I feel the need to address an issue tonight. I don’t have time for this, I have things I need to get done, I have doll orders I need to get working on. But these thoughts keep banging around in my head and I need to get them out on (virtual) paper.
There is this word. I keep seeing it in comments on homeschooling, breastfeeding, clothdiapering, etc. It is “privilege”- as in “my husband and I need to work to stay afloat; we’re not privileged enough to be able to spend all day with our children”… This is from a comment on the huz’s homeschooling post.
People constantly tell me how privileged I am to be a stay at home mom. How nice it is that my husband makes enough to support us. How we are part of that wealthy, privileged, upper class. And how they can’t do that, so how dare I make them feel bad because they can’t do A, B, or C.
Here is the thing.
WE ARE POOR.
We’ve been poor for our entire marriage. Yes, I stay home with our children and my husband works. And yes, we are just starting to pull ourselves out of the deep financial hole we have been buried in ever since we said our “I dos”. He works HARD so that this can happen. But we have struggled. SO MUCH. We juggle which bills to pay each and every month. We have survived on everything from a waiter’s tips to his current job as a truck driver. I have learned to make our budget stretch farther than should be possible. I can feed my family of six on forty dollars a week if I have to. We haven’t been to the movies in four years. In fact, neither Patrick nor Willow has ever been in a movie theater.
Two days ago I cried because I got a new bathing suit. My last one was purchased five years ago and it was worn to shreds and unwearable. My husband and I go without many things so that our kids can have food, clothing, shelter, homeschool materials, and fieldtrips. We drive a car built in 1996. We’ve never had a honeymoon or even been on a vacation. We haven’t been on a “date” in years.
We live this way because we think it is extremely important that our children have a parent stay at home. It might be “old fashioned” but we think there SHOULD be a parent at home to bake cookies and wipe noses. We want OUR babies to have their momma, and know they need to be carried, snuggled and breastfed all day long. I pumped and supplemented and did daycare with Hannah, when I was finishing school- I know how difficult that is and I wanted different for any future babies, so I made this choice with my husband’s support before we were married.
(I’m talking about OUR LIFE and OUR CHILDREN and OUR CHOICES here. THIS IS WHAT WE FEEL IS IMPORTANT TO US, OUR VALUES, OUR DREAMS, OUR GOALS. THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU OR WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO DO.)
Would life be easier if my kids were in school and I had even a part-time job? Hell yeah. Have I ever secretly wished this were the case? YES. My life is hard. My husband is on the road for stretches of six weeks at a time. My husband sacrifices his time with the littles, because he feels it is important that I stay at home with them. I am basically a single mom, (although I get the cool benefit of having a paycheck dropped into my bank account each week) without time off or a break and no one here to help me or offer me a damn hug. But is it worth it? HELL YEAH.
My kids are amazing, and I get to experience each and every day with them. Each day is a gift- no matter how cranky they are, no matter how tight money is this week- I am so glad that I get to share every single blessed day with them. They are happy and secure and kind children- and I know that is partly due to the love and attention they get all day long.
It is crazy what you can live on if you have to. It is eye-opening to find out what you can live without if you need to. My kids are worth it. We chose this lifestyle, for them, so that we can be together and help them learn and grow, because we think it is important and special to be a part of that process.
This is the only way in which my husband and I are privileged.
We are honored to be the parents of four such wonderful people.
Hannah Morrigan Sophia