Is being a stay-at-home parent a real job?

I got the “inspiration” to write this post while I was trying to prep for tonight’s dinner and my 6-month old was in the background screaming his head off… Who would’ve thought that babies were so needy? I say that as a joke, of course.

I’d like to give myself the title of “part-time stay-at-home mom”, but I feel like I’m stealing the title from true stay-at-home mommies and daddies. Truth be told, I have no idea how stay-at-home parents do it! I barely have enough patience playing stay-at-home mom on the weekends. And I know that stay-at-home parents get a bad rap, I hear the complaints all the time at work. Honestly, I don’t think its necessarily fair for the “working” parent to complain about their significant other staying at home all day with the kids. Yes, it is a choice, but its also a big role to fill.

Why do I say that? For one, I seriously do need time away from my munchkins. As much as I absolutely adore them, it is such a pain to try and entertain a 6-year old AND a 6-month old combined. Oh yeah, and don’t forget our two fur-babies, who are special cases in their own ways. It seems simple to make sure the kids are fed, they’re well-groomed, and well-behaved, but what about the time in-between those tasks? Honestly speaking, being a medic is way more easier, because I know what to do with my down time while I’m on the clock. Being with my kids? Well, I know there’s a lot of activities I can nab off of Pinterest, but that could involve money, messes, and going places.

I’ve also mentioned it before in my first blog post (read it here) that I absolutely hate leaving the house on my own with my kids to corral. I mean, its somewhat of an easier task than, say, a mom of twins, because I just have one infant to lug around in a bulky car seat. My 6-year old is mobile, and for the most part, independent when to comes to going out in public. Anyway, so you have this problem – most stay-at-home parents actually stay home while the other is away at work. The only times I leave my house during the weekends when my husband is working is for coffee at a drive-thru Starbucks. I get cabin-fever very easily!

And because most stay-at-home parents choose to stay at home while their significant other is “getting the bread,” there is literally minimal “me-time” for them, if anything. Of course, I’m sure things get easier for them when their kids are school-age and they have a little bit of time to clean or do whatever. However, I know that some parents choose to home-school their kids, like my sister… I seriously have no idea how she manages that, while I struggle to remain calm when trying to help my 6-year old with his math (BTW, what is up with this core math stuff?!?? Its the bane of my existence!). She tells me she gets somewhat of a break on Mondays, when all the home-schooled kids in her area meet up to have some sort of socialization time with the other kids. Most of the time, I see her with her kids still. So, I’m assuming she doesn’t care about what little personal time she has to herself? I suppose you just get used to it, but by the time my husband gets off of work, I’m already shoving the kids in his direction. I know, thats totally unfair to him because he just got off of working 6-8 hours in retail. I try my best not to do that to him often since I know that I’d get an attitude if and when he does that to me.

Another expectation that I hear from working spouses for their stay-at-home spouses is that the house needs to be clean. I don’t think most of them truly expect to come home to an immaculate house, especially those with children. However, I know the expectation of a somewhat organized house is there. First off, my house is nowhere near where I want it to be, in terms of cleanliness. I mean, our house is clean in ways that the dishes aren’t piling and there’s not dried up poop from the dogs in random places of the house. Our house isn’t clean in terms of organization – we still have things packed up in moving boxes and we moved to Colorado in September… This kind of goes back to the fact that stay-at-home parents don’t have enough time to themselves, and that’s including cleaning up. It used to be a hassle for me with my 6-month old because he started getting antsy whenever someone put him down in his bouncer. He’s somewhat mobile now and we got a walker for Christmas, but I still have to keep an eye on him in case he decides to put his hands in the trash… I know stay-at-home parents do their best in finding ways to clean about the house or do little chores here and there. I just haven’t found those ways yet!

Lastly, the biggest complaint I hear about stay-at-home parents is that they don’t do their fair share in bringing in some type of income. This one really irritates me because, 1) if you really had such a problem with your husband/wife staying home, why didn’t you have that conversation yet or why haven’t you been on them a little more about getting a job, and 2) they’re actually saving you money… Well, I know there are some stay-at-home parents that blow their partner’s paycheck (trust me, I know that situation all too well with my ex-husband), but that is definitely a deep and personal conversation to be had. Anyway, its true, stay-at-home parents do save some money. First, by providing a baby-sitter for your children (with both kids, we fork out about $800 per month for daycare services). Second, most are apt for the meal-prepping and cooking home-made meals (no need to figure out what you’re having for dinner or even having to spend money on take-out!). And finally, most are extreme couponers! My sister is one of them, and I still have a lot to learn from her! In terms of couponing, the most I ever do is Ibotta or the Target app. Extreme couponing actually saves a significant amount of money, and you sometimes get great deals!

If you’re a stay-at-home parent, I seriously commend you for all my reasons and more! If you’re spouse is a stay-at-home parent, make sure you let them know from time to time that you appreciate their efforts and let them have their own time alone! They are truly something special in their own rights and ways!

