A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential — as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.

Bill Watterson

The cream of the crop. The dean’s lister. And yet there she is, carrying two heavy bags of groceries with a child in her womb and another one skip-hopping behind her, not even trying to keep up.

“What a waste of talent,” they say.

Everywhere she is reminded of the life she could have had, if only she chose that other path.

She is looked down for not being where she was supposed to be. She should be wearing heels and a company uniform, instead of that fluffy house slippers and oil-stained apron. She should be debating with executives instead of trying to argue with her child. She should, she should, she should…

She is young, smart, and creative. What could be keeping her from exercising such potential?

Is it her children? If so, isn’t that enough encouragement to pursue her career? Because that will help pay the bills!

** * **

I did not spend five years studying finance for nothing. If anything, the most important thing I’ve learned is how to make wise decisions, not just business or economic decisions, but, as I’ve come to learn, also personal ones.

The same principle applies: Choose whichever option has the lowest cost, or yields the greatest benefit. Easy, right?

If you’re given all the criteria and values then yes, that’s easy as ABC.

What makes it hard is if you still need to think of other factors that may affect your decision and then put value to it. Say for example, should I continue working or stay at home?

Now I get to explain myself to the world! So here’s the breakdown:

Benefit/(Cost) of Continuing To Work: (per month)

  • Salary: ₱20,000
  • Hiring a nanny: (₱5,000)
  • Net benefit/(cost): ₱15,000

Benefit/(Cost) of Staying At Home

  • Salary: (₱20,000)
  • Hiring a nanny: ₱0
  • Net benefit/(cost): (₱20,000)

The salary here has a negative value because it represents a cost known as the opportunity cost, or the cost one incurs as a result of not grabbing a certain opportunity, in this case, the opportunity to earn that ₱20,000 salary. It is important to consider these implicit costs in making more relevant decisions.

So which one should I choose? The net benefit of ₱15,000 or the net cost of ₱20,000? Obviously, continuing to work is the best choice here, right?

Wrong! You see, it was unfair for the Staying At Home option to not reflect its benefits with no monetary value. If we are to recompute, it would be:

Benefit/(Cost) of Staying At Home

  • Salary: (₱20,000)
  • Hiring a nanny: ₱0
  • Direct supervision of their development and well-being: ₱+++
  • Getting to know each other better: ₱+++
  • Not missing on important milestones: ₱+++
  • Maintaining the house the way you want it to be: ₱+++
  • Less stress: ₱+++
  • Time spent with them: ₱+++
  • Net benefit/(cost): ₱+++++ !!!

How crazy! If you could put a monetary amount for those factors above, how much would you value, say, the time spent with your children? Remember, they will not remain kids forever. You are even willing to give up a week off from work just to spend time with them, aren’t you?

On the defense of Continuing To Work option, if we are to recompute it, it should also reflect those factors that will add over time, like increase in salary, career growth, etc.

** * **

These were the difficult things I was talking about earlier. Considering the potential salary increase and promotion, I think they will still not outweigh the value I’ve placed on those factors to stay at home. Time is gold, and how much is gold, huh? You cannot take back these formative years.

But those are just intangible values. The fact remains that I will still be short of money if I choose to stay at home. I can’t afford it.

Fortunately, my children’s daddy (can’t call him husband yet as we’re not yet married) finally got a job! Yay! Only it was a job abroad, so we have to do that long-distance relationship thing. Anyway, paired with my mad skills in budgeting, his income alone is, for now, enough to support our family.

It’s exactly his 6th month there now. I miss him terribly.

Okay, so anyway, you may ask me, what if things go bad between us? What if he decided to stop supporting our family? What if he unexpectedly lost his job?

What will I do then?

I’ll tell you what. I’ve been saving part of his remittance for an emergency fund and a business capital fund, on my own bank account. Don’t worry, he knows and he’s okay with it. Plus (big thanks again to my financial literacy) I’ve been earning passive income from my investments in mutual funds and stock exchange (it sounds so wow but really, it’s nothing big). Whatever happens then, it won’t leave me totally empty-handed.

So now here I am. A stay-at-home mom, a career where the rewards and benefits are so much more fulfilling than that of a long-service plaque or a cash bonus.

I am teaching my son how to read, and listening to him read a book out loud makes my heart swell with pride. He brings home school awards- Little Mathematician award, Star Reader award, Young Scientist award… He goes out to play and comes home with a little daisy for me, says I should tuck it behind my ears- and so I do, and he says I am the most beautiful girl in the world.

Whenever I get wet, sloppy kisses from my son as a thank you after I hand him over a plate of his favorite pancakes only I could make, I feel like I’ve found my life’s meaning.

I have realized early on what most people take a lifetime to figure out- what we really want in life, our ultimate dream.

For me, it is to be a homemaker.

And I am now.

I am technically living the life of my dreams.


