Writing Workshop: SAHM

January 26, 2012

1.) Return to work after baby was born or stay home? How did you make your decision?

In case you haven’t figured it out, I am a stay at home mom. I have not worked a full-time job since I was 36 weeks pregnant with T1.

DH and I approached the decision rather logically. We took into account how much I made and how much would be spent on childcare. Of course we wouldn’t need childcare when DH was home, but that would be very disruptive to the child and not too many daycare facilities would hold a spot open like that. When it came down to it my salary would be paying for someone else to take care of my child–there really wouldn’t be anything left over. It just didn’t make sense.

My immediate boss–the art director–asked me point-blank if I was returning as soon as I announced my pregnancy. Because I knew he’d want a say in my replacement, and plenty of time to find one, I told him I would not be returning. I kept it from my other bosses until I was 6 months along, hoping three months would be enough to hire the right person. (Sadly I believe it took two attempts before they found a good fit.) I took the time during my pregnancy to pay off my college loan and left with that taken care of.

I became a Creative Memories consultant when I was pregnant with T1. I know there are women out there that can make 5 figures and cover their mortgage… I am just not one of them. But I am still a consultant and I still hold crops.

I worked part-time for the job I left to get them through a big project. I’d occasionally bring T1 with me when I couldn’t get a sitter. That made a stink. I was like, “Seriously? She’s under 6 months old–she sits in her bouncy seat and plays with a squeaky toy. And I’m only here as a favor to you guys for 6 weeks maximum.” My bosses told the bigwigs to let it go.

I also freelanced for them, writing and editing. My “contract” ended right about the time we decided to move south.

It was another two years before I was contacted by my very first employer to edit an online journal and they’d feed me some book contracts as they came in. The journal was not very hard to do–though I felt like I had lost every bit of editing knowledge I had, especially when drafts would come back from the managing editor bleeding red. But he kept sending me work so I guess I was doing an okay job.

The first book however was a different story. I couldn’t work on it solely after the children were in bed. I had to use daylight hours. I felt like the children were just sent to veg in front of the TV. DH was home only part of that time. We made the decision that I wouldn’t take another book project until they were both in school.

That “contract” lasted about 2-3 years but when I had to start implementing a late fee for failure to pay on time (and ask to have that put in my contract agreement) I knew something was up and I never renewed the contract.

I then threw myself into volunteering. But I still wanted to be able to contribute financially somehow, or at least pay for some of my frivolous things. I’ve said before that DH has never asked me to work or shamed me that I don’t. I try very hard to let him know I appreciate the sacrifices he makes so that I do not have to. I am trying to teach the girls to be grateful for all the extras they enjoy–scouts, soccer, music, camp, clothes galore, etc., etc.

So with T1 in 5th grade and T2 in 3rd, I became a substitute. I sub when I want to and I only sub at the elementary school. I will eventually sub at the middle school but not yet. I have no desire to teach full-time. I never wanted to teach. But this allows me some flexibility and gives me a little bit of cash. I felt no guilt when I ran away with my friend to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in November–I had made sure I had worked enough days since the beginning of school to pay for the whole trip and not touch the family account.

I won’t make it rich subbing–not as sporadically as I do–but I know that if push came to shove and I needed to work as much as possible I could change gear and do so. I’m not sure I’d ever want to go back into editing full-time. I can’t stand people who cannot meet deadlines and I firmly believe that the more little letters after one’s name (i.e., PhD, LCS, MS, etc.) the less they know how to write a correct bibliography or proper footnotes. (I spent the bulk of my time correcting just their references!) And they aren’t nice about it either.

Perhaps this is why that ghostwriter gets 6 figures.

The more unstable I think the economic future of this country is becoming, the more I do want to stock more away. T2 only has one more year in elementary school. My days of volunteering will draw to a close (except for scouts) so perhaps I will sub more and save more. DH is keeping an eye on things and again, says “No pressure.” He feels I work enough holding down the fort for him while he is at sea.

Writing Prompts:

1.) Return to work after baby was born or stay home? How did you make your decision?
2.) Write a poem about inspired by the word: Storm
3.) You know the stories that are retold a million times at family gatherings? I call them Life Stories that you just never live down. List your Top 10 Life Stories. Example here.
4.) Describe a time you saw someone getting picked on.
5.) Write about one of your childhood heroes.

For more information on Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop, click on that top trophy over there…



  1. Okay, So I can only do the first prompt, but basically the same conclusion you came to, I did not want to work to have my salary pay for someone else to care for my child!

    • I understand people who need to work and can’t survive on one income. I understand women who really enjoy their career and choose to work. I loved the design and “clean-up” side of my profession but the numbers just were not there to justify it. It was a little scary to give it up and I’m not sure I could compete with college graduates right now should I want to get back into editing but we’re okay for the moment and as I said, I could always jump into subbing more frequently. Thanks for stopping by!

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