gotten to the point where I outearn him.

      We do trust God, and I have prayed over and over about wanting to stay home. God’s answer always has been “no,” though I admit I still hope for a “yes” some day. It seems that the way he answers our trust is to provide me with a job. It is my job (and I manage this badly) to be content in whatever circustances God places me in — even working when I’d rather be at home.

  26. Bea says

    Wise words from two Catholic Saints. The first is Saint Frances of Rome. She was a married woman who brought up three children in the love and fear of the Lord and performed every household duty as though they were Sacraments of love. She said “A married woman must often leave God at the Altar to find Him in her household cares.” And St Stanislaus said “I find Heaven in the midst of saucepans and brooms. How can I train my spiritual vision to see His Hand in all things-even in the midst of daily chores and pressing concerns? How, then, can I surrender each activity to Him?”
    When you are a wife and a mother, or even just a wife, it’s not just about you anymore, and what you feel like doing every day. You now have to answer to God for the souls placed in your care. You made your decisions when you married and had children. IT WILL NOT BE EASY, but that is what growing in holiness is all about. All of life is hard, every vocation is hard, and it really is just too bad if it’s a little more inconvenient then you bargained for. It’s not just about you and your happiness anymore. You made your choices.

  27. Yemi Brown says

    AMEN. My extended family looks at me as if I am some lazy woman who sits home all day with nothing to do. However I am the first one they call when they need something done while they are at their “real” jobs. I love how society wants us to think that we need every member of of the home either at work or at some organized activity, but we also need a TV in each room, the latest in technology and no one to enjoy it.
    I am not saying it is easy to live on one income, but my husband loves that he is able provide for the family and I love that a can stretch a dollar like nobody’s business.

  28. Lark Kelly says

    I have been a stay at home mom since my second child was born. I now have 6 children raging from ages 9 – 26 (5 boys and 1 girl). At first staying home was difficult because the money was tight. I learned to do things differently. I bake, shop thrift stores and don’t spend on stuff I don’t need. Now money is not an issue. We are now working on paying off our home and that will be done in a couple of years. Don’t try and keep up with the other people. I live in an area of very expensive homes. Mine is the smallest of all my friends. I don’t care. I am happy doing what I am doing. Free yourself of the guilt. It can work.

  29. Lorraine says

    Jill – thank you for this post… I do not read your posts all the time (more of a function of time than anything else)but I saw this and took a look. Boy am I glad I did. I am also effected by “false guilt” about quitting my “real” job. I have worked part-time for the last couple years and my employer has been very good to me, but I’m ready to be done – it is a very stressful job. However, its a combination of fear and false guilt that keeps me working on a job that has long ago lost its appeal. With that said, I incurred some debt starting up a small business and I am almost done paying it off. I pray for the strength to walk away from this stressful situation soon. My husband makes a good living, my kids are grown, and our home is almost paid off. Life is good for us. But I long to be able to pursue a slower pace and focus on making our life more peaceful. Anyway, thanks again for the pep talk.

  30. says

    Very good article, Jill.

    I have been a stay at home mom for 30 years. I made the decision to stay home when my oldest was born 30 years ago. This was a time when it was almost unheard of for women to stay home. A time of women’s lib and all that. Call me old-fashioned but I felt I should be the one raising my sons and taking care of the home. Sure we had times when we had to be extremely frugal, especially when the third son came along. But we always had the necessities and found ways to give our kids extras. We found enjoyable activities to do together and they learned the meaning of saving for what they wanted.

    Now that my kids are on their own, I am able to pursue my own interests, and work from home. I am still at home and able to care for my elderly mom and my granddaughter when I am needed.

    Just my two cents.

  31. julie says

    Thank you, Sunny, for your letter and for all the responses. It is so encouraging. I want to be home all of my life. How can someone spend time making a home when she is gone all day? There is so much creativity once you get past the basics of housework and organization (that I am still trying to learn.) I want to be excellent at being home. I love it. Thank you.

  32. Jan C says

    I too would love to stay at home. It’s not the money now, though we would have to move to a different state, because our mortgage payment is way more than both of us would get from SS. It’s the health insurance. My husband has COPD which is a breathing disease. Without my health insurance, we would be so far in debt that we would never get out. If we didn’t have health insurance, or just Medicare, he would be dead. He has only been home for 3 weeks since Dec 4 of last year. He has either been in the hospital or a nursing home. My insurance pays for all of his prescriptions, all his breathing equipment, all his oxygen. I sometimes feel guilty that I can’t spend the rest of his life with him, but he would probably drive me crazy. He could die tomorrow, or last for another couple of years. No one knows but God. My plan is to quit work when I am 66 (next year), and move us to Georgia to live. Your article was a good read. I stayed home in the daytime with my children when they were growing up. I worked part-time at nights. I was just enough to get me out of the house to talk to adults, and to make my husband do stuff with and for the kids. I miss those days.

