Phillip and I made a choice before we had Jackson that I would stay home as much as possible with the kids. We bought a small old house with a really low mortgage. Even though I have a degree, I have never had an actual full time job or career. I have had part time jobs over the years that were usually around 10-20 hours a week. And the only reason I’ve been able to do that is because we have parents who are willing and eager to keep our kids for us a few mornings a week. This is the first time in years that I haven’t had an actual job to go to. I’ve got my photography business but it’s pretty unpredictable. And with the economy like it is, photos are a luxury that many people just can’t afford right now. Since we can’t really depend on regular income from my business, we have to be really careful that we can live on Phillip’s income alone.
Jackson has asked us for some pretty frivolous things lately and we basically told him that we can’t afford that kind of stuff right now. And that’s a weird thing to tell your kid. It’s like on one hand I feel guilty but it provided us with a chance to tell Jackson the decision that we made before he was born. And that decision was to sacrifice “stuff” for me to be able to primarily be a stay at home mom. The truth is even living on a pretty tight budget, we’ve still been able to do and buy lots of stuff. We don’t live an extravagant lifestyle by any means, but we still have luxuries that we could give up if we had to. And we haven’t always used what money we do have as wisely as we should have. Thankfully most of our financial mistakes have been relatively small. I think that sometimes the more money you have, the more trouble you can get into with it.
There are plenty of times that Phillip and I both wish for more stuff or bigger and better stuff. Sometimes it’s hard not to compare ourselves with others who have lots of stuff ,but then we kind of have to remind ourselves that we chose this life. We made intentional decisions that have put us where we are. These decisions have allowed me to be very involved in our kids’ lives. These decisions have allowed us to be able to live on one income and pursue my pipe dream of being a photographer. And as much as I really want two bathrooms (or at least one pretty one), I want even more to pay our house off and be able to live on even less. Who knows, maybe some day down the road Phillip can quit teaching and we can just be photographers and musicians. Now that would be cool!