Stay-at-home mom recounts journey, re-enters the workforce

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FLINT (WJRT) (9/11/2019) - Shanise Ollie carefully places her oldest son's notebook in his back pack and zips it. She then walks her two sons to the front door of the their school.

Shanise Ollie is starting a new job outside her home after working as a stay-at-home mother for the past several years.

Ollie has gone through this routine for the past several years, but this year is different. She has a job outside the home for the first time since she became a mother.

Despite the change, Ollie still has quite a bit of freedom to plan her day.

"Just kind of having that open schedule, really. Get up and take the boys to school and I can just kind of come home and plan my day and just kind of, you know, do some laundry now or I will work on my business. My schedule is wide open, so that's the one thing that's kind of like different," Ollie said.

She is a mother of three boys and for years she was a stay at home mom -- joining a trend that has been growing slightly among Millenials in recent years.

"Just spending time with them you know cooking for them playing with them I wanted to be that person," Ollie said.

She met her husband, Quandrel, when she was in her last year of college. She had big dreams of moving to New York City to work in business or get a job in the music industry. But, life presented her with options.

"So, it was either like go to NYC or be married and start a family," Shanise said.

She decided the latter, becoming a wife and then mother soon after graduation. Quandrel said he was willing to do whatever Shanise chose.

"Especially because she was that close to doing what she wanted to do," he said.

While the opportunity was great for Shanise to live out her dreams in a job she had always wanted, Quandrel believes they made the right decision.

"I think ultimately it worked out for the best. I don't think that was meant for us," he said.

The couple had two children in two years and was faced with yet another decision. They didn't have a lot of bills and their cars were paid for, making it an easier decision.

"It just made sense for Shanise to stay home," he said.

After the Ollies' second son was born, Shanise became a full-time stay-at-home mom. That lifestyle choice is growing in popularity among new Millennial parents.

While 71 percent of moms work outside of the home, 29 percent are staying home. That number is up 6 percent from 1999. But, it is a far cry from the 49 percent of moms who stayed home in the late 1960s.

The Ollie family had to rely on a single income and it wasn't always easy. Shanise and Quandrel chuckle when thinking about their early struggles, both agreeing it was rough at times.

"Man it was actually rough because even in that transition I ended up losing a job and went back to school during that time and she still wasn't working and unemployment is not what you make when you are working so it was rough man," Quandrel said.

They credit God with getting them through it.

During her time of being a stay at home mom, Shanise went back to school to get her master's degree and she also started a small business. The wife and mother always assumed she would go back into the workforce.

"We just didn't know when that was going to be," she said.

With the boys now at school age, Shanise went back to work this summer at Metro Community Development in Flint.

"It just kind of worked out," she said. "This position became available. August was going to be going to school. They were going to be going back to school in the fall. It kinda all worked out. We just felt like it was the right time."

The Ollies have no regrets about their journey and offer some advice for other families considering the same path.

"The foundation that you have as a couple is going to be more important than any economic anything you want" said Quandrel. "What's your foundation? Do we love each other? Are we willing to stick this out regardless of what happens?"