  33. Angie says

    I loved Jill’s reply to Sunny. I have been an at-home Mom, a part-time job and business-running Mom, a full-time job Mom and I have been back at home for 3 years now. My girls are 23 and 20. My older daughter works full-time but became a chronic pain patient while in college. Both girls still live at home-younger one in school. When I was working full-time, taking OD to all her dr. appointments, YD to irish dance lessons (8 hours per week commitment), and still trying to take care of a lot at home, I was burning my candle at both ends and the family stress and strain was terrible. My husband has a demanding job and isn’t home at the same time every day so I could not depend on him to take care of things. I bless the day we rearranged our finances so I could quit. OD now suffers from Anorexia along with her other problems and I spend a lot of time looking for answers. YD is thriving in college and working part-time and I still take her to dance when she has the time to go. We also have elderly parents. MIne, especially, rely on me for help even when they are in Florida. Me being available to them gives my sister peace of mind.
    I am still catching up on all the stuff that got neglected when I had NO TIME to keep up with things. I have tons of projects that I want to do, books to read, etcetera that I am working on and I love it. One of my co-workers (who is single) thought I had no right to be tired since it’s “not like I’m working anymore”. I quickly informed her that I work just as many, if not more hours than I did before–I just don’t receive that company check any longer. The pay-off I have now is much greater than any paycheck from my last job and I am never bored. That was the worst part, being stuck there over 8 hours a day and not having enough to do. I never run out of things to do at home and I love being my own boss. I may go back to work part-time sometime in the future, but my family is delighted that I am home and keeping those home-fires burning strong.

  34. Dawn says

    I’m so glad I ran across this site. I was laid off in June and frantically searched for a replacement job for 3 or 4 months. I have felt guilty about wanting to stay home, but it is working out much better right now because I am here to care for our special needs daughter and our 9 month old son. I felt so guilty about not providing an income for our family, but between the childcare we’re not paying, and assorted other expenses we don’t have, we’re getting by (mostly). Thank you for the encouragement to follow my heart and do what is right for my family…. even if that means staying home.

  35. Barb says

    I love the article about empty-nesters and stay-at-home moms. I do not fall into either catagory. I am the single mother of an 8 year old.
    I have missed many things in my child’s life already with many more to come. I am required to work 6 days a week when necessary. This leaves very little time left for house and yard work. I feel very guilty that I cannot spend more time with my child. I just hope that someday she will understand.
    If you can manage one income, do it. You and your family will definitely benefit.

    • Melissa says

      Been there done that Barb- I feel for you! I worked as a nurse for the last 15 years and missed so much of my kid’s baby time; it makes me sick to think of it. Getting called in to the hospital at all hours- and I couldn’t really turn it down because I needed the money. But at the time, it’s what I had to do, so I did it. Five years ago I took a school nurse job, and that was a lot better, but the pay was less than half of what I made at the hospital…the whole thing just stunk.

  36. Essie says

    I’m so very happy to have stumble on this website and I’ve really enjoyed reading all comments posted. I’m privileged to be able to share my story and circumstance. I recently decided to become a stay at home grandmother. Yes I gave it lots of thought and decided instead of being a working grandmother I should retire. My husband makes a very good living where we have traveled to many of our favorite destinations and we continue to travel, this time we invite our grandchildren to accompany us. We are empty nesters and we are in are in our very early 60’s. My paycheck was only used by me,it wasn’t a part of family budget. I decided to stay home and be there for when I’m needed to do something to help out my children and grandchildren. Now this is where I would love your comments on my circumstance. I’m going to live in our second house in another city to help with grandchildren there. Parents don’t have family living there and I want to pickup one grandchild after shool otherwise he’ll be in afterschool care til 6:30 and the 23month at his daycare at other part of town. When these children get home theres very little time for homework,bathing,family chatting because their parents got home so late from their careers. My husband and I have our present house on the market due to him retiring right after the 1st of the year. He’ll stay here alone with his work and living here until retiring and I’ll stay at the other house doing household projects that I’ve always wanted to do and never did, I’ve got so many books to read and recipes to try out and have lunch with friends. I want to have my house (its fully furnished even more so than where we’re living now) I think about going to garage sales,estate sales, thrift shops and buying and resaling. Just one thing,my husband will be coming for holidays,but the drive is almost 7 hrs.and it is so tiring infact exhausting. For Christmas he’ll be flying for holidays. What I haven’t shared is that I have a son and his family here but the parents work 8 to 4:30 Monday-Friday. So kids are not at sitter to long.My husband is ok with my decision.

  37. says

    I just read your article and have to say AMEN! I am one of those “women’s libbers” that you refer to in your article, but I have to say some radical folk do give us a bad name. A woman should be allowed to work wherever she likes, and boy, there’s plenty of work to be had at home! I am a mother to a sweet 20 month old baby, and I can’t wait to leave corporate America to come home to him. In fact, if you wanted to do a follow up article to this, any advice for moms or dads who would like to come home, and the best strategies for doing so, I’d be all ears! Thank you again for such a thought provoking article!

    • says

      Kelly I get this question so often that I just finished writing a whole book on it and in it I try to go into every type of thing or question stay at home moms, wanta be stay at home moms and working away from home moms have. I tried to cover every thing. As soon as we get it proof read we will have it out there but will try to give some excerpts from it before then if we can.

