I’m a SAHM and No, We’re Not Rich

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?

The BEST birth control for teens…

My husband and I are considering ourselves to be geniuses right now. We’ve discovered the absolute best birth control for teenage boys…

PUPPIES!

You may recall in this post how my 14 year old wanted a puppy, and I happened to come home with 2 of them.

After a month of being with us, these puppies have grown like weeds! And, like all babies, have required hours and hours of hands-on love and attention sometimes at hours that no human should be awake.

The two oldest boys have taken responsibility for the early, early morning potty outings, and all I can say is…

“HA!”

Hundreds of times they’ve been reminded that human babies require attention just like puppies do, except that human babies, growing more slowly, have prolonged periods of sleepless nights, early morning feedings, and the ever-present diaper changes.

Human babies, I remind them, are worse!

And so far, my plan to use the puppies as examples are working. Jeremy, the 15 year old, has declared, “If puppies are this hard, I am never having children.”

At least until you’re 30, son.

Mission accomplished.

And We’re Outta Here!

It’s been no secret on this blog that my family and I haven’t enjoyed our time in the city we moved to in January 2013. Due to that, I’m ecstatic to be able to announce…

WE’RE OUTTA HERE!!!

Yes, my husband has gotten a transfer…and it gets better!!

We’re going back to Iowa-to where we moved here from-the place we absolutely LOVED with all our hearts.

As is usual with transfers, the word came suddenly and J’s move is quick. He has to be at his new store on Monday. The kids and I will follow when we have found a house. Fortunately, it’s different this time since we don’t have to schedule around the kids’ school year. We’ll have time to find a place that suits us and not simply a place to move into.

We’ve already decided to concentrate our home search in the community we moved from. We’ll be moving back to a place where we know people, where we feel we belong, where we have connections, and have tiny baby roots already established. We’ll be going back to a church family we grew to love and a community that strives to better itself.

The kids have decided to go back to public school this coming fall. I have mixed feelings about it. I’m beyond thrilled that they’re so excited to see their friends again after they felt so isolated here, but I have misgivings about the new curriculums being used. If it doesn’t go well, we can always return to homeschool.

Punkin is perhaps the most enthusiastic at this point. He’s 14 and able to get his scooter license when we move back. In addition to that, 14 1/2 year olds can get their school license meaning he’d be able to drive to school if we let him. I’m pretty sure he’s all packed. Lord help us.

After knowing for the last week that we were going to be making this move, my husband and I have looked at each other several times and asked, “Can you believe this is actually happening?”  It’s what we hoped for, what we secretly begged for, and what we openly prayed for but we were also resigned to being here for another year and a half or two years.

Do I have any regrets for having moved? Not really. I am sad that the kids felt like they didn’t belong at their school, but homeschooling this year was incredible and I’m ever so grateful for having had that chance. J also had the chance to move up with his company. If we hadn’t moved here, he wouldn’t be going back to his previous store as a manager with a whole lot of experience from the many challenges he faced here.

I do regret not meeting two of my blogger friends from Decatur. Melissa from Forever Fitting In and Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings…we still have time to get together. Starbucks on me perhaps?

To finish, I want to tell you a little story. Two weeks ago, I had just started shopping for our stockpile. As I was putting things away in our little pantry, I called my husband in to see my haul. After I pointed out all the things I’d accumulated, he said, “Good! Keep buying that shit. You know the minute we have a ton of crap I’m going to get transferred.” Well, that proved to be correct. So, let me give this a try…

Honey! Go ahead and buy that lottery ticket. You know the minute you do we’re going to be millionaires!

Mothering Boys: Sometimes I don’t look

This is my 15th year as a mom. What started out as being a mom to one son has compounded to being the mom to four.

Four. Boys.

When you see things like this for example:

it isn’t a clever saying or cutesy sign…

IT’S THE TRUTH!

Boys are the loudest most dirty creatures alive. For months we had no jeans in the house that weren’t stained or ripped in some way. There is no carpet produced that doesn’t weep when one of my kids walks on it.

Blood, mud, tears and stains…all par for the course.

Living with these boys is like living with a whole herd of the Peanuts character Pig Pen. I’m pretty sure on any given day there’s a little dust cloud following these guys around settling on any and all surfaces they come across.

And then there’s the smell. Boys have a specific aroma (you can read about my oldest son here. Smells like Teen Spirit? Uh. Teen Stench.)

Is that to say that I don’t love my boys? Not at all. I so love my children with such a passion that it surprises me.

This of course isn’t cutting daughters down in any way. I’ve just never been a mother to a daughter. I’m a stepmom to one, yes, but it’s not the same.

So on with my story: As the boys were playing Saturday night, and the decibels were rising, I knew I’d hear it sooner or later and as predicted, the boys didn’t disappoint. “MOM!! Come here and look at what Peanut did.”

Of course later this was followed by, “Oh my gosh. You should see their room!” (meaning Sweet Pea’s and Peanut’s).

Now, as a newer mother, I may have just jumped up in a panic and raced to wherever the children were anticipating the worst. Is he bleeding profusely? Did he put a hole in the wall? What’s ruined? Did someone light the carpet on fire?

As one seasoned at mothering boys however, I’ve become smarter…or perhaps better able to keep my stress levels lower with this one simple tactic:

Sometimes (more often than not) I simply don’t look.

Yes, you read that right.

Whatever the boys are up to, if someone isn’t crying then I know no one is seriously injured, if someone else isn’t screaming, then I know that no horrible wrong was done, if I don’t smell smoke then nothing is on fire, if there was no crash, then there’s no chance of a hole in a wall, and the simplest one of all: They’ve already ruined all the nice things we had, so the worst that could happen is that something got ruined-er.

Yes, as a mother of 4 very strong-willed energetic (loud) boys, I’ve had to learn how to pick my battles.

I’ve also had to learn to lock the door behind me to the bathroom and my office, threaten them all, and make it absolutely clear that someone had better be severely bleeding or have lost an appendage in order to make them disturb me, but that’s another blog post (or not).

By not policing their every move, mothering boys has been so much easier and less mom-tantrum inducing. The boys have also had to learn how to problem solve amongst themselves (which is a feat in itself considering the almost 10 year span from oldest to youngest).

Do I ever look? Sure I do. I look plenty. Sometimes I do have to step in. Sometimes someone is being  his own special brand of butt that day and needs to be corrected.

And sometimes I mess with them just to keep them on their toes.

What? Like you don’t know that messing with your kids is the best part of being a parent

Busy weekend ahead!

Are you tired of hearing about our ‘homestead’ yet because I’m not tired of talking about it. We’ve had a busy couple of weeks and a busier weekend coming up.

When we first arrived at our house, we discovered that the previous owners had cleaned NOTHING. It was disgusting. The refrigerator smelled like rotten milk and had mold growing between the shelf and frame.

The bathrooms were equally disgusting.

I say with no small measure of pride that I’ve never left a house looking worse or dirtier than when we moved in. I just assumed that all people would work their tails off cleaning walls and floors. But no, not all people do that, and it seems that some people, once they have the money in their hands, run for the hills without a second look (or a single scrub as is the case here).

Busy weekend

The first couple days were filled with vacuuming and scrubbing before the moving truck got here. I should be ashamed to admit that not all the boxes are unpacked yet, but I’m not. There has been so much more to do!

One of my first priorities when moving out here was to get a garden in. We planted our potatoes last week in the existing garden bed, but we still have a whole stack of seeds. So, I spent the better part of a day building two ‘lasagna’ gardens.

I’ve also been pulling weeds in the existing flower bed, dividing some plants that were already here, and simply taking care of my family.

