Thursday, June 28, 2007

"You are so lucky to be able to stay at home..."

I went to a party last week and was catching up with some friends. One of the women has two kids... Boo's age and just a bit older than Sweet Pea. She chose to stay home after her second child, just like have. The other woman, whom I adore, is middle aged with no children. Now what I am going to launch into is not a reflection of my feelings towards my friend who made the comment. I totally understand where her heart was and what the intention was behind the comment. But I keep fielding this comment and I am quite tired of the misconception. Okay so now that the disclaimer is present here I go:

We were all talking about plans for the fall and when the issue of how difficult shuttling kids around during the school year came up, my friend said, "But you are so lucky to be able to stay at home." My response was one of grace...and also very true. I am grateful every day for the opportunity to be the primary caregiver for my three wonderful children. I get to see the little celebrations of their every day. It is hard work, because I also have to clean up the messes, both physical and emotional, every day as well. But I wanted to be a part of a family structure where one parent is able to be home full time... so I am filled with contentment and gratitude for the living out of that dream.

But I did not just get *lucky* enough to have a husband that makes enough for me to not work. It isn't a dream that a fairy godmother granted me. We have made true sacrifice, tough decisions and humbled ourselves and our financial stability at times as a result.

When we chose to have me come home from work, there was nothing easy about it. We were in serious debt from a failed business, student loans, compounded interest from times we had to rely on credit to survive during the end of Cnation. We could not really afford to be a single income family. But our value system informed our decisions and we honored that. We cut so many corners, and sacrificed much for quite a time. We chose that. It was not handed to us. And our situation was not the most difficult. I have friends whose husbands work 2 jobs, or who are on air tight budgets.

Now, about 7 months into single income living, we had a huge gift that allowed us to get out of the debt we were in and also allowed us to do some saving. For that I am forever grateful. That was the true gift. Now, we don't worry about having savings and contingency plans. But we still have to be frugal. I still have to shop at 4 stores to get the best prices. We still buy used or discount. We live in a home that is smaller that I'd like with 3 wee ones. Trade offs that I am happy to make.

All this to say, I just would like the credit for making a decision to Stay at Home. My husband did not just concede to my desire to be SAHM. He chose it too. It was a scary decision that took a huge dose of faith and quite frankly, a tremendous amount of character and discipline. It is hard work, and when I complain about it, I don't want the message to be I don't get to mention that it is hard because of my lucky circumstances. Just offer a moment of empathy...that's all. I can take care of having a grateful heart and spirit.

No comments: