Thursday, January 17, 2008

It's Worth It!

Yesterday Owen and I experienced the longest period of separation from each other ever. We were apart for 8 and a half hours. Ben had the day off so Owen stayed home while I went to work. When I walked in the door he looked up at me and started kicking his legs and waving his arms. I smiled and kissed him and then went to hang up my coat. He didn't cry as I walked away, but he had the biggest poochy lip. He looked so sad. I quickly returned, scooped him up, and laid him on my lap. He was all smiles and just full of excitement. He never seemed so happy to nurse in all his life - and I'm not even sure it was because he was hungry.
Before I had children, in fact before I even got married, I told Ben that I would make any sacrifice necessary to prevent having to put my children in daycare. Thankfully I married a man who shared this conviction. I was thrilled when I found out I was pregnant on January 12 of last year. One of my concerns, however, was our financial situation. I'm sure everybody worries about it to some extent. Just a few months prior to getting pregnant, we had sold our house and moved out of state for Ben to go back to school. We were both working full time and Ben was going to school full time. How in the world could I quit working to have a baby? Doing so would cut our income by a tremendous amount when our outcome was higher than it had ever been in our married life! We prayed that God would work it out because we were convinced that it was God's will for our baby to be home with us.
I've been told that I have a strong personality. Admittedly, I am very opinionated and when I have made up my mind, it's very hard to change it. Before we had Owen I had read several books about having and raising children. Granted, experience teaches you far more than a book does, but through that reading I become stubbornly persuaded that I wanted to be home with my kids, should God give us any. I want to watch my baby taste each new food I give him for the first time. I want to be the one who teaches him manners and obedience. I want to see his eyes light up when he gets excited over a toy. I want to be the one reading him books and doing the crafts. I want to be the one teaching him God's Word. I want to be in the kitchen baking with him on a cold day. I want to be with him in the park when the sun is out. I want to be the one who cuddles him when he cries. I want to see all those smiles and hear the giggles. I even want to be the one who deals with his fussiness and changes his poopy diapers. Call me selfish, but I am this boy's mama and nobody can do a better job raising him than Ben and I. Why? Because God gave him specifically to us and is equipping us to be the best parents we can be. I don't want to share this responsibility with anybody.
Last night as I stared at Owen while I nursed him, I felt an overwhelming sense of thankfulness. I am so thankful I get to be with him. I cannot imagine having to drop him off to somebody else day in and day out. It would break my heart. I got home last night at 6:30. Owen goes to bed at 8:00. If I worked every day, I would get only an hour and a half with him each evening. That's not enough time for me to have the influence in his life that I hope to have.
Last summer, while still pregnant and somewhat unsure of how God was going to meet our needs, the school I taught at offered me a part time teaching position. I would only have to go in three days a week to teach algebra I - a class I have taught several times. It would have been a piece of cake and the pay would have been pretty good. I turned it down. I didn't want to be away from my baby that much.
Around the same time I was offered another job as a secretary. After working in this position for a few months my boss told me that she wanted me to continue working after I had the baby. Knowing I would not put my baby in daycare, she told me I could bring my baby to work. Now tell me God doesn't answer prayer! I went from working 40 hours a week to now working 24. Owen goes to work with me except when Ben is free. He has his own office in which he takes his naps and the rest of the day he is right with me. He has several toys in my office that he plays with and he even sits on my lap while I type. People ask me all the time, "Isn't that hard?" You bet!!! The older Owen gets the harder it becomes. You try answering a telephone call with a crying baby while trying to look professional. It's tricky. Last week I had to excuse myself from a staff meeting because Owen had a blowout during the meeting - which everyone heard and smelled! It can be a little humbling having to lock your office door to breastfeed while someone is on the other side knocking. And of course it's embarrassing when he throws a fit and I have to excuse myself so as to not bother everyone else who is trying to get some work done. You're probably wondering if coworkers get annoyed. I'm sure some of them do. You may want to ask me (as so many people do), "What about when he starts crawling? How in the world are you going to be able to continue to take him to work?" My answer: "I have no idea! I'm taking it one day at a time. I trust that God will work it out just like He has worked everything else out."
Please don't think I work so we can have "extras." I work so we can have insurance. We believe very strongly that if it is within our means to take care of ourselves, we should. Though we would qualify for government assistance, we choose not to partake of it. We drive older cars that we don't owe any money on. We don't shop a lot. We don't go to the movies, we don't buy a ton of new clothes, and all of Owen's clothes are hand-me-downs except for the gifts he got at showers. We chose not to buy another house, but instead to live in a small, super cheap apartment. All of the furniture in our home is used and therefore nothing matches. We only buy what's on clearance and I'm always looking for sale prices. I don't feel sorry for myself and I don't want anybody else to feel sorry for me either. It's a great trade! I would rather have "nothing" in the eyes of the world (and unfortunately in the eyes of many Christians) and be able to have a happy, close family, than to have it all financially and sacrifice these precious years with my son.
Once in a while I will feel bad about not contributing more financially to our family. I would make a lot more if I worked 40 hours, I reason. But my husband lovingly reminds me that it is not my responsibility to take care of our family, it's his. And he is doing a wonderful job! A lot of people would swear that we couldn't make it on our income. But we do. We have no debt and a bill has never been paid late. Praise God for a man who doesn't guilt his wife into having to work! I am so grateful that my husband allows me to make my family my number one priority.
I know this is a long post and I'm sure I've lost many readers along the way. I hope my convictions have not offended anyone. I know that for some families daycare is a must - especially for single parents - and I am sympathetic to those in that situation.
Since we made up our minds to have me home more, God has provided in amazing ways! God has used other people to bless us and meet our needs. I know that I will never regret the decision we made to keep Owen with us. I'll never look back and think, "Why did we live by faith? I wish I would have worked more! I sure hated those days when I was home with Owen." Undoubtedly I will make many decisions that I'll live to regret. This will NOT be one of them!

