Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Counting My Blessings

After yesterday's National Housewives Day, I started thinking about how truly lucky I am to be able to stay at home with my kids. Of course, Buddy is in school, but Sissy won't start preschool until the Fall of 2010.

Buddy was born 3 months before his due date (2lbs, 5oz), spent 6.5 weeks in the NICU and came home weighing in at 3lbs, 12oz. I had taken my maternity leave after he was born and my employers at the time were kind enough to give me 12 fully paid weeks at home after he was released from the NICU.

I did some typing and various things from home for them. Then, the time came when we had to make a decision. 12 weeks had gone by and he was still only 5lbs, 5oz. Obviously, day care wasn't an option.

My parents would have cared for him, but he had so many doctors appointments, physical therapy appointments - he was still tethered to his heart/apnea monitor, too. We felt like that was too much of a burden on them.

So, we ran the numbers and realized that after taxes, I was only bringing in about $500 a month. It just wasn't worth it. He was OUR baby. I wanted to raise him.

The Evil Twin had a steady job with good insurance (he has that same job today, I think he's going on 17 years with it...), so even though I have a college degree and the Evil Twin does not, in every year that we both worked, he out-earned me anyway, so the decision was made for me to stay at home, indefinitely.

Buddy started pre-school, then Kindergarten and we started trying to have a 2nd baby. It took almost 2 years and 3 miscarriages, but I finally got pregnant with Sissy. She was born in February, halfway through Buddy's 2nd grade year.

Over the years, I've done some work from home, but nothing steady. I've lost my ability to file for social security disability because I haven't worked (outside the home) in over 10 years. All because I valued my family more. That's a nice "how do you do?", don't you think?

We've managed to get by just fine. We don't have lofty ideals or needs. If I can find a way to cut corners, we do it. I can pinch a penny until it screams uncle.

I am very grateful.

Bruise Watch 2009, day 3 (but I got the bruise at some point last week, so it could be day 9 or something).

Nice, huh? Also, yesterday, when we returned home from picking up Buddy at school, we found this leaf bug on the door by the carport. I had to get a pic:

Buddy actually touched it and it didn't run away! We love opportunities to explore nature and talk about the beauty that surrounds us every day.


  1. I am one of those women who believe the feminist movement in some ways harmed our families far more than it helped women. I'm glad you are able to stay home with the kidlets. My experience has been that many families *can* get by on a single income if they are willing to make just a few material sacrifices.

  2. I've seen those "leaf" bugs, but I don't know what they are. I love finding stuff like that.

    I was extremely fortunate not to have to work when my kids were small. They wanted me to work so they could go to after school care with their friends, but I think now they realize that it was the best thing for them.

  3. What I love about this post is what is not said about this relationship but what is implied.

    You do not come across as the man demeaning feminist that dictates that she can do everything a man can do only better. And your description of the Evil Twin is of one that does not demand that the woman's place should be in the home barefoot and pregnant.

    You have mutual respect for each other and you value each others roles in the relationship....That's whats making it work!

    Kudos to you both!

  4. I'm willing to bet that soon we will see an image of the Virgin Mary in your bruise and then the media will flock to this site.

    I've always thought it is a crock to base Social Security on the last 10 years of employment. If I work my whole life and screw up the last ten years I'm shafted and someone that screwed off their whole life for some reason gets a good job for ten years and they get a Social Security check? It should be based on the total paid in over your lifetime.

  5. My daughter Heather is in the same situation. She has a degree in Environmental Science and her husband has a Community College degree in Computer Science. His pay vastly out paced hers so she stays home and Home Schools her two children.

    They have had to learn to be very good money managers but are doing well, and more importantly, are very happy.

  6. I am a terrible money manager so I needs lots of money to cover all those wild and crazy things I do. Being single doesn't help it. Like Ron said about SS, I am working my way slowly upp the ladder so for my last ten tears, I will be making more money that I did at the start if I even have to rely on SS for retirement income. But most likely, I won't.

  7. It's amazing how much people really can do if they're willing to put out the effort. I don't have a problem with women who stay home and I don't have a problem with women who work. It's a personal choice and both require some kind of sacrifice and commitment.

