Thursday, July 10, 2008

Married, with Kids...


I have to admit, that even I still sometimes find myself uncomfortable around some of my peers when I tell them of my still growing family... I'm not sure why... It's not like I'm sorry I have so many children... But I guess because sometimes it seems that my generation has gotten so caught up in the "ideal" of 2.3 children, two incomes, the suburban home, with two cars in the driveway, and a summer getaway. Well, it's pretty much NOT what I have... I don't want this to sound bad. Not that a nice suburban home and summer getaways wouldn't be nice, but what would that cost me? Would my life be "better" now if I had chosen to pursue my career?...

I had a job and my own income from the time I was 16 years old, with the exception of my last couple of months of highschool. After highschool I worked 30-35 hours a week on top of going to school. Not the best plan, as it took me two extra years to finish my degree this way, but it's what worked for me. I even got married a couple of years before I finished college. I started working full-time just before I got married. My husband and I both worked full time, at individual jobs and later at our own business for 10 years. It was after we began having children of our own that I started to want to stay home with them. I was tired of taking them with me to the office, when it really wasn't any kind of a place for a kid to be raised... A change in interests and a change in the economy ultimately led to the loss of our business. With two young boys and a new baby on the way, it really wasn't the best timing for closing down, but we had reached the point to where we really couldn't afford to stay open any longer... I worked as a sub teacher that year while my husband looked for full time employment. At the time I know I felt that I was in the eye of the storm. Things couldn't be any worse. The business was done, we were barely scraping by, and expecting another baby and our marriage was shakey, at best... Looking back in 20/20 hindsight, though, I can see that it really was God's blessing...

You see, we really hated that business. We were SO overwhelmed and tired with the amount of time and effort it was robbing from our family. But yet, my husband, especially, felt compelled to hang on to it, feeling that we had no other options of taking care of our family. God told us "no." We were pretty much left with nothing... I worked because I had no choice, and hubby searched for work. Even when he did find what we thought was the "perfect" place for him to work, due to some paper work glitches and other things beyond out control, what should have been a three month process, actually took about 9. He was finally hired on as regular full time employee just weeks before #3 was born. But it wasn't until everything we "had" was taken away, and we basically lived on close to nothing that we realized how little we actually needed... After #3 was born, and hubby was back to work, I was able to stay home with our children for the first time. Slowly building our lives back and learning to live on just his income, as he has been blessed with raises and promotions, it seems we've come out the other side.

I say all this because I think a big problem with many families is that it is so easy to get caught up in having a 2-income family. Once you get used to a certain income level, though, it's really hard to cut back. I feel blessed that I am able to stay home with my children now, even thugh it was a rough way to come about. It isn't always easy. In my earlier post I spoke of currently dealing with tantrums from the baby. There are also the attitude issues of my pre-teen son, and then there are my dare devil younger son, and #3 with her drama, drama, everything is drama and well worth screaming and crying about, especially if her brothers looked at her cross-eyed... and now another on the way... We have chosen, despite our still growing family, to do our best to stay a single income family feeling it is in the best interest of our children. In this day and age when our children are being bombarded from every side by the "village" wanting to take over what "they believe is "best" for them, I think as parents we need to reclaim our children and protect them all the more, especially when they are little and while we still can. God charges us as the primary care givers...

I'm not sure, still, where my uncomfortableness comes from when speaking to old friends about my life and where we are. I don't think it is so much about worrying about what they're thinking of WHY I am 42 and still having children, so much as my wondering WHY they decided to stop...? Why, when many of them were raised Catholic, like me, did they decide that "getting fixed" or surgically sterilizing themselves was neccessary or even okay?... And sometimes I wonder why God, in His good Graces, helped me to see, hear and understand why it is NOT okay, and not them?... It hasn't been easy. Goodness knows that I have had more than one OBGyn tell me that it would "probably be a good idea to have your tubes tied..."

I still like to meet up with old friends. I like to hear where their lives are at, what they've been doing, life, family, that sort of thing... but with some, most perhaps, I just don't relate like we used to... It makes me a little sad... But then, I am all the more grateful for my family, how my life has turned out, how richly God HAS blessed me, and especially to the couple of friends that I have hung on to over the years that "get" where I'm coming from... : ) God is good.

2 comments:

Melissa said...

I totally understand where you are coming from. While I only have two children, the possibility of more is well, a possibility.
Most people are curious if we plan to have more. I tell them only God knows and to stay tuned. That usually answers their question.
I know how you feel about the age thing because I even get it and I'm 36. But the comments are usually more of "you better hurry up," type of remarks.
And as a SAHM I completely relate to everything you brought up. I too went to college, worked and enjoyed the second income privelages. But being with my children is worth more than an income and I can always go back to work when they are older.

WICatholic said...

I never had the opportunity to stay at home with my kids, and always wished that I could have. Life had other plans, unfortunately. But I marvel at my sister, soon to be forty, and expecting number 8 in a few more months! And my Mom, who had ten children that survived (two miscarriages), as well as so many of my friends' families.

Praying for safe pregnancy, Lee!

God bless!