What did you give up to SAHM? - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-02-2013, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I gave up money, obviously, but my family is still pretty well off so that didn't affect us too much. I gave up having a circle of adults to hang out with during the day, and that was pretty difficult to me.

I know I have a pretty easy life and I bet there are moms here who have made some real sacrifices, and others who are roughly where I am. What did you give up?
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Old 11-02-2013, 11:48 AM
 
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Medical school. I was going to attend and found out I was pregnant. And, of course the income and learning opportunities that would have come with becoming an MD.

 

Of course, the regular stuff people give up when they have a baby and raise them themselves, partying with friends, going out at night, any extra cash being used for what I wanted, losing friends who didn't understand the commitment that raising children required, EVER having a new car. I'm well over 40 now and have never been able to buy a new car. Probably paying off our house. Being "debt free." We took out equity loans so I could stay home.

 

It was all worth it, though. :)


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Old 11-04-2013, 11:33 AM
 
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 I "gave up" having a career but I didn't really have one to begin with :)

We, like the original poster, are somewhat well-off so financially it wasn't a struggle at all.  Now, both my kids are in school full day and I am back in school.  I don't regret one day of staying home.

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Old 11-04-2013, 12:01 PM
 
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Here's my itemized list bag.gif Some I tried to fund by working the seasonal flu clinics, but I didn't get a position this year.

Fancy cell phones, cable, nursing school, home repairs, in a couple weeks my car, daily coffee/eat outs , fun group buys, Natural food store, mown lawn, fluffy mail, music school for my LOs, yard sales, girl scout cookies

Boy we were throwing money out the window! I only wish we could manage the Y or music school somehow.

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Old 11-04-2013, 12:24 PM
 
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I know I gave stuff up... but I think I gave most of it up when I was pregnant and somewhat newly in a relationship more than when I decided to SAH. Money for a while was one but we were spending a lot for me to work. 

I think in a way I lost myself a bit. Because we didn't have the money and my health was really bad at the beginning for me to be able to go out and be *me*. Now that we have the money and time and my health is in a better place I've started to figure out *me* again and I'm suddenly mourning things I never regretted before (going to college, seeing the world, partying/enjoying myself without responsibilities at home). But I didn't want to do any of those things when I was younger. I needed the experiences I have had since then to get me to a place where I've realized I wanted those, because I didn't at the time. Now I just have to decide what I want to be when I grow up and work towards making that happen. But I love SAH and have no immediate or at least full time plans to change that :)


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Old 11-04-2013, 07:34 PM
 
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I gave up ever feeling alone. Sometimes that means that I have not heard my own thoughts for several days or even weeks at a time. I gave up living life without my real purpose. I gave up having a perfectly clean home, and having everything run on schedule for a lesson in truly being present. I gave up my morning meditations, but after 4 years learned how to meditate with a child talking, sitting on me, and sometimes poking me with small objects! There are many things that I traded in for the joys of being someones Mama. I see who she is becoming and every sacrifice fades into a gift that I have been blessed to give. 

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Old 11-05-2013, 07:25 AM
 
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A business trip to Boston.  Seriously, the nice feeling of going to the office and being all professional.  I worked for a non-profit making 10$ an hour in a job that had nothing to do with my degree, so I wasn't leaving some high-profile big-bucks career.  But it was a great environment.  Still, the trip to Boston would have been fun!

 

Right now, I'm kind of dealing with the guilt of not contributing to the household income.  My husband just barely graduated from college in the spring, then spent the summer at a military training.  My intention was to go back to work, but our baby was so sick and miserable that I quit instead.

 

But, financially, we are doing all right.


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Old 11-05-2013, 12:04 PM
 
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Have you tried to get a scholarship?  I know the music school my children attended when younger provided scholarships so that all children could take part. 

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Old 11-05-2013, 04:28 PM
 
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We did apply before, it was 10% off I think so about $30 savings which we still can't do atm. I'm hoping DH will ok using tax return funds to sign back up next semester. smile.gif

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Old 11-06-2013, 02:29 PM
 
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Graduating on time from my program, and a nice direct pipeline from my internship to my first job. I was going to replace the woman I interned for when she retired. Now, it'll be at least a year before I wen finish the program.