16 comments:

Lorraine said...

Thank you, Kelly. You encourage me a lot as Brian and I are on our own journey of starting a family (someday). Just today I was really upset because yet another day went by without me getting a subbing job (a new venture for me in an attempt to work part-time close to home in preparation for someday having kids). But, you confirmed what Brian always tells me - God's in control and we'll be fine. Thanks again. I needed to hear what you had to say today.

Pam said...

Kelly, when I made the decision to quit my job, we knew we'd be sacrificing too. Even with James' new job we sacrifice A LOT because of the house in Ann Arbor. BUT I would NEVER go back to work even if I wasn't having a baby because even at 7 and 9 they need me and the assurance that I am there for them. God always provides for us, and He always will.

Kara said...

We are living proof that God provides. We would make way more money if I worked full time and Casey stayed home, but we believe that's not how God wants it for us, we take our roles very seriously as to who is head of the household. I loved your post, I can totally relate.

Sara said...

I agree 100 percent, Kelly! Maybe you should consider nannying when Owen is crawling:) There is nothing better than being able to keep our boys with us, and also contribute to helping our family financially!

Travis,Stephanie, Olivia & Alex said...

I cant imagine working at this point, I too am thankful that God has provided for us to have me at home. Travis has always wanted me too but I wasnt ready 3 years ago. Giving up things and then taking time to save up for certain things has been truly rewarding. He has always provided and at just the right time. FAITH :)

Matt & Nicki said...

Just had to comment on your post. . God is faithful!! We live in a very expensive area, Matt is in school full time, works full time, we have two children and one on the way, and we have no other income. . .God continues to meet our needs and amazingly and undeservedly our wants to. Tonight Matt and I are celebrating 10 years of marriage by going away for the night by ourselves for free!! One of the seminary professors at his school gave us a voucher for a free-night's stay in a whirlpool suite at a very nice hotel, Plus gave us money for breakfast the next morning!!! God has richly blessed us with an abundance of gifts since Matt has been in school and we are SO thankful. I am so thankful to be married to a man who wants me to be home and raise our children. God will provide! Thanks for your post:)

Karen said...

Well said, Kelly! I can't imagine how difficult it must be to do your work AND keep a baby content! Talk about juggling 2 jobs! And hey, maybe the crawling thing will ensure some great early discipline! :)

Just curious: Why did you opt not to accept government assistance?

partyofsix said...

i am so thankful too for my husband that he feels strongly that i stay home with our children. praise Jesus we are about to start his last semester of seminary and we have been able to be debt free. - God has provided, even money for a used dryer when ours died this past december. and yes, he even gives us extra things that we don't even need. - i just found out this week that quincy's mom will be quitting her job in 6 weeks when i have my baby so i won't be caring for him anymore. i am very happy for her; i know it will be tough for them, but they are trusting the Lord to provide for them as well. - i appreciated your post. - yes, i too am curious as to why you aren't interested in applying for state assisted health care. i'll admit, i am on medical assistance. jason is a youth pastor and we don't get insurance through his job. we have private insurance, but we would pay thousands out of pocket, so m.a. is picking up what our insurance won't cover. it is a blessing. we pay taxes.

