I’m not “lucky” to stay home with my kids, I worked hard to make it happen.

posted in: Positive Living | 8

I remember the first time someone told me how “lucky” I was to be able to stay at home with my kids. I think my eye might have twitched a little bit, but I kept my mouth shut. lucky

It was the lady who worked at the post office. I was picking up 4 days worth of mail, and because I'm a blogger that includes a lot of packages of things for me to review and/or consider mentioning. I apologized for the pile-up, throwing in a comment about how it's hard to make it during office hours with my husband away for basic training and a baby to take care of. I didn't mention the blossoming freelance career or the fact that someone close to me was in the process of a literal mental breakdown. I mean, this is the post office lady and a 5-minute conversation, you know?

“Oh, but you're so lucky to stay home with him.”

I honestly don't even remember what I stammered, because I was so mad. I just excused myself like a Good Introvert and Said Nothing Because I Couldn't Say Anything Nice.

But what I thought was…

No, I'm not “lucky.” My husband and I actually work really, really hard to set up our lives this way.

What I thought was…

Oh!! I'm LUCKY that I haven't seen my husband in 3 months because he's been across the country training for a career to provide for our family??

What I thought was…

I don't really feel “lucky” to stay up until 2 am writing articles at $15 a pop just to make ends meet as we start our family.

Blessed? Yes. Immeasurably blessed with the opportunities to make this work.

But it's not “luck.” It's hard, hard work each and every day to keep this all running.

Because it's important to us to be the ones teaching our kids.

It's more important to us to have that time with the than it is to go on vacations and buy top-dollar clothes and have a brand new vehicle.

It's not luck. It's intention.

And what that looks like practically is:

  • Living in a 1 bedroom apartment until our first child was 2 years old.
  • Eating rice and beans for extended periods of time.
  • Humbled trips to the food bank when unexpected car repairs came up and the budget didn't quite work.
  • Never, ever getting credit cards because we KNOW it would send us on a downward spiral.
  • Now living in a 107 year-old house because it's what we can afford without going into debt.
  • Staying up until 2AM working on our business to prepare a future for our family.

I know we're not alone in this. I know that even you mamas who don't freelance or run a business alongside raising your family work hard. Just the day-to-day laundry and dishes and food are enough work to constitute a full time job.

I know that.

And that's why I can't stand when women tell other women that they're lucky to do this.

Especially older women – because they should know better.

It's not luck. It's hard work.

But it's GLORIOUS work – so – keep on keepin' on, mama.

8 Responses

  1. Very well said! Our lifestyles are not luck for the most part, we all make decisions based on our priorities. I’ll be at ShiftCon as well, looking forward to hopefully meeting you. ~Alexis

  2. What she probably meant is that you’re lucky to not have to go to a job while still doing everything at home, because when you have a job to go to, the laundry and dishes and everything still need to be done.

    • I get that Misty – but I think you missed my point. It isn’t LUCK. It didn’t just happen this way. My husband and I very deliberately set up our family like this.

  3. I feel like this post could very easily spiral into some kind of WAHM SAHM WOHM crazy debate but that is so far outside of what I’m trying to say. I’m not saying every family should do it this way and they don’t work hard enough if they don’t. I’m saying don’t discount another person’s hard work and decision and pass it off as LUCK.

    You see it in other areas too:

    A student works a full time job while going to school full time to be able to earn their degree without debt, then someone tells them how “lucky” they are not to have student loans.

    A woman loses 60 lbs. through diet and exercise and is told how “lucky” she is to have her body back.

    It’s just really dismissive.

    And of course I don’t expect everyone to KNOW the details of another person’s life.

    But maybe this can encourage people to pass of something they desire as only attainable by luck. Maybe, instead, they could ask that person how they were able to do that? It would be a much more useful conversation.

  4. You know what is kind of interesting? From my end, the husband of a SAHM, I get the exact same thing – wow, you are lucky. I don’t know how many times I’ve launched into the we are not lucky, we have set our life up like this, that is why we live in a small townhouse, have a ten year old beater van, no cell phone, don’t eat out, etc.
    The response I always get is something along the lines of – you must save a lot in daycare costs.
    Yes, let’s downplay the SAHM’s role to that of a babysitter now?!
    But, after almost ten years of getting mad at people for not understanding, I realized I wasn’t getting anywhere and only building up walls . I’ve tried changing things up, not arguing but just explaining the benefits of having my wife at home and why we chose this lifestyle. Usually I do this by telling stories about the kids or what we had for dinner last night…and even some of the harder parts, like missing bedtime b/c I was working that second job…but, pretty soon whoever it is I am talking to comes to realize why we choose this wonderful way of life, that we are not lucky to have it, but, work for it.

    • Love your comment, thanks so much for stopping by.

      Fortunately, I’m really over getting mad about it too. I wrote this post because I’d like to encourage people to look at things a different way. That someone doesn’t have to be “lucky” to have something that’s important to them.

      I’m glad others who “get it” are reading too!

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