When people hear I stay at home with my daughter, I often get a response that goes something like "That's wonderful that you can do that" or "Man, I wish we were in a financial position for that to be possible" or "You are so lucky you can afford to stay at home." (Note: If you have said one of these things to me, please know I take no offense and I hear it often.) Some women who stayed at home with their kids will say things like "I never regretted staying at home while they were young" and "Good for you" taking the emphasis off finances.
You know, I never really know how to respond to the former of the two types of responses. I say that because, financially it doesn't make sense for me to be at home. It is a huge sacrifice right now. My husband lovingly and sacrificially works two jobs so that I can stay at home. Now, we have mitigating circumstances that made it so difficult financially, namely tax bills and medical bills that came fairly unexpectedly and after I had quit my job, but it would remain a sacrifice without those things. And it is not a decision we took lightly, in fact I did go back to work for about 4 months after I had E. So, I know both worlds.
I struggle with this decision daily. But, and this is important, for our family this is what is best. When I was working I was spiraling further and further into depression over not being able to care for my child in the way I felt called to. At home, I feel content and at peace. Obviously, not all of the time, and I often wonder if we are making the right decision. It seems to us that we are. When my previous position opened back up I honestly thought about returning to work for a time. You know, to lighten the financial burden placed on my husband. However, we had recently found out that we were expecting again and knew that when Baby 2 came along, I would need to stay home due to my salary vs childcare costs. So, I remained.
Often when I am rethinking this decision Jesus reminds me, gently and lovingly, that the best way is not often the easy way. Yes, finances would be easier if I was working. Yes, we could buy our children new things, instead of thrifting and going to garage sales. But does that outweigh my desire that I would be able to teach and train my children before they go off to school and I re-enter the workforce? Simply, no. Not for us. I will learn to be ok with little and to be frugal as long as I feel Jesus calling me to remain at home with our kids.
God often calls us to obey and trust him in situations that don't make sense to the rest of the world. So we sacrifice and we rely fully on God to provide for us. I don't think I see it as often as I wish I did, but God is there, moving in the everyday. Providing in small, but significant ways that allow us to keep going. To keep trusting that this is what is best for us. I pray often that God would move us into a time of much where we can bless others the way they have blessed us. But there is something about being in a position of needing Jesus to come through, to provide, that builds my faith. At a snails pace, my faith in Him is increasing and I'm learning how to trust The Provider, rather than trust in our abilities to make it work.
Disclaimer: If you work, or stay at home, I hope this post does not offend. This is what is happening in our life, in our family and I realize this is a highly controversial and sensitive subject. What is best for one family is not always best for another. I fully believe some women are called to work, or called to work for a season, and in no way do I want to diminish the sacrifice that you make each and every day for your family. This post is about my journey in trusting what we feel God has called us to and I hope you would be encouraged to trust Jesus in what He has called you to, whether that be to stay at home, work part time, or work full time.