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SAHM Month 1: The Good, The Bad & The Savings

Month one flew by so fast!  It’s crazy!  I’m still adjusting to this new lifestyle but I’ve noticed that with each week I’m learning new tricks on how to be a successful stay at home mom.   And let me tell you, this job is not easy.  It’s hard.  It’s rewarding.  It’s exhausting.  It’s fun.  It’s so many things.  I apologize in advance that this post is all over the place.  It’s very representative of my current state of mind.

THE GOOD

I still feel that I am less stressed than I used to be.  Now I would like to clarify that this is not to say it’s easier or that I don’t have struggles.  I will explain my new struggles below.  We’ve gotten busier and busier as the month has gone on but the actual pace still feels much better than my previous pace.  We take longer to do every step now because I am in control of our schedule.  Well kind of in control.  My threenager would argue that he is.  I’m no longer forcing my kids out the door so I can get to work and running into the house at the end of the day like a crazy lady.  The change of pace alone has improved my life dramatically.
My older son started preschool and he LOVES it.  This is a big deal.  With all of the different child care situations we’ve had, with the exception of our most recent part-time nanny, he had a VERY hard time with any change.  I literally peeled him from sidewalks and parking lots to get him to walk in the door of daycare at times.  I was reluctant but I still decided to sign him up for preschool on Tues and Thurs mornings for only 2.5 hours.  And he LOVES it!!!  He has not shed a tear.  For a child that was used to going to daycare ALL DAY LONG, this new preschool situation is awesome!  He is excited to go and when I pick him up he can’t stop talking about the activities he did there.  I think it is just the right amount of time for him right now.  I joined the Board at the preschool and also aid a few days a month which lowers the cost of him going there and gives me something to do outside of our house.  I’m hopeful that this is setting him up to be excited about going to elementary school when the time comes in 2 years.
My younger son is really thriving with me at home.  He hasn’t been sick since week #1 which was left over from daycare days.  I know that doesn’t seem like long but he was sick ALL OF THE TIME when I was working so I’m keeping my fingers crossed we will stay on this healthier path.  He is also finally napping much more consistently.  Let’s hope he keeps it up!  Additionally, with my other son going to preschool for a few hours a week, I now have 1:1 time with my little guy.  I am SO thankful for this time.  Just yesterday we were running around laughing and I was thinking that I rarely had any 1:1 time with him when I was working since he is always the first to go to bed at night.  I truly cherish this time  because I know it wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t made the choice to quit my job.

THE BAD

There’s no escaping this job.  My bosses wake me up each morning and the hard work doesn’t end until my older son goes to sleep between 8 and 8:30 at night.  This job is every day of the week.  Somebody always needs me and there is usually a line to get my attention. I feel like I’m working at the deli counter but my customers don’t take those nice little tickets and wait patiently.  I’m constantly saying “Dean, your next in line after I finish reading this to Grant.  Rocky, I’ll fill your water bowl as soon as I’m done helping Dean with his puzzle.”  And it just keeps going around and around.  Somebody always needs mommy.  And mommy needs a break.  Only one of my children naps so even nap time is not a break.  I’m quickly learning that I need to work with my husband to give myself breaks. I love my boys but they are exhausting and I absolutely need breaks for my own sanity.
Too much time at home.  During our first week we spent a lot of time at home.  I think this worked fine for us then because none of us were used to being at home.  It was new and it was fun.  By week #2, I thought I was seriously going to lose my mind every time we were at home.  It seemed as though my boys were just constantly looking for trouble and I wanted to pull my hair out!  No joke.  Where are the bon bons and soap operas?  That whole idea of moms just relaxing at home is quite comical.  There is no relaxing in my world right now.   Luckily with preschool starting, this has provided great balance for us outside of the home.  Additionally, we have been filling our days with other activities such as meeting Daddy for lunch (we pack our lunch and meet him outside, we don’t buy), going to the library, going to park, going to playdates, etc.  The more activities we have to do, the better our days go.
My lack of patience endurance! Patience endurance is my number one struggle and so it’s become my main goal each day.  It is my daily measurement of success.  The longer I can last, the better I feel about how I’m doing in this role.  I start every day on a positive note.  I’ve always been a morning person so it is easier for me to be patient with my kids in the morning.  But it has become very clear that I need to work on my endurance because it starts to wear as the day goes on. 
I go from a very nice, positive mommy to a mommy I don’t want to be.   I’ve yelled.  I’ve cried.  I’ve felt like I completely failed my new job during this time.  Even my pony tail suffers as the day goes on.
Luckily I have awesome mommy friends.  And after two much-needed happy hours of talking through my challenges and my failures, I realized two very important things:
  1. I’m not alone.  This tends to be a challenging part of the day for all moms with kids of all ages.  Even the most patient moms I know struggle at the end of the day sometimes.  This is just something I’m going to have to work on.
  2. Mommy happy hours are a MUST.  I had so much fun venting with moms.  I laughed.  I cried.  And I walked away feeling renewed and ready to tackle the next days challenges.
And by the end of the month I noticed three factors that positively impact my patience endurance and so I hope to put more focus on these in the coming month:  Exercising, Eating Well and Having a Plan.  We’ll see how I do…