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Old 11-06-2013, 02:57 PM
 
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I like this thread. We gave up a sizable chunk of income because I made fairly significantly more than my DH. We weren't well off but we paid our bills without worries and were able to save a nice little emergency fund. I work part-time now but it's completely different. Vacations, takeout and meals out, spending time writing and reading instead of cooking and cleaning, career advancement, time around other adults with similar interests, a certain kind of professional confidence. We gave up most of our savings. We had been debt-free, temporarily anyway.

 

I also gave up a ton of the stress and frustrations associated with my job and working full time.

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Old 11-06-2013, 03:01 PM
 
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What I personally gave up was my career in Interior Design, but I have no regrets there. Motherhood made me discover my entrepreneurial spirit and I now run 3 businesses from home (blog, social media management, and professional photography). Gave up regular time with friends, but I expected that after having kids and they were still childless. Thankfully now they are having kids of their own and we've become closer. 

 

As a family we gave up dining out, smart phones and pricey plans, cable TV, having a second car (for 7 years, we just recently got a 2nd out of necessity). We don't go clothes shopping, we cook from scratch, no fancy vacations, no paid activities for kids of any kind, no long road trips because gas is so expensive. 

 

We're somewhere in the middle-middle class for income, paycheck to paycheck essentially. But I am so happy to be where I am and so thankful to be home and homeschooling our kids. The moments I have with them are priceless and they are thriving even though we aren't able to fill their days with endless activities and 'fun stuff'. They have a ball with cardboard boxes, crayons, playgrounds, and simple things in life! 

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Old 11-06-2013, 05:39 PM
 
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I gave up a career where I was the young up and comer and everyone expected huge things out of me. I gave up 2/3rds of our income and lots of the luxuries that came with it. But I would do it all over again, the job was shallow and although I was good at it, I think I am better at being a mom (well most of the time). Sometimes I wonder where I would be if I had gone back to work but the second I think of having to drop my kids off at daycare I realize it isn't worth it. Traded money for love and family joy.gif
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Old 11-06-2013, 05:40 PM
 
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I've been a SAHM for almost 16 years!  Oldest is about to turn 16, and baby # 8 is due next week.  If I wasn't so sleep-deprived, I could probably come up with a long list of things, but honestly I must not be missing them too much because I'm not remembering :)

I owned my own business and was a college professor, which I totally enjoyed.  I did give up a significant salary, and we struggled to make ends meet for years.  I have no regrets, though!  I love being a homeschooling mom to my big family.  Not being able to eat out often or take fancy vacations seems inconsequential when compared to raising good, well-rounded, responsible kids.  There are times when we can afford things like music classes and karate, and times when we can't...depends on what kind of a year my husband's business is having.  I do often wish that I didn't have to worry about medical expenses, like how to pay for braces and diabetes supplies for my son who has Type I diabetes.

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Old 11-06-2013, 10:10 PM
 
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Right now I work 1\2 time, but I REALLY wanted to be home with my daughter (18m) for the first year. To make that happen, we had to be VERY creative: my husband took a seasonal job out of state and I moved temporarily across the country to live with family (also allowed me to help my ailing mother) for 10 months. So, I gave up a nearly a year with my husband (but more challenging, he wasnt there for her first year) though we visited every couple months. I also gave up our apartment, fav neighborhood, 1 dog (temporoarily), some of our stuff, my own vehicle, access to the kinds of food and medical care I prefer, health insurance, and job seniority. Even now that I am working half time, it is still a huge sacrafice of money. We have to share a car, so lots of walking, public transit, and waiting. Less health insurance. Eating lots of beans and rice. None of the "extras."

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Old 11-07-2013, 03:30 PM
 
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I think in a way I lost myself a bit. Because we didn't have the money and my health was really bad at the beginning for me to be able to go out and be *me*.

