I see both sides and am grateful........

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
I see both sides and am grateful........
24
Sat, 06-07-2003 - 6:20pm
I knew from a relatively young age that if I made the decision to have children, I would embrace the responsibility to be at home to raise them if at all possible. Thankfully, it has been possible and I am grateful. I'm 46, been married 25 years and we have four kids ages 21, 17, 14 and 9. I've never looked back or regretted the decision to stay home. My husband would have supported my decision to work if I wanted to, but I have been content being the one at home and it gives him peace of mind knowing the kids are cared for. We are a team with different jobs to do. At one point when things were tighter financially, we sat down and compared the cost of me working vs. staying at home. It was cheaper for me to stay at home.



It hasn't been easy financially or emotionally for that matter. Some days I think dealing with a boss and a job description would be easier than four kids! lol! I hear tell moms at home exist who watch soap operas, play tennis, sun themselves by the pool and eat bon-bons, but I don't know of any personally and I'm not one of those. Cleaning house, planning budget and meals to live within our means, keeping up with our kids, and homeschooling our 14 year old dyslexic dd because the stress of school was making her physically ill keeps me busy enough.

My college degree is in journalism so I do some freelance writing from home to fulfill the desire I have, like many women, to do something more and be more than someone's wife and mom, although I'm proud to hold those titles. But for me, it isn't an issue of needing recognition for anything else, just pursuing something I love. I also design stationery and note cards as a creative outlet and sometimes sell them. But neither the writing nor the cards add a significant income. It is more for myself than anything.

Having said all that, if it came down to needing two incomes to pay bills and put food on the table, I would work outside the home. I would work at McDonald's if that's what was needed. Or nights at a factory or mopping floors at a hospital. Or cleaning toilets at an office building. Or as a professional writer. My kids' welfare is a priority for my husband and me. If his job didn't meet our needs I would be working to make ends meet. For us, the issue would be providing for the needs of our children.

We choose to live in a small town in a rural area where the cost of living isn't as high so life is more affordable. We would probably not have near what we do on his income if we lived in a large city. We choose to say no to things that will put is in debt and surprisingly, doing that means we end up affording more in the long run. We live within our means and have taught the kids to as well.

I have no regrets and am very grateful for the life we have. And, I'm proud to be the support person for my husband as he works hard to provide for all of us. I realize I am blessed to be able to follow through with my desire to be at home and don't take it for granted, nor do I put down moms who make different choices than me.

One thing I do to help support my working friends is I let them put my name down in their kids's school files as a contact person in an emergency such as if the child gets sick at school and needs to be picked up. I've never had to follow through on that, but would if needed. I think that gives them some peace of mind knowing I would be there if they or a family member couldn't leave work right away or something.

Cindy

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Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 06-07-2003 - 6:28pm
That is great things worked out so well for you. Are you paying for college for 4 kids?
Avatar for cindytree
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Registered: 03-28-2003
Sun, 06-08-2003 - 1:06pm
We do what we can, but there is no college fund so mostly they will put themselves through college just like hubby and I did. My eldest is working and taking classes as she can with scholarships, etc. Our 17 year old dd is going to be a senior in h.s. and will be applying for all scholarships and financial aid that she can plus she works part time. Our contribution so far for each of the two older kids has been to get them a reliable used car so they can get to a job and commute to classes if they choose to attend college close to home. We have a dozen or more top notch colleges within commuting distance of our home.

We plan on following the same path with the two younger kids.

College is very do-able if the child is willing to work for it. I did four years at a college where I lived on campus, etc., by working 1-3 jobs at a time and getting scholarships. My parents didn't pay for any of it.

Cindy

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Registered: 05-20-2003
Sun, 06-08-2003 - 1:34pm
I agree with you Cindy. My mom was a SAHM, and my dad did not earn a huge income. I worked and paid my own way through college, and I never felt that I had been short-changed because my parents weren't footing the bill. I learned a strong work ethic at an early age, and I learned all about the importance of frugality and saving money. I think that paying my own way through college was a good, character-building experience for me.

:-)

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Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 06-08-2003 - 3:29pm
I paid my own way through college as well. In fact, I am still paying on a student loan.

Although I am jealous of my peers who had their educations paid for by their parents, I think I have learned the value of education through my experience. I treasured my time in college and I worked very hard to do my best and learn all I could. The sense of pride I feel in graduating goes beyond earning a degree. I came out knowing I really could do anything if I set my mind to it.