  8. I hope one day that I'll be able to decided to stay at home or not...but at least to have the choice.

    You know, when I have kids.

    I was a day care kiddo, and it was fine, but I'm not sure I'll be able to let go so my kids can go to daycare.

  9. I would LOVE nothing more then being able to stay at home with my kids. I envy you. You have THE BEST job ever!

    BTW...that bruise doesn't look much better. Are you anemic(sp)? Not many people would bruise that easily.

  10. We used to call those katydids, but I wasn't sure, so I looked them up here katydid. The first picture doesn't look like it, but if you scroll down for more examples (because apparently there's a bunch of kinds) you'll see some that look like this morning's bug.

    I used to love those things when I was little because they're mellow and they don't put up much of a fuss. Plus, they're neat.

  11. Awesome bug pic. My kids and I go on little nature walks. They bring little buckets with them, and come home with all kinds of new things - leaves, bugs, flowers, you name it - they'll collect it!

  12. I had a SAHM and my sis is one too. If we ever decide to adopt I know it would be a decision that The Husband and I would agree on. Especially since we will be out in the country and I will have, like, 100 animals. I will have to stay at home to take care of them all!

  13. stared at the leaf looking for the bug.

  14. Sure wish I could've stayed home with the Things, but....circumstances prohibited. You do have the best job! :)

  15. It's a blessed kind of life and you are lucky to see the beauty in it.

    In my former life I was a text-book editor. Now I can barely write coherent sentences. However, I'm thankful to be home and homeschooling and I wouldn't change it for anything.

    Bugs freak my kid out. He can gut a deer but runs from a moth. Go figure.

  16. I loved being a stay at home mom when my boys were younger. We never had money, but we sure did have good times together.

  17. Dana - There is no love lost between myself and Gloria Steinem. (Gag!)

    Kenju - Buddy was all about wanting to do after school care too! Isn't that funny? But, I think he's also happy I'm here when he needs me.

    Joker - Thanks! We're definitely on the same page when it comes to our roles in the family. We're equally important in our own ways.

    Ron - I hope the image of Our Lady pops up too! How cool!

    Barry - Yes, it is a series of decisions, but doable for many people. I'm glad it's working out for your daughter and her family, as well.

    Shiny Rod - I grew up in a fairly affluent I relish finding bargains and pinching pennies! I love seeing my savings add up!

    Jay - I don't have a problem with moms who have to work or WANT to work. It's a free country and you're right, it's a personal choice.

    CuteElla - I grew up with kids who were latchkey kids or daycare kids and they all turned out fine as well.

    Chandra - I have, at times, been borderline anemic many times in my life. That might be part of the prob. here. I wish all moms had the opportunity and support to stay home, at least for a few years.

    BB - Buddy called it a leaf bug, but I always considered them a type of grasshopper or something...but it looks like a katydid!

    Gigi - That's so sweet! Buddy loved playing with rocks (still does somewhat) when he was smaller.

    The Dish - You can live a simple life and still be completely fulfilled!

    Clippy Mat - LOL!!

    Tiff - Like I said, I wish all moms had the opportunity. We just happen to live in a low cost of living area and had to not mind being dirt poor for several years.

    A. - Ha ha! Sissy acts all interested in bugs, but in the end, is very skittish of them. Buddy used to be, too. He has become more adventurous, but if we chase him with a cicada shell, he freaks out! LOL.

    Ginger - That's just it. You don't need money to have the good times. Sure, it's tight here sometimes, but we just somehow make it work out.

  18. I love leaf bugs. Those things are awesome. Working to pay daycare just doesn't make sense. You are an uber-glamorous housefrau!

  19. Well, you can tell Buddy they look like leaves and they eat leaves, so they are leaf bugs, and they are related to grasshoppers too, so everyone's in the ballpark on the wonder that is the katydid (in all it's forms).

  20. They are called katydids. I took a nice picture of one back in 2005.

  21. I just did a post tonight about my husband and I making the same decision, well, not quite the same decision...he's a stay at home daddy...

    so glad we made that decision!