I’m repeatedly struck with a sense of awe when I step outside in the morning only to realize that we actually live here. Although we definitely have our challenges (What?? No internet?!), and country living isn’t for everyone, it’s a dream we’ve held for so long it seemed unreachable.  I’m back to my country roots, and they feel so good.

This is what the rest of the week and weekend looks like:

  • Finish the chicken coop in the corn crib. It’s the best space we have for them right now, and time is short. J has been ripping up rotten flooring and trying to figure out how to patch the hole in the roof above the ‘oat room’ that will be the coop. DONE!
  • Finish the garden beds and add another if we have time. One of our goals is to produce a significant amount of our food, and this garden is a good way to begin doing that immediately. Not only that, but fresh food that you’ve worked so hard to grow yourself tastes so much better.
  • Head to my parents’. The boys and I have dentist appointments early next week and since we still go to the same dental office I went to as a kid, we make the trip for that purpose twice a year.
  • Cry a little over the fact that I now have two teenagers with driver’s permits. Jeremy was able to transfer his over since he’s had an Iowa one previously, and Punkin just passed his permit test this week. DONE!
  • Help Sweet Pea finish the fence around his pumpkin patch. Talk about a go-getter. He’s totally surprised me with his gumption since we’ve gotten here. Wanting to plant a huge breed of pumpkin, S.P. had to break ground in a new place in the yard. I’m proud to say that he not only measured and staked it all out himself, but he’s done a fine job of running our little tiller to break up the sod. Punkin has pitched in to help with his fence.
  • Same with Punkin, but his is a corn patch. He’s got three varieties to plant-sweet corn, an ornamental that can also be ground for corn meal, and a hull-less popcorn variety .
  • Continue to pick and freeze rhubarb. I’m not even sure how to use all of this yet, but it’s free and it’s here so we’ll find something to do with it.
  • Take the youngest two to the doctor for physicals so they can get back into school. DONE!
  • File for our homestead tax exemption. DONE!
  • Plant some flowers in the bed in front of the garage.
  • Take stock of the food we have, plan our meals for the next month, and see what I have to get the next time I go grocery shopping.
  • Wake up each morning in our brand new huge  and deliciously soft bed, in our little old farmhouse with the stunning views,  and be grateful that I get to do that. EVERYDAY! Oh my gosh, you have no idea 
  • Remember to be thankful to all of those who served and were lost this Memorial Day and every day.

Thank you all for sticking with me as my posting has been so erratic and crazy. Hopefully, as I figure out a schedule, I’ll be able to utilize my time a little more wisely by writing my posts at home then using my library internet time to cut, paste, and schedule them out for the week.

What has been going on with all of you? Is your Memorial Day weekend shaping up to be a busy one?

What holds you back?

As you can see there’s no Family Fridays this week…obviously.

Yes, I know you are devastated, but Carli at Livin’ the Mom Life and I have both had a bunch of ‘stuff’ going on. And by ‘stuff’ I mean life. And by life, I mean kids. Sick kids.

Instead, today you get a peek into what my brain has been pondering all week. Scary I know. Sometimes I don’t even want to peek at what’s in  my brain.

But, here it is: What holds you back?

What brought on this pondering was an ongoing discussion my husband and I have been having about my homesteading dream and his cabin dream.

I rrrreeeeaaaaallllllyyyyy want to homestead. My idea of homesteading is like what my dad would call, “those damn back to the landers” of the 70s. Off-grid acreage (although I need some electricity for my cell phone and wi-fi. I’m not a total heathen.), natural living, and leaving as small of a footprint as possible. I want to learn the skills that people of years past had.

My husband dreams of a cabin on a wooded acreage where he can hunt, where he can feel like he’s on vacation every day, where he can relax and be able to do the things he loves.

We both yearn for a simpler life. One that isn’t complicated by noise, smog, traffic, and if I’m completely honest, people. With Big Daddy having worked in retail for the last several years, he’s had his fill and it’s no small secret that the older I get, the less thrilled I am to be in a room with greater than like, 10 people. Unless it’s a wedding reception where the beer is free, but that’s a story for another time.

