Thank you for the many messages and responses to my post about quitting my job. I’ve received a lot of questions on what sacrifices and changes I am making with this transition. I’ve really enjoyed chatting with so many lovely gals considering the same type of move and I hope to be as transparent as I can with this series “The Good, The Bad & The Savings.”
One week in and I am still alive! It’s obviously way to early for me to pass judgment on this new lifestyle, good or bad, but I do have a lot to share from my first week at home.
I am about 10x less stressed. I love the much slower pace of my days, especially our mornings. Don’t get me wrong, my little guys still wake me up at the crack of dawn but that part was always just fine. The easier part is knowing that I don’t have to rush them out the door and still be ready for my day at work. I enjoy having breakfast together, watching a few cartoons and then starting our first activity of the day at our own pace. And without work responsibilities, I have so much more mental capacity to focus on my little dudes, my husband and household responsibilities. And making dinner is so much easier now. I can start thinking about it earlier in the day and even start chopping or whatever prep needs to be done when the boys are occupied in play or napping. While I still have heavy shoulders, as every mom does, I feel some weight has been lifted. Ahhhh…..
I feel so much more alive! After spending years sitting at a desk with my head buried in my computer, it feels so good to spend the majority of my days on my feet being active… away from the screen, emails and conference calls. My very active boys make sure that I barely sit down and I also eat better because I make all of my food at home. There is no doubt this is a much healthier lifestyle.
I LOVE the extra snuggle time. My two year old and all of his cuteness runs up to me multiple times a day saying “Mommy, Mommy” and gives me, what we refer to in our house as, an “EXTREME hug.” And my three year old keeps saying “No school! Just Mommy, Rant (AKA Grant) and Dean!” They both stay right by my side the majority of the days. It’s almost as though they don’t yet believe or understand that I will be with them almost all day, every day for the unforeseeable future.
My younger son got sick this week. Of course getting sick is not a “good” thing. However, looking through a glass-half-full lens, this is the first time I’ve been up with him in the middle of the night without panicking about what this meant for work the next day. It has always been stressful to figure out if my husband or I would call in. What meetings would we miss? What would our co-workers think when we call in yet again? But this time I was able to just calmly rock my little love in the rocking chair at 2am knowing I had nowhere else to be but right there taking care of him. And that felt good.
It’s SO hot right now! We live in AZ so our outdoor time is pretty limited right now and my boys are literally bouncing off the walls… and the furniture… and well, anything they can find to bounce off of. There are a lot of free indoor options but with my little one sick, we were not able to take advantage this week. I’m looking forward to getting out a little more next week.
The fights. OMG, the fights. As typical little ones, of the hundreds of toys we have, the boys always want to play with the SAME ONE! This drives me absolutely bonkers! I’m going to need a shot of patience for this one.
I still sport ponytails ALL THE TIME. It’s no surprise that being home doesn’t change the fact that it is very challenging to get ready with two little boys running around. Stop jumping on my bed. Don’t hit your brother with that hanger. Hey, give me my deodorant back! And so I’ve resorted to ponytails and sometimes even a hat on top of the ponytail. I WILL start doing my hair again one of these days!
The closeness is generally great but slightly claustrophobic at times. Times like when I want to take a shower or go to the bathroom or make a phone call. I had to give myself a few timeouts this week to take a few deep breaths but with the change in houses I no longer have a walk-in pantry that used to be my go-to spot. I guess it’s time to find a new mommy time out place (preferably with an area to hide my sanity chocolate)…
I’m exhausted. Remember how I said I rarely sit down now? While this is a good thing, it’s also been challenging. Someone should have told me I would need to train for this after sitting at a desk for so long. I’ve always been a casual runner but keeping up with kids all day long is quite the workout! I have been passing out the second my head hits the pillow. These boys are going to whip me into shape in no time!
The savings started well before I actually quit my job. Over the last year, as I had been preparing for this transition, I started putting more and more of my checks in savings over the year to get used to less funds in our checking account. By the last few months of my job I had 50% of my checks going to savings. I recommend this to anyone wanting to make this type of change. Not only did this help us to slowly alter our lifestyle, but it also gave us some nice cushion in our accounts.
There are a few big ways (over $3k/mo!) we are saving monthly right away:
- $1700/mo – While our childcare costs fluctuated over the last few years with different situations, they averaged ~$1700/mo and in an instant, they are gone!
- $575/mo – My husband drives an electric car to work. This is not new. He has been doing this for about 2 years. But I think this is worth mentioning since it is one of the things that makes our lifestyle more affordable. Cars can make a huge dent in your monthly expenses if you let them. About 2 years ago he made the tough decision to trade in his gas guzzling truck for a fully electric Nissan Leaf. The truck payment was $550/month + $400/mo in gas down to $60/mo for electricity + $315/mo for the payment. And the bonus is that he gets to drive in the HOV lane which gets him home faster to spend time with the boys! It’s also great for the environment – yahoooo!
- $500/mo – I’m committed to making meals and eating at home now. We’ve only budgeted $100/mo for eating out now as opposed to the $600+ we used to spend. (I spent ~$25/week grabbing breakfast or lunch on-the-go or at work. As a family we ate out ~3x/week averaging ~$40 each time.) It’s embarrassing, but true.
- $300/mo – We moved 2 days after my last day of work. We had been renting a larger, higher end home up the street from the house we own. Even with the rent income we were paying $300 extra per month to live there, which was not worth it. The house we own is a great affordable home with a very nice backyard for the boys. My son told me at least 50 times this week that he likes this house so much better. Apparently kids could care less about bigger and higher end finishes. It’s a great reminder that a lot of the “stuff” we, as adults, get caught up in doesn’t really matter. He even likes his room better in this house and it is actually smaller.
- $150/mo – We gave up cable. So far I don’t miss it at all. I only watched TV once this week and I watched a documentary on Netflix. We do still have plenty of entertainment available to us through our Amazon Prime acct and Netflix. We pay $4/mo for Netflix by sharing the account with a family member. We are also weighing some other options right now like Sling TV and\or purchasing an antenna for our house. More to come on that!
These are just some of the big ways we’ve started saving with our new budget. There are a lot of other smaller ways (that add up!) that I’m working on and will share after my first full month at home.
All in all, things are going really well. My family is happy. I’m happy. Life is good.