I recently had a well-meaning person tell me that if I would get a steady paying job it would be better for our family because we would have money for extras. I've had time to reflect on this a bit.
At first, I thought, "Well, he has a point." "We could do a lot more financially if I was working outside the home." There would be vacations we can't afford now. There would be the peace of a steady paycheck of extra income. There would be a lot I could do with that money.
But there would be much I would miss and that is a price we are not willing to pay, at least at this point. If there ever comes a day when we have no choice, then of course, I will do what I need to do. If something happens to Dan or some reason we have no income, then I would go back to work in a flash.
I have worked a full-time job and many of my friends that do know the sacrifices that are required. Each person is in a set of unique circumstances and I believe it's up to each family to decide for themselves what is best. I would never presume to tell someone they should stay home or that they should work.
In our case, we made this choice long ago and it has been a good one. Because I've been home, I've been able to do the following things.
- Work alongside my husband in ministry. Back in the spring, I was able to go with Dan multiple times to visit a dear member who was in the hospital long term. Because I was home, and we knew she was concerned about her elderly husband eating well, Dan would bring him to the house and we fed him for quite a few weeks. I'm available for counseling with Dan and able to help members of our congregation in the many ways they need us.
- I have a son on the autism spectrum and there are many challenges there. He does not make good eating choices at all. I'm able to prepare him at least one good nutritious meal in the middle of the day before he goes to work. I'm able to go with him, at times, to meet with his job coach. I'm not so exhausted at the end of the day that I can't help him with paperwork, bills, and other things that he struggles with.
- I have another son that's home from college for a month. Because I'm home I can spend time chatting with him throughout the day and finding out what's going on in his life.
- Because I'm home, I can take the teens to winter camp at our denomination's Bible camp in February.
- My home and time is open and available throughout the day when some needs a listening ear.
(Wacky lemon cake)
- I have a teenage daughter who now has a boyfriend. I'm available to offer advice and just be there for her when she has questions. He lives out of state and because I don't work, we were able to invite him to come stay with us this weekend and I'm here to welcome him, as well as keep an eye on him! ;-)
- Because I don't work, I have the opportunity for ministry beyond our local church. I'm the assistant director in this district for our denomination's women's group. That would not be a possibility if I was working a full-time job.
- Our house is fairly peaceful because there is at least someone who is here at the hub and making sure things run smoothly.
- Because I'm home I can come up with creative meals, spend time being hospitable, make gifts for family and friends, and help my husband with whatever he needs.
(Just finished up this shirt as a gift. It just needs to be pressed.)
I think there is this perception that if you don't work outside the home then you must be sitting around and watching television all day. In the past two days I have cleaned both bathrooms, done five loads of laundry, made stuffed peppers, pulled pork, taco salad, a cake from scratch, homemade biscuits, homemade Italian rolls, filed our church's annual report to our national office, caught up on correspondence, wrote a devotional for the women in our church, helped Dan with paperwork, cut out and made a shirt for a birthday gift, countless loads of dishes and about a hundred other things that I can't think of at the moment. And the television has only been on after dinner. ;-)
Do we struggle financially at times? Yes. But, we pay our bills on time. We have plenty of food to eat. We are putting a son through college. I'm helping to make our dollars stretch. And we are happy and content.
I think it's been a good choice for us!