Our guest writer is Caroline Kasaya from Nairobi Kenya. She has been a wife for 15 years to Bramwell Kasaya and they have one daughter Lisa Neema. Caroline describes herself as a contemplative woman, who is great at analysing situations and helping herself and others make seasonal decisions. She enjoys mentoring and counselling with those who need the help. Born in a family of four girls, she is a “girl-child enthusiast” by choice and experience, hence channelling her energies thinking of girl-child empowerment initiatives. She writes to be a voice for the voiceless women, girls and the men who love them in this matter. She is a former student ministry worker with Fellowship of Christian Unions (FOCUS-Kenya) where she remains an active associate.
As someone who has walked this journey for the last four years, my stay at home season coincided with leaving employment after 14 years of work among youth in a Christian organization. My exit was very smooth, I had no conflicts at all and left on my own volition. It also coincided with the arrival of our daughter and as a family we made a choice to spend uninterrupted time with her as a family due to special circumstances. My journey has been what I can call a walk of faith, I evaluate my decision of whether to go back to formal employment or run a business at home many times in a year. The SAH parent’s journey is not particularly easy however with a little motivation and determination and a dose of good friends and relatives, the journey is made lighter.
Check Your Attitude
As SAHPs we should not consider the call or status as higher than anyone else who must go out to work because situations differ. There are single parents, widows, widowers, siblings taking care of younger siblings who may never have this luxury. Caution and sensitivity is therefore encouraged for both sides.
Managing Your Money
A SAH parent manages the family domestic finances to the hilt. This is because they are often given the responsibility of managing the home front, from cleaning, food, managing the sick, ferrying family to different appointment and even the school management and follow up.
A family budget must be drawn and managed well so as to ensure that all bills are paid, there is a little spare for emergency and luxury as well as saving/investment. It also means that any decisions on family finances must be discussed with the other spouse or other significant persons to reduce on conflicts.
Exploring Money Making Options
Being a SAH parent or spouse does not mean that one cannot do anything to contribute to the well-being of the family. Largely to many this means financial input through business, consultancies, making and reselling various items online or delivery to targeted clients. Just the other day I got a different perspective from a friend on being SAH and engaging in formal employment. Her argument is that it is possible because of the re -organization of the workplace culture due to COVID-19 to actually negotiate for work from home flexible terms as long as one can deliver on what is expected. This is a good format to explore for SAH parents who can effectively juggle the at work and home demands, though this needs wisdom.
However, the definition of work is greatly re-defined by the stay at home concept and we need to ask ourselves constantly what is work, what is the purpose of it and how we measure its fulfillment in our lives.
Raising Your Children
The greatest pay-off of being at home is that a parent has more contact time with their child or children. If this is the goal at the beginning, it must remain in sharp focus above chores and to-do lists in the house. Many parents get their schedules too packed to actually have good contact hours with the children they gave up a lot for. This should lead a parent to find help and not feel guilty for needing it. The outsiders may judge such a parent or caregiver as lazy, over bearing or demanding and wonder why they cannot do household tasks. From my experience the household tasks and responsibilities are back breaking as well as feel like manual labour at times. Finding someone to pay so as to find a few hours of peace and rest to re-coup your energies is a prudent use of time.
Gaining Community Support
Your desire as a SAH parent or one considering it is the unequivocal spousal support. This may take place from the start on the go or gradually. It is very important to have someone in your corner who means a lot to you, these include parents, siblings and friends whether staying at home or not. As human beings, we need persons who support us and see our point of view and seek to understand us, it is the responsibility of the SAH parent to find such community outside the spouse. This eases pressure on the spouse and makes life much bearable.
Sharing Your Faith
In every season of life, God expects us to engage in it fully, wholeheartedly, passionately and with finality because we never know when next that season will come around. One of the most beautiful expressions of our faith in God is walking this journey in a season where there are economic downturns, a pandemic that keeps changing, the whole world is panicking and is desperate for an answer for the questions of life. As a SAH parent, this can be an opportunity to live out our faith when people are looking for the next coin to secure the future and overworking to the bone, we can operate from a place of rest.
It is the season for you as a SAH parent to be home, we do not know where else God is taking you, but in this season, make time for people, write, learn a skill, look at your family more deeply in the eyes, expend yourself at the “Kingdom at home”. That way we can share our faith and bring glory to God in this season of life because it will surely come to an end.