Wow! My first ever blog! I feel so important! (have I used enough exclamations or what? I named my blog "Happily Home" because that 's just what I am, happy to be at home. I'm inspired to write (to sort out my own experiences for one) because I want to share with you my joys and struggles with being a new stay at home mother. Oh yes...my name is Angie.
You see, last spring, I had my first baby, GG (she'll be referred to as GG for her privacy and safety). I had wanted to have a baby for a very long time. My dh (dear husband) of 11 years was very fearful of having one. But it was the wise thing to do, as we weren't really ready for a child. Finally after I graduated from college and began teaching elementary school full time, he felt we were finacially stable enough (isn't that just like a man). It took two years to finally conceive GG. I had never been one of those women who felt the need to stay home and be a dutiful wife and mother. I just knew that staying home was not for me. The bordom alone was enough to make me cringe! But, as soon as I got pregnant, something changed. I wanted to be with my baby so bad that I ached at the thought of not being the one who was taking care of her. I knew that no one could replace me, and that she needed me. I felt that this was God's will for me, but I was facing opposition at every turn. My husband all but forbid me to quit teaching. My own mother said the same thing. I believe her words were, "This is your husband's biggest fear come true if you quit work." His mother and father couldn't believe I'd leave a good job to stay home with a baby. They are both people of faith and all I wanted was for them to say, "Yes, if that's what God is calling you to do, then we'll stand with you and believe that He'll take care of it."
I cried all the time and felt very alone and unsupported. I leaned upon God (He likes that) and cried on His shoulder. I did have some folks at my church who were just amazing. They stood in prayer with me, and encouraged me, and pointed out that God promises to take care of His children. They were my deep well of comfort that I could draw from when I needed it.
The baby was due in May, and there was no hope on the horizon of anyone in my family conceding their "you have to go back to work" mentality.
Although I knew, with a deep certainty that everything would be alright, I decided that I would indeed go back to teach in the Fall. A friend of mine from church that I felt good about, said that she would keep GG. I had resolved it in my heart, and was at peace with my decision to go back to work. I took my maternity leave around mid April (I was miserable and swollen and too moody to be teaching those poor innocent children!), as school would be out the last week of May, giving me exactly 6 weeks maternity leave. Then, I would have the whole summer with my new baby!
But things don't always work out as we plan. Just 3 weeks after the birth of my baby, still reeling from postpartum hormones, lack of sleep, and unrelenting baby blues, my school's principal called to tell me that she was sorry, but they would not be offering me a teaching position for the next school term. As an interim teacher, I was not guaranteed a job, and sure enough, wouldn't be getting one! I absolutely lost it on the phone. I was crying hysterically and ranting some sort of babble about how could you do this to a new mother? How was I going to feed and clothe my child, how would I take her to the doctor with no insurance, how could I even begin to think about pounding the pavement to look for a new job with a new born baby at home? She just kept apologizing. I could hear the regret in her voice. But she said there was nothing she could do. Come to find out, due to the poor economy, and budget cuts, our school system would be cutting hundreds of jobs. Because of this, I only got 2 interviews all summer, even though I sent out close to 30 beautifully polished resumes, and applied to close to 60 open positions.
I can't explain it, but I had the faith of a lion! I just knew that God was in this somehow. Was He answering my prayer by allowing me to lose my job? It makes me think of that old saying, "Let go and let God."
Long story short, I didn't get hired back as a teacher. I applied for unemployment and the school system fought me. I thought I'd have to hire a lawyer, but an attorney friend from church said that he'd take care of it for me, and we won. The unemployment was enough to meet all our needs! I continued to see God's hand in our life. Because of the 7 baby showers I had (yes, I said 7...I have such wonderful friends and family!), I didn't want for anything. I had clothes out the wazoo, diapers for days, and all the toys and necessities that I could ask for! My sister-in-law (a fellow sahm) had a cloth diaper business (she was rather obsessed with them), and made me dozens of beautiful, fitted diapers, and bought me plenty of covers (these really helped stretch out the disposables). GG's formula was $27 a can. Outrageous! I prayed that she could take something else, and I tried the Walmart brand. It made her sick, so we went back to the outrageous stuff! I kept praying and in a few weeks, she was able to take the $11 Walmart equivalent with ease (and stayed on it ever since). At every turn, God was meeting our need. People would give me things, or I would find things on deep discount or someone would hand me $100, or $50 or take us out to eat. I even have a free babysitter! She's a sweet lady who loves babies and loves keeping GG.
I've got to see GG roll over, and crawl, and hear her first "mama," and am anticipating her first steps very soon. She has been such a light and a joy to me. I can't imagine going back to teach other people's children while my baby is at some daycare or at a babysitter's house for 8, 9, 10 hours a day! Sure, her needs would be taken care of. She'd be fed and changed and played with. But, she needs me! No one can take care of her like her mother! And no one can take care of my man and my home better than me for that matter! I know myself, and I would probably be ready to jump off a bridge if I had to earn a living, and be a mother, wife, and homemaker!
Those women who do it, my hats off to you!
Very soon the unemployment will run out and honestly I'm not sure what to do next. My husband, though happy to have me home with his sweet baby girl, still fears living on one income. I believe if we budget (something we've never done) we'll be ok. Things will be tight, but we'll manage. I'm also writing songs and working on an album. I sing, and would like to travel around to share my music and bless people. But this is a long process and very expensive.
God's still there, and is still ready with a shoulder any time I need it. He's so good. I know He'll always provide a way and be there to take care of us. I really can't wait to see what He does next! In the meantime, I'm HAPPILY HOME, taking care of those who need my love, being the best wife and mother I can be.