Thursday, July 06, 2006

Single Income Families in Real Life

I was blessed to grow up with a mother who was committed to being a stay-at-home wife and mom, and a dad who was committed to making that happen. Even during lean times (and we had some very lean times as I got older) the idea of her getting a job outside the home never even came up as an option. We sacrificed in whatever ways we had to in order to live on my dad’s income and stay out of debt. Things got better, much better, in a couple short years, but that time still stands out to me as one when my family's commitments really became reality. Having that consistency, and also pulling together to be frugal and live within our means, gave us a great deal of closeness and stability.

One day when I was talking to a pastor’s daughter, the youngest of six godly children who are all now grown, I asked, “What was the best thing about being in a pastor’s family?” Her answer surprised me, because it was really unrelated to being a pastor’s kid. She said, “The best part of my childhood was knowing that mom would always be home. Even when I got into junior high and high school, I knew that she’d be there waiting for me when I got off the bus, and that meant so much.”

I know a precious single mother who opened a home daycare (maybe there’s a little irony there) and works as a church janitor at night. This has enabled her to be a stay-at-home mom during her childrens’ teenage years. I know things have been tough at times, but her cheerful heart and willingness to live frugally have paid off. She’s raised good, responsible children who are close to her.

As I was thinking about this topic, I did an informal survey of some stay-at-home moms I’m acquainted with online. Although I didn’t ask anyone to share incomes, most of them volunteered that their families lived on less than $50,000 per year, many of them on much, much less. All had at least two children, most four or more. Most had little if any debt, including car notes.

They shared wonderful ideas on how to save money so that their families could live on one income. But the general consensus was that the biggest factor in making it on one income is attitude. They believe that the sacrifices they make are worth it if it enables them to stay home with their children, and they take care to live with joy and contentment and not fall into a poverty mindset. They’re thankful.

I appreciate these ladies who are committed to being keepers at home, and the husbands who allow them to. They’re an inspiration to me, shining examples in their passion for their families and their willingness to live frugally.

I want to mention, too, how very grateful I am for a husband who wants me to stay home and works so hard to support our family. Billy is God's gift to me in so many ways, this being just one. It means more than I can say. I'm blessed.


Windy said...

Hi Stephanie,

I grew up in a family where Mom working outside of the home wasn't even on the table. :) Thank God!!! With as crazy as our family situation was, when Mom was well and at home, I knew I could count on her... That was such a HUGE deal to me when I look back. It gave me stability and security.

I maybe in school getting a degree, but leaving Hannah wasn't an option until she was in school. We also were very particular about who Hannah was with, the little amount of time she was, and it did us all some good. :) I am starting to ramble and I have forgotten what I was going to say... LOL

There are ways to live on one income and yes, it is hard, but when you think of the things you may have to give up, the reward outways the things you give up!!

Todd has always said, he doesnt care if I ever work a day with this degree and he knows it is something I have to do for me. :) Thank you Lord for such a wonderful husband!

Sorry to have rambled!

Pastor Steve said...

Well, I had it both ways. My mom worked, and stayed home, at different times. To be completely honest, the poorest times (outhouse and washtub baths)are my best memories. We didn't have anything but each other, a simple home and basic food...which is all we really need. All of the rest is just fluff that we convince ourselves we can't live without. My dad was also a better father in the dirt poor days. Prosperity always brought trouble with it. I try to remember that when I get the urge to keep up with the Jones'.


Charity Grace said...

Great stories guys.