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Making it work: some thoughts on life, family, and finances.*

Impromptu, slightly serious post.  Well, 90% of my posts are impromptu.  I’m a poor scheduler.

We’ve made a lot of sacrifices for me to stay at home.  I think that there’s a common misconception that women who stay at home have a husband that makes really great money and it’s possible to live a great lifestyle on one income.  I know I think that often, especially when I see that the mom is very well coiffed and drives a super nice car… and it may be true… for them. I know for myself, however, we make it work because we believe it is currently the best thing for our family. Financially, it’s unlikely for me to bring in enough money to make a significant difference after you factor in childcare, clothing costs, gas, etc, so we choose to stay at home.

We’re a young family.  We are aware of the fact that we are not in a place to bring in financially what our parents bring in.  We have two religion degrees – AKA a really expensive piece of paper that means little in the real world. We lived in Dallas and we made good money, but we were also sucked into the lie that you have to live the life of good money. We ate out. We had good cars. We had nice things. There’s no way I could have become a SAHM in that lifestyle.  We had too many bills and things we owed.

Losing my job was one of the hardest things we had went through, but it was also one of the best.  It forced us to pare down everything we had that was “extra.” XM Radio, cable, cool phones, eating out, name brand goodies, etc.  We had to rely on God, family and friends to make it through while Todd and I were looking for jobs.  When our girl was born, Todd got a job that made enough for us to venture out on our own and we moved to Stillwater.  I am doing the job I have wanted to do my whole life — raise my kids while they are young.

Sometimes I read from my friends how they wish they could be a “housewife” in a tone that assumes that SAHMs have it easy.  True, I will go swimming with my little girl in her kiddie pool today.  I will play with her and go grocery shopping and clean house and hopefully sew a little and make bows. We also live in a 1930’s 2 bedroom house where rent is cheap.  My only major luxury is a $80.00 hair appointment every 8 weeks. I wear old clothes and clip coupons and panic every time I pay bills.  We do not own smart phones or the latest gadgets.  Everything is hard earned. Today was one of those days where I’ve looked at what’s on sale at the store and I’m praying it’s still there when I go because we can’t afford to buy anything this week, but we need a few groceries.  I’m not saying that for pity — at all — but I want to let you know that it’s not always easy.

That said, we are happy. Stressed, yes.  We say no to a lot of “fun” things right now and it feels like we are disappointing some because we are not already in a place where we are more comfortable.  We don’t mind, though. We don’t have to drive to Texas all the time and go to Rangers games (although we miss them!) or go do something that costs money. We’re okay with saying, “we can’t afford to eat out.”  We are not ashamed. I am not going to pretend.  Poverty/poor is not a disease. It doesn’t mean that you’ve sinned.  God is still with us. 

We are making it work.  We know that one day we will be in a place where we’ll have a little money in our pocket.  We hope to help out someone else who is in the place we are now. We will be able to pay it forward, the way our family has paid it to us. We will look back on the days when we lived in the “tiny old house” and we will be nostalgic because our little girl took her first steps on that stained old carpet. When our “dates” consisted of driving around looking at houses.  When we had that second-hand recliner that was manufactured in 1989. (Seriously. We just noticed that yesterday.)

So, for my friends who are thinking all SAHMs have it easy — check again.

For those who struggle day-to-day … you are not alone. We’ll make it. Some day. And even if it takes 20 years – it’s worth it.

So worth it.

As the adorable Tim Gunn puts it, “Make it work.” (You have to snap your finger with sass in order to say that. Just FYI.)


* The above post was written purely from my current perspective.  I know that ALL families of all sizes make hard sacrifices.  No one type of mom makes more sacrifices than another. This is just my encouragement for you to do what YOU feel you have to do for the best interest of your family. That is all. 🙂

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  • Megan Card July 1, 2011, 11:26 am

    This post echos my heart. Thank you for posting it!

    • April July 1, 2011, 3:36 pm

      You’re quite welcome! Sometimes we all feel like we are isolated, no matter what area of life we are in. It’s nice to feel like we’re not alone. 🙂