Saturday, July 25, 2015

Stay Home Sacrifices

I hear things all the time in reference to my "stay-home" homeschool status.  Things like, 1)"you're so lucky", 2)"must be nice that your husband allows you to stay home", 3)"I just don't have the patience for that", 4)"my kids drive me too crazy", 5)"we just can't afford it", 6)"you have your hands full" (mostly in reference to our "large" family), 7)"I just couldn't do it" (said with awe, like I'm something special or some kind of saint, which I assure you I am NOT!)
Now let me pause here to say, this post is in no way meant to try to heap guilt on any moms (hey, its a tough job and we need to stick together!) or to persuade anyone to our lifestyle.  I do not know your story or the reasons for your family's decisions and I do NOT judge working moms, stay home public or private school moms.  Our lives are definitely not one size fits all and one persons decisions do not always work for another.  The intent of this post is just to address some of the things I hear on a semi regular basis and why they are not entirely true and sometimes slightly hurtful.
1)  I am major blessed but I do not believe luck had anything to do with our choices.  We've put a lot of thought and prayer into our decisions.  We do what we believe is best for our family and that means sometimes it's hard.  I don't stay home because it's easy, I stay home because I want to be the one to raise my babies, I want to help facilitate their growth, I want to see the lightbulb go off in their head, I wouldn't trade that for money or prestige or even sanity.  lol.  (not that I do not miss some of those things at times)
2)  While my husband works very hard for this family and I am super proud of him, I do not need his permission to stay home.  We made this decision together.  It is where I want to be and where he wants me to be.  We both make sacrifices to make this happen.  He takes leftovers to work for lunch sometimes or PB+J bc we do not have the money for him to eat out every day.   He cuts the boys hair and quite often his own.  His Mac is coming apart, the bottom is seperating from the plastic frame and it is slow but it works!
3) neither do I!  'nough said!  However, I think I will elaborate a bit more.  I get angry, I yell, I say things I shouldn't, I cry, they cry, I have to walk away instead of handle a situation, I have to turn discipline over to Glenn at times bc I am just at my wits end with a situation, or a child, or just everything that I just can't handle it at that time.  Sometimes I lay in bed in the am already hearing the fussing and fighting and I don't want to get up and face that day, I just want to crawl in a hole or go back to sleep.  There are days when nothing gets done, no school, no housework, nothing constructive bc I just don't have the energy (mental or physical depending on the day) to deal with it.  There are times they spend way too much time with an electronic device or in front of the TV bc I just don't want to hear the fighting.  Definitely not all the time, oh, but there are days!
4)  Trust me, my kids drive me CRAZY too!!!  I love them, I wouldn't trade them for anything or anyone, I want each and every one of them but they still drive me absolutely insane at times!  Parenting is HARD, no matter how you do it, it is HARD!  We have awesome, wonderful, heartwarming, postable (lol) moments that make everything totally worth it but we put a lot of teaching and discipline and hard work into making those moments possible.  I still have to tell the eight year old to take that out of your mouth, that is not food, seriously, don't chew on that!  That child constanty wants something in his mouth!  The six yr old has some sensory issues, sometimes he has slight self control/anger issues (especially when he is minus his daily frankincense, which we are currently out of).  The four yr old, well he's the baby!  Then you have the teens!  Who might possibly be reading this so maybe I won't elaborate on them, Hi teens, Mama loves you!  :-D
5)  Here's where I will highlight some of what we sacrifice so we can "afford" for me to stay home.  I do my own nails when I can find the time, my hair doesn't get "done" but once every few years, I would love to have a cute cut that I could get done once every month or so and is easy to manage but when I do get to go in for one I always tell them, I need a cut that will grow out well bc I won't be back to maintain it, they look at me like I'm insane!  Most of our clothes are hand me downs (for which I am very grateful for!) or come from the local thrift stores as do our shoes.   All this as I hear Glenn raiding the change box (an old vicks box!  lol) before he leaves for work. We have to budget our Sunday lunches so we can make it to church and get to enjoy lunch with Glenn before he goes to work for the evening and sometimes we are still raiding other envelopes for lunch money.  I don't wear makeup partly bc we can't afford what I like and partly bc I don't always have time before we leave the house and partly bc its just not my thing but I do like it once in while.  We don't have a fancy house, just a humble double wide.  Our vehicles are not new, they are nice and I am grateful for them but they are not new, although Silver isn't all that old either and a huge blessing!  My purse is name brand but was a hand me down too.  Our flat screen TV is six years old.  I would love a nice camera, the one I dream of is around $900, yea, it's just a vapor of a dream.  Sometimes, Glenn works extra jobs to fill in where we need more.  We are blessed, I am not trying to sound like I am complaining or anything like that, that is not the purpose of this post, I am just trying to point out a few realities that make our life what it is.
6)  Yep, I do!  However I had my hands full with just the older two also, just bc there are more children doesn't mean life is neccesarily harder or my hands are fuller.  We learn, we adjust, the olders help with the littles.  If I didn't have my full hands, I don't know what I would do.  I love being a mother!
7)  I can't always either.  I know I mentioned earlier that some days just don't happen, it's like ok, I am not adulting today, it's just not possible.  Sometimes the house is a disaster, sometimes the laundry piles up, sometimes things have to wait to get fixed, sometimes we have to weigh priorities and importance and decide what gets fixed or what we need most.  Sometimes we have a little extra and just need to splurge, sometimes we decide a fun family memory is more important than the next thing that needs fixed.  I  don't always do it bc I can but bc this is who we are this is where we are at, survival is not a choice but a neccessity.  This is what we do, this is who we are, not bc we can but bc we have to.  Not doing is not an option, least not a longterm one!
Mostly when I hear one of those statements I just kinda nod or shrug and keep my mouth shut but it is hard to hear, it's hard when you almost cry at the grocery store bc you're not sure what you have the money to buy will last till payday, somehow, it always does.  It's hard when you're searching your purse for loose change to get that last item on the list.  It's hard when the oldest asks to go to the movies with the youth group and the only reason you can afford it is bc another kind youth offered to pay for her.  It's hard when you're eyeing the gas gauge wondering how you'll make it till payday.    We do have lots of nice things, that we have been super blessed to recieve, like the GeoTrax currently covering my living room (that have been collected since Chris was about two!).  :)  The dining table we didn't have to pay for!  The three window units that help keep our house cooler (somewhat) in the summer scorching afternoons (although that electric bill is hard to deal with sometimes!  lol)  These are our choices and I love being home with my babies, I am thankful but luck has had nothing to do with it!  It is not an easy choice but it is best for us, I wouldn't change it!  Thus ends my rebuttals that I usually just keep to myself.  Maybe now, next time I hear one, I can smile and nod politely and remind myself that they just don't know and they just don't understand.  To ALL moms, You are awesome, You are a superhero!  Whatever choices you make, you are touching little lives in ways no one else can.  Dads too!!!  Embrace them, enjoy them, encourage them, find moments to savor and hold onto and make those precious memories!  :)

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