Consider BEFORE

Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor. ~ Ben Franklin

It occurred to me that my last post, “An Overheard Conversation”, may have sounded flippant to some.  I did not mean it to be.  My coworker’s remark (paraphrased), “Mothers should really consider these things before they work and put their children in daycare” was truly an “ah-ha” moment for me.  It was the moment in my life when I resolved to not work when I had children. 

She said, “Consider before.  She implied that her mother didn’t.  Her mother, she shared with me, did not have to work at all.  Her dad made plenty.  Her mother wanted to work, and her daughter felt that she came second…or third.  Her mother especially did not have to work 12-13 hour days!  But her mother reveled in her work.  She was highly paid and loved what she did.  Her daughter felt her mother loved work more than she loved being with her.  Her words, not mine.  My coworker carried a grudge against her mother, under the surface of their relationship. 

Please hear my heart.  Her words helped me to “consider before.  And I found out years later my coworker chose differently from her mother.  Perhaps she has gone back to work now that her child would be in school.  I don’t know.  My message was simply – “Consider carefully what the ramifications may be to your relationship with your child before you choose to put them in daycare or school with after care.”

I am NOT speaking to single mothers who must work.  I’m pretty sure your children “get it” that you must work to eat.

I am speaking to the many mothers who say they have to work when it is SO OBVIOUS that they don’t.

If you are married, your mortgage is over $3,000/month, you drive a luxury car, you have maid service, and your kids are in private school (even when you live in a great area!), then mom, YOU don’t have to work!  So stop saying you do!  You have many ways to cut expenses.  If you WANT to work, that is fine.  But to say you "have to" is ridiculous and insulting to women who really have to.

Maybe it is just where I live, but I know quite a few mothers whose DH’s earn enough to pay 3 of the 4 above, but she works to provide for that 4th item, such as $900/month preschool (for EACH child).  Or for the exotic vacations.   And I am not thinking of just 1 mother, but quite a few.  She doesn’t HAVE TO work.  She thinks she does because of her striving.  Sometimes she claims she is quite impoverished.  She has more than most, yet wants more, because others around her have even more (or pretend to).  
The solution is so simple for these women (IF they really want to quit).  Be content with what you have.  Stop hanging out with people who claim to live story-book lives, living in mini-mansions.  Scale down.  Because you are trading your kids for houses.  For views.  For clothes.  For vacations.  For self-esteem in “helping” others (but not your own kids – someone else helps them). 

The women I am thinking of are married, and their husband can provide sooooo many luxuries – the BMW, the private school, the maid service – the but $7,000/month mortgage?  Well, that needs to be scaled down.  So she keeps working to pay for that mortgage.  She’s traded a great lifestyle and being at home with her kids to paying off the dream house mortgage. 

Others bought their dream home in the 1990’s, and so they can afford the house, the maid and the BMW, but not the school.  Yet she can’t live without her kids going to that prep school.  Did you ever ask your kids – private school or mom at home? 

I drop by my old office, child in tow, every year to have lunch with my ex-boss.  So I’ve kept in touch with many of my old coworkers.  So far, I’ve had 8 e-mail me, call me, and cry on my shoulder that they worked making “good” money because their (now ex) DH’s couldn’t bring enough in.  He couldn’t provide the luxury they craved.  But now her kids have grown up, her DH has left her for another, younger woman who was satisfied with what he could provide, and all she has is her large home, her luxury car, a fabulous closet, her scrapbook of exotic vacations, and her cat.   You may think I’m exaggerating or thinking of only 1 woman.  No.  Eight confirmed, and many more are headed down that road.

And then there are another 8 women who are still married, but their kids are grown and gone, and they have confessed to me that it hasn’t been worth it!  They see me with my child and they say they wish they could do it over!  They willingly missed out being home with their child for their house!  It is too late and they cannot go back. 

I tell them to begin now.  Begin to be that Christian mother you set out to be.
The first thing you must do is call or write each of your children and ask their forgiveness.  Ask them what their grudges are.  WRITE IT DOWN as they speak.  Then ask forgiveness for specific items and pray with them to remove any bitterness over these hurts.

One mother did this and won one of her two children back.  The other has yet to forgive.  This mom chose Prada, clothes and jewelry over her children.  Her (now ex) DH provided a really nice home, car, private school…but she still wanted more.  Discontent.  Unsatisfied.  Both children have rejected her lifestyle and are home with her grandchildren.  She is trying to make amends by being a better grandma, but she is rarely invited over.  She regrets her covetousness.  “How much I’ve missed,” were her words.

Another woman I told needed to start now to be the mother she should have been, had one blissful year of closeness with her 20 year old before she was killed in an accident.  She has many regrets…but at least she knows her daughter had forgiven her.

Another woman, when I told her to trust God and stay home with her toddlers (after she told me "I wish I could stay home") told me it was impossible.  When I reminded her that nothing is impossible with God’s help, she smiled and now avoids me.   But the other woman who was in the church nursery where this discussion took place, called me and thanked me for giving her “permission” to just be at home with her 3 kids and not have to juggle school to become a nurse.  She’s since read my 2 favorite books, Finding My Way Home and There is No Place Like Home.

A woman down the street asked me why I stayed home since I only had 1 child.  Puzzled, I asked her why only having one would make a difference.  She said if she had 2 or 3, daycare costs would prohibit her from working, but only one….   But it is not about daycare costs.  It’s about providing a home for the child you bore.  Her husband agreed and she got to stay home for several years.  She needed “permission” – because her extended family told her to work.

One last story.  Right after the overheard conversation incident, I had lunch with a pregnant coworker.  She mentioned she was only taking 4 months off.  I asked her, “Why only four?  Why come back at all?”  Her DH provided a lovely home for her and her drive was insane – 60 minutes each way.  “Benefits. Bonuses.”  So she came back.  And cried at her desk looking at baby’s picture, and gave her notice.  She quit, and yet she was soon able to buy her dream house, because this woman needs no sleep and opened an office in her home.  When her second child turned 3 I was invited to the party.  She told me it was because of our conversation she was home and didn’t miss out on her children growing up.  She only takes on as much work as she wants.  From her home.  Where her kids are.

So again, the purpose of my last post was that “Mothers should really think about these things beforehand.”  That was my point.  Really think it through.  Finding My Way Home has a great checklist to help. 

My coworker’s comment helped me to think it through beforehand.  I looked around me and didn’t like what I saw.  I chose differently.  You may be one of the women who say they are better mothers when they work.  Just so long as you’ve thought it through, I’m fine with you working.

But, I can hear the majority of you saying, we aren’t living in luxury! We don’t have a large home, we don’t drive luxury cars, our kids are in public school, we don’t have maid service, and we don’t even go on vacations! There is no way we could make it on my husband’s income, but I WANT to be home!  What do I do?   That is what my next post will be about.

Pioneering conservationist John Muir once stated he was richer than railroad magnate EH Harriman.  When asked how that could be, Muir noted, "I have all the money I want, and he hasn't."  A great attitude to have.  Contentment.

No comments:

Post a Comment