In this day and age, it seems harder for a mom to stay home and raise her kids. Raising one is hard enough on the pocketbook, but four is even harder. It has only been with a little help from above that I've been able to continue to stay home and raise our children. It is definitely a blessing of tithing and a desire to be obedient.
It seems that the ability to stay home and raise children is possible only through sacrifice. I definitely believe that. My husband mentioned in one of his classes that his wife stays home and how important we both feel it is that I am home with the kids. His instructor asked if we made any sacrifices, specifically, if I had made sacrifices. My husband said yes, that we have given up quite a few things. That using generic brands instead of name brands really doesn't make much of a difference. We don't vacation in the tropics, we try not to go out and eat more than a few times a month, and all of these are considered sacrifices in these modern times.
But I think that the instructor was really asking if there are any personal sacrifices that I make, being the wife who stays home. I don't think my husband realizes some of the things I've given up to do this. In a way, though, it doesn't necessarily feel like a sacrifice because this, being a stay-at-home mom, was always my ideal future life when I was growing up. In the world's eyes, yes, I have given up a career (teaching school) that I would have been quite successful at. I probably would have already earned a master's degree by now, maybe traveled the world some, and certainly, I would be more involved with expanding my own talents and mind if I weren't so busy taking care of my little children and holding down the fort, so to speak. But I think that being a mom is so big a part of who I am that all that doesn't matter all that much. Yes, I need to have other interests, and I do, but it's okay to put them aside a little bit to focus on being the best mom I can be. In fact, some of my talents are quite useful to being a mom--like cooking and keeping the house clean (yes, I'm talented in being organized, boring gift, but it's true!).
There have been a few schools of thought that I've come into contact with. Some women I know comment about the importance they feel in "contributing" to their household by providing help with the finances. I definitely feel like I "contribute." Who else could do what I'm doing for my kids?
For me, honestly, it's a little hard to not want to "keep up with the Joneses", but when I really examine it with an eternal perspective, I realize that it really isn't important at all. What's more important is sharing what we do have, our time, talents, and means, with others who are in need. We have been blessed with a home that fits our needs. We now have cars that can get ALL of us from place to place. Our kids seem to be happy and well adjusted.
The point I'm trying to make is that none of this is our doing. I feel that "God is at the helm". I'm grateful to have what I do at this point in my life. I feel very blessed to be able to continue to stay at home with my children. I feel it is so important for me to be here. In fact, we had a recent conversation, my husband and I, about the possibility of him finding some sort of second job to help with finances if the need arises. So far, we've been very blessed and haven't needed that. I am grateful, too, that I married a man who feels the same as I do, and understands the importance of mother being at home.