“I think I can understand that feeling about a housewife’s work being like that of Sisyphus (who was the stone rolling gentleman). But it is surely in reality the most important work in the world. What do ships, railways, miners, cars, government etc exist for except that people may be fed, warmed, and safe in their own homes? As Dr. Johnson said, “To be happy at home is the end of all human endeavour”. (1st to be happy to prepare for being happy in our own real home hereafter: 2nd in the meantime to be happy in our houses.) We wage war in order to have peace, we work in order to have leisure, we produce food in order to eat it. So your job is the one for which all others exist…” (pg 447-Letter of CS Lewis 1988 ed.)
Let me start off by saying, this is quite possibly the worst financial decision my husband and I have made in our married lives. We married in 2008, both with college degrees. We both returned to school for master degrees (and of course, accumulated some student loan debt along the way). We had two cars, a house payment and a high-needs pet.
Then, I became pregnant in 2013. We assumed that I would just keep working. I assumed that I would just keep working. After all, I have a master’s degree and a good job and we have a lifestyle to maintain.
And, how on earth would we pay for all of those student loans? (and the cars, and the furniture, and….?)
But yet, here I am, day 8 of this new adventure – my 8 month old is napping and I am blogging like all of the other stay at home moms.
So why did we choose to do it? Why did I choose to stay at home?
It’s quite simple really. After my daughter was born, I had a meltdown and said, “We can’t put her into childcare!” and my husband, quite sweetly, responded, “Ok.” Of course, after a couple weeks had passed, that just seemed crazy until we ran our budget and determined we couldn’t actually afford childcare.
Then there came the bottle feeding debacle. Anyone googling the interwebs for how to bottle feed your child, let me tell you, it is possible for a child to refuse the bottle and the pacifier and anything that isn’t a boob.
Luckily for me, my employer at the time was incredibly gracious and made arrangements so that I could primarily work from home. Yet, there were lots of meetings, often at night, and events that required my attendance that made child rearing difficult.
My sanity was slipping. Rest was elusive.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
I knew I wanted to eventually be a stay at home mom. I determined that after my second child was born, I would quit working then. I kept trying to make plans, trying to prolong the inevitable, but my heart kept sinking.
I realized, I simply cannot do it all. And that’s okay.
27 Prepare your work outside;
get everything ready for yourself in the field,
and after that build your house.
Sometimes, your work is in the home. As C.S. Lewis says in his letter, everything else exists so that we are happy in our home. When Solomon shares his wisdom in Proverbs 24:27, he is referring to a material goods. The nice things I want, the cars, the white picket fence and the so-called American dream, are not the be-all end-all. Work does not need to provide income. The people within my home are what matter. I am called to be a mother, to cultivate the fields of my daughter’s development, to manage the home and be the help-meet my husband needs so he can work outside the home. When I finally started trusting in God’s plan for me, by surrendering my stress and anxiety to Him, He found a way and ultimately softened my heart.
So, I quit my job. We traded in both of our cars for one. We built up our savings (thanks to the Lord’s provision!). We’re refinancing our little house and reducing our student loan payments. Financially, it will work.
My sanity has been restored. I can enjoy my daughter’s infancy while it is still here a short while longer.
And, if my husband has his way, we’ll be on our way to baby #2 in no time.