Thursday, April 19, 2007

"Is he a millionaire or something?"

When we were visiting Grandma B. at the nursing home this weekend, someone asked my Brother-in-law if he was the one with six kids.  He said no, that wasn't him, but his brother-in-law instead.    The lady then asked if Steve was a millionaire or something, that he could have 6 kids and his wife could homeschool.  Our brother-in-law told her no, Steve just took good care of his kids. 

That was weird.  Believe me, we don't look like millionaires or anything.  We try to leave the house in clean, neat clothes, but they're not expensive clothes.  I was shocked that anyone would assume we were wealthy.  To be honest, we are currently struggling with medical bills and other bills, and frustrated that the money isn't stretching as far as we'd like. 

My daughter thought about this conversation for awhile and then asked us later "A family has to be wealthy for a Mom to stay home, doesn't it?"  I was surprised.  She knows we aren't wealthy.  Steve and I told her, that no, that isn't true.  A family has to make careful spending choices to keep the Mom home.  They have to prioritize their spending differently, but they don't have to be wealthy.  

She asked what we meant and we used examples from our own life:
we don't eat out very often
we don't go to amusement parks like some of their friends
we rarely go to movie theaters
we try not to buy expensive pre-packaged foods, unless it's a great sale
we shop thrift stores and yard sales before we buy new
we don't rent movies
we use the library as much as possible
we try not to impulse shop
we don't drive new cars
we have a small house for our size family
we always look for a lower price before buying something
we use coupons and shop sales
we don't go on big vacations
we don't go to ball games very often
we do without whenever possible.

I think she understood what we meant.  I hope the others in the car listening began to understand that the reason we make the choices we do, and not eat Pizza Hut whenever they get the urge, is so Mom can be home with them.  I hope they all understand that we make unpopular spending choices to enable us to homeschool.  We tell them no at times, because we love them, not because we don't.  And we tell ourselves no, as well.

Many Americans have forgotten the credo of earlier times:  "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."  But for Stay-at-home Moms and homeschool families, it is often a necessary choice to continue to follow that credo.  We choose to live a frugal lifestyle, because we think the goal of being home is worth the sacrifice.  Nothing is worth more to us than homeschooling our children.

Often, I find when I do without for awhile, that I didn't really need that item in the first place.  I may think I really need something and be upset that I can't get it, but I later realize I didn't really "need" it after all.  Wants vs. needs.  When it comes down to it, most things are wants, not needs.  And God continues to provide for our needs, as well as some of our wants.

I am thankful that I am a homeschool Mom.  I am thankful that God, and my husband's hard work and careful choices, enable me to stay home with my children.  Sometimes I forget how much of a blessing that is.  Sometimes I begrudge the sacrifices, temporarily.  But I would never trade this privilege for all the things I can not buy. 

Forgive me, Lord, for my selfishness at times.  Forgive me for not always appreciating the blessing of being home with my family.  Help me to keep my priorities in the right order, and help me to make wise choices.  Help me to be a careful and wise steward of my husband's earnings -- a careful helpmeet to him.  Thank You, Lord, for providing for us.  Amen.

Blessings,
April

4 comments:

  1. ByHisGraceInColoradoApril 19, 2007 at 3:44 PM

    I was just coming by to thank you for your comment today on the front porch! I am so glad I did. We really have so much in common. This post of yours is something I am dealing with too, being a good steward. And we do a lot of the same things, the same ways of being thrifty. It is still a challenge to get on top of it though, isn't it? Let's pray for each other, that we will be more like the Proverbs 31 woman, and that should help us in several of the areas we need help in!!!

    Bless you April,

    Nancy

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  2. An older lady asked my husband how can he possibly afford so many children. He said that God has given him a decent job. He then touched his shirt and said, I shop at Goodwill for my clothes. This shirt and pants cost me six dollars". He said this quite excitedly because his clothes are expensive looking clothes. My husband said some people at work act like he is guilty of child abuse because he couldn't possibly send all his children to college-they don't understand.

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  3. GREAT post! I love reading your blog, and it's lookin' GOOD! LOVE the feet pic!


    *THANK YOU!* for the award~I'm still kinda stunned by it~it means so much! (((((HUGS))))) sandi

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  4. Great post! Ditto to so much of what you said... right down to the medical bills and not much pizza hut...

    Things are getting tight with the many months now of higher gas prices... but this is such a priority for us, this homeschooling lifestyle, that we'll make do, we have to make do!

    Hang in there & keep on keepin' on,

    enjoy them,

    ali

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