Amanda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amanda said...

How wonderful to be able to be with Owen so much. Tom and I have decided not to have anyone else raising our children either. I'll be quitting younkers in May and then just teaching piano at home in the fall. I'm so thankful to have a job that's friendly to raising a family.
Like Janelle, I too am on a government program--Medicaid. It has been so helpful in covering the baby appointments/costs and after baby is born, it will cover her medically for one year...which is fabulous since the school insurance costs a ton and doesn't cover much of anything.

Kelly Glupker said...

Janelle and Karen,
My husband feels very strongly that if it is within our means to take care of ourselves, we should. We are not opposed to taking government assistance if it was our only option. In fact, we had to use it when we first moved down here. Neither of us had a job or insurance and I had a miscarriage. We don't want to be dependent on the government, so if we can find a way to live without it (which we have at this present time), we will. I hope this makes sense. We do not judge those who use it. It's just our personal preference to avoid using it if we can.

The Hager Happenings said...

Kelly- This is off the topic. Do you remember Wes from school? He used to attend all of the games and collect the money sometimes? Well, he passed away on Saturday. He was in the middle of a long surgery and had a stroke on the table. His funeral is tomorrow. Thought I would let you know! I sure do remember him from my volleyball days. He was a good guy with a huge heart. Well, I will let you go. I better get to bed. Give Buddy Boy a hug. (Oh and say hi to Ben for me!!!)

Alicia said...

Thanks for sharing your convictions. We are right with you in the poverty student family boat and we've watched in amazement as God has ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS provided for us. Not only that but God is so gracious that we've never felt in need - even when compared to other families that have actual incomes. My only point of disagreement with you is in regards to govt. assistance. We feel that is another way God provides for our needs. We don't the help for granted and there is no other option for us re: insurance since both Matt and I only work part time. We are extremely thankful for the help and of course we'll discontinue when Matt gets a full time job (which will be soon hopefully!)

All that to say, it's refreshing to hear such strong convictions about being a stay at home mom. I marvel at God's graciousness to your family in allowing you to bring owen to work with you! keep us posted on the work situation as he gets older!

Phil Luter said...

Too many people let others raise their kids and then wonder why they have a different set of values than their parents. Kids need their mom. Besides, what other kid that age has his own office? This little guy is quite advanced in his career.

Anonymous said...

I think that this is a topic that is controversial because there are 2 opinions that are present about the issue. What about a mother who works full time---is she a sub-par and selfish mother? What about the single mom who has no option but to work? Has God not blessed her? Does He not care that her heart is with her kids and she longs to spend more time with them? I think both the stay-at-home Mom and the working mother will have their own issues to deal with, their own personal struggles and joys, and their own ways of being an influence in the spheres God has called them to minister in. There can be working moms whose kids (in a spiritual sense) have a cold heart, and there can be stay-at-home moms whose kids turn out spiritually cold. I think the optimal thing would be to stay at home and have more time with your kids and thereby have more opportunity to impress upon their hearts the things in life that truly matter. Working moms have less time to create that opportunity, but they certainly can use that time to make an impact. I know "good moms" in both categories, so I'm grateful for moms (like you) who take what has been given them, impress their faith upon their children's hearts from infancy on up, and love their kids selflessly. I suppose pride can be fostered within the hearts of Moms in either 'camp', but ultimately you answer to God alone. Perhaps your opportunity to stay at home opens another window of opportunity to minister to women who don't have that "luxury"---who knows? God has called you to be at home, and it is a wonderful testimony to hear you take your role seriously and with a grateful heart.

The Neals said...

Ok, I know I'm really late on commenting on this post, but I couldn't help but feel overwhelmed by reading it. I just had a baby weeks ago and am faced with the obstacle of going back to work next week. My husband is a Christian school teacher and quite frankly, we can't afford to live on his income alone. I have the opportunity to work part-time, from home. How I'm going to juggle these two jobs - one of being a mom - I'm not sure. But, I know God will get me through it. He's so faithful!