After reflecting on all that has been written (and all that I still need to write), a thought came to me… Does anyone wonder how I can be interviewing for jobs, moving all over the country (or more specifically the Mountain & Midwest), and be a mom?
It is because I have an AMAZING HUSBAND!
Truly, I know God’s hand was all over us meeting, falling in love, and starting our family. Here’s a little background:
My family moved to a new town when I was in middle school. And, while I was in the public school system, we did a great deal (athletically) with the catholic/private schools. For example, both the public and private schools would take buses to the high school for track practice. And, most of the private school kids lived next door to public school kids, so we all somewhat knew each other.
Why is this important? Because the first time I saw my now husband was in 7th grade (he was in 8th grade) at the high school during track practice. Crazy to think about that!!
I would love to say that we met back then, fell in love, married out of high school, etc. That was not our story…
Our story is that we really didn’t know each other back then. We were around each other some and had mutual friends, but we ran in different circles. We went to different high schools – again, me to public, him to private.
Another fun fact is that he almost went to the same college! He played three sports in high school and was being recruited by several colleges for various sports. When he chose to play baseball, he was down to two universities. He chose one, and a year later I chose the other. So, our paths would still not cross.
I clearly remember being back in our hometown a few years later when I ran into him at a bar. Imagine my surprise! When I saw him, I went right back to being 12 years old. I didn’t know what to say, mumbled some words, and went back to my friends. Years later, I now understand that experience was much less eventful for him :).
It took another year or two before we would truly “Meet.” That took a great deal of liquid courage (please remember, I wasn’t a Christian at the time…at least I was not in a true relationship with Christ). I had been heading back home every few weeks and hanging out at a local establishment with friends from high school. I was one (1) year out of college and living about two (2) hours away in a town where I didn’t know a soul, so being around friends on the weekends was important. So, for that year, my girlfriend would hear me say things like…
“can you believe I used to think I would marry him when I was younger?” or
“isn’t he cute? I mean, seriously, he’s cute.” or
“wouldn’t it be funny if we ever did date – I mean – how would I tell him I thought I would marry him over 10 years ago?!?”
So, after nearly a year, my girlfriend said – either you go talk to him, or I will! Knowing my girlfriend, she wasn’t kidding – and – I wasn’t 100% sure what she would say. Plus, what is the worst that could happen??? Right???
I walked up to him while he was with a group of friends (some I knew from high school), and starting talking to all of them. Another fun fact – his friend thought I was actually hitting on him, not my husband. So much so that when I left my number (or, to be factually correct, when my girlfriend walked back in with my number), it was set between the two of them, and they were confused as to who the number was for… That led to an awkward conversation. But, I digress (and laugh as I remember these days – what a mess I was!).
We started talking, dating, living together, engaged, married and parents.
So, why do I tell you all this?
Because back then, I would have never imagined that we would be in a situation where we were struggling to get pregnant, find out we are pregnant, and determining how we would change our lives to be the best parents we could be to the little precious gifts from God.
When we found out we were pregnant with our first, he was going back to school to get his teaching certificate. If you know him, you know he was meant to be a teacher, not a businessman. So, half way through the program, we learn we are expecting. Yeah!! Oh wait, now what???
It didn’t take us more than a moment to decide – He would stay home and raise our kids.
As I write these next few lines, please know that this was our journey, our choices, our story. There are no judgments on anyone who chooses or chose differently. Everyones’ situations are different and everyone has the right to make their own choices. These are just my words on why we made our choice.
We had prayed and prayed and prayed to be parents. I had contemplated divorce if I wasn’t able to give him a family, as he was meant to be a dad! He was in the midst of getting a teaching certificate. That meant at least another $9,000 in school, hours spent in the classroom before getting his certificate, and then, no guaranteed job. Plus, for the salary he would make, we could potentially end up in a situation where his salary wouldn’t cover our child care (or barely cover). Plus, we would be another $9,000 in debt.
And, if I really think about it, we wanted one of us to raise our kids. My mom was home most of my life, and his mom was home all of his. We wanted that for our kids. But, I loved my job, it paid the majority of the bills, and he was still seeking his “career.” So, he made the tough choice – he decided he would stay home with the kids.
While this wasn’t always easy (and that is an understatement). I truly believe God built us differently for a reason.
Men were created to be the head of the household. Men are to be the bread-winners. Men are to make the final decisions. Men are to be strong and powerful. Men are to be respected.
Women were created to be nurturers and care givers. Women are to take care of the details. Women are to make the house a home. Women are to be loved.
We, and many others now, have flipped that upside down. And, while it is manageable, please know it is not easy. There are issues that come up that are not expected.
We had issues around:
did he need to ask to spend money?
was he able to make decisions other men made in their families?
did he deserve to do other things his friends did (those with jobs outside of the home)?
For me, was I allowed to be emotional about financial issues – I mean, I did choose this, right?
Could I be the breadwinner and the nurturer?
Would I end up acting more like a mother to my husband than a wife?
What would that do to our marriage?
What would that do to our kids?
I write all of this because – not everyones choices will be the same. I chose work outside of the home and my husband chose to work inside the home. Both jobs are important. I believe his job is much more important than mine, and I am so thankful he was willing to make that choice. It wasn’t easy.
If you make this choice – know that it is fraught with twists and turns. It helped me more clearly see how God’s design for us is truly part of our DNA. It doesn’t mean that we can’t do it, it just means that we need to communicate more clearly with each other, know that each decision comes with positive and negative consequences, and challenges are only speed bumps down a long journey of an amazing life.
And, while we still are jarred by a bump or two in the road, they are more like small pot holes.