      In it I try to take a common sense practical look at it all and not the usual you have to do it this or that way approach so I hope it helps so many make a practical decision on what to do in their case and how to do it and then if you decide to stay at home I try to answer all the questions on that like how not to feel guilty, where do I start to get organized, how do I make a schedule, what do I do when I miss adult company or get bored,what will others think and how to deal with that, can I afford to and how to figure that and so many other questions.

      In the mean time try wandering around the web site. I touch and answer many questions that some might have even though the post isn’t titled stay at home moms they deal with many different issues.

      Oh and yes 20 month olds are cute. I have a two year old grandson and they are so adorable.

  38. Grandma says

    Here is a personal story and a sort of trap that I wish to happen to none of the stay at home moms.
    I was never really close to my family, I loved them and went to all the family functions but never seemed to fit in or be comfortable around my immediate family.
    I met Don while I was in college. I had one year to go and when I got pregnant the last month of school I got a flu that knocked out my immunities and had to quit due to the school placements.
    Our son was born in Oct and needed a blood change 5 days after he was born due to jaundice. He came home from the hospital perfectly healthy and has never been seriously sick in 35 years.
    Don got his layoff notice the day Raymond was born so money was going to be tight.
    I nursed him until he was 3 months old and then found out I had lots of milk but it wasn’t rich enough to let him grow so had to switch to skim milk as every formula tried made him sick.
    I went back to work at the nursing home to help pay the bills. Don drove taxi and my MIL looked after Raymond for the short hour Don couldn’t be there.
    No offer of help from my mother or my kid sister who was still in high school.
    We had to once go to welfare for enough money to pay the rent on our apt. as the unemployment cheque was delayed due to so many people being laid off at that time. We paid them back as soon as the cheque came in. It was embarassing to have some stranger come in and go over your home to see if you were cheating the system. We had food aplenty mainly because how I shopped just couldn’t come up with the $300 to pay the rent.
    2 weeks after the cheque came in my parents who said they couldn’t help us out they called and said they were headed for Russia. We would have had the 300. back to them by that time.
    Don got a job in a city to the south so we packed up and moved there. Don was there already so as I was packing the last thing my father said to me was “well make sure Don pays the rent to me, I don’t think he will” We rented their basement apt. so we could be close and let my family be close to see their first grandchild.
    My husband has native blood and his family background is french english but we are true Canadians.
    My father was a bigot so he cut Don down to his face whenever possible. To keep the peace he just ignored all the slights.
    My sisters and my mother would take trips to other countries every year and I was never invited. It hurt but I tried to stay close to them because they were family.
    My 2nd son was born 3 years after my first and the only time I asked for any physical help was when I had to go to the hospital to have him.
    My parents and sister said they would watch Raymond we took him to my parents when I went into labour and all was well. The day I got home my father called and said “you have to take raymond as he is a holy terror and your mother can’t handle him” Don had left for work so I called them back and asked them to bring Raymond home. I told my mom it was because I missed him. They dropped him off and barely were in the door before they left again.
    Things went from bad to worse with us seeing my family or Don’s only when we went there or when they needed something done.
    No help, no hugs, few calls.
    26 years ago we moved to the town we are in today and my sister before we moved said I should leave Don because he was taking me and the boys away from our family. I tried to explain that Don and the boys were my family.
    We moved and the only time in 26 years that they would visit was when they were traveling across Canada and had to pass our town so it was a cheap motel with fantastic room service.
    This year my sister died and it hurt that I couldn’t get there in time to say good bye but my mother said not to come. My mother now says that she is disappointed in me for not sitting down and crying with her. There was nothing more I wanted to do but that very thing. But I do not cry in public and my mother was never alone. Even at the house before everyone arrived my sister and her boy friend would not leave. I do not know the boy friend who she met after her husband died 4 years ago. I couldn’t cry in front of him.
    my mom called to tell me that she and beth were going to spain because heather who died had planned the holiday long before she got brain cancer. I said don’t tell me about the trips as it hurt me a lot. She said it shouldn’t and when I said it was because I had never been invited to go along. She said it was because I had a family. My sister beth had a family husband and one son and mom said beth didn’t have the type of family I do.
    So I said have a nice trip and remember heather wanted them to go. then I said good bye.
    I wrote her a letter explaining my feelings and when she got back 5 days later she called to say they returned safe and sound.
    Then she explained that everything I said in the letter was my vivid imagination and never happened. I was delusional.
    I said that Dan and qian and anqi were going to move to Canada in the next 2 years and she said they should stay in their own country. I told her I would love to have dan and his family here. I was told that since Dan left he should come for visits but stay where he was living.
    In other words he was wrong to marry a chinese girl who he loves and have a child of mixed blood.
    I knew my father was a bigot and I would never have allowed him to meet his granddaughter in law but he died before they married. I did not realize my mother was the same bigot he was.
    Now she has lost one daughter, 2 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.