Jill

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 06-08-2003 - 4:01pm
I agree with you (the previous posters)! The knowledge that if I wanted to go to college, I'd have to make it work for myself was tough...but it made me decide what I really wanted, and put my mind towards getting it. Once I had the financial aspect of it under control, I had even more determination to achieve good grades & get the most out of my college experience, because I was the one paying for it! Sure, it would have been nice not to have the pressure of paying bills & working while in college, but I was more focused, had a greater work ethic, and was more determined & serious to accomplish my goals than some of my peers who were sailing through on their parents' dime. To them, it was "heck, it doesn't matter if I fail, I'll stay an extra year & party cause Mom & Dad want me to graduate, so they'll keep paying". And when I finished, with my degree in hand, I felt like I really did something.
Avatar for cindytree
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Registered: 03-28-2003
Sun, 06-08-2003 - 4:38pm
It was a struggle, to be sure, and my eldest daughter struggles some as well financially but we help out where we can. It just doesn't make sense to us to re-mortgage our home or go into excess debt when there are ways for the kids to make their own way for the most part.

I remember lots of times I wish I had more of my college paid for but I guess the point I take from putting myself through and pass on to others is that it can be done and there is no real reason why anyone can't get a college education if they really want it. Sure, I couldn't have afforded Harvard or even most out of state schools, but I got a good education at a state university that didn't cost as much. I really think a degree is only as good as the person who earns it and applies themselves to it and where it is received from isn't as big a deal as some make it. Just my 2 cents worth on that.

We have a branch of Indiana University practically in our back yard and on although some might look at it as a "junior college" it really isn't. Graduates get a four-year degree from Indiana University that is the same as the graduates from the main campus in Bloomington. They can do pre-law, pre-med, etc. too. That's nothing to shun by any means, but if my kids attend the branch it only costs about $5,000 a year if they commute from home.

Cindy

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Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 06-08-2003 - 10:04pm
Everyone has different priorities, one of our priorities is to provide our children with a college education. I had many friends I went to college with that really struggled and had a hard time paying for their own college. I don't want to put my kids through that. I want them to get all they can get from their education and intend on making this possible for them. Furthermore, I don't want to struggle. I know plenty of SAHM's that struggle financially to be able to SAH, that is not a life I want for myself or my family. I don't want to wonder where the money will come from to pay for this or that. If my kids want to particiapte in something, I don't want to worry about what bill can go that week. My bills come in and they get paid, my kids don't get everything they ask for but I do provide them with alot.
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 06-09-2003 - 9:22am
I'm glad it worked out for you. I specifically didn't get married as young as you did, and we limited our family size, in part in order to be able to pay for college for our kids. Not that we will pay it all, but it's great to know that (with luck - knock wood), we'll be able to do it.

Just different family priorities.

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Avatar for cindytree
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Registered: 03-28-2003
Mon, 06-09-2003 - 1:54pm
I see what you are saying and don't disagree with your priorities. My experience, though, wasn't a really negative thing. I never went hungry or worried about my needs being met while in college, I just had to work harder for it than those who had their way paid (which I don't put them down for either...there is nothing wrong with having it paid by someone!). Nor have we ever been in a situation financially as a family where we worried that the kids' needs weren't being met, but we have had to find more frugal ways to get and do things without going into debt for it or not having a parent always accessible to our kids.

For us the decision was for one of us to be the primary caregiver the first 18 years of their lives, feeling that was more important and had a greater impact than both of us working those 18 years to provide college for just four years of their lives, and adult years at that. Yes, we've sacrificed a certain standard of living but haven't been poor in any sense of the word. We just knew there was no such thing as having it all. Either we maintained a certain lifestyle and weren't as available as parents as we'd like to be, or we invested in a rich, nurturing home albeit having less materialistically. The choice for us was clear.

My mom and dad always worked and honestly, I don't remember any material benefits, including college, only that they weren't very accessible. I didn't want my kids to go through that. I knew they could find a way to get through college someday, but I'd never get a second chance to do those first 18 years over again. That's just my experience and I understand not everyone is impacted the same way by what life dishes out.

Cindy

Avatar for cindytree
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Registered: 03-28-2003
Mon, 06-09-2003 - 3:56pm
Oh, our bills get paid too, and on time. And the kids get to do fun things and have fun things. Just wanted to make that clear. They aren't suffering in the least.

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