Sunday, August 21, 2011

Giving Thanks Because I'm Lucky

Yesterday I was laying in bed with Lloyd getting our cuddle on like we do every morning before the day starts, and I just felt unbelievably lucky.  If I were not staying home I would be returning to work tomorrow.  He is only 9 weeks old.  He has new faces every single day, new discoveries, new noises.  I would regret putting him in daycare at every decision.  I am so much more contented knowing that we have sacrificed a more luxurious lifestyle in order to allow me to stay home.  Coach is a teacher, I worked for the government--but it doesn't matter what you or your spouse does that allows you to stay home.  It is always a sacrifice.  No travel, reducing eating out, fewer entertainment purchases, cutting coupons for every item you purchase--it is all a conscious decision we made and make every day so that our son can thrive in his own environment.  We saved and pinched pennies to make this a reality long before he was even here.  

In today's world being a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM) is a luxury.  I have a friend who is about to embark on her own SAHM journey and another who will be going back to work with 2 little ones in daycare.  I ache for the latter.  But I know the former has also made a lot of the sacrifices we made to make it happen.  It is just as difficult a decision to look at your finances and decide what can go so that one person can not work and stay home--maybe harder.  For us it was the realization that between daycare costs for an infant, paying almost $250 in gas for my commute (I drove 70 miles round trip), not being able to cloth diaper, and then what the hell do we do on the MANY nights both of us are unexpectedly working late (or I have to go into work at 2 am)--we would have only been bringing in about $500 extra a month.  Maybe.  And that's if we had family helping out A LOT. My friend is a nurse and her husband is in a job that people think makes oodles of money--but his hours are even worse than Coach's and hers are just as bad as mine were.  She gets crazy eyes from people when she says she's staying home but they don't think about the fact that in order to become what he is now she had to work him through school, they've got loans from his education, they've scrimped and saved every dollar for years and now that they're about to be parents it's not any different.  Except now those late hours, on call shifts, and unexpected weekend work sessions would cause them to put their daughter in daycare in excess of probably 60 hours a week during a bad week, and a minimum of 12 hours a day.  So why are people shocked we can figure out how to afford it but they make her feel guilty because of what her husband does? Trust me, regardless of what the working spouse brings home financially--it's a tough call.  

We're lucky.  I get to watch Lloyd grow before my eyes.  I get to make my husband's life infinitely easier for him during his rough weeks.  We get to enjoy quiet hours together instead of cleaning the house, doing laundry, running to the store--because I've been able to do all those things to ensure that the time Coach is home is peaceful and he can enjoy his son as much as possible.  So thank you to my wonderful husband for working those long hours, for coming home and still picking our son up off my lap to make him smile and play.  Because I married the best man there is, I'm giving thanks one small moment at a time.  Starting tomorrow with #1 and we'll see where that takes us.  

Because I'm lucky.  I'm lucky to even have a child when so many I know can't or have lost theirs.  Because every moment is a luxury.  Because life is short and scrimping is temporary.  Because all we need is each other.  

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