When I was pregnant, my husband and I moved to another state to be closer to family. When we purchased our house, we made sure that the mortgage and insurance were affordable on his income alone. The bank said that we could buy a house that was fifty thousand dollars more than our budget, but we preferred to have a smaller house and save the additional money for a rainy day, as we figured we were sure to face some in the years ahead.
When my daughter was in the first grade, her best friend's family bought a large new house. Both parents worked, and my daughter's friend bragged incessantly about having the biggest, best house in the neighborhood. One night before bed, my daughter became tearful and told me that she wished we could have a bigger house too. I thought about it for a moment and then told her that we could, indeed, have a bigger house. The tears stopped, and she got excited. But then I explained to her that I would go back to work so we could afford the bigger house. Just like her friend's mom, there would be many nights I wouldn't get home in time to tuck her into bed. I'd have to hire a babysitter to pick her up from school and keep her for the afternoon, just like her friend. I probably wouldn't get to school events either, and we wouldn't spend time together after school, but at least we could get a bigger and nicer house. Well, then the tears started again! She decided that maybe she didn't want the bigger, better house after all, as it would come at too great a cost, even in her little seven-year-old mind.
She's 18 now and has come to understand and appreciate the financial sacrifices my husband and I made so that I would be home with her. I'm hoping she'll follow in my footsteps and make her children a number one priority. A big house is very nice, but it's not a home unless there's a mom in it available for love and hugs whenever needed.
Jenny (an 18 year veteran of stay at home mom-ing)
Remember, all of you can send me "letters" too - by email! Just sign into (or sign up for) the Dr. Laura Family - it's free - and tell us of your experiences.