Wednesday, April 10, 2002

The "Luxury" of Being a Stay-at-Home Mom

I'm an old-fashioned kinda gal... "just a housewife"... I know, that's an out-dated term, and personally, I prefer to be called a "homemaker" because I think it's more accurate. I'm not married to my house, but I do try to make my house a home! I make no apologies for being a homemaker. While there are many things I could have been, this is what God has called me to do at this point in my life, and I am very happy with that. There are some in today's society that seem to have the impression that being a homemaker must mean you're too lazy to get a "real" job, or at least not very smart. That doesn't bother me much. I know different, and I'm not going to argue with them about it. What does bother me are the "working" moms who seem to think that staying home is a luxury that they can't afford. "It must be nice that your husband makes such good money that you can afford to live on one income." Ummm, no, that's not how it works! I'd like to share how we afford the "luxury" of me staying home.

As with any "luxury" this one takes some planning and personal sacrifice... We don't yet own a home. We currently live in a rental, and we may need to move soon to a smaller house to lower our monthly rent. Would I rather have a nice house of our own? Of course! But would I rather have a nice house, or raise my kids myself? No contest!

Last spring I totalled our one-and-only car. It was an 8-year-old station wagon with 200,000 miles on it, but it was paid for, it ran good, and it got good gas mileage. I was just sick! Especially since we were only carrying liability insurance, and there was no money to replace it. For 3 months we borrowed a vehicle, and now we are making small payments on an even older full-size van with 150,000 miles on it, that gets horrid gas-mileage. Should I have put my kids in day care so I could get a job and we could afford a decent vehicle? Not worth it to me!

I spend more time cooking to save money on convenience foods and eating out. I buy most of our clothes second-hand. Our kids don't get everything they see advertised on television that strikes their fancy. Are we depriving our kids? I don't think so. Thirty years from now which will make a better memory in their mind: "Oh, remember, we got McDonald's happy meals twice a week... and remember that one toy that looked so cool on tv, but broke the second day we had it... and remember the great frozen pizzas we used to eat?" ...or... "Oh, remember, Mom used to play board games with us... and she took us to the park, and for walks, and on bike-rides... and remember the stories she used to read to us?" Those are the "luxuries" my children enjoy. Probably they don't see them as luxuries now, but one day they will! I can say that with certainty, because I had the exact childhood I'm describing... not many material things, but a mother who stayed home and raised her own children!

To begin with, if I got a job, we would undoubtedly need a second vehicle, plus insurance, gas, and maintenance. So subtract that from my take-home pay... Then subtract the cost of child-care... And I'd probably need a nicer wardrobe than I currently have, to wear to work. Would there really be very much money left after all that? Maybe there would be... then we could afford a nicer house, etc. In any case, I am willing to fore-go whatever we "might" could afford for the privilege of raising my own children.

In future blogs, I will share ways I have learned to save money on the "cost of living," as well as creative ways to plan family fun times without spending a lot of money.

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