Each year since becoming a parent, the Christmas Season has brought with it heartbreaking anxiety. Ever since that time, we have been recovering from being a one-income home. At first we chose to be one-income (I decided not to go back to work after my first son was born). Then, in 2008, it was chosen for us when my husband lost his job. (Great timing.) I went back to work, and he eventually started his own business. Now, with his business in a good place, we decided to try an unconventional approach to our working arrangements. He works his landscaping business, and I work part-time (adjunct teaching, blogging, podcasting, and selling Younique cosmetics). (As crazy as it sounds, this unconventional working arrangement allows me to be the person to get my children to school and to greet them after the school day-for the most part.)
So what's the problem? In one word: money. Everything that you do in life takes a certain amount of commitment for it to be lucrative. I have (with my husband's blessing) decided to focus on independent ventures, so I could also focus on my family. Everything takes time, so at this point, oodles and oodles of money aren't pouring in from all directions. Sure, we are managing the everyday. However, we still have many mountains to climb before we're in "a good place."
As many people who have tried the stay-at-home mom (or dad) gig already know, you have to sacrifice things to be there for your children. While many of my seven year old's peers were going to Disney World, we went on a five-day trip to Gaitlinburg, TN, (A trip that my mother kindly financed by providing the condo rental and some travel money.) Even so, we had to watch every penny that went out of our pockets to make sure that we had enough money to make it home. When my child asked me why we can't go to Disney World, I tell him to remember all the blessings that we do have. But the truth is that want to take him to Disney World. It breaks my heart that I can't
I am firm in my opinion that I think it is better for my kids to have me in their daily lives than just a shadow of a mother on weekends and holidays. However, it doesn't mean that it is not hard. There are consequences for each and every choice we make in life. One of my consequences is that I can't provide my children with the gifts they would really like (and, perhaps, even need) for Christmas.
Please don't get me wrong. My children are grateful for what they get. They really are. They understand that we are all making sacrifices to be together as much as we are. However, as a mother, and for a long time, as a provider, it is extremely difficult to not get them whatever their hearts' desire. This is about my feeling inadequate as a mother by not being able to give them the gifts I would like to give, not about their being spoiled.
I know that my husband feels the same way. When we are looking at toys that cost $20 verses $40, $50, or even $100, it runs through your head that you are making bad choices. But, obviously, we have to be able to pay for groceries over buying gifts that our children will play with for five minutes.
Will we make it through Christmas? Yes, of course we will, but I truly get how difficult this time can be for people. I can also understand why someone might opt to get their children nice gifts over getting needed groceries. Some times choices aren't a clear right verses wrong decision.
I wish you all a happy and blessed Christmas season. My you find wealth in the blessings around you.
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