    I guess what I am trying to say here is don’t let your staying at home isolate you from the rest of the world. I lost my family but they were never a truely loving family, but now that my children are gone from home I am suffering greatly from empty nest syndrome. Few friends and living in a small town few activities. Also not being able to plan my days because of RA pain and lack of energy.
    Make good friends and do whatever you are able to do to stay in the real world.
    Sorry about whining but it has been cold and damp for about a week and I do not have a spot on my body that is not screaming at me. Little sleep and so much to do.
    If you don’t have a supportive family make friends who will at least welcome you at the door with a cup of coffee and maybe a shoulder.
    SAHM’s do need help if only for the social aspect.
    I buried myself raising my children and they are wonderful young men but they live too far to visit often.
    Now what am I supposed to do. I guess get out and make a new life for myself but that is scarey and I am trying.
    Jill if this is inappropriate to post delete it. I will understand.
    luv to everyone.

    • says

      This is a common problem of feeling isolated. I mentioned in the book I just finished how when you go to work you have a ready made group of people there to visit with each day but when you stay at home you don’t have that and you need to make a point of finding your own social life and friends which can be a little work but I do tell many different ways to do that in the book and I’m afraid I don’t have room to go into here.

      Now granted it may be harder to if you have tiny babies or toddlers at home or if you are sick. I know since I have become sick I am way more isolated then even when I had babies at home but I do try to find ways to still not be so isolated when I can.

      I have to work at it especially hard because most people don’t realize it but I am very much an introvert. That doesn’t mean I don’t like people or to socialize it just means that to recharge my batteries I need time alone where extroverts need to recharge their batteries by being around people. This translates into that because of my Chronic Fatigue I can talk on the phone with someone for 30 mins and it wipes me out for the rest of the day that is why it is extra hard for me. But we all need someone to “visit” with so I keep trying.

      Another thing I know you probably already know this but some don’t and that is it takes time and effort to develop friendships. When I first move I always introduce myself to my neighbor and it feels awkward at first but it is so funny that after awhile we usually become friends even those who I have nothing in common with. This is also part why I am more isolated being sick. Friendships take work and I’m afraid I just don’t have the energy.

      Your situation is hard because you are ill and your kids live so far away I do understand. I lived in Idaho for a couple of years with not one family member, no real friends or even a husband so I do know what it feels like. I just decided I would enjoy my time of “peace and rest” while I could because I knew things wouldn’t be like this for ever and sure enough I eventually moved to Kansas again and was so “swamped” with love and family I almost couldn’t handle it.
      Hang in there. You have had a rough few months. Besides I was so tickled to hear that you son and new grandbaby may eventually move back to you. And if nothing else keep posting and hollering at us. : ) : )

      • Grandma says

        just after posting this my son in China was on skype asking me to make suggestions for his wife qian so she could convince her parents that staying at home would be good for her for Dan and for the baby anqi.
        isn’t that a hoot.
        I did come up with some so I guess it might help.
        she wants to stay at home and her parents tell her she has to work or they won’t have any savings.
        in china you save and if you spend for anything you budget more out of the next month so you can make up for buying that thing.
        good idea but a bit too extreme.
        you save for your children to get an education with no work from the student to contribute but you give it all to your children and then your children are supposed to support you when you are old.
        no savings to fall back on if your son or daughter is not able to help you out due to life not being wonderful.
        I would rather help if necessary but want my savings so I don’t have to rely on my children for my every need.

        • says

          I am the same way Grandma. Different cultures and even different people do things “differently” (HA!HA! didn’t know how else to put it). I have been amazed living even in different parts of the US how we differ here even in the same country. You probably have the same thing in Canada.

          • Grandma says

            no way! we all do the exact same things in Canada.
            could walk into anyones house and it would feel like home.
            We just compare ourselves to Americans and can you believe we always come out on top.
            I think everyone compares their situation with someone elses and tries to see that theirs is much better.
            one shoe does not fit all people.
            It is how you were raised and how you fit things into your own life.
            Some things I steal and use as my own while some I ridicule and some I just don’t understand.
            some things to out in the trash as generations and population change.
            sometimes personalities are what rules your life and situation.
            I don’t think I could live comfortably in a big city again. I loved it when I was single but now having lived in big cities and small towns I figure I am a small town girl.
            But I must have access to my internet. Went kind of bonkers this summer while camping without it.

  39. Melissa says

    Just this August I quit my job as a school nurse and decided with the help of my hubby, to try to stay home. We have 5 boys at home, and one in the Army stationed in Alaska. Our budget is very tight, and it is really hard trying to balance the budget- and of course the first place I start is with our grocery bill.
    Before I quit, I was “in trouble” at work a lot, because 6 is a lot by today’s standards, and it seemed like there for awhile somebody was sick all the time and I had to stay home with them, so i was being warned about my attendance. I even had my supervisor tell me to call my mother in law and have her keep our sick kids so I could stay at work. That’s when I knew for sure…this wasn’t for me anymore. The stress of having the job, and the very minuscule income it provided was not worth the hassle any longer. It was too stressful worrying about my kids and feeling guilty when I stood up and stayed home with them. I must add that our 6 are a “three of mine and three of his” situation:) A lot of my problem came from trying to care for my stepsons. My employer would all but threaten me when I would call and say “my son is sick”- she would say “his or yours?” um, does it matter? Geez….
    So we bought a house with a smaller house payment, continue to drive our old Suburban and my husband’s old truck to avoid any vehicle payments, and home I am! I am prepared to take a part time job if need be, but right now we’re still trying to jiggle things around to make this work. Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated!

    • says

      Melissa earlier I said that I just finished writing a how to stay at home book and how to decide to stay at home in it there were a couple of things I mentioned right away and that is it takes lots of work to stay at home.

      Many stay at home moms are told how lucky they are to get to do this or that because they stay at home this is almost always said by someone who has never stayed at home before. They have no clue just how hard it is to stay at home and how much work it is. Personally I have done it both ways and it was so much easier when I went to work each day then stayed at home.

      Luck has nothing to do with staying at home only a lot of hard work. You have kids messing up the house all day, meals and snacks to fix all day, spills, messes and dirt tracked in to clean up all day not to mention playing referee non stop. Bathrooms and kitchens get used more so they get dirty more often and because you are at home people expect you to do more like school functions, picking up working moms kids from school, cook from scratch, grow your own garden. We won’t even mention the guilt trip that is put on you if you don’t do all of these things.

      Even little things we don’t think about often like many working moms say I need a break before I start dinner because I have been at work all day but if a stay at home mom would say that people would be horrified.

      What I am saying is it is much harder and much more work then most think it is going to be but don’t worry slowly but surely things will start falling into place if you don’t give up.

      One thing I talk about in the book is you are starting a whole new set of habits – when you get dressed, have breakfast, fix dinner, go to the store etc. so that alone will be an adjustment and I do try to address all those things in the book too. As far as saving money and juggling it, whether you work or stay at home it is pretty much the same thing. We should always be wise stewards of our money no matter what and all our tips work for both so just check out the web site. We have tip after tip – literally thousands of how to save and juggle your finances when things are tight whether at home or working. So hopefully some of those will give you ideas on where to start and what to do.

    • says

      One other thing Melissa it is funny you should mention sick kids. In my book I tell a story how I had to be picked up once from school when I was sick by another family member because my mom couldn’t and it was awful. I was so sick and all I wanted was my mom. It was really a bad feeling. Like Tawra says in her family I was feeling “very small” at the time.

      Now for you working moms I wasn’t warped for life or anything and really survived just fine but I do remember after all these years how bad I felt. I there are times when we need to work because we are responsible for our families financially but sometimes we worry way more then we should over the finances and less over the emotional and spiritual things we are responsible for in our children too.

  40. Essie says

    Its Monday and I have slowly been packing my clothes into totes and Ive talked to several people this morning. But Im so sad and feeling down because I really don’t want to leave my spouse here alone and me living in another city.Why am I doing this. I told my son and wife that I would watch their children until they got home from work and now I’m between rock and a hard place. I know I have to pray about this this week.I wonder why sometimes life gets so complicated and why I seem to be so confused about making decisions. Im not feeling fulfilled at my present house it feels like a motel room and my heart is no longer here but my husband is. So thats my dilemma right now.

    • says

      Essie take a deep breath. Anytime a person tries something new and very different once you make the decision and start doing it you can feel panicky and think what am I doing but think it through for a moment. First of all your said it was only until the first of the year and your husband will be retired right? That is only about 9 weeks. I’m sure you will probably see your husband at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Plus you said that it is only a 7 hour drive that separates you. If you are there for a couple of weeks and miss him is there any reason why you can’t make a quick trip back to him for a long week end too.

      I live about 9-10 hours from my family in Colorado. In the next 9 weeks I will be making 3 trips back there driving by myself and I have a 3 hour longer drive. When we lived in Idaho Tawra and I made the 36 hour trip through two rough mountain ranges 5 times in 8 months to visit family.

      Here are some things to think about and ask yourself. Who really needs you the most at this moment – your husband or your grandkids? Are you not wanting to go maybe just because it will be not so pleasant for you and if that is the case then ask yourself again what is more important – your needs and wants or your grandkids. Only you can honestly answer these questions because I don’t know the full situation.

      I know it is hard being separated from your husband. My husband and I were for 14 months when he was overseas and I went through my whole first pregnancy and Tawra was 7 months old before he saw her. It was hard but you do make it through.

      New things can be scary and different but look on it as another adventure, something fun and different to try. Trust me. I have had to help with my grandkids off and on over the years and I wouldn’t trade that time for anything. We have a bond that goes beyond that I ever had as a mom with my kids. You have had many many years with your husband and hopefully will have many more but your grandkids will need you for a little bit and then they will be in junior high and high school and wouldn’t need you as much – not for babysitting anyway.

      Only you can decide for sure but I think you have been given a great opportunity to help your kids and grandkids. But again I don’t know all of the facts so it is for you to decide. I don’t if this helps or not. Just some things to think about.

  41. Laurie says

    Wow! You can certainly tell by the number of responses this article really hit home with many of your readers out there(including Me)!! I still have two sons at home. One is in college and the other is in 6th grade. I also have a husband picking up the slack of others at work to the tune of 65-80 hour weeks. I feel a fleeting guilt some days but realize being here to keep things on an even keel is what makes it possible for my family to go out and brave the world each day. It also gives me the opportunity to help at my parents and with my 97 yr. old grandpa- what a blessing that is. And so much easier on my siblings’ families to know someone can be there to take care of those little things(boy are there a lot of them!) whenever needed. Thanks for assuring me that if this is where God wants me, I should be content here!!

  42. says

    I really enjoyed this article on the SAHM issue. I never realized there were all these emotions tied up with this.
    Some feel guilty, some need the work, others are sometimes
    chastised for staying at home, others for working.

    This gives us an understanding and a way we can see the issues involved, fear of failure, etc. etc.

    I have so much respect for ladies who hold down jobs and take care of their families, too. Mothers who stay at home
    and joyfully take on the task of maing ends meet is a wonderful woman, too.

    So it is I write my little short stories and send along some to all on my reading list going to the positive. I get many thank you’s and that gives me strength as well.

    You can go to “Donna’s Doorways” at Google and then on to
    Electric Scotland’s Forum where I submit something every two or three days. My faith asks that we do community service of some amount, whatever we can do, and this is how I do mine because of caring for my daughter with cerebral palsy I’m a bit of a shut-in. Maybe you can get something out of my writings, too.

    Donna Jones Flood, artist author
    Ponca City, Ok.

    Loneliness was addressed too, and that was good.

  43. Maggie says

    I have been reading some old newsletter, hence these delayed responses. I did want to comment on being a working parent. My husband and I decided that since I made the most money in our family, I would continue to work so we could pay our mortgage off faster. We had a wonderful babysitter for the kids and were able to pull it off well most days, however, I remember one day that was especially dreadful and want to share that. In the days before women (mothers) were managers at companies, all my bosses were men and held staff meetings at 8 am. On this particular morning, my husband was out of town, I had to take the baby to the babysitter and our daughter to school and get to work for a mandatory meeting with the 2nd level boss. Of course, I could not find an empty parking space in the garage and was about 15 minutes getting into the meeting. While I tried to slip in unnoticed, the boss looked at me, halted the meeting and asked me where I had been. I explained my situation since usually my husband took our daughter to school so I could be on time. He looked at me and said in a snide tone, “I have a wife who runs my errands”. As nicely as I could, I replied “if I had a wife, I’d have her do my errands, too.” He didn’t say another word but I felt vindicated. The other women in the room were cringing but after the meeting, most of them said I was very brave for responding in the way I did. However, I never got a promotion as long as he was the manager of the group and he never ever spoke to me the last two years he was in that job. Did I care? !
    For all you young readers, when I was a young woman, most of the jobs at my company that were not sales were not manager positions. We were considered the worker-bees. Derogatory, I know but the times were very different. Things at my company (yep, still here) are not same as in the old days – sometimes that is good, sometimes, not. I have 40 years here now and work for a great manager and great division. I am lucky!

  44. Pat McDonald says

    I just today found your website. I love it.

    I stayed home with my children until they were old enough to be at home alone in the early evenings. I also babysit my brother’s children while their parents worked. I remember being bored with housework and the stress of caring for four children most days of the week. I eventually went back to college and earned a degree in accounting and moved into a full time job within a few months of graduating. I worked for twelve years and eventually was promoted to a position with much more responsibility. The new position started out well but the corporation politics soon turned into a nightmare. During busy times, I would be working 7 days a week – sometimes for a month just to keep up with the responsibility I had. I eventually left the job, but I had to return within 9 months due to financial pressures on the home front. I was given a job with less responsibility, but once again the corporation politics reared it’s ugly head! I worked another 2 and a half years. I just could not handle the stress of being in a job I did not like. I quit once again and will not go back!

    I have been at home since March 2012, and I love it. I have time now to help my 77 year old mother with her chores. I sometimes take her shopping. I have 5 grandchildren and have time to babysit and spend time with them! I love the peace of a slower lifestyle! I have time to read and do the things I want to do. I LOVE being at home. In my opinion, living a frugul lifestyle is very worth the peace and contentment I have now.

  45. says

    Thank you! I do so often feel like I’m somehow not enough, because, “all I do is stay home and take care of the family”. I especially liked you pastor’s wife’s words about how this false guilt is Satan’s way of stealing something of joy from God’s people. That is so true!

  46. Shelley Robbins says

    Thank You, Jill and Tawra, for what you do to encourage others. i was laid off at my job, but have found unexpected JOY in being home. The recipies and tips have helped us to be able to live on one income, it is not easy, but we are managing to make ends meet. Just wanted you both to know that your work has been a blessing to me!!

  47. Laurie says

    Just stumbled upon this article again. I’ve read it several times for the boost it always gives me. My question is- is the book Jill wrote on this topic available yet? Would love to have a copy.May God bless the work you do to help us with the work we are doing!!