This is in response to the Daily Prompt: Successful

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21 thoughts on “Have You REALLY Figured It All Out?

  1. Intelligently written and a joy to read. What most don’t realize is that a mother has every career chauffeur, chef, nanny, entertainer, counselor, and teacher. This past December I stayed with the family that I work for, I homeschool the six-year-old, and I learned that being a mother is such an under appreciated aspect of life. It was tough work getting the two kids ready in the morning and then shuffling them to different activities and feeding them all day, and then at the end of the day put them back to bed. It was one of the most exhausting things I have ever done, and I only did it for a month. I can’t imagine doing it for years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s good you’ve had your share of that experience, sometimes you have to step into someone’s shoes to fully understand and appreciate them. But did you have fun? You should write about your experiences on homeschooling!

      Like

      1. Oh I defitnley had fun, when they aren’t grumpy or throwing temper tantrums they are a joy to be around. That’s a good idea, the oldest one who is six says the funniest things sometimes and I got her obssesed about animals. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello kreistn! Yes, the hardest part was the choosing. If I had my way I’ll choose family straight-on, no questions asked, none of those cost-benefit computations… because it is a calling. But mothers have to be extra careful, following their hearts alone is risky, so they have to use their brains too and think more than twice. I’m just in luck to have a partner who’s willing to take the financial responsibility so I can go about my heart’s desire of being a full time mother. Thanks for appreciating my insights! 🌻

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi GwenEleanor,
    I agree with what you wrote about mothers. Your writing made me miss my daughters who are at college and away.
    I met you in the Community Pool where you asked about image size. I agree 2000 px is too wide. You asked how wide it should be– 683 works for me.
    I help bloggers at my site MostlyBlogging.com. If you need anything else, please take a moment to follow and then let me know. I wish I could help everyone, but I work outside the home.
    Janice

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Janice! I am happy to hear that my writing spoke to you. And thanks for suggesting a specific px for image size, as I really don’t have a clue. I will come visit your blog, you have been really helpful. 🌻

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Gwen,
        Thank you for your reply. I am always happy to help. I will look forward to your visit to my blog. I would love to have your readership so I can help you further on your blogging journey.
        Janice

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a really good post! I’m not at the parenting stage yet but when I get there I’ll have to make decisions too! No potential is wasted by staying at home, you simply learn to redirect your talents and funnel them into different things, I think. Your creativity isn’t squandered – it gets used to play with your children, and teach them things in new ways, etc.!

    You sound like an excellent mom.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s awesome! I really wanted to be a homemaker… until I was. Well, the fact that I had post-partum depression sure didn’t help, but I think I’m not made to be around children all day, not even my own. I love her, but she exhausts me. Working while she is at the daycare allows me a much needed “change of pace”. I’ve always admired stay at home moms, but never more than since I tried being one. I don’t know now you do it, but I think it’s incredible.

    On another note, I have nominated you for the Blogger Recognition Award. Here is the post (if you allow links, if not, you know where to find me): . You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to – I know not everyone likes that kind of “chain”. Whether you do or not, I’m glad I had an opportunity to share your blog with others. ^_^

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Ida, I’m sure you are a very great mom too. Working or staying at home, we mothers still have one thing in common: unconditional love for our children. Staying at home really is not for everyone as much as working away is not for everyone. I think working moms like you are incredible too. You work the whole day and you think the work stops when the clock strikes five but no. You have domestic duties yet to do once you come home. We are all supermoms in our way!

      And thanks for nominating me! I feel very honored especially I am just a newbie here, and so happy that my blog is recognized at all, especially from you 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, Gwen! Really nice post. I am full-time working (in finances 🙂 mum of two. I really don’t know how I survived the difficulties of combining the two worlds. When my kids were small I was always so tired, giving it all at job and at home. At job I was working like crazy to finish my tasks before 4 PM, then hurried at kindergarten to pick up kids and spend every minute with my family: playing, going out, teaching them things, just enjoying our time together… There was little time for husband and me alone and none for me. Until I broke down. And then none of them – neither my job nor my family had nothing of me until I got better. I had to start learning to be kind to myself, to listen to my feelings, to question all my decisions. For me, this is the lesson of “cost benefit of doing what I should be doing” term. So I respect the courage of all mums, those at home and those who go to work. I rarely hear somebody say that is living his or hers ultimate dreams, so congratulations, Gwen! So inspirational!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Kristina! I firmly believe no one can have everything all at once. They say it’s possible if one knows how to manage time, but it’s tricky. In the long run you’re gonna wear yourself down trying to chase and keep up with time. So it’s good to hear you’d finally started to learn to be kind to yourself and listen to your feelings! It’s not too late anyway. Sending good vibes to you! 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  6. “Time is gold, and how much is gold, huh? You cannot take back these formative years.”
    This was a beautifully written post!!

    Liked by 1 person

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