We both want the porch and rocking chairs and the view to take in with our morning coffee.

So what are we letting hold us back?

It’s a valid question, and one that has been weighing on my mind since I saw this:

I’ve seen things like this before, and I’m not sure why this one made me think more than the others. Maybe, like I said in this post, it’s because I realize that at my age, I’m likely at the beginning of middle age. Not to mention, the clock seems to be ticking faster and faster as time goes on.

Why don’t we move forward with our dreams?

We find excuses in everything. It wouldn’t be fair to move the kids again. (Which is ridiculous. They’d love to move.) We have to wait for the right time. (Is there ever a right time?) We need to make sure there’s enough money. (There’s enough.) We won’t be able to afford it. (If we choose correctly, we’ll easily be able to afford it.) What about jobs? (Actually, this one is valid, but there are jobs available where we were looking.) What if…what about…

Can anyone else relate? How do you approach your BIG dreams to make sure they come true?

We have cabin fever

We totally have cabin fever right now.

The kids are being little hell-raisers. I’m getting crabby. The husby is getting tired of coming home to a house of bickering boys and a pissy wife. We have cabin fever! (Of course it doesn’t help that we really do have cabin fever.)

Something like this would be nice.

The weather has been ridiculous. One day winter with a wind chill of -50ºF, then decent winter weather, the next day rain and a flooding basement, and then back to freezing.

Punkin is leaving tomorrow to spend a week or so with my dad in order to go ice fishing. He’s been looking forward to it for weeks now. Unfortunately, some weather models are predicting up to 22″ of snow for that area over the next week!

Yes, I do live in Illinois and yes, it’s pretty typical of Illinois to have weather that runs the gamut but hello extreme temperature swings!

Okay Nature…Joke’s over. You can return to your regularly scheduled weather now.

Oh, and am I the only one who thinks the whole ‘Groundhog Day’ is stupid? I mean, regardless of whether the ground rat sees his shadow or not, there’s still 6 weeks of winter left.

For the record, I do love the movie Groundhog Day. One of my favorites as a matter of fact.

This post is randomness at its best.

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

photo credit: Patrick Henson via photopin cc

The Best Christmas Present Ever

14 years ago today, I received the BEST Christmas present I could ever ask for:

This little fella took us all by surprise by coming 2 weeks and 6 days early. Well, it was the second time he took us by surprise since his older brother was only 10 months old when I found out I was pregnant with him ifyaknowwhatimean. Punkin was born on the 23rd and came home on Christmas Eve.

punkin chirismas gift

Punkin got off to kind of a rough start with horrible colic. I tell him that if he wasn’t crying he was eating. When he wasn’t eating he was pooping, and when he wasn’t pooping he was sleeping. Since he never slept, he was doing one of the first three all the time (mostly crying!).

But, Punkin had my heart right from the very start. He had a smile that lit up the room and the bluest eyes I’d ever seen.

Punkin is smart, funny, and has razor sharp wit. I love that about him. He also has compassion for others and a lot of patience with his younger brothers.

Here’s to a very happy 14th birthday Punkin. I love you so very much. You are the best Christmas present ever!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Missy Homemaker Family to yours.

I am grateful for Storm Trooper Humor and the people who also think it’s funny.

I am thankful that my family is healthy.

I’m especially grateful that my dad has a wonderful prognosis from his cancer diagnosis earlier this year.

I am super thankful for my friends Jodi and Rhonda. They both get me.

I’m really grateful that my kids are mine. We drive each other crazy, but in the end we both know who has each other’s back.

I’m grateful people keep reading this blog! Thank you thank you thank you!

And I’m very thankful and blessed to be spending my Thanksgiving with my love and my Peanut while my older boys enjoy Thanksgiving with their dad. And I can’t forget to be thankful for the steak dinner we’ll be eating. I {heart} steak.

Here’s to a fabulous Thanksgiving.