Do you remember the stress you had in high school to figure out your career? You had to figure it out and figure it out NOW. Because everyone said so. While finishing my last years of high school I remember a high pressure of figuring out what my CAREER was going to be and that I was losing time if I didn’t know right away. I pushed and pushed myself to reach school goals to strive for success.
After an over excessive amount of prerequisites and having 2 children, a 2 year old and a 3 month old, I was sitting in my first semester of nursing school. As our instructors were making us feel like we were in boot camp and we were worthless piles of human life that had no chance of making it in the real world I was thinking back about how “This has been my dream all along. To be in this very classroom, being lectured to death on how to save a life”. After successfully pushing through my first semester I was sitting through second semester with almost no life left in me. Family troubles at home, littles missing the heck out of their mom, a husband walking all over me, financial struggle after struggle, barely feeling alive while somehow trying to cram information on keeping someone else alive. Another thought came to me, “There’s nothing in the world that I have ever wanted more than to be a nurse…UNTIL…I became a mom”.
Growing up I only ever knew there to be one way to raise a family. Both parents work to make ends meet. I used to think “I’m going to be just like my mom and work as hard as she did”. Then, while in nursing school I was talking with her and she brought to my attention that she did not enjoy working full time. She did not enjoy being away from her kids and stressing about sitters, but financially there was no other choice.
For the first year and half of my marriage I worked and went to school full time and just happened to be lucky enough to have an army willing to help my family make it. I had money saved, savings built, cars paid off, and very very little student loan debt. Luckily, my eyes started to open after I realized I was coming home exhausted, expected to give my husband a spectacular experience in bed, clean, and cook meals while I watched him sleep all day, and leave my daughter and I alone at night. EVERYTHING I was working for was being used little by little until I was left with nothing for myself or my daughter.
After knowledge of my husband’s various affairs and night outings I decided to clear my head and stay at my aunt’s house in Idaho (this is not all cases but if you are a woman capable of bearing children, I highly suggest keeping this stored somewhere in your mind in case of emergencies). I have an aunt that I HIGHLY admire, aunt Marlene if you’re reading this you’re the best! She gave me some incredible advice that I have tried to share time and time again. We are in a generation of empowering women and standing up for what we are and what WE OWN. She straight up said to me “Girlfriend, us women have to stick together. Men do not always have the biological awareness of the needs of the family as a whole. Leaving yourself on empty to take care of him is taking away from YOUR children. Let him work and if he decides to run off at least it’s with his own paycheck and not with the one that was earned by leaving your kids behind”. This was genius! Now some of you might be thinking I’m sexist right now but I will tell you right now that a whole hearted husband committed to you and your children WILL eventually 100% support making finances stretch for the sake of your children.
Another inspiring family member of mine also suggested loving your kids as if you were already doing it all on your own. That way when it is time to leave you, already know that you can do it.
On the flip side. Those of us (yes I am included in this now, thankfully) with supportive hard working husbands, it is completely okay to voice these concerns to him for the safety of yourself and the children. My husband supports me having a backup savings account, income I can set aside just in case and this has made our relationship that much stronger. He supports how independent I can be which honestly, I think scares him sometimes so he knows not to make any wrong turns ;).
I stayed home with my kids full time (with a small 4 month gap of working to make ends meet as a single mom) for 4 years. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. My mom even watched me like I was living her dream. Putting extra details into every little experience with my kids. But there is a reason I am speaking of this in past tense. There came a point where I was seriously losing myself in the service of others. Our children are WORK like more work than that horrible 8-5, 6 days a week job. And it is going to be many many many years before it comes time that they start to give back and that’s IF they choose to give back.
My husband and I sat on the porch one evening while kids were asleep and we both almost said it at the same time. I missed working and he missed seeing me feel like myself. My kids have gotten a lot of extra detailed attention that wouldn’t have otherwise been able to happen if they were with a sitter. However, there did come a point where my kids almost needed to miss mom a little bit for her words and her company to really mean anything. So our family decided that me finding a job for fun that I found fulfilling would be good for our family.
First 2 weeks of working I had overtime, I loved having “me time” at work, and man that check was pretty. I felt unstoppable. If we were getting by with just one person’s income just imagine what we could do with ALL OF THIS!! But that faded quickly. Soon we bought a new furniture set, dance class prices went up, we went out to eat more and soon we were struggling to get by on 2 paychecks. UM….what? So here is the lesson I have learned here after being a mom for 6 years.
Staying home is great! Working gives you identity! But why did you start all of this in the first place? To HAVE A FAMILY. Not to hand your family to a babysitter and have someone else raise them. Not to be in financial struggle with all of your time consumed and your paychecks maxed out. I have learned that really assessing your famiy’s needs as a whole with your spouse will help you make the best decision. With prayer you will know if your spouse isn’t capable of making a decision focused on the family. But if he is, you will feel confident and happy that you are not overwhelmed and your children are happy!
IF you choose to work. REMEMBER that is not extra cushion for you or your spouse to lay on and waste. You’re sacrificing precious time with your kids to make that money. Pay off debt, save for piano lessons, take a trip but do not waste it! When I started to realize how quickly I can get careless about my money I sat down with my husband about what goals I had for each paycheck. This way we were both on the same page when he saw all the extra money in our account. I also expressed to him that I believe it is extremely important that as the man of the house his checks will ALWAYS have to be what pays the bills to live. Because, even though I am working now, if we have a child that has a learning disability, an injury, a new baby?? or SOMETHING happens where the family needs mom home…mom can come home anytime and the bills are still being paid.
This method is truly working for us and I’ve seen it work with other families. For you husbands that might be reading this. Know that you are awesome! You were built with such strength and endurance and a will power to get up EVERYDAY and serve your family outside of the home. If this plan is set with selfless intentions and full purpose of keeping a family healthy and together you will begin to see miracles happen. ❤
My husband has his Master’s Degree, a well paying job. I do not have my RN license yet but have an above average paying job for my credentials. The rush everyone tried to put you in in high school is not completely necessary if one of your goals is to have a family. We are not rich. But most days, we feel like we are living rich and are truly grateful for where our family is headed. And I believe that no matter what dollar amount it is that you bring home that you can steadily raise a financially stable and happy home.