I am a stay at home mom who left a six-figure income living in California in 2020. Why on earth would I do this? I am going to give you some history into my upbringing, my career, and why I ultimately made the decision to trade my pencil skirt for yoga pants.
When I was born, my mom was working as an accountant. Then when my brother came along 2 years later, my mother decided to quit her corporate job and be a personal accountant from home. This lasted for a couple of years before she ultimately became a full-time stay-at-home mom with 3 kids.
I loved having my mom around. She homeschooled our preschool and when we went to grade school she was always involved. She would always be around volunteering for various school events, driving us on field trips, helping in the office, etc. If one of us got sick, she would make it such fun at home. I loved it! She worked hard but she seemed so happy and fulfilled with her job of being a homemaker. She even had that as her license plate. Yep, my mom drove a car that said “HOMEMKR” as the license plate.
My First Reflections
When I went to college I began to dream about what my life would look like when I was done with school. I reflected on if one day I too would want to be a stay-at-home mom. I felt unsure.
On the one hand, I was working hard for my degree and was excited to start my career and push hard for goals to grow and learn.
On the other hand, I loved taking care of children (I was a nanny for 1 year in college and had babysat sooo many times). I also loved the childhood I had. That said, I knew that there was so much more to being a stay at home mom but I also questioned if I would feel fulfilled personally. As those thoughts crept in, then I felt selfish for even thinking them. Luckily my decision was a long way off so I put it on the backburner.
When I met my husband and things were looking like they were getting serious, I told him, I might want to be a stay-at-home mom. I wanted this out in the open. It turned out that his mom had been a stay-at-home mom. He valued having her at home and said that when the time came to decide what to do, we would make the decision together, but he felt comfortable either way.
Well, I graduated from college, started my job in finance, and HUSTLED! I passed 4 licensing exams and my Certification in Financial Planning. I started as an Associate and made it to Vice President (a title that I obtained at the age of 27). I loved what I was doing! It was such a passion and I felt like God truly placed me in the career path I was meant to be in.
When we got pregnant we started to discuss if I would return to work or not after maternity leave. I still felt torn.
On the one hand, I loved my career and had future opportunities to continue to grow laid out in front of me. But, the hours were LONG and the commute was longer (2.5 hours/day). Did I really want to spend that much time commuting when I had a baby at home?
On the other hand, I was so excited to be a mother, and taking care of my child full-time, taking on more responsibilities at home sounded fun! I couldn’t imagine not being able to take my baby to all his doctor appointments or miss out on some of the first milestones. But, being a mom sounded like not enough of a mental challenge and I would miss adult interaction and pushing for my own goals.
We decided that we would wait until I was on maternity leave, actually had the baby in my arms, and saw what being home felt like to decide. Also, we both committed to praying, and having God lead our decision.
After being home with my baby for 3 months, we had to make a decision. I looked over our budget to see what this would look like living on a single income. I looked at our current expenses and the cost of childcare. At the end of the day, we could make it work on one income. We live in one of the most expensive places in the US but we could make it work. Our lifestyle would not include our annual trips out of the country or 3 date nights out a week but we wouldn’t really have time for that with a baby anyway. My friends thought that we were crazy for considering it. Being a stay at home parent just isn’t done anymore.
After a lot of prayer, self-reflection, and talking about our goals for our family, we decided that I would stay home. As I write this it has been almost 1 year since I gave my resignation. It was one of the best decisions I made!
I realized that I am proud of my education and my professional accomplishments in the corporate world and I hit big beautiful goals. I am also proud of the home I am building for my family. I recognize that this is not the right choice for every family, but for ours, it was 100% the right choice.
The Next Chapter
I feel like this is my next chapter. I love learning and researching new ways to make sure that we can do developmental activities for the right age. I am also grateful that I can be home and take care of all the unplanned life events like the a/c breaking and needing someone home so it could get fixed. These are just little things but I appreciate all of them. Now don’t get my wrong, being a stay-at-home mom is tough! It is a lot of work, more than I did in the corporate world, but it is important work. Some days I still long for the paid time off and the ability to sleep in but I wouldn’t change a thing. I am so glad I traded my pencil skirt for yoga pants!
Once you have a child, the decision of childcare, home responsibilities and life gets more complex. How did your family handle this transition? I would love to hear any tips or tricks that you have found to be successful.
I’m so glad you ended up making the right choice for your family and didn’t regret it ❤️ You’re an amazing mom! Caleb is super lucky to have you. Although, I don’t know if the sleeping in is a perk of being a working mom 😅 I haven’t found a way, yet. The pandemic did allow for me to be able to spend more time with my second baby, but I do feel quite sad about missing out with my first baby. Had to return to work way too early (thanks, US maternal leave policy). I didn’t have a choice. I’m glad things are better now for most moms and I hope things get much much better for moms in the future. Thank you for posting about this – we need more media surrounding the huge decisions and more role models for all the different types of situations that families are in.
Emily Huang says
Thank you Shu! You are right- sleeping in is not a perk of any mom a know but rather something I miss from my pre-baby times. I love that the pandemic has had the silver lining of more time with our little ones as they change so quickly! That part has been such a blessing!