Time Is Money

A friend and I were sharing the tales of our financial woes today. We bemoaned the fact that despite the fact that we have never been extravagant or lived large, that we were well educated and blessed with respectable employment, despite the fact that we really tried to be as frugal as possible, we had yet to remove money as somewhat of a preoccupation. A concern more often then not. Somehow I always pictured that this issue would be all sewn up once I reached my 30's. Oh how young and naiive I was...

Like me though, my friend's wife stays home with their young kids and we abruptly stopped our whining when we realized that we did indeed live large, and that we were enjoying this ultimate luxury. Time.

Let me be clear that this post is written in the bubble of what my ideal is and how incredibly blessed and fortunate I (as in me, myself and..) feel to have been able to live it for this long. I firmly believe that all women and moms make this choice with much consideration and angst and I do not stand in judgment of any of them for a moment. For many moms the choice is made for them as a matter of circumstance.

I have often felt as though the choice was about to be taken from me. Many times we have looked at the finances and decided that the only possible solution would be for me to work full-time. But somehow, we have always limped along month after month with me staying home, and against all rational explanation, the roof has stayed over our head and food has appeared on the table. In addition we have been able to give our kids opportunities like soccer, swimming and piano lessons. Things have certainly been stressful from time to time, but each month when my job title remained "Stay At Home Mom" I have said a silent prayer of thanks. I have no doubt, no doubt at all that this has all been made possible through the miracle of tithing. Here's a little anecdote. Yesterday at church, Benj informed us that he could no longer crunch his feet into his church shoes without risking gangrene, and that we'd have to buy new ones. Having just purchased new running shoes for both him and Gabe we told him that new church shoes might have to wait a while. Quit yer whinin' boy and get back in yer cell.

Today we get a call from some thoughtful and generous friends. They have some outgrown clothing-would we be interested? Sure we say! Thanks so much! They bring some bags over. Benj reaches into the first bag, pulls out a pair of shoes, perfect for church (much cooler then the ones he just outgrew actually) and in perfect condition. He checks their size, but I knew before he looked up smiling that they would be his. And they were. His size exactly.

That's tithing in action, that sort of thing happens all the time. Like the time when I was pregnant with Benj and we had enough money to pay tithing or to pay rent. It was to be one or the other and we took that leap of faith and paid the tithing.

The next day at university, Aaron found out about a paper contest for engineering students taking place the following day. He figured he had nothing to lose but his dignity, pride and possibly his budding professional reputation, and quickly cobbled something together. (His fellow candidates had 6 months to prepare.)

I remember him rubbing my pregnant (with Benjamin) buddah belly for "luck" as he got up the next evening to present his paper. Within an hour, he had been declared the winner. The prize? A check, in the amount, to the cent of our rent. Generally it doesn't make for as cool a story though. It's about all the times a car that should have broken down a long time ago, hasn't, the kindness of friends dropping off bags of clothing (and big tubs of ice cream to go with them) part-time jobs for me appearing just as we most needed them, friends being enormously generous with their talents-fixing computers, fixing plumbing leaks, my doula after Gracie was born returning my check ripped up, scholarships given out of the goodness of administrators hearts (and sometimes at their personal expense). Random care packages from internet friends, an internet friend flying my husband out to his mothers funeral. Our church paying our rent and utilities and providing us with all of our groceries from tuna to toilet paper, for 6 months as my husband searched fruitlessly for a job....the list is truly endless.

The best part of all the kindness and blessings that have been bestowed upon us? We have never felt like charity cases, we have always felt the love of God through the kindness of others, at our lowest we have inevitably been reminded how amazingly blessed we are. And the pleasure of paying it forward when we can, has been sublime.

I am so incredibly grateful for the priceless gift of time with my kids. Of 80 uninterrupted minutes of running and walking on the trail today with my 10 year old, talking about the pitfalls of ego, drugs and drinking. I know the conversation that took place so organically today was more meaningful then hundreds of of formal lectures and scheduled "sit-downs" we could have on the subject; of trying to contain my silent hysterics as my 5 year old holds my hand while he skips down the pavement, carefully avoiding the seams in the concrete and telling me gravely, "don't worry, I won't step on my mama's crack"; of lying like sardines in a row on my bed watching Noggen together. Of colouring a giant flower of my daughter's creation with her; of watching my handsome son walking off with his tennis racket slung casually over his shoulder realizing with shock that he is at the age of the boys I can vividly remember having crushes on. (And I can guarantee that if he would have been my type.) ; of being able to snuggle with my ego-bruised 8 year old and still be able to make everything all better. And all that in just the last couple of days.

I am so grateful for all the hundreds, (thousands ?) of diapers I have changed, the bottles I have washed, the slippery little bodies I have bathed, the reluctant, bobbing mouths I have spooned carrots into. And I (in retrospect of course :) can honestly say that I would not trade any of those things for all money in the world.

Is motherhood always the rosy picture I have painted above? Err..that would be as Gabe would say, "negatory". Did I feel physically allergic to my kids by 9pm tonight when they were still not in bed (and tell them so)? That would be a big hairy "yeppers." Many days are tough and it can all feel a little too close to drudgery for comfort at times. Motherhood 'aint always no picnic man. But it's the early morning picnics with the tiny cups on the living room rug that really do make it more then worth it.



Is my choice the right one by everyone's standards? No way, man. They are entitled to that opinion (and encouraged to keep it to themselves).

Is it right for everyone? I wouldn't know. But for me, the trade-off has been worth every penny and tonight I go to bed knowing that I am an extremely wealthy woman.


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14 comments:

{april kennedy} said...

Cheers! Nicely written. And I, too, have spent many times on my knees thanking my heavenly father to be able to write as my occupation on applications "stay at home mom".

Michelle Lewsen said...

What a truly beutiful piece of writing. You are SO my kinