Friday, March 7, 2008

The House That Two Incomes Built

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This is the house my husband and I lived in when MaddieLynn was born. I keep this photo in the drawer of the nightstand on my side of the bed. Sometimes, when things get hectic and I get weary, I look at it just to remind myself what is really important. (Hint: It ain't the house.)

We were very proud of this house and both worked full time jobs to pay the mortgage. After we had MaddieLynn, we never really thought about doing anything different than just that. After all, our friends and neighbors were doing the same thing. Rush the kids to daycare, work all day, rush back home to try to work in chores while enjoying the few hours of daylight left with the family.

Each morning, at 7:00, I would drive away from my beautiful house and my precious baby and spend the day teaching other people's children long division while another woman cared for my child.

We had hired a sweet older lady, Miss Mary, to care for MaddieLynn, and she loved her like her own grandchild. She would tell us about our baby's day. The smiles and giggles. The foods she liked and the ones she spit out. She told us that MaddieLynn loved flags and that she would clap and squeal whenever she saw one on the many walks they took around the neighborhood. She told us about the first time MaddieLynn said, "turtle" as clear as a bell. I did not know any of those things about my baby until Miss Mary told me.

It was around that time that I began to think my beautiful house was not so beautiful and that my precious baby was even more precious than I had first realized. In fact, I began to despise my house and mourn over the baby, my baby, that another woman was nurturing.

But, what could we do? We had made our choices. And besides, it was natural to feel a little guilt over leaving a baby in daycare. Right? The feeling would pass eventually. At least, that's what everyone told me.

Still, it seemed so wrong. The feeling of guilt only grew stronger. I would stand over my sleeping baby, in her bed, in the quiet of the night and weep because I could see that she was growing and changing - without me.

I began to think of Romans 12:2 "...do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." What did that mean? Obviously "conforming to this world" is something to be guarded against and not to be desired. Yet, we looked exactly like "this world" with our big house, double income, and paid childcare.

I knew that something had to change. But what? And how?

To be continued...

See Part 2 here.

8 comments:

JenIG said...

... i like where this is going...
:)

Pat's Place said...

Bravo! My husband and I made that decision when our children first came along. I stayed home until all were in school and we did not afford the big house I might have liked, but I do remember their first smiles and first words and first steps! I also gave my children OUR values and did not leave that to daycare workers. It was not always easy but we all seemed to have survived and I love the memories I treasure of each moment with my children. I applaud your decision!

Kim said...

I cannot believe how similar your story is to mine! We did not have the house, but rather an enormous amount of debt and two new cars. We were very young and just followed the path of every other young person that we knew....daycare, debt, and the daily drive in into a job that I hated!

I can't wait to hear the rest.

Miche said...

It is amazing the choices we make...I am soooo happy that my husband and I cleared out our debt and downsized our needs right before our baby was born, letting me stay home. I worked at a daycare as a preschool teacher, and it would break my heard to see kids come in when I did, at 7am and leave when I did, at 7 at night. When we decided to try for a baby, I just knew I couldn't got work at a daycare and drop my child off in another room..it seemed so ridiculous! Anyways, I like your story and am looking forward to the rest!

Miche said...

whoops, should say heart instead of "heard" in my comment. sorry!

Amy D said...

I should probably wait for the conclusion before replying, but this post has already touched me in a very tender way.

I have been blessed to be a stay-at-home mom from the get-go, and we started our family fairly young (I was 23). I see houses like that and I know that it is highly unlikely we will ever live in such a house. And sometimes that makes me sad. But your post was an excellent reminder of what is important. I'm so glad we are already there.
I'm looking forward to part 2!

Liz said...

Great story. I can relate to amy d. I was 22 when we had our first and I too see houses like that and wonder if my kids would have a better life if.....but God has us here in His providence. Thanks for a reminder. Elizabeth

PS - PLEASE RUN, DON'T WALK AND SIGN THE PETITION LINKED FROM MY BLOG!!!! PLEASE I DON'T WANT TO WEAR BLACK AND WHITE STRIPES!!!

da halls said...

Looking forward to part 2!

Thank you for the reminder of the little things we take for granted (like getting to see our little ones delights in flags waving).

80)
Mary Beth

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