After 20 years of balancing work and family, I have one more week of full time obligations to an employer. A couple of months ago, Hubby and I reviewed our finances, did some adjusting and made one of the biggest decisions we’ve made as a married couple. We decided I would submit my resignation and become a full-fledged SAHM, or stay at home mom for those of you not well-versed in social media acronyms.
For me, coming home is a dream come true. I always intended to be a full time mom. My mom was one of the best SAHMs of her time. She balanced our meager household budget, volunteered as a class mom, organized PTO events and took us to the lake to swim all summer—provided we earned the outings with good behavior.
While I aspired to be like Ma, life didn’t quite pan out the way I expected. For decades, I needed to carry my share of the household income burden. Not that I minded. Balancing a career and family was a challenge I was happy to tackle.
However, it’s never too late to change. So beginning December 1, I’ll finally be better able to focus on the things that truly matter most—our kids, dear Hubby, my mom, our pets, the house and my writing.
We’ve been preparing for the big shift in family dynamics since I turned in my two-month notice. A couple of weeks ago, Hubby pulled the floor steamer out with the intention of giving me lessons on how to use it. Since he and the boys typically take care of the floors, I’d never operated the steamer or our relatively new vacuum.
We carved out an hour or so for my first steaming lesson. He practically bounced down to the basement to retrieve it, where he kept it in its original packaging, clean and pristine. He carefully opened the box and pulled out each part as if the steamer were brand new.
Standing nearby, I knew he’d make me watch how it was done before I’d be allowed to take a stab at it. However, when he tried to fire it up, nothing happened. The steamer, as it turned out, was broken. Hubby was devastated. The floor sanitizing apparatus was one of his favorite indoor tools.
I can’t say I was as disappointed. Cleaning floors is one of my least favorite chores. That’s why I’ve always delegated the task to my husband and children.
While Hubby was taking apart the steamer in an effort to pinpoint the problem, my youngest son gave me a quick overview on how to operate the vacuum. Before long, I was sucking up dirt and wrestling with the hose and attachments. When I knocked over a plant, my son confiscated the vacuum. Then he reassured me all I needed was a bit of practice.
In addition to brushing up on my floor cleaning skills, I’ve been cooking up a storm. Once I’m home full time, we won’t be able to eat out every time we are tired, work late, crave Chinese takeout or have a coupon for a free appetizer. Therefore, I’ll be taking on much of the meal preparation responsibilities.
Since cooking is one of my passions, I look forward to spending more time in the kitchen. Over the past few weeks, the extra time I’ve already been putting into home cooked meals forced me to reassess my surroundings. As a result, I’ve begun reorganizing the kitchen. Furniture has been moved, hooks have been installed and the pantry is on my list of things to overhaul once I’m home.
Also on my growing list of chores needing attention are the master bathroom cabinets, three closets and various junk drawers. I must also finish de-cluttering my home office. While I will be home full time, I will continue to write and pick up a few freelancing hours here and there. With two kids in college, it’s best to maintain at least a trickle of second income.
My home office now has a dry erase door. I have a large dry erase board at work, which I will miss terribly. I’m a visual person, so when I’m working out problems I like to create color-coded flow charts and word pyramids. A dry erase board is also great for noting when I’m out of the office, which is usually followed by a purple smiley face or a pink heart.
Now that Hubby transformed the back of my home office door into a dry erase board, I feel like we are on track for a very smooth transition. Although, I may have to tell Hubby or the kids to go check the door for important smiley face messages.
Becoming a SAHM after working full time since graduating from college will be quite an adjustment. Stay tuned to my blogs and column for all the gruesome details. Going forward, SAHM I am. Wish me luck!
Micki Bare is a columnist for the Arkansas News Bureau and the Courier-Tribune in Asheboro, N.C., and author of "Thurston T. Turtle Moves to Hubbleville." She lives in Asheboro with her husband, three children and mother. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org