& THE SAVINGS

In my first update I shared the big ways we are already saving over $3k monthly.  I have an update on getting rid of cable.  And I’d also like to share how we are now saving on the drinks that used to drive up our grocery bill.
  • I have an update on our plan to give up cable ($122/mo savings).  This month my husband took the existing DirectTV dish we had on our house from before cancelling cable and attached a $40 HDTV antenna. It’s bringing in a bunch of local and network channels in high def for free. And we get all the live cable channels we want from Sling TV ($20/mo) so I’m all set.  And as I mentioned last week additionally, we watch shows and movies on demand through, Amazon, Netflix ($4/mo by sharing account) and Hulu ($4/mo by sharing account).  So in summary, we have all the channels we want now for $28/mo.  We were paying $150/mo on our Direct TV bill.  Yahoooo!
  • $71/mo savings on drinks.  We noticed that drinks are always a big portion of our grocery bill.  My husband and I stopped drinking pop at home years ago which was an instant savings but we replaced it with lemonade and iced tea.  We were buying a lot of bottles of each every week, as well as, Keurig cups for my coffee habit.  We’ve made a few changes:
    • We bought an iced tea maker which is much more economical.   We buy iced tea bags for the maker every two weeks for $3.28 vs the bottles we used to buy for ~$12/week saving us ~$42/mo!
    • I now buy a huge container of lemonade powder from Wal-Mart for ~$9 and make my own lemonade.  Not only is this more economical but I really don’t want to drink a lot of sugar so I’m able to make larger pitchers of very weak lemonade just giving me a tiny bit of flavor in my water without all the extra sugar.   This comes out to ~$15/mo savings.
    • For coffee, I purchased a refillable Keurig cup and I now buy my a huge bag of my favorite Dunkin Donuts coffee from Costco for $19.99 and just fill it in the cup every day.  It seems like this is going to last me 2 months.  Compared to the Keurig cups I was previously buying, I will be saving ~$14/mo.
Overall, I have ZERO regrets about quitting my job.  Now more than ever, I feel like this is the right choice and I wonder how I will ever go back to working someday.  This month has not been all rainbows and puppies but even with my many struggles, the positive far out weighs the negative for me.
And do you want to know what the kicker is to all of this?  I have baby fever!!!  What?!?  How can someone who is just barely surviving her 2 and 3-year-old boys have baby fever?  It doesn’t make sense.  It’s one of the crazy mysteries of life, I guess.  I don’t think the logical side of this mommy will give in to doing this all again but it is interesting that I could even have baby fever.  And it just goes to show that despite all of the challenges our little one’s bring, the joy could actually make a struggling mommy consider adding yet another little one to the mix.
Was this update helpful?  Do you have advice for me or other moms?  I’d love to hear it and include it in next month’s update.  Write me in the comments, message me on Facebook or email me at sue@sheswinning.com.

Until next month, stay strong Mamas!  We got this!

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