I’m a Stay at Home Mom, but We Aren’t Rich

I’ve had this scene play out more times than I can remember….
I strike up a conversation at a park or play place with another adult, and the topic of conversation eventually leads to work.
“So, what do you do?” They ask.
“I’m a stay at home mom,” I say.
“Oh? ‘Must be nice to be able to live on one income.”

I usually just smile and nod because I’m talking to a stranger who doesn’t need to know my whole life story, and the truth is, it IS nice to get to stay home with my kids. It IS a privilege to have this time with them, and I think that’s what they meant to say. Because one thing that’s really not so nice is living on one income. You see, I’m a stay at home mom, but we aren’t rich.

stay at home mom

Just another day at the office.

Don’t get me wrong, my husband works hard to provide for our family. We are blessed more than many, and I am in no way complaining about our financial situation. We know where our next meal is coming from, our bills are always paid, and we are homeowners with a nice and sturdy (albeit 50 year old) roof over our heads. We even have a little in savings. We have all of what we need and some of what we want, but it is not at all by accident or some fun and fancy free lifestyle.

When you see my child in a boutique outfit, it’s because I found it on sale in a consignment store, or it was gifted to us.

When you see my posts about our fun outings, it’s because I am always on the lookout for free family activities and because we ask for family passes to the zoo or museum for Christmas.

When you see us eating at a nice restaurant, it’s probably somebody’s birthday (and I’m probably drinking water).

When you see my cart super full at the grocery store, it’s because Aldi is amazing (Seriously. If you don’t shop there, switch!! You’ll save so much money.) AND I’m shopping sales and couponing.

When you see me browsing with the kids at Target, more times than not, I will be leaving the store with not much more than popcorn crumbs in my diaper bag and an item or two from the dollar section.

When you see me out for ice cream with the kids by myself in the evenings, it’s because my husband is working late to bill more hours, and I just haaaaad to get out of the house.

When you see our Pinterest style birthday parties or Halloween costumes, it’s because I have been shopping fabric sales, planning for months, and it’s all DIY (Don’t knock it- I LOVE being crafty).

Our children are small, so they don’t care one bit about where their clothes and toys come from, and I’m fine with teaching them to stretch their dollars.  My daughter loves to hit up JBF and Once Upon a Child, and she is the best sidekick when I’m shopping garage sales! By the time they are school aged, I’ll be headed back to work and our financial situation will be different (though I’m planning to teach, so it won’t be by much), but for now, this is what works for us. I am in no way insinuating that moms who choose to work value some dreamy lavish lifestyle over their children or that they all have it made in the shade. I also know that not all moms who stay home have to pinch pennies.

The truth is, no one has any idea about all of the thoughts and factors that go in to making the decision to work or stay home, and by no means am I implying that one choice is better than the other. I can only speak for what works for me and my family. Being a stay at home mom has always been my dream job, and even on the hardest days- when my bosses are cranky and demanding- I know that this is the sweetest part of my life. So, yes…it’s nice. Nicer than I ever imagined.

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23 Responses to I’m a Stay at Home Mom, but We Aren’t Rich

  1. Ginger July 11, 2016 at 10:44 am #

    Becoming a fan of Becky Walker… well said mom!

    • Becky Walker
      Becky Walker July 11, 2016 at 11:32 am #

      Thanks so much!

  2. Riley July 16, 2016 at 4:37 pm #

    We cut our income in half for me to stay home. I switched to Costco dog food and coffee, didn’t buy myself new clothes for about 3 years (even though my pre baby clothes barely fit), and didn’t have a date night out with my husband unless we got birthday money from my parents. I figured if we spent $1400 on childcare + work clothes + gas + convenience foods and then looked at the hundreds of dollars we were no longer paying in taxes, it came to a couple hundred dollars I was bringing home each month. If you want to stay home, you can make it work. Even if you have to move to a less expensive house and be a one car family, it can be done.

  3. nichole July 18, 2016 at 7:06 pm #

    This was a great blog post. Thank you so much for writing it so honestly

    • Becky Walker
      Becky Walker July 18, 2016 at 10:31 pm #

      Thank you!

  4. Nicole July 18, 2016 at 7:43 pm #

    When our first born was on the way we made very deliberate choices so I could stay at home with him. We shared one car, ditched cable, and never went out to eat. My husband even took on a second job. We now have three boys who are teenagers and when I look back at how quickly the years have flown, I’m so thankful for the time I’ve had with them.

    • Becky Walker
      Becky Walker July 18, 2016 at 10:30 pm #

      That’s such great encouragement! I know I will always appreciate the time I have with them!

  5. Sheila July 21, 2016 at 10:10 am #

    I’m in awe of how God lead me to your post and amazed how similar our lives seem to be just by the words in this blog and your bio. I’m 100% connected with your insight and value the gift of time we spend with our precious ones. Motherhood is a great blessing. I’m thankful for it everyday because one day they won’t be here, or I won’t, but the time we spent together will always be remembered. Praying God blesses all your days.

    Beautiful thoughts. THANK YOU for sharing.

    • Becky Walker
      Becky Walker July 21, 2016 at 4:31 pm #

      Such a sweet response! Thank you for the encouragement!

  6. twitter.com/jeduffy July 21, 2016 at 11:07 am #

    Yes 10000x to Aldi !!!

    • Becky Walker
      Becky Walker July 21, 2016 at 4:32 pm #

      Right???! Whenever we are in other grocery stores (usually for convenience or just an item or two)- I want to grab people in the produce section and tell them to go to Aldi! But something- usually my husband- stops me! 😉

  7. Jean B. July 22, 2016 at 10:18 am #

    So glad my friend sent me this blog post today. She knows that I have had a huge pull lately to leave my 9-5 and be a Stay at Home / Work at Home mom. This is something my husband and I have discussed and are really serious about making the transition. Pin pointing when is hard because it always feels like there is something (financially) that has come up so we push it out. At this point I feel like we need to rip off the band-aide and just do it. We have 6 kids combined. My oldest is 19 and in her 2nd year of college. His oldest is 19 and in her 2nd year of college. We also have my 2 stepsons in the house, ages 13 & 9. And the main reason for this transition our 2 little girls together, ages 3 & 1. So I already feel like I am behind the curve so I want to start sooner rather than later. One income is going to be a hug adjustment but I am a photographer also so I will be able to bring in some income monthly but nothing like I am making now. This LONG WINDED RESPONSE (sorry) is to say thank you for the inspiration. It is always comforting to see someone doing it who is in a similar situation as you. BTW… We love Aldi’s. thanks for sharing your story.

    • Becky Walker
      Becky Walker July 22, 2016 at 1:42 pm #

      It is hard! And some months are harder than others for sure! The good news is, there are almost always ways to cut corners! I wish you all the best making the choice that’s right for your family! ❤️

  8. Dianna July 23, 2016 at 9:17 am #

    So many options for stay at home moms, now! You can bring in an income, enjoy something you are passionate about, have great conversations that don’t center on housework and the kids all the time, and grow your professional and leadership skillets in productive and meaningful ways!! Take a look at the multi-level network marketing companies out there! So many to choose from and many of them are switching over to support social media-driven sales, which means less demands for home parties and inventory. I have a full time job outside of the home, but have been aching to be able to spend more time with my kids. I found two companies whose products I love and use regularly and joined up to be on their teams. I’ve been growing my social network like crazy, making some decent spending money, and I’m having a blast! My husband’s job required him to start traveling internationally for more than 60% of the time and the strain in our family has forced me to cut back my work hours to be able to address our home needs. I am fortunate to have these two side businesses that allow me to bring in some extra income to help offset some of what we’re missing, and I’m able to use that time at home both with my kids and working my businesses. It has been a great blessing and fun journey. If you are a stay at home mom and wonder what options you have to help bring in some extra income, seriously consider one of these businesses!!! They aren’t scams and they are fun!!

    I am a Plexus Ambassador and a Younique Presenter. But there are so many other options. Essential oils (DoTerra, Young Living), jewelry (Premier, Poparrazzi, Noonday), fragrances (Scentsy, Pink Zebra, Jewelescent), clothing (Lularoe), cleaning products (Norwex), handbags (ThirtyOne), and so many more.

    A lot of them are designed for you to take the business as far as you want at your pace.

    So, enjoy your time at home with your littles. Many of us working outside of the home are jealous you can make it work. And don’t fret about having a sole income, because you can totally contribute too, with your savvy shopping and your mad boss babe, mom boss business and leadership skills!!

    ?

    • Dee Dee July 24, 2016 at 10:13 pm #

      You are so right. I left a corp job making 75k to be home, and then looked at mlm to fill the gap. It has done that and so much more! I am not the same person I was when I started over ten years ago. The options it has given us are beyond what we ever could have dreamed when I worked a corp job. We have 14 kids ranging in age from 28-3 and we have managed to never have them in daycare, and have homeschooled them all. I can’t imagine it any other way!

      • Becky Walker
        Becky Walker July 24, 2016 at 10:52 pm #

        So amazing! ?

  9. Brenda July 24, 2016 at 10:26 am #

    Although my children are grown adults now, I too made the decision to be a stay at home Mom all those many years ago when being a “career” woman was the thing to do. I also am not knocking Moms who work outside the home. I just never had the desire to have a career. My husband and I sacrificed a lot so that I could stay home. And since we were definitely not rich we also had to start doing what I call the HI/BYE routine when I had to start working part time to make ends meet. (I would go to work when he came home from work. Hence the HI/BYE.) It worked for us and our family. Now my oldest daughter works full time and is raising twin boys. She wanted a career as well as a family and I look on in awe at how seemlessly she seems to make it all work! My point is no one should stand in judgment of another Mom. We all do what works best for our families. Take it from me, no matter what course you choose cherish your little ones because in a blink of an eye they are grown and on their own! Thanks!

    • Becky Walker
      Becky Walker July 24, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

      You are so right! There is absolutely no “one size fits all” in parenting! No matter how any mama chooses to do it, you can bet she’s giving her all to do what’s best for her family and her children! ❤️

  10. Jenny July 26, 2016 at 10:52 am #

    Whoever says its “nice” to live on one income clearly has never tried it. Honestly, with daycare being so expensive even if I decided to go back to work, literally (and I have done the math) more than half of what I would make would be gone. Even though it can be hard with my husband being a teacher (meaning very little income, and very little time with us at home), I wouldn’t trade our decision for the world. Is it nice being at home? Absolutely! What would be the point of making an extra $100 when I can be with my kids and raise them the way I want them to be raised with God at my side?

  11. Maria November 23, 2016 at 11:55 am #

    I LOVE THIS ARTICLE. Although my babies are of the fur variety and we reside in an apartment, I too “stay home.”

    in order for us to have this life style, we sold our second car and now don’t have a car payment. I have not the greatest health care and we eat in for most meals. The reason for this is to finish my memoir and self publish. Sacrifices are worth every meal I get to make for my husband and every moment shared with my doggies. I too am incredibly thankful for such a loving man.

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