Jul 22, 2008

Working vs Staying at Home (My story)

I am not writing today to debate who should work and who should stay at home. I think that is a discussion for husband and wife to pray and make the decision.

I have worked since I was 16 ... even while I was in college. I have not always had a great paying job, but God has blessed me with the income I needed to pay my bills, now whether I paid them or not IS another story. :)

When D and I were dating, he often talked about me staying at home and I always agreed with him. We said we would live off one income even before we had children so if either of us ever needed to stay home, we would be able to survive. We both agreed when we had children, I would stay home.

When I got pregnant with Ethan, life did NOT allow me to stay home because D was in between jobs for a while and when he got one that" fit", the benefits were great for one person, but not a family. We also needed a larger place and some new things around the house for the baby and boy o boy those "cute" little things we said we would do, you know ... me stat at home? - - went straight out the window.

We were NOT living on one income and in fact, we couldn't if we tried at that point. God allowed me to have a state position in the same city where we lived and I only had to drive .5 miles to get to work AND D could walk to his job if he wanted to and sometimes he did just that. My brother's homeschooling sister in law and her husband were planning to move here and she agreed to keep Ethan and the timing could have not have been better. Carla lived around the corner from my office and she had young children and Ethan soaked it all up.

Life was good. Real good. So of course, we didn't talk about staying at home anymore until Carla wanted to go back to work. Again, God orchestrated things where I did not have to come home, but this time Ethan stayed w/ Carla's mom and she took excellent care of him for a year or so, and again - - we put off the talks of me coming home.

You know where this is going. By now - - all plans of me coming home were gone and we incurred some more "items" and by now we needed both our incomes.

My job was always flexible so it wasn't a bad situation by any means and we didn't start thinking about me being at home again, until we got pregnant with Denham. By now I was working in the healthcare field providing services for seniors and I really enjoyed the work. When Denham died, I immediately went back to work to get my mind off what had just happened. 6 months later, we were pregnant with Austin.

D and I started talking about me coming home to be with Austin, but on paper, it just wasn't going to work. By now Ethan was sick and we had to make some decisions fast. So I stayed home for 4 months and went back to work. I needed to work, not only for money, but for my sanity. If I had stayed home, I would have gone into major depression. Ethan's situation at that time was unexplainable and very hard to deal with.

The people I worked for were GREAT and allowed me the time I needed to take care of Ethan and Austin and carry flexible hours, plus I really like helping people who for the most part are not considered important by many people in our culture. I identified with the company's motto and wanted to work there as long as was able to do so.

As most of you know Ethan had his surgery last year and I knew then I could not work anymore. We could not see into the future and we didn't know just what was going to happen. I knew he needed me to work with him and help him in school and learn how to live life all over again. I knew he needed to be with me.

The company I had worked for had been so wonderful and I felt like I was letting them down by leaving. I had built a relationship with many of our patients and our staff and didn't want to stop serving them, but my family needed me and they always come first.

So over the last three years, I have battled what to do because I did not want to be at work, uphappy thinking about being at home and did not want to be at home, unhappy and wishing I could work.

There are many aspects of working and staying at home that provide pros and cons. I have been home for the last solid year and have enjoyed it A LOT! When I was asked if I could do some work these last two weeks, I jumped at the chance, besides, the boys summer camp schedule worked in my favor.

The first week was rough for me, because I had settled into a routine at home and now I was all off. We ate late, got up late and nothing at home was like I like it. I didn't like the way I was feeling. At the same time I enjoyed being back at work, jumping back into my old job, and getting a feel for some new things.

Week two was rough again, but I felt like I could get adjusted, because we have been talking about me going back to work at least part time. Some things have changed around here in the last month or so and we need to make some decisions.

These last two weeks were rough because I was out of my comfort zone and didn't think I was gonna be able to do the job and do the job well and I will admit, I missed being home. BUT I decided to be a big girl, tough it up and work. Things would get adjusted at home, but I had to set the tone.

I thank my husband for working so hard (he always has) which allowed me to be home on and off for the last 3 1/2 years, but I don't want him working himself in the ground or working 3 or 4 jobs and where my children NEVER see him. My boys love and miss him and NEED to be with him, so I will work and I am glad I can work somewhere I enjoy working and work for people who need someone who cares. (Our seniors)

I believe we all have seasons in our lives and my season right now is to work a little, BUT I am thankful and blessed by God to have a flexible employer who is willing to work with me and all my "issues".

In the end it is all about balance. Whether I am home or not. If I don't make home and family a priority, I have failed miserably in God's eyes and I don't want to do that.

Making sure I follow my golden rule ... God, family, and then work.

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