Monday, February 3, 2014

It's not luck.

I've been told on several occasions how LUCKY I am to be a stay at home mom. I would not trade staying home with Chase for ABSOLUTELY anything in the world. It's so important to me, and to Jon, to have a parent at home full time. I don't know when I decided it was important to me, but it was something that I felt strongly about.
There were times in my life I wasn't even certain I wanted kids but. I always felt very strongly that IF I did, I planned to be a full time stay at home mom. It was important to me to marry someone who put value in that as well- not everyone does and that's OK. It was something I felt strongly enough about that I knew I could not marry someone who expected me to work full time after having kids. Luckily, I married a wonderful man who was on the same page... Someone willing to work and sacrifice to make it possible.
Adjusting to being a single-income home is not easy. It works for us, not because we are lucky, but because we are willing to sacrifice, adapt, adjust, and are dedicated to making it work. There was a time in our marriage when buying a new vehicle was no big deal. Planning expensive vacations, going on cruises, moving, spending a small fortune on pet care... These were just things we did because we could. We didn't think twice about buying a boat, and the idea of increasing our mortgage was no big deal. We're we rich? Certainly not. But we were a childless couple with two incomes. Dinner and a movie didn't need to be planned and budgeted.
Those days are over. It's important to me to maintain a good quality of life for my kids. I certainly don't wish to raise my babies in poverty! But realistically... What does that mean for kids? What determines quality of life? What things are necessary? What can we do without? At what point does sacrificing decrease quality of life?
Im a firm believer that vacations are a necessity. no one can work hard all the time without taking time out to enjoy life. My income allowed us to go on fancier vacations. A yearly trip to California where we would visit a series of overpriced amusement parks, a cruise, a fancy hotel in Jackson Hole,  spontaneous trips to visit friends in Denver and Idaho. But do these things matter to kids? I look at my childhood and think of my most cherished memories. None of them are in fancy hotels. I'd never stepped foot on a cruise ship until I was married. When I think of the things I put value in, it's boating with my grandparents, it's playing tag in the house with my mom and sister one day it's building forts, it's my mom being able to come to school functions- plays, open house, student of the month awards, it's road trips with my grandparents.
Yes, vacations are important. But kids don't care about hotels. They don't care about cruises. They don't care about room service, expensive souvineers, or exotic destinations.
Being a single-income home and stay-at-home parent means my kids may never lay eyes on a cruise ship. They may never order room service, and may never hold passports.... But they'll witness the beauty of sunset at Lake Powell. They'll remember pitching a tent in the backyard. They'll know camping in Provo Canyon. They won't be missing out.

They may never wear name brand clothes, but they will have bedtime stories every night.
They may never have an expensive private school educations, but they will be homeschooled by mama every single day.
They may not know fancy foods and restaurants, but they will have home cooked meals.
They may not have the latest and greatest electronics, but they will know family time and picnics in the back yard.
They may not get to see every movie they'd like in theaters, but they will know family movie nights and snuggles on the couch.

I detest the misconception that to be a stay-at-home-mom your husband must make a huge living. We must more modest income than MOST of the people whom tell us how lucky we are, and how they'd love to be a SAHM too, but could never afford it. I just smile and nod. We "couldn't afford" it either if we weren't determined to make it work and willing to do what it takes.
We must be rich! Wrong. We are creative. We learned the importance of prioritizing and eliminating excess. We learned that when it comes to worrying about our kid's quality of life, we had to look at life through a child's eye to determine what's ACTUALLY important, and what isn't. We aren't rich. We aren't poor. I'd venture to say we have a
As adults, we put value in trivial things. I'd venture to say that MOST families could probably make staying at home work- IF it's even something they want- if they made adjustments. Not all moms want to be at home. That's perfectly ok! Some women are happier working, and they are better moms because of it. Some of the BEST mamas I know are working moms. Some of the strongest women I know are working moms. Heck, my own mother worked- and worked a lot- to provide for us, and I admire her dedication to her family. She's nothing short of incredible. I'm not passing judgement by any means on anyone who chooses differently, I only know what's right for MY family and OUR situation.
 But to credit luck? No, it's not luck. It's sacrifice, determination, and dedication to something we value.
Being able to tuck my babies in at night happened to fall higher on the priority list than.... Well, just about anything. Babies aren't babies long. Soon Chase will not think I'm the neatest thing in the world. I'm going t soak it in while I can. Bath time. Story time. Bed time. Lunch time. Those are the important things to me right now. That may change over time, and our family will morph and change if it does. But for now, there's absolutely nothing that a second income could provide that would be worth missing out on a single moment of this. Not better health insurance, not a looser budget, not anything. None of it would be worth missing out on a single smile, a single fart, a single moment. 

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