Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Unexpected SAHM Perks

About 6 years ago, Matt and I had many conversations about what to do once our first little babe came along. We did a lot of research and talked to lots of other parents before we finally discovered that we'd end up spending about 75% of my salary on childcare and commuting if I kept my job (and I made decent money back then!). It didn't help that my commute was an hour each way (yep, 2 hours in a car, every work day - not cool!). It really wasn't worth it to keep my job, all things considered. Plus, we wouldn't need to make special arrangements for doctors appointments or vacations, and we wouldn't have to spend precious weekend time at the grocery store and running errands. Of course, that doesn't mean it's right for every family, but the perks of being a stay at home mom seemed numerous for all the members of our family.

I had to sell my car to make our new situation more affordable, and for 2.5 years, it was really tough operating with one vehicle. But we made do, and I wouldn't trade the memories and experiences we've had for anything!

There are a lot of obvious perks to being a stay at home mom, like spending a lot of time with your kids, witnessing milestones, no commuting, getting involved in activities, no childcare costs, and on it goes. But there are some things that I didn't consider before we made the decision, and I am so thankful for these little things now that I have (or had) them!

Here are some of my favorites:

1. Knowing the grocery store lady.
I don't know why I love this so much, but I do. We have this friendly older lady we visit every time we go shopping - her name is Sue. She knows my kids names and when their birthdays are, and she loves to ask them what's new and what they're doing for holidays and things. She makes grocery shopping a loving experience, even when it's extremely exhausting! When Matt was on paternity leave after Jake was born, he did the grocery shopping for me as I recovered from my c-section. I went a good 4 months without seeing Sue, and one day while I was walking down an aisle, wearing Jake in our Boba, she spotted me from behind and yelled, "Jenn! Oh my goodness, it's you! I haven't seen you in forever, let me see that baby!!!!"  Maybe it's that I'm not an outward, obvious, friendly person by nature that I find it so special and treasured when someone reaches out and gets to know me despite that fact, but I feel like I have family there, and without the frequent daytime visits to the store when Sue works the registers, I wouldn't have that!

2. No hard pants.
Leggings and yoga pants for life!!!! I have to get dressed somedays, yes (and now, thanks to myself, everyday - UGH what was I thinking!), but the second I step back into the house, off come the hard pants, on go the leggings. Why would I be wearing anything more restricting than that when there are no other adults in sight? Also, bonus, my husband prefers me in leggings. I mean....ya know.

3. Breastfeeding success.
I had my heart set on breastfeeding even before I had an experience with it, and though I struggled with Luke, I've had wonderful success with my other two babes. I don't think I could have done it while having to work. It would obviously require some degree of pumping, and I HATE pumping! HAAAATE it. Not only is it boring and uncomfortable and awkward, I feel like it just doesn't work very well. I never get as much milk pumping as my babies do when they're nursing. Being at home and with my guys 24/7 means that I was able to establish really great breastfeeding habits with them when they were tiny, I can nurse them on demand, and keep our nursing sessions going overnight and not have to worry about schedules and missed sleep. Some women make it work, and I think they are awesome, but I could never do it for as long as I have if I were working. And that would make me so sad, because nursing my babies has been one of my favorite, favorite aspects of motherhood!

4. No "school" nights.
Sighhh. This one has come to an end, as my biggest little dude started school yesterday (SOBBBB, details to come), but for 5-1/2 years I haven't had to worry about "school" nights. My kids are early risers, so that doesn't mean I got to sleep in. It just means that the only obligations we've had were for their activities, and it's so much easier to keep up with them when I don't have my own timeline that needs attention. Even when Luke was in preschool and they were both taking gym classes, they never started before 9am, so our morning rush was reasonable - I still had time to sit with my coffee and soak in the morning, which I love doing.

5. Creative freedom.
I never realized how thankful I would be for this. Because I get to hang around my home and enjoy naptimes, I've been able to run an Etsy shop, hold a virtual assistant job within the handmade community, start a Jamberry business, run a blog, decorate my house, and expand on any creative inspiration that comes my way. I would never be able to do half the things I do if I had to hold an office job at the same time. I am so grateful for this! And I hope my kids absorb some of my creative, entrepreneurial skills!

And looking forward to the future? I'm really excited to be an active room Mom for my kids as they enter their school years! And once they're all in school, I hope to amplify my small business plans.

What are your favorite SAHM perks?

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