Advertisements

8 things to do (at home) to save money

I’m in the military and I have the luxury of having 9-to-5 work hours (its more like 0730 to 1630), plus my weekends off… Currently, my husband does not, which is a total buzz-kill for my weekends. BUT, I’m not complaining about that, since we’re living in a dual-income household; single-income really sucks, even though the bread-winner is in the military. Side-note: we’re REALLY hoping he’ll be able to transition from reserve to active duty next year, and then our would be looking better financially.

Anyway, since husband is making that dough mostly on the weekends/my time off, I usually stay at home. In part, because we have two young children, and it becomes a nuisance to corral & pack up the kiddos to do anything outside of the house. And since I’m staying at home, I’m technically saving money… So long as I don’t wind up browsing through Amazon. The only problem with that is, I get bored very easily.

So, how do I save money, and resist the urge to online shop? Well, here’s a list of things I could do around the house. I’m sure there will be lots of changes along the way, but that’s great!! It means I’m saving some serious moolah!

#1 – Clean the house – I’m pretty sure you knew this one was coming, or that it would be on my list somewhere. There is literally always something to clean around this house, considering we are a 4-person household with two little boys. Cleaning primarily means laundry and dishes… Either way, you know what I mean by cleaning the house!

#2 – Declutter – This is an attempt at living the minimalist lifestyle. Its ridiculous how much crap we accrue each year, and how much of that crap we basically abandon and forget about. As a bonus, you can actually make money by selling some of your unwanted items on local yard-sale or marketplaces on FaceBook. Craigslist is also an option, but I’d rather not risk my own safety. If you don’t have the patience to sell you purged items, you can also donateGiveBackBox.com can help you get rid of those unwanted boxes you have laying around your house from your online shopping, and the best part about it is that it’s FREE.

#3 – Meal prep – To me, meal prep means looking up new recipes on Pinterest (lol). We typically don’t lunch prep, since we’re all pretty okay with just eating PB&J’s with some snacks, like string cheese, seaweed snacks, Goldfishes, etc, etc. On occasion, we’ll eat left-overs, if we have any. We also don’t normally require actual meal prepping since we buy most of our main food staples at Costco; we keep things like frozen chicken breast, frozen various frozen veggies, and some canned foods, in stock all the time in our house. I’ll make a post about our Costco shopping trips later on…

#4 – Make baby food – I suppose you could categorize this under meal prepping too, but I’m still breastfeeding, so pumping pretty much makes up this category. We invested in a Magic Baby Bullet (About $60 from Target) when baby was about 4-months and, so far, have spent a total of $2 on frozen peas and carrots. The $2 has made about 12 little containers of baby food. I’d say this was a very good investment we’ve made thus far.

#5 – BLOG – LITERALLY… This keeps me from spending!! I suppose this could also wind up making me some money in the future, but that’s only if I actually keep up with it. I’ve attempted to create and maintain blogs in the past, but it seems that trying to make money from a blog is just not in the cards for me… I’ve also lost probably a couple $100 in trying to make blogging a thing for me. I think I just need to be real with myself and realize that I’m probably not going to stick with it… but if I do, might as well invest in that domain name!! Perhaps I’ll just wait until I actually make my 100th post before I invest in a domain name. Seems like a good reward for keep up, I guess.

#6 – Maintaining my Perfectly Posh business – Yep, I’m an independent consultant… Or something. Honestly, I’m more of an avid Perfectly Posh user that reaps the benefits of being a consultant. BUT, sometimes I do somehow manage to make some money from myself and working it as a consultant. If I pushed myself a little harder in making sales and reaching out to new potential customers, I could be making more “play money”. Again, this would probably make for a good post in the future… maybe that 100th post will come by a lot quicker than I thought!

#7 – Study – To make it a bit clearer of who I am and where I stand in society, I’m in the US Air Force. I’m a Staff Sergeant (SSgt, or E-5) with about 10 years of total military service… I put on SSgt just before my 4-year mark, and if I studied and played my cards right, I could’ve made the next rank at my 6- or 7-year mark… I just didn’t study. Promotion testing time for me is around February/March of next year, so I definitely have the time to study – despite having two younger kids at home to manage. Again, another great way for me to get more money LOL… ALSO, studying would also mean taking college classes. One of my goals in life is to become a medical primary caregiver, and the military has a program called the Inter-service Physician’s Assistance Program (IPAP). I just need to hurry up and take classes so I can finally submit a package…

# 8 – Exercise – I’m kind of laughing at myself as I type my reasoning… My husband bought me a rower for Christmas, since I like to row at the gym. So now, I really don’t have much of an excuse to not work-out. I could also walk the dogs and kids around the block to do something active in my life.

Those are all my great ideas to do at home to save money. I’m sure I can think of more later. What are some things your do at home to save money? I’d like to know!!