I can totally sympathize with that. I always knew I would want to stay home with my kids when I had them (back when "when I have them" was an abstract future) but of course the reality of parenting is something that no amount of babysitting experience or parenting books can fully prepare you for. This seems to be something that rarely gets more than a blurb in those books, or maybe at best some heartfelt, fairly vague advise like "Stay connected with friends, don't isolate as it leads to post-partum depression." But the reality of trying to get out of the house in under 4 hours with a small infant who needs to nurse what seems like every 10 minutes, and stick to cloth diapers (changing those sometimes every 10 minutes as well), in order to go out in public and attempt to breastfeed this small fussy person without feeling like every single person in the place is staring at my boobs (which, as I'm new to getting my bra undone with one hand and a crying baby, is an entirely realistic possibility)...it can all make that connection-with-other-adults aspect of life an exceedingly precious and rare commodity. As in, a maybe once-a-month thing (after the baby starts sleeping through the night, that is, and I feel halfway human during the daylight hours.) I had all 3 of my children in a "developing" country, and we did not have the executive package through my husband's job, so we had no health insurance at all. One of the perks of being in a "developing" country, of course, is that whatever health care there is is usually fairly cheap by american standards, so we could pay cash for whatever medical care we chose to access...but on the downside, the medical care wasn't that good. I managed to gain maybe 20 lbs in my first pregnancy, and I was already 40 lbs. underweight. For this, all the doctor could recommend to me was a sort of a mix of old wives tales, and suggestions to eat a variety of local delicacies that absolutely turned my stomach. I'm sure they were healthy and all, but what I was craving was comfort and security, including comfort food. I was isolated from the family and friends who could have offered sorely-needed emotional support.

But I also "gave up" having to defend my decision to stay at home at a time when the "mommy wars" were raging in the states. I was blessed to be free to figure out for myself my reasons for staying at home, rather than being caught up in the cultural debate. Now that my girls are old enough to handle themselves a bit, however, I feel at a bit of a loss...maybe a preview of the "empty nest". I gave myself, intentionally, with immeasurable reward, to their 24-hour care and comfort, and now I'm trying to figure out who I am again, when I'm not constantly busy with them. It is fantastic and frightening at the same time. I am shocked to read things I wrote pre-children; I at once marvel at the confidence and purpose and achievements of that woman, while marvelling at her utter naivete and self-absorbtion. Not that mothers who work outside the home, or women who do not have children, are either naive or self-absorbed at all; but rather I am trying to figure out who I was, and who I am now. I have not worked outside the home for 12 years now, and in our culture that defines a person primarily by what they get paid to do, it's an added layer of identity to work through and reconstruct. Even though I am now a breastfeeding pro--I can breastfeed an infant discreetly on the back of a moving bicycle, of all places--and I have helped 3 human beings learn to use both a toilet and abstract symbols for numbers and letters, I find myself once again at a loss, and feeling a bit isolated. Every one of my friends is "using" their college degree in paid work, and with my husband between jobs I often wish I could magically pull a relevant, up-to-date, income-earning skill out of thin air. Then again, one of the greatest lessons motherhood has taught me is that there are no shortcuts or quick fixes.

 

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Old 11-07-2013, 08:27 PM
 
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I gave up:

1. variety.  I do the same thing all day, every day... my work life is my home life.

2. sick days.  days when I have a migraine are the worst.

3. lunch hours, breaks, business trips to awesome places, commute time to tune out

4. peaceful and pleasant workdays in a nice quiet neat friendly time-efficient office

5. my education.  use it or lose it... I haven't used it, so I've lost it. 

6. my career and my identity.  no chance of going back to my rung on the ladder... refer to #5

7. any respect/approval/support/kindness/understanding/helping hand from others regarding my "job" responsibilities

8. appreciation, a pat on the back, or value for what I do, how much I do, or the quality I strive to achieve... nobody cares but me.

9. sense of accomplishment or contribution to the world... the daily grind of 3 meals, 3 snacks, dozen diaper changes and nursings, homeschool work, bath and bed times, general ER avoidance seems never-ending when you have little ones and can feel inconsequential in the grand scheme of the world. 

