On a typical day, I get up when I feel like it. As of late, that falls between 9:30 and 10. My baby girl will sometimes be snuggled next to me, and my other children will likely be lounging in their beds. No one except my husband and sometimes, my youngest son, is an early riser, but we prefer it that way. On the occasions that I am forced to get up before 8, or God forbid, even earlier, I swear that early birds must be insane. Why else would anyone do something so ridiculous? Whatever the reason, let me not digress.
Now, you might wonder how I am able to pull this off? A woman in her forties, with five children, who doesn’t have to get up and go to work. Well, it’s not because we’re rich, unless you’re talking about love. In that area, we are exponentially wealthy. Financially speaking, however, that’s not the case at all. The reason I have the luxury of staying home, is because we don’t live in luxury at all. We live comfortably. I get to sleep in and roll out of the bed effortlessly, because I’ve paid bills that others won’t or cannot pay.
Here are five of those reasons, with their benefits and their cons. Check em’ out……
- I drive and old car! The vehicle I drive is old as dirt; my husband’s car is even older. Right now, as I type this, I am awaiting roadside assistance because my keys are locked inside. There is no “clicker” to let me in automatically—it got ran over by our lawnmower years ago. I would call my husband to bring our spare key, but in like fashion, that also got destroyed. Add to that the fact that our automatic sliding door has arthritis, the dvd and cd players don’t play, the fuel reader selectively reads, and the fact that our car has a touch of dementia, and and you’ll get a a clear picture of the shape our car is in. At any rate, Grandma car takes us anywhere we need to go (within city limits) and she saves us a monthly car bill.
- I don’t have designer anything. No bags, no shoes, no clothes—I don’t own anything substantially name brand. Now, that’s not to say there aren’t any labels in my closet, but they would be the exception and never the rule. I remember my cousin complimenting me once on a pair of designer boots I wore; I had no idea they were name brand at all. I bought them because they felt like butter on my feet and were in my price range, period. The label, I guess, was just the icing on the cake. But, that’s how I shop; for the most part it starts with need, then drifts to comfort, then quality, but its hardly ever for impressions or style.
- I married the right man. Of course, I am biased and this is subjective, but let me clarify what I mean. My husband was always okay with me staying home and not working, so this never was a fight. Now, that also meant I had to be okay with whatever dollar amount he brought in and learn how to work within those parameters. The point is, I settled down with someone who had the same ideas about family and the roles he and I would play. If I had gotten that part wrong, I might not be writing this now. I’d probably be at work, and getting up early, and basically hating the world!
- I put my family before my career. I am a very intelligent woman and I don’t mind saying it. Neither do I mind revealing how I was crushing goals long before the Mrs. got attached to my name. So, did I just forget about all of that because I became a wife and mother? I didn’t. What I did do, however, is put my children and their needs before my wants (and sometimes needs), in order to give them every possible advantage.
- My family was enough. In my case, they had to be! When you aren’t in the position to fill your life with material things, other junk usually fills that void. Of course, I could have used food, or alcohol, drugs, television, friends, activities, etc. to do it; and minus the drugs, I have. Ultimately, though, it was my husband and our kids, that I centered my world around, and what made my choice to stay home, a pill I could swallow.
Now, for the Cons.
- I drive an old car! Yes, and there are times when it’s annoying as hell! Like, when Grandma car is too tired to start. Now, I do have my very own battery starter in the trunk, and I can easily give Grandma a shot, but I don’t always want to be bothered with that! I just want to get in the car and go. I want to get on the freeway, or drive out of town, and not have to rent a car becasue Grandma car’s legs ain’t what they used to be! I want a car that’s not on any meds.
- I don’t have designer anything! Okay, let me not be facetious here, I do own many things that aren’t cheap and I’m far from having to thrift shop (I still do it on occasion). What I am, however, is practical, and I very rarely splurge. So, the answer is yes, I do want that designer bag that I’ve been eying for a while. And yes, I, do want that expensive pair of shoes. But, since my husband works long and hard for every dollar that we get, I just can’t bring myself to waste our money (or his time) on things that we don’t really need. Splurging for me will just have to come later; when it does, everybody watch out!
- I married the right man—who works all the time! For me to stay home has meant that my husband had to hustle. School, job changes, career moves, relocating to different states, and the challenges of being an entrepreneur have been our life for the past 16 years. That and many long hours of him being away from home, is what it has taken for me to sleep in. Though the trade off has been worth it, it’s been equally as hard.
- I put my family before my career! I struggled with this choice for the first ten years. I was just insanely bored! The monotony of cooking, cleaning, bathing, washing, burping, crying, and hearing my name (or title) called all day long, would make me seriously question life at times. I was eventually able to reconcile those two feelings, but it was a tough road for a long time.
- My Family was enough—except when they weren’t. And when that nagging, guilty feeling would creep up—I’d ever so gently force it back down. The truth is, it’s hard to think about all of the things you’re missing out on, like freedom, peace and quiet, more money, less stress, and my pre-kiddo figure, without also feeling like a bad mother at the same time. I finally had to give myself permission to admit that my family was enough—sometimes—but, that it was also okay to want and to pursue other things as well.
Let us hear from you. What price have you had to pay to live the life you want? Do you ever regret those decisions. Tell us why or why not in the comments.