Welcome to the Tales of a Kitchen Witch Blog.
There is this word. I keep seeing it whenever someone comments on a post I write about homeschooling (or even breastfeeding). The word 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.
I agree with the first part. It is a blessing and privilege to stay at home to raise children. But it isn’t about wealth or class.
Here is the thing.
We have been poor. Like, no car, getting evicted, eat rice for a month because that’s all there is, poor. We were below poverty level for a good chunk of our marriage. Yes, I stay home with our children and my husband works. And yes, the four years of truck driving meant that we started to pull ourselves out of the deep financial hole we were been buried in ever since we said our “I dos”. My husband worked HARD so that could happen. His new job makes so much less. And we struggle. We juggle which bills to pay each and every month.
Over the years, we have survived on everything from no income at all to nearly six figures a year (that was awesome. I miss that). I have had to learn to make our budget stretch farther than should be possible. I can say with confidence that I know how to feed my family of six on less than fifty dollars a week if I have to. I’m pretty proud of my skills.
Yes, we make sacrifices for our lifestyle. We go without a lot of “special” things. We don’t have cable, we make most of our food from scratch, we haven’t been to the movies in years. In fact, neither Patrick nor Willow had been to a movie theater until last summer when I took them to a dollar showing of Thor. My husband and I go without many things so that our kids can have food, clothing, shelter, homeschool materials, and fieldtrips. We’ve never had a honeymoon or even been on a vacation. Its not a big deal though, 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 I do think there should be a parent at home to bake cookies and wipe noses.
We want our babies to have their mama, so they can 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. When my husband was on the road for stretches of six weeks at a time I was basically a single mom, (although I got 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 was it worth it? HELL YEAH.
I wouldn’t trade my lifestyle for ANYTHING. Not even a closet full of designer shoes (I love shoes.) or a fancy house. 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. To us, raising our kids this way is 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.
My point is, where there is a will, there is a way, in *most* situations (obviously not ALL) and if you make sacrifices and work with it a bit you might be surprised with what you can do!