If I could go back and tell my 20-year-old self something, it would be to set the bar lower when it comes to income potential.

See, when we first married we weren’t going to have kids. We planned on being high earning DINKS and saving all our money and retiring early on a beach.

Then kids came along. And of course, everything changed.

Except I still wanted that big salary. I was expected to produce it. By my husband, a little, and by me, a lot. Even with a truckload of kids in tow I worked full time, took on part time jobs and left the corporate world to run my own business for a while.

Honestly? I liked it. I like being busy and making money and sending the kids off to the dayhome and nannies and such. I’ve never really liked newborns anyway.

But now that my kids are a little older, I want to quit my job. Take a huge pay cut and just do a little bit on the side. Stay home with them, even though only one is even home full time. I want to stay at home mom kids who aren’t even home.

Because their lives are actually busier. More food is being consumed. More laundry piling up. More pick ups and drop offs and more guilt that I leave my husband with the morning routine and I see them for just two hours before bedtime.

But all my friends are going back to the work world. And these are my prime incoming earning years, right now. I’m supposed to be leaning in or some other bullshit.

I want to lean back. Kick back. Stay home and do laundry and bake cupcakes and be there for after school snack and school volunteering.

I want to have a side business and make a little money, but I want to stop killing my soul for the big paycheque.

Yes, maybe that will involve delaying that retirement.

I just have to convince my husband.

And maybe myself.



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  1. Erin

    I think you might be in my head…get out of my head:) Great post.

  2. Sarah

    Do it.

    What if you don’t make it to retirement then you’ll be kicking yourself. Well, not exactly because you’ll be dead but you get my drift.

    On their death bed, no one ever said “I’m so pissed at myself, I should have worked more and made more money so that other people can now enjoy it”.

    Life is short.

  3. Wouldn’t it be wicked if there were a perfect solution? I am not a fan of the word perfect, but I can totally embrace the idea of an ideal work/life/parenting balance because I see no balance. Balance is just another myth.

    Oh sure when we look back over our lives I am sure a kind of balance will seem to be present – in hindsight. Meanwhile, every day is a swinging pendulum of too little and too much, ups and downs, happies and sads. Life! It’s far from perfect.

    Do what makes you (and your people) happiest. You can never go wrong with happy as your goal. 🙂

  4. i just decided to do this exact thing. And i LOVE IT. I’m at the gym every morning at 8:30, I can see the floor in my laundry room, my toddler isn’t as whiney, and my girls are happy that I’m home when they get home. My husband is thrilled that the house is clean all the time AND i’ve been cooking a lot more. I actually F’ing love it! I do miss that money though. DAMN i miss the money. But not enough to go back. I’m so much more relaxed and happy…and finally taking care of myself. DO IT!!

  5. I’ve been working part-time since my kids were born. It’s been a very big financial sacrifice, but I love having the best of both worlds. I would go crazy if I didn’t work at all, but I wanted to be able to do all the things for my family that you mentioned. I have to admit, my house is still pretty messy, and my husband does most of the cooking, but we’re all happy with the way things are. Sometimes the financial stress gets to me, but it’s totally worth it!

  6. Me too! I am a single mom so not even an option anymore. I was a SAHM when they were younger, but they need me more now than ever before. This morning I left for work and my 14 and 17 year olds were still asleep and expected to get up on their own, get ready, and get to school – and they will because they are amazing kids but I HATE it! The struggle is real, y’all 😉

  7. Just do it. I did and I’ll never look back! I worked in a corporate climb-the-ladder career for 17 yrs before deciding that was enough. I almost made it to the top rung of the ladder, and it almost destroyed me. I was working 70 hrs a week, had 2 kids in daycare, a husband traveling 50%, and all kinds of problems with one of my kids in school. After hitting rock-bottom from a health/stress perspective, I quit and moved my family from the DC Metro/Northern Virginia area to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. With the loss of my sizable income and the pay cut my husband took to live/work in a lower-income part of the country, we’re making about 50% less than we did before. We downsized house square footage but live on 3 acres with an amazing mountain view. My kids love that I’m involved in school field trips, parties, classroom volunteer, on the PTA board, on the School Accountability Committee, and home for them after school. They are able to participate in after school running, mountain biking, science club, chess club, Brownies, etc. instead of sitting in a noisy, crowded daycare room. They are doing fantastic in our little mountain school with half the amount of kids as our old school and a lot more personal attention.

    I was driven–didn’t want kids until 7 yrs into marriage. I needed life to move quickly to keep my brain occupied. I thrived on the stress and pressure of work and feeling important with my big title and salary. I was raised to pursue that life. I’ve since decided it’s not for me anymore and I’m so much happier and more content. Some days I get frustrated when people don’t reply to emails quickly and decisions take a lot longer with a PTA board consensus instead of me just deciding and moving forward. The majority of the time I just stop, look at the beauty of nature around me, take some deep yoga/meditation style breaths, and smile. Yeah, I sacrificed some home square footage, reduced by 3 full baths, and fancy vacations with expensive airfare. Instead I bought a 20 yr old pop-up camper and can now travel all over the Rockies with my kids in the summer. And to top it off, we just got our first ever puppy 2 weeks ago! Livin’ the dream!!

  8. Life is short and time with your kids priceless. Go for it stay home I guarantee you won’t regret it.

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