Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Anna's Story

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Why? Because it is so much easier to run a home when I am, well, home.  Because it makes my family happy.  Because it makes me happy.  Because it feels right, so much more right than anything else I can think of doing.  My degree is in physics teaching, but there are plenty of other physics teachers, most of whom can do the job I would be doing as well or better than I.  As a physics teacher, I am replaceable.  As a mother, I am not.  My children need ME.  There is so much more to mothering than keeping children clothed, fed, and clean.  So much teaching, loving, building.  I am building more than a home...I am building relationships with my children that will anchor them all their lives.  I am building people, who in turn will go out and change the world.  I am changing the world, one little person at a time.

How? John and I knew before we were married that having me home with our children was a priority for us.  So the choices we made at the beginning were made with that dream in mind.  We planned to live on his income from the start.  We actually worked together in an office at the time, which was lovely--the working together, not the office--so we used my income to pay down debt (our car) and build savings.  We lived in a little, run-down, cottage home in a run-down part of Mesa and paid next-to-nothing for it.  We furnished it with hand-me-downs and thrift store finds.  We bought nothing on credit; we didn't even have a credit card.

When I got pregnant with Adam, we had been married five months.  I didn't get very sick, but I was queasy constantly and so tired I could hardly stand it, especially at work.  Trying to keep my eyes open all day (and trying not to gag because the office air was so stale) wore me out and I would come home and crash.  Every day.  I did this for two months.  I ultimately decided that it would be better to fulfill one of my roles well than both of my roles poorly (wife and employee).  So, we talked it over, and realized we had enough in savings to pay off our car (which had been my "retirement" goal), and I quit my job.  We were debt free, living on one (modest) income.
Money was tight.  It has been tight ever since, honestly.  I don't think it always will be, but so far it has been.  But we have always had enough.  The Lord has provided, often in miraculous ways, and made it possible for John to provide, as we have done all we can to make it possible for me to stay home.  I think one key has been that first decision to live on John's income and stay out of debt as much as possible.  That laid the foundation.  I have had opportunities to supplement our income by working and I have never felt right about them.  I do all I can with what I have, and I trust John to provide financially for our family.  I support him, and he supports me.  To me, that is what marriage is about.  It is a partnership.  John provides our income.  I work hard to stretch our income, make things myself, sew, cook from scratch, shop at thrift stores, keep a garden. I make lots of mistakes.  I over-economize, I under-economize, and sometimes I fall apart.  But I keep trying, and I know the Lord makes up the difference. We had one vehicle for years.  We still use secondhand furniture, and my children wear hand-me-downs.  We live simply.  We make it work.  It has been worth every sacrifice.  Would we have more money if I worked outside our home?  Probably.  Would we have more happiness?  I am certain beyond all doubt that the answer to that question is no.

I am grateful every day for the privilege of staying home, of raising my own children.  I know it is God's will for me and that He is the One who really makes it possible. We pay a tithe to our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) before paying our other expenses, and we have seen so many blessings come as a result of this practice. I am convinced it is a major part of our ability to make this work.  (See Malachi 3:10The Windows of Heaven)

I know that not everyone has the option or the desire.  But if it is a desire of your heart, don't give up.  Pray about it, talk about it, see if there is a way.  Everyone's paths are different and I understand that.  This has been my experience, and I would not trade it for the world.

 "It takes faith--unseeing faith--for young people to proceed immediately with their family responsibilities in the face of financial uncertainties.  It takes faith for the young woman to bear her family instead of accepting employment, especially when schooling for the young husband is to be finished....But know this--that all these are of the planting, while faithful, devout families, spiritual security, peace, and eternal life are the harvest."                                                              SpencerW.Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, p.11



Anna blogs here.

15 comments :

  1. Love this post. I love how frugally you live in order for you to stay home and be a present wife and mother, because so many mothers think that they need work [when they don't want to work] to keep up with a lifestyle. I stay home with my son, and we do not have a lot. Things have been tight for a long time, but we have our priorities. Lovely post thank you Anna!

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  2. I know her! And she is even more amazing in person than she she seems here in this little blog post. She is a great example of a wife and mother.
    Hi Anna!

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    1. Hi Haylee! You are so sweet! Thank you!

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  3. This is very timely, Sarah. Yesterday was one of those fall-apart days, and I needed this reminder (in my own words, even). Thank you.

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  4. "As a physics teacher, I am replaceable. As a mother, I am not." I loved that, Anna! Thank you for sharing your perspective.

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  5. I am enjoying this series so much!

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  6. I love the part about building relationships. I've been thinking about all my young kids will face lately and I know I need to make sure we have a strong relationship so that they will turn to me when they are troubled instead of to friends.

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  7. I love how Anna wrote..."I support him and he supports me." So valuable and important!

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  8. How lovely! I love this series Coming Home Sarah. It truly shows another way to live. Beautiful.

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  9. I love that she said, "as a teacher I am replaceable but not as a mother." Wow! If only I had thought of those words 11 years ago when I was trying to explain to people why I was no longer going to be a teacher and stay home to take care of my baby (and the three more that came after that). Those are profound words and I don't think anyone could, would, or should argue with them. People still ask me, "what are you going to do when they are all in school?" I feel like saying, "duh, be their mom, take care of them, like I always do." Sarah, these different perspectives on mothering are simply lovely and I am enjoying reading them all.

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  10. Lovely story Anna and thank you for sharing your mother heart with us. Inspiring!

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  11. This series is so inspiring! I love how passionate theses moms are and I have to say my desire to be a stay at home mom is growing beyond measure. However, I can't help but think about retirement - I mean, sure things may be ok right now, but how will it be when you are older? It is just mind boggling to me...I feel lost.

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    1. I'm obviously not there yet, but honestly I think it will be okay. A couple of thoughts:
      1. I think it is important to mention that for us this decision to live frugally has opened up more opportunities than it has eliminated. We were able to go away to school for three years; we own our home; we are used to saving and living on less than we earn, and those principles will benefit us all our lives. It has been a great blessing to us to have this time of being "poor" and having to scrimp and save and budget tightly. It isn't always fun but I can see how much we have grown from it, how much we have learned, and how much better prepared we are for whatever life brings.
      2. We don't have much saved for retirement yet, but we save all we can, and we'll get there. The same principles that make it possible for us to live on one income now will help us continue to live well once my husband is retired. It just won't be as great an adjustment as it would have been if we were used to living more extravagantly. ;-)
      3. The decision to stay home doesn't have to be permanent. We have seasons in our lives, too, and we are allowed to make different choices based on our changing circumstances and needs. Listen to your heart and do what feels right for you, and you will be okay. This season of my life is my time to be at home with my children, and I hope and pray I am able to do it as long as they are in my home. After that, we'll see.

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    2. Thank you so much for your words! I tend to be very anxious and that doesn't do me any good, I tell ya! I believe you are so so so right when it comes to leave within your means - maybe that's the key to financial success for everyone. My husband and I still don't have any kids, but we are planning on it in the near future..I guess we'll have to wait and see how it will really be like when our children come - God willing, of course!
      In the meantime, I'll keep reading these inspiring stories and keep praying =)

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