I was down on my hands and knees for the third time that day wiping up the trail of mud the kids and dog had left on my white kitchen floor. With each swipe of the rag my grumbling got worse until finally in a fit of self pity I threw down the rag and started whining “Dear God why does so and so have a nice concrete driveway and I don’t?” In a gentle quiet voice He answered, “The choice is yours. Do you want to stay at home and clean up muddy footprints from your kids or work long hours in an office all day to earn money for a new concrete driveway?”
I learned a very important principle that day. Almost everything that happens in my life is because of the choices I make. Nothing was more important to me than staying at home with my children. Because of that choice, it meant we couldn’t have a lot of extras that we wanted. I had no right to be envious of my friend who had a new home, car and a closet full of designer clothes. She worked long hard hours, but missed out on a lot of special things with her children in order to help pay for it all. In the same way she had no right to envy me because I had chosen to stay home with my children and to clean muddy floors all day. We both had made our choices and our own sacrifices.
We get many e-mails saying “I wish I could stay at home but we can’t live on one paycheck alone”. Yes you can. The choice is yours and, as I said, every choice has its sacrifices. It is just a matter of deciding what sacrifices you are willing to make. I lived in Idaho. I had a job I liked, a home I liked and it was less expensive for me to live there. But my family (especially my grand kids) lived in Kansas. I had a choice to make. I chose Kansas. I gave up a nice home, a great climate, and a better financial situation but I gained what I really wanted and needed — to be with my family.
Our choices aren’t always major life changing ones. My son-in-law drives “The White Car”. The white car is slowly being overtaken by rust. There are no springs left in the drivers seat so you are basically sitting on the floor while you are driving. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if I looked up one day and saw him driving down the street with nothing more then a steering wheel, 4 tires, and an engine left.
My daughter asked him the other day, ” If you had the choice to buy a brand new car (which costs the same as a years salary of his) or to take off work for a year which would you choose? He chose taking the time off. He said that even though it is not the newest car and that everything didn’t work the way it would in a new car, it is still a car that gets him from one place to another. You see either way he had to make a sacrifice. It was just a matter of what he wanted to sacrifice. Eventually, it will not be practical to keep “The White Car”, but I know that when that time comes, he will not buy a brand new car, but a low price used car that will not require him to go into debt.
So the next time you pull that credit card out to pay for something you want or need, think about what sacrifices you will be making for your choice. Are you sacrificing you and your spouse’s peace of mind because of the stress and burden you place yourself under trying to pay for it? Are you sacrificing curling up with a good book, having dinner with your family or spending a romantic evening with your spouse? Is the cost worth it?
From Dig Out Of Debt
PLEASE NOTE BEFORE COMMENTING: This is not a story about if you should or should not stay at home. It is to let those who want to stay home know that it can be done by making different choices.
photo by: monkeysox