  48. Teri says

    I really enjoyed reading these posts. We are sending our last child off to college in a couple of weeks. I work full time at a school so I have a few weeks off in the summer. I have been wishing to stay home again more than ever (did when the kiddos were in grade school). We could make it as my tiny income would barely be missed. I am feeling guilty for wanting to do this. I do agree that it would be nice to focus on “running the home”. I have also experienced several years as a working single mom so I can appreciate both sides!

  49. Mayflower says

    I also love to stay at home as well but still help my husband somehow so I started selling items on the internet and it is not bad at all. Also, I play a word game and get rewarded for typos I find. The game is at TypoBounty.com, if you are interested.

  50. Melissa McKnight says

    After losing my job almost 4 years ago, I have been a SAHM. We have 3 kids, 12, 10, and 4. All are very active. I am also taking classes online to get my degree in Business Administration. My husband makes more money than most I know with 2 incomes, yet there never seems to be enough in his eyes. I live on a small grocery budget, $125/wk. My husband is not in anyway supportive of me being home. Even though, we agreed that when I lost my job it was a good thing for me to be home because our family was suffering. The stress of handling the household, work, kids, marriage were taking a major toll on relationships with my kids and husband. He travels for business, so everything was up to me to handle. I never felt like I ever set down or got ahead.He agreed. Now,he thinks that I am holding the family back. Though he makes enough to cover all of the bills, give some financial support to my MIL, and keep in savings, he still wants a paycheck from me. My worth in this family is judged by the pay I bring to the table. I am a straight A student, my kids are straight A students, house and laundry is always clean, meals on table 3 times a day, kids are never late or miss an activity. Besides my husband’s lack of support, many of my working friends and family are the same way. I get comments all the time about being lazy and having nothing better to do because I stay home. It is making me severly depressed, affecting my sleep, and appetite. How do I make people see this decision is worth it? It will only be for another year. Once my youngest starts school, I want to work part time.

    • says

      I wish there was an easy 123 answer for you Melissa but there isn’t and of course again without knowing all the details it is really hard to always say what a person should do. I will say how ever first you need to stop trying to make anyone see what you are doing is worth it. No matter what you do or say they will never see it. The Bible talks about people being blind and deaf to certain things and that is so true and if that is true then think about it, all your actions to make them see makes as much sense as waving your arms in front of a blind person and anything you say will not be heard any more then if you were talking to a deaf person. It is a waste of time and energy. As hard as it may be you need to do what you think is best for you and your family and not let what others think or say worry you. Look what that worry is doing to you and what is it solving. It isn’t changing anything. Why are you letting anyone have so much control over your life like that?

      If your husband agreed you could do this then he is wrong for not supporting you. To be honest when ever I hear of a husband or wife not supporting their spouse in something like this I am more worried about the marriage then I am on giving ways to make people see. In cases like this it has nothing to do with whether you are staying at home or working it is a matter really of problems in your family life. That is what you need to be seeking help for and not anything else. When your relationship with your husband it ok these other things will fall into place and not be such a problem. One of a husband’s main jobs is to protect his wife and not always physically like we think but emotionally and spiritually too. When a husband with draws his support of her in any way it makes her vulnerable and opens her up for attack from others like children, friends and other family members which is part of what has happened to you.

      You really need to seek help if you can because it is a much more serious matter then just you staying at home.

    • says

      Melissa, try this strategy.
      find out the cost of day care. Even if it is after and before school it has a cost.
      Find out how much you would spend on already prepared food to feed the family if you were not making meals from scratch by staying at home.
      Then add in the jobs your husband had to help with when you were working, that he doesn’t have to do now. How many hours in his day did this take.
      The real trick to this strategy is to for a week have a really cinnamony something in the oven baking when he comes home or a pie on the counter. After a week show him the list.

  51. says

    Jill, I just have to say a big thank you for these words about people being blind and deaf to some things. Reading this was a reminder for me. I struggle with this myself, trying to “prove” to others that what I’m doing as a SAHM is valuable. There are some people that may never see that what I do is valuable, and I have to be comfortable with that knowledge. So, thank you.

  52. Joan says

    I don’t know how long ago this article was published, but I am so grateful to have found it. I constantly struggle with false guilt and this is a great help. Thank You.

  53. Barbs says

    I read your valentine’s for your hubby! I have tried many of them when we were first married [30 yeaars ago except I mailed the letters!] Just the fqact my Beloved gets my email free from dayspring.com. The best gift to me was when he bought 2 disposable rolls of films and I could go anywhere to take pictures, and he had a lunch made for us! Music, blanket etc! These are our memories! Barbs and Jim

  54. Granma J says

    LOVE this commentary! HELP! My husband says I will be happier if I go get a job! We need more $ for retirement, he says, and if we don’t have enough it will be my fault!

    He said he would do more around the house to help. Whatever! I raised 5 children and stayed home pretty much the entire time. Had a Day Care for 10 years to supplement the income. Homeschooled the younger ones through High school.

    I am isolated now and for some reason this area is very difficult to make and keep friends. I have NEVER had that problem back in my home state. I am going to a therapist and she says others have said the same thing!

