Life is so much simpler as a SAHM.
This might strike you as crazy, especially if you are overwhelmed by the thought of being with your kids all the time and not having as much money as you could with two incomes. But it’s true, I promise.
As a working parent, I was always a little behind. That permission slip? Turned it in the day it was due, and I had to drive it to the school because I forgot to give it to the kid that day. Kid needs a sac lunch? We’ll have to stop at the store and get a Lunchable on the way to school. School concert tonight? Crap! Do you have something to wear? Did we invite your grandparents? What will we eat for supper? Failing to plan ahead created frustration and anxiety for me.
I did a lot of things for the sake of convenience. I subscribed to a meal plan, an online workout program, face products, clothes, and probably some other things I am forgetting. I had someone clean my house and do my laundry. We bought (and threw away) food almost every day because no one had thought about what to eat for supper.
I also did a lot of things because I felt like I deserved them. I got my nails done every 2 weeks. I bought what I want when I wanted it. I shopped without considering if what I purchased was something I needed (usually it was not). I justified all of this by telling myself that I had worked hard so I should treat myself.
I never felt like I was spending any time with the kids or Todd. We were always going in different directions and rarely even ate supper together. We came home, ate at separate times, and retreated to our respective areas for the evening. I felt disconnected from all of them.
Since I have been home, I have realized how much simpler life can be. I have been trying to make some changes so that we all feel better. So that everything (well, almost everything) gets done and done on time, so that we aren’t spending money on things we don’t need, and so that we feel like a family.
Here are some of the changes I made after I quit my job:
I went through closets, cupboards, the garage, and my email. I got rid of so much stuff that we didn’t use. I am in the process of going through pictures and boxes of kids art projects, awards, stories, etc. I have scrapbooks that I bought years ago that are still empty. I am filling them up. My email had over a thousand unread messages (I know!). Today I have 18 (and the unread stuff is mostly junk).
I unsubscribed to everything I could find that I was paying for that I could live without. I found a free YouTube channel for working out (FitnessBlender) instead of the one I was paying $13/month for. I stopped my subscription for expensive face products, which I love, but don’t need, which saved me about $75/month. I stopped my online shopping subscription (also love but don’t need), which will save me about $120/month. I cancelled my meal planning subscription for $14/month and instead went on Pinterest to find free meal plans. Here are a few we like:
I stopped shopping. I stopped looking online and putting things in the Amazon cart to save for later, threw away catalogs that came in the mail, and resisted the urge to stop at my favorite stores when I was bored.
Did a kitchen inventory.
I don’t have a big kitchen, so I don’t have a huge stockpile, but I found 3 full boxes of pancake mix, multiple jars of fig preserves (what do you use fig preserves for?) and black beans galore. I’m planning meals that will use up some of these things. Is it possible there is a brownie recipe that calls for black beans and fig preserves? This is where I found the printable inventory and meal planning pages.
Spent one-on-one time with the kids.
Alyssa and I went consignment shopping and out for dinner one day last week. I have been taking Sarah to a gymnastics class out of town twice a week. We spend the time driving there and back catching up. Haley has been working a lot, but she is next on my list. If you have multiple children, this is a great thing to do to reconnect and make each one of them feel special- and there won’t be any fighting!
Had a no-spend month.
July has been declared the month where we buy nothing. There are some rules, which I found here. This should help simplify our bank account, at least a little. There are definitely some budget categories where we can save some money (food, entertainment, clothes) so I am focused on those this month. Stay tuned for more details about our no-spend month!
Started a journal.
I have attempted to start a journal at least twice a year for the last 15 years. You would think that by now I would have figured out why I can’t keep up the habit, but it took until I read this book by Dr. Joseph Peck. My journal now has structure and is on my schedule for each day. It’s true that reflecting on your yesterday can help you have a better tomorrow.
Think about ways to simplify your life. Are you spending money on things you don’t need? Can you change the way you think about conveniences? Are you spending quality time with your family? Can you spend a few minutes every day alone in reflection or prayer?
Share with us any things that make your life simpler as a SAHM!