10. my self-worth... not a complete loss, but the negativity on top of a lack of external validation for what I do wears me down sometimes

11. intellectual stimulation and adult conversation

12. alone time... as an introvert, it's mind-jarring to be on sensory overload day in and day out without escape.

13. friendships and being able to talk to and relate to another human being

14. "free" employer-paid health insurance

15. retirement benefits

16. half our family's income and all the things we could afford with double what we live on now

 

So that said, is it worth it for me?  Absolutely.  But it's still hard, and there are clearly things that I miss.  I had no idea what I would be giving up when I decided to SAH... I wish I had known and been better mentally prepared somehow. 

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Old 11-07-2013, 10:52 PM
 
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I put a lot on hold.

 

ON HOLD.

 

This period in my life where I do function as a stay at home, is very important to me. I do feel there being a societal lack of appreciation for those Mothers/Fathers who stay to raise their children, and I also can forget to appreciate myself.

 

Only in the last year had I revived the appreciation for my own personhood, in it I found parts of me that were always there. Creativity. I was about to complete an Album right before I got pregnant. Why can't I finish what I started out to do? Being a Mother, one must learn how to improvise and keep determined to make it work. I can apply this to "me" time then too. So I did, Then I didn't give up! If society ain't gunna change for me, then I BETTER CHANGE. Better yet! LEAD.

 

I gave up writing music for almost 2 years. I gave up believing that IT had worth. Then I became a Mother, does Mother hood have worth?

 

Well, thats up to me and I've regained my voice. It was just ON HOLD.

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Old 11-08-2013, 06:50 AM
 
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My salary of €60k a year and one hour a day to myself (aka my former lunch break). We now live on €400 a week, which will be halved this summer.

For me... It's worth it to spend the days with my son. But of course I would prefer if we had more money to treat ourselves.
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Old 11-08-2013, 07:03 AM
 
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P.s. what I've gained so far:
- a new perspective on life and my priorities,
- significant personal growth & greater confidence,
- more wisdom,
- a beautiful and very deep relationship with my DS
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Old 11-09-2013, 10:12 PM
 
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About $90k a year, a rewarding job where I was appreciated, being able to talk uninterrupted with my hubby during the drive to work, grown-up conversations that didn't revolve around kids, a chance to put my degrees to use....

 

Honestly, I had to think really hard to come up with that list, because if someone were to ask me that question, "nothing" is what immediately pops into my head. What did I gain? Unhurried snuggle time with my kids, watching them grow and learn and be silly, helping them navigate life's daily challenges....Obviously I didn't give up anything worth trading.


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Old 11-10-2013, 06:56 AM
 
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I think we are living parallel lives!  I made more $$, but had a miserable commute, in a job that had previously been amazing, until the proverbial poo hit the fan, our CEO left, my boss left 2 weeks after I returned from Maternity Leave, and then the other guy in my department left 3 weeks later.  I was left with a team of only temps, a new (purposefully childless) boss in Europe, to run the show, with no extra $$.  

 

So, I gave up a mid 100's salary, 4 hours of driving every day, 10-12 hours of work every day, and the risk of ruining my marriage.  Hubby got a promotion, I crunched the numbers, and then on my 5 year anniversary told them they had 2 more weeks of me.  

 

What I got in return: immeasurable amounts of joy from watching my DD blossom before my eyes; my marriage back; my health; as DD got a little older, I got to do crafting again; learning what true love and patience really means.  

 

We can no longer take 3 expensive vacations, or buy a new car every 2 years.  We can no longer have an unlimited Christmas budget.  I use a calculator at the grocery store, and we don't have cable TV.  But what would any of that matter if I didn't have my family? 

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Old 11-10-2013, 01:34 PM
 
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<3 how this thread is turning out
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Old 11-11-2013, 03:19 AM
 
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Money; very little saving is possible now without the 100k I used to make. Which means our retirement will not meet our needs. So comfort now, and later, was lost.

