From the time I was young, my Dad always taught me the values of hard work. He always said, “go to school, get a good job, don’t rely on anyone.”
I started working for family members as young as I could. Carrying firewood for candy evolved into cleaning my Grandma’s house and then into my first real babysitting gig. I’ll never forget using all my hard-earned cash to buy a new bed spread set from JCPenny (blue dolphins, because that was the height of fashion for a 10-year-old in the 90’s).
When I was 15, I started working at restaurants, then to greenhouses, more restaurants, and finally to Wal-mart.
When I was 19, I was self-sufficient enough get my first apartment and put myself through college. No parents necessary, not even to pay for books, groceries, or anything. (At the time I thought it was me, now I look back and see God’s Hand in it all).
Those four years were hell. Between my two (sometimes three) jobs, above full-time class schedule, and all the extra commitments being a perfectionist gets you, I was lucky to get four hours of sleep each night.
My husband (then fiance) lived with his parents and would drive out to see me a few nights each week. I barely had time to talk to him before starting on homework or leaving to work another job.
Throughout all of this- I wasn’t happy. Sure I looked it, played the part, and managed to come out with a degree, Magna Cum Laude. I did all the things I was supposed to do, had great references and an awesome looking resume. I was 23, married, educated, living what I thought was the “dream.” People always said – “wait to have kids, you’re only young once” or “do everything you want to do before you have kids, because once you do, your life is over.”
From then I worked several jobs, always trying to find that “missing” part of my life. I was looking for that sense of fulfillment, the feeling that I was making a difference, that someone needed me.
That all changed the moment I found out we were pregnant with our son. Even before he was born, I was sheltering him, watching what I ate, what I did, and the list goes on.
Staying home with him was the choice that made the most sense for my husband and I. I’m not saying that it’s the choice for everyone or that it is possible for everyone. We make a lot of sacrifices so that I can stay at home. We’re probably the only 25 year olds who have never had smart phones. We don’t have fancy things or go on fancy vacations. We don’t eat out often or buy expensive clothes.
But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love our life. I love staying at home with my son.
For the first time in probably 10 years, I watched the seasons change from Spring to Summer to Fall. I actually decorated for Fall!
I wake up without feeling rushed or pushed to go faster or do more.
I read my Bible. I mean really READ it. Like each day (which is something that I’ve been saying I’ll do for years!!).
I get to see my husband every day, pay attention to him, cook for him, and (hopefully) make home a peaceful place for him.
And yes, we even traded in our fancy car for a used mini-van. But that’s okay, because it suits us just fine.
I don’t think this is the type of self-sufficiency that my Dad wanted for me, but this is the type of dependency that my Heavenly Father planned for me. He knew what would fulfill my life better than I ever could.