In recent weeks, I have been feeling extremely demoralized at work. I told Kel about calling it quits and taking a break from work.
It didn’t exactly come out as a “break from work”, but it came out much harsher. I told him that I ever gave him a chance to fulfill his dreams and I hope he is able to give me my chance too. I really want to fulfill my dreams once in my lifetime. Or it shall be a lifelong regret for me.
What dream is that? You guess it right: to be a SAHM
After a long, long pause, Kel finally said,”OK, you can quit your job come end of this year and go and fulfill your dreams.”
And I never expected that answer.
I mean, I have lamented, complained, hinted, blatantly spelt, and we have talked about this topic for the longest time. Each time, we both knew it is quite impossible because living in Singapore with single income is too much stress for the bread winner. However, it feels a little different this time. Perhaps my dreams will really come true.
The next day, we brought the kids out and Missy 10 asked to buy some beads from Spotlight to make some crafts. The beads cost $6.99. I thought to myself: If I were no longer working, will I even buy those beads? I had always encouraged her crafts, like the Rainbow loom craze when I bought in total more than $100 to feed this hobby of hers at that time. She is so good with her hands, I really do not mind paying for her hobby as long as they are not too expensive. If I am going to stop working, I may not be able to indulge in her hobby in future.
Then, the next day while waiting for Master 8’s Weiqi (GO game) class to end, I brought Missy 10 to Starbucks for simple revision. She asked to get a drink there. After doing some mental calculations to get a drink to satisfy our thirst, I told her we shall go get a bubble tea at Koi cafe instead. It was between spending $6+ for a Starbucks Green Tea Latte vs $3+ for a Koi bubble tea vs $1 mineral water. Ok, let’s settle for a middle priced one while I can still afford now.
I started to do calculations and mentally prepare myself for the day (if it ever happens) that I choose to stop working, have zero income, and need to cut down on expenses.
What is the trade off from FTWM to SAHM?
1. I will not be able to spend freely as I wish.
2. I will not be able to buy things for the kids without considering carefully if it is a necessity, a must-have, a good-to-have or a no-need-to-have. Excuses and reasons have to be thought of and listed down prior so as to arm myself to face violent objections.
3. I will probably treat the kids to 80cents MacDonald’s ice-cream cone once in a month than a $10.90 Swensen’s banana split.
4. The kids will be going to fun and free places than going to paid indoor playgrounds.
5. The kids will be eating less of restaurants and fast foods.
6. I will have to switch off the aircons for the night and use the electric fans instead.
7. I will not be able to go for facial, massage, spa.
8. The family will not be travelling as frequent as we like.
9. The family will have to explore ways of saving energy and costs in the house.
10. My make up essentials will become luxury items and I will probably switch to a cheaper brand.
…. and on and on the list goes for money saving ideas.
Am I prepared to sacrifice the financial freedom?
Then it comes to the next part of being prepared to be staying at home 24/7 or rather being with the kids 24/7 inside and outside home:
1. I will be racking my brains on what to cook for lunch and dinner everyday.
2. I will be doing endless housework that do not yield much satisfaction at all. The same housework will still have to be done for the next day, the day after, and after and….
3. I will be missing out on adult interaction unless I purposely organize playdates, and that could be quite limited considering the limited time I can be out of the house due to the different age group of kids I have.
4. I will be missing out on world news unless I am disciplined to read news daily and keep myself up-to-date with the on-goings in the community and out there in the world.
5. I need to ensure myself updated with point 4 to maintain an intellectual level with my hubby when we talk. I have to beware of updating too much mundane routines to him.
6. I have to be prepared that I would be “applying” for “leave” less often than what I used to at work. SAHM has no or minimal leave, I need to get used to that. But I believe that could be arranged with Kel, the sweet hubby who always let me go on my girl dates.
7. I have to ensure that being a SAHM, my time spent with the kids is quality time and not time spent on finishing my house chores. Otherwise, this will certainly defeat the purpose of quitting my job to be a SAHM.
8. I need to remind myself that when I stay at home, I will not nag at the kids so much so that they rather that I go back to work.
You may ask, since I have listed so many challenges of being a SAHM, so why am I still hoping to be one?
Simply because I can get to do the below with the kids:
1. More time spent with the kids on home activities, fun play, bring them out for one-on-one dates, or bring all out on impromptu outings.
2. I can cook for the family and let the kids learn alongside with kitchen activities.
3. The kids love my cooking and I enjoy cooking for the family.
4. I can plan for home-schooling activities for my Master 3 and bring him outdoors myself.
5. I will not miss the milestones of Master 3 and be able to supervise closely on my elder 2 academic work.
6. Bringing stress and fatigue from work and inevitably lashing out on everyone in my path when I reached home will be a history.
7. I need not impose on grandparents’ help to take care of my children and I am able to teach the kids and mould their characters in my own way.
8. I will certainly derive much joy in bringing up my own children by myself, than to outsource to others.
Being a SAHM surely has its challenges. I need to live simply and I am really exchanging money for time spent with the kids and satisfaction yield from bringing them up myself.
Tonight, I threw out the question of “What if mummy stay home full time?” and got different reactions from Missy 10 and Master 8.
Missy 10: No, I don’t want mummy to stay home. You will nag at me to do my assessment books, read, etc. I’d rather be left alone to do my own work.
Master 8: Yeah, I want mummy to stay home! I love being with mummy!
I was a little shock to hear Missy 10’s answer as just 1 year ago, she had always asked me to stop working and stay home. Her reaction used to be the same as Master 8’s reaction. Does that mean if I don’t fulfill my dreams to be a SAHM now, I will not be able to do it a few years down the road? By that time, the kids would not want me to be home anymore. And why would I want to be home when they are in their teens with longer hours in school? I would then be left alone most of the time waiting for them to come home and only get to see their closed doors more than their faces.
Some decisions are bounded by time.
Now IS the time and wish me luck. I may really get to fulfill my dreams by next year. Fingers crossed…
By then, I am pretty sure I will be able to handle the SAHM role well.
Are you a SAHM? What are the challenges that you want to advise me to get myself prepared?