    But what do I do about a husband that badgers me about getting a job? He is not going to let up. Jobs do not mean instant friends. I said I would volunteer somewhere and the $ issue came up. Good grief.

    All suggestions appreciated :D

    • says

      It is so hard to resolve a situation with only a couple of paragraphs of info so I may be way off base here but if these suggestions miss the mark for you maybe they will at least help get the wheels turning and give some ideas for a solution. What happens often in a marriage or any relationship is each person gets so dead set on trying to change the other to their way of thinking or thinking of arguments they can use to change the others way of thinking they don’t really listen or try to hear what the other person is saying or needing.

      Instead of listening, seeing or understanding the other person’s wants, needs and desires they can only focus on their own. In a marriage it should be the opposite. You should always want to do what is best for the other person because you are “one” and what benefits your spouse also benefits you. But human nature is always about what is best for me and am I getting my rights and my needs meant even if it is at the expense of my spouse. It is very hard to get into the unconditional love mind set that is needed in marriage. On the other hand I often see women (not necessarily you) and sometimes men who for years submit to their spouse out of duty – because it is the right thing to do so they think – and not out of love, and years down the line it start popping out as anger and resentment.

      Both of these situations are the wrong way to handle things. The best way is to really truly talk and listen to each other and to try to understand where the other is coming from then compromise, compromise, compromise. This is harder to do then it sounds because by the time the couple starts seeking help they are in such an angry deadlock they don’t want to see anyway but their own way.

      Sometimes too it is hard for spouses to understand each other when major changes in their lives happen. It is hard for men to understand when the kids are gone that some moms feel like they no longer have a job and can be at loose ends trying to “refind” themselves in the same way men can feel lost when they don’t have a job any longer. Often too men resent it if they don’t think their wives are working as many hours now with the kids gone as what they are having to work and may become jealous that they can’t “retire” too. There are many factors that you need to talk about and face honestly with each other.

      You need to really talk to your husband – not making him defensive – and find out about your finances and why he is so worried about retirement. If you are in serious financial trouble then you may have to pitch in some way to help change things if not with a job then maybe with cutting out as much spending as you can. I don’t know why you are going to a therapist but if is because you are lonely and dealing with empty nest synd. then maybe the compromise could be you volunteer and the money you spend on a therapist can go to the retirement fund. It isn’t as much as a regular job but it is a start. That way you get to volunteer and there is a little going in the fund.

      If things are that serious maybe you could work part time and volunteer part time. Maybe you could set a time limit, you work for 1 year at a job you enjoy and put all of that into retirement and then quit. It doesn’t always have to be all or nothing on both sides.

  55. Lindsie says

    I just have to say that I consider myself a “women’s libber” (you say it like it’s such a bad thing!) and am not at all opposed to a parent staying home, as I am a stay at home mother myself. I agree that there are some who try to paint a homemaker as shackled and oppressed, but not all of us see it that way! Stereotypes are so negative, and I think in general anybody who tells you your way of living, when it is for the benefit of your family (whichever way you chose), is wrong.

  56. getforfree says

    When I was working outside of home, I was extremely busy and stressed. I felt pressured that I had to work because my mother in law was watching my kids for free. All the housework, like cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, laundry was on me. I even mowed my lawn and washed my car because I hated when it looks ugly. I also did all the frugal things I could, like hanging laundry outside and clipping coupon and tried to economize and use less of everything.

    And I was called lazy, because my mother in law would always find something not cleaned or not done in my house. She also called me stingy all the time, because I did all the frugal things I could to not waste my hard-earned money. I have to say my money was REALLY hard-earned, not because my job was hard, but because I had to put up with her.

    My job loss was a blessing to me. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it really was. I was receiving unemployment, had more time to take care of my house and kids, and didn’t have to put up with her anymore.

    I also learned that working outside of the house doesn’t make my housework easier. So, dear ladies, don’t be fooled into it.

    Now I have more kids, a garden, lots of chickens, sell stuff on ebay, clip coupons and finding deals, and keep myself busy with the things I like, and always there for my kids and have time to take them to their activities and help them with their homework. I also realized that the older my kids get, the more they need me. The Grandma wouldn’t cut it, as she wouldn’t be able to drive them places and help them with homework. (She wouldn’t be able to do 4th grade math or spell right, I am sure.)

    Some people say, that they don’t want to waste their degree by staying home. I would say, my education is really helping me in raising my kids, so I don’t feel like it was waste of time and effort to go to school.

    I like to be home, because I would rather work alone than in a big noisy and crowded place. Some people like the opposite and try to make me feel guilty for not wanting to spend my time with friends and going places. My mother in law would say, that I don’t want to spend money on inviting anybody or being lazy to see people. If that would be fun, I would do it, but if it’s not, why even bother.

    So there is a lot of things that other people try to make you feel guilty about, just because you don’t do the same things as them, or don’t like the same things as them. So, dear ladies, don’t feel pressured, that you HAVE to have a job or earn money, or you HAVE to have kids if you stay home. I try to stay away from people who give me that kind of pressure, and it’s usually people who are related to you, so you can’t just kick them out or stay away from them. I wish I could.

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