One thing that I am very passionate about is being a parent that is “present” for my children. For some, that ONLY involves having a stay-at-home Mom in the home. Other mother’s can find a great balance of work and being an active and present parent. I am a bona-fide type “A” personality, and happen to be someone that would always take work home with me. I knew that would conflict with the way I wanted to raise my children. I didn’t want to become a parent that had the television or video games “baby-sit” the children so that I could finish up work, or catch up on my household chores that I am so particular about. That’s not to imply that this is what all working mother’s do, it’s just to say that I know I’d be that kind of Mom if I worked full-time.
However, even with a calendar full of play-dates and countless trips to the park, my type “A” personality and desire for accomplishment was still present. I had to figure out ways to satisfy the little voices in my head wanting to somehow contribute more to the world and to my home. (As if raising leaders of tomorrow isn’t somehow ENOUGH of a contribution!)
I started waitressing again at a local pizza place that I had worked previously for. I know the owners very well, and they also know my work ethic. For this reason, they had no problem allowing me to work only one day a week. I chose Friday evenings so my Sat. and Sundays could be reserved for family time. I had a great time away from my kids, enjoying adult conversation, and not feeling guilty because I was making a little bit of money as well. It didn’t take long for my house to feel some financial relief from this small step of working only 4 days a month. My husband also found quality time with the children as he was now responsible for 4 dinners alone with kids a month, and figuring out ways to occupy them.
This re-introduction to working, while small, re-awakened my self worth. I began to think of other ways that I could contribute to our household financially while still being a Stay-at- home Mom. Creativity has always been in my favor, as well as not having a fear of trying new things. I was approached to babysit a 2 year old 2 days a week for $50 for just a few hours each day. It wasn’t much of a commitment, so I decided to give it a try. After a year of this, I was approached by another mother to baby-sit her 2 year old 4 days a week for $140 a week. After much consideration, I decided that it was something that would benefit my children socially AND our finances. I was a little commitment shy on this decision at first, but now we are in a great routine, and things are working out wonderfully. Another agreement that I made was that I would not babysit on Mondays in order to catch up on any errands that I had to do, and also to spend time alone with my children.
The financial gain, and the emotional gain as well has been huge. I am realizing a powerful side to myself that I didn’t know was there. Not everyone can watch 4 children under 3 years old for even 5 minutes, let alone hours!!
With the holidays approaching, this new growing self-esteem has inspired other ways to keep contributing financially to our home in ways that still allow me to be here for my kids. I clean my mother-in-law’s house twice a month for an additional $50 each time. This is usually done on a Saturday morning, so I still have rest of the day with the kids. I also have been selling odds and ends on Ebay and have made $211 so far this month on “One Hit Wonder” toys that my children no longer play with. I also took a few dozen quality clothing items to my local consignment shop for them to sell on my behalf. They will cut me a check for 50% of the selling price once a month until all of my items are sold. I also sell Avon products on a small scale. I am able to purchase great toys and holiday items for up to a 40% discount, as well as treat myself to new jewelry and make-up at a great discount. I still waitress on Friday evenings, and after babysit house full of kids all week, it is something that I look forward to each week! My employers also started paying me monthly to maintain and update their Facebook account to include daily specials and promotions. This is something that takes me 10 minutes a day to do, and I get paid $100 a month.
In the wake of a weak economy, many Mother’s think that being a stay at home mama is not an option. However, I am proof that it is possible to find a balance of both. I contribute money, and I still sit down and play playdough during the day. If you are creative and are able to recognize what you have to offer, you can too can also make a major contribution to the finances. Even if it is just by great grocery shopping planning and couponing to save the household a few hundred dollars a month!
Kara Graper has been a huge help with Operation Christmas Child and assisting me with various charity projects. Her and her Hubby live in Northwest Indiana.
Her perspective is the same as mine in many ways: Tim works and I stretch the budget. Although creative couponing is not my fave thing to do (shocker I know!) I know it helps us as a house and enables me to stay home with IJ.