My name is Missy, and I’m a SAHM. And you wanna know what? We’re not rich, and SAHM life isn’t all designer clothes, luxury cars and bon bons.
Does this sound like an odd opening to you? Because for me and many other SAHMs out there, we hear this over and over again. It’s tedious.
Last week I was talking with my friend Rhonda who’s also a stay at home mom, and we began discussing the many things people say to us when they find out we don’t have 9-5 jobs, but have chosen to stay at home with our kids. I was surprised, pleasantly so, that I wasn’t the only one receiving my share of asinine comments about my husband’s income and our financial well-being.
From a family member, “Well it must be really nice to have your husband take care of you.” Why yes, it is very nice thank you. I love having a sugar daddy who provides for my every want and need. *Cue eye roll*
From a ‘friend’, “Wow. It must be really nice to be able to sit at home all day. Some of us have to work.” This one was a double whammy because I don’t ever recall ‘sitting’ for a whole day other than when I broke my leg and was unable to be on crutches for a couple days before I was up making supper for the family. I know, I’m a total slacker, but the housekeeper and cook were on vacation.
From people who don’t even know me, “Your husband must be really awesome to let you stay at home.” Because he lets me. Whatevs.
On the heels of these comments are the ones that really piss me off, the ‘Well if you can afford to stay at home’ comments: “Well if you can afford to stay home, you should be able to afford a new car.” “Well, if you can afford to stay at home, I don’t see why you can’t drive home more often.” “Well if you can afford to stay at home, why don’t you guys spend some of that money on some new (insert new item here such as clothes, vacation, furniture, blah blah blah).”
And my all time favorite, “You guys have the money.”
Very rarely do I have anyone around my age ‘get’ that I’m a SAHM because we have chosen this for our family, not because I’m ‘taken care of’ or that ‘we can afford it”. Why is this? Is it guilt, jealously, or the inability to understand that our values rank kids being raised by a parent higher than material possessions?
Because here’s our ugly truth about me staying at home with the kids. Some months we struggle. Some months we eat from the freezer because the only money we can move around in the budget to cover unexpected bills is the grocery money. Some months I’ve really wondered how we were going to even pay all our bills.
Some months I feel like we don’t have the proverbial pot to piss in.
My husband and I don’t have a clothing allocation in the budget. There simply isn’t enough money. If we need something, it has to come out of another line item.
Big Daddy gets first dibs on the gas money for the month. If he needs it and there’s not any left, I don’t get gas. He’s the one who has to get to a job. I don’t usually ‘need’ to go anywhere.
If we don’t have the money for something, we don’t get it. We did break this rule for the new-to-us vehicle we just purchased but there was a reason we chose to take on that payment. It is budgeted for, and will be paid off early.
The kids are provided for but they don’t get a lot of extras. They also don’t have a lot of clothes. It helps that with homeschooling they don’t really need many, but even when they were in public school, 2-3 pairs of jeans each was the norm. Rarely do any of them get anything ‘just because’. (And they very rarely complain.)
Thrift stores and freebies from friends are where it’s at. Why on earth would I pay full price for a brand new winter jacket when I found one for $4 that was in great shape at a thrift store? My son would have had those sleeves stained in a month anyway. The previous owner took care of that for him.
My point is that I don’t stay at home with my kids because I ‘can’. I stay at home with my kids because we choose that for our family. I stay at home with my kids because in this season of our lives, my husband needs to know that things at home are taken care of and my kids need to know they have their mama whenever they need her.
I stay at home not because we’re rich or because I’m lazy (which is also another zinger that’s been thrown out there), but because for us the sacrifice necessary to do so is worth it.
Yes, we are fortunate that my husband’s income is such that it’s feasible for me to be a SAHM. I’m so grateful for that.
I’d also be grateful if some people would shut their pie holes about our financial situation which is no business of theirs anyway.
Now if you don’t mind, I think I’ll go sit on the couch with a pint of Ben &Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream and ignore the children for the day while I watch my soap operas…because isn’t that what the rich do?