Using that work part of my brain; literally a certain type of thinking that doesn't get used ever in home life.

For what was lost by motherhood, my illusions about myself. Being a mom has pinned me to the mirror and made any unfunctioning personality facets baldly visible, troublesome, and unignorable. Work, social time, and fun let me leave off seeing myself most of the time; now I see myself and all other parent friends for that matter, much more as we truly are...some are better people than I imagined, and in my case less of a good person than I hoped. THAT is a bummer to live with every day, no escaping it.
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Old 11-11-2013, 07:33 AM
 
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My baby is 4.5 months old and has been in daycare since 8 weeks. I just gave up my job which requires a masters degree (nurse practitioner in a public school) for a job that only requires a associates degree so that I could work 2 nights a week from home (phone triage) so I can be a quasi sahm. I'll still make decent pay, but I'm worried that I'll lose my assessment skills. My new job is the closest thing I'll ever have as a sahm. My husband just doesn't make enough for me to not work. It seems that with the high prices of food, utilities, housing that it would take an income of $80k for one partner in order for the other not to work.

I've given up happy hours, girls nights out, some friendships, being able to buy a new car, being able to go on vacations, being able to buy nice clothes, I haven't had a hair cut/ color in 6 months, we need new furniture.... the list goes on and on.

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Old 11-11-2013, 07:35 AM
 
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For what was lost by motherhood, my illusions about myself. Being a mom has pinned me to the mirror and made any unfunctioning personality facets baldly visible, troublesome, and unignorable. Work, social time, and fun let me leave off seeing myself most of the time; now I see myself and all other parent friends for that matter, much more as we truly are...some are better people than I imagined, and in my case less of a good person than I hoped. THAT is a bummer to live with every day, no escaping it.

 

I can really relate to this.  Well put, LIttleCapucine. 

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Old 11-11-2013, 07:39 AM
 
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Wow! What were some of your careers that you were making $100k+ per year? I think I picked the wrong profession... 10 years of college and still was making $75k a year... Guess that's what I get for sticking with non-profits! Lol

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Old 11-11-2013, 08:18 AM
 
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I feel like I gave up my career twice. I was an RN working 12+ hour shifts prior to DD1 being born. I had intended to work just 2 shifts a month to keep my foot in the door but she was so insanely high needs that I just ended up quitting. I eventually took some courses, volunteered heavily for years, sat for my IBCLC, and went back to work part time running my own health program as a IBCLC/RN. I loved it. It was just enough to give me something outside my life at home with kids but not enough that I felt like I was missing out. We ended up with the "bonus" fourth child and then my third child went on to have more extensive special needs than my first two had (they have their own varying SNs as well). I ended up having no choice but to quit once more. I spent most of my days driving to therapies or traveling other cities for medical care like I am doing right now for two weeks, again. 

 

 

I love picking my kids up from school every day, doing the dance, gymnastics run around, walking them into their classroom every day. Those are the the things I cherish. It is all worth it. They grow up too fast. Now that I have 13 year olds hanging out at my house and realizing that I don't have that much longer left with my oldest at home. :dizzyI wish I wouldn't of had to entirely lose myself in the process. Only part of that is being a SAHM, other parts are having four children, and then special needs. I look in the mirror and even I don't know myself, there is no time for that. Someday though...


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Old 11-11-2013, 12:29 PM
 
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Credibility with working adults. 

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Old 11-12-2013, 03:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JNajla View Post

Wow! What were some of your careers that you were making $100k+ per year? I think I picked the wrong profession... 10 years of college and still was making $75k a year... Guess that's what I get for sticking with non-profits! Lol


Yeah, I know. Me too.  I've got a Master's Certification and I've never made more than $10,000 a year.  Of course, I have done so much Pro Bono as well as volunteer work and working for non profits that I probably could have made more (nowhere near 100 Grand) but since I got pregnant with my first 28 years ago, I've either been home full time (part of that time with a small home business) or worked part time. I cant' say no to a new mom who needs help. So, for us, the money I could have made is a concept I can't really visualize.


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