Before I became a mom, I never dreamed of wanting to stay at home. It just wasn’t me. I’m a worker – a provider. I wouldn’t be able to stay at home and “do nothing.” Hahaha. I had it so wrong as to what a SAHM actually does.
When I had my daughter 6 1/2 years ago, I couldn’t dream of going back to work. However, being a single mom, there aren’t many other options. I had it worked out where I would bartend here and there at little mom and pop places throughout the year, but my main income came from heading back to NJ for the summer and bartending at summer bars. I would work as much as I could for those 3 months, then live frugally for the rest of the year. It would last me until just about tax season, then I’d live off of my refund until summer came again. Sure, my credit went to sh*t, but I was there for every one of my daughter’s firsts. That was more important to me.
When I got pregnant with Little E, I knew that I wanted to stay at home for as long as possible. I picked up extra shifts while pregnant and saved everything that I could, ensuring that I could take off the full 90 days of leave that I was allotted. That’s what I’ve been living off since I had him almost 2 months ago. And I’ve been focusing on how to generate an income from home so that I can continue staying home with him.
The problem is, once you get on your routine with your newborn, you’re able to keep the house clean again and you get pretty bored pretty quickly. At least I have. He sleeps most of the day. So, once my sleep leveled off and I became used to his routine, I started deep cleaning the house. When I finished cleaning, I started redecorating. I’ve redone all the pictures in the living room. Twice. Yesterday, we got a new rug and finally took down the green vertical blinds from T’s bachelor days and put up curtains. I feel like we have a grown up living room now (minus all the kid paraphernalia).
I’ve already purchased shelves and brackets so that I can reorganize Peanut’s room and the playroom downstairs. I just need to get out the handy dandy stud finder and level and actually start that project. Plus, I need to wade through the sea of toys in the playroom in order to organize it. Guess who’s been dreading that project… This girl!
Since I don’t see a lot of my friends from work on a daily or weekly basis anymore, we started meeting for lunch occasionally. Oh, and the Kmart by me is closing, so I’ve been stocking up on Christmas gifts and birthday presents. This also adds up.
The point is, I need a job just to fund my SAHM lifestyle. Or I need to change what my SAHM lifestyle is. You’d think that once I get these rooms done I’ll be done spending money. I would also hope that’s true. Except we’ve already outgrown this home with the arrival of Little E. New home means new decorations. Or more decorations, or different decorations. I’m not sure because we haven’t found the new home yet so I don’t know what I’m going to be decorating.
I now understand why so many women blog about finances. If you’re not 100% on top of what you can spend, it’s really easy to go shopping out of boredom. It’s easy to browse a store’s online catalog while you’re feeding the baby or waiting for him to wake up. It’s easy to go walking through the mall while he naps in his stroller and stop in whatever stores you feel like.
This is all new and weird to me and I don’t like it. I’ve been pretty good about finances up until this point. Since I started working at my current job I’ve had a definite budget, I’ve known what I needed to make each week, and I’ve set savings and debt payoff goals. I brought my credit score up almost 200 points in the past year and a half and saved enough to pay for our wedding with cash. I’ve given myself a set amount that I was able to spend each week, and the rest has been accounted for – either to bills or to savings.
I don’t like SAHM me. She’s reckless and bored. It’s a frightening combination. One that I’d like to destroy as soon as possible. So, I’m going back to my budget. I’m going back to living frugally and simply. I’m happier there. My wallet is happier there. And if I’m ever going to make this SAHM gig a permanent one, I need to get back there.
I’m going to start with making lists again and only buying what I came to the store for. I’m going to start making freezer meals again based upon what meat is on sale that week. And I’m going to stop any and all online shopping for the rest of the summer. That may not seem like much, but it’s a start.
And we’ve all gotta start somewhere.