Not too long ago, I was invited to a social gathering. When asked what my occupation was by a newly introduced acquaintance, I responded that I was a SAHM.
"Oh," they replied "how lucky you are to get to do that!"
Becoming a SAHM is not necessarily something that you just sort of fall into, especially not if you already have a career.
A few summit meetings had to be held with my husband when I got unexpectedly pregnant shortly after our marriage. Having just started our life together, we weren't necessarily in the best position to lose our double income, and it took a bit of reminding that prior to our marriage, we had discussed that if we were to have kids, I would stay at home to raise them. The pregnancy had come earlier than we had planned, so he was hesitant to lose my income, which was at that time only twenty thousand a year less than his own pay. He tried to talk me out of it more than a few times, but I was adamant. I went back to work part-time for about three months after my son was born, realized how much I missed my baby, and quit for good.
Also, I was very concerned with someone else being the person who watched my child for most of the day, five days a week. In my mind, it meant that I wasn't raising my child, someone else was. I just could not make that scenario work for me, although I in no way judge those that do. It just wasn't right for me, and I gave up my life as I knew it to follow that path.
Then there was that whole adjustment period in which after losing my income, we were very, very poor. My husband makes a good income, but the area where we live has a high cost of living. Gone were the new clothes, vacations, cars and all kinds of other things that can be afforded when both parents work. Some months we barely had enough to pay our bills, and I am in no way exaggerating. And that was still after cutting out pretty much all luxuries, which included things like the newspaper and cable as well as more mundane things like name-brand shampoos. We managed to stay out of the red, but barely.
My life became completely different. I gave up a lot of adult interaction, and a tiny bit of my self-esteem as a “productive” member of society. I quickly got over that, because I soon realized there is nothing more productive than raising a child. I would sometimes count the minutes until my husband got home from work so that I could have just a few minutes of peace to myself. I would sometimes cry in frustration when my son, who had colic, would not stop crying no matter what I did.
But despite all the difficulties and hurdles, I would do it all over again.
It took hard work, patience, and sacrifice for me to stay home.
And luck? Not much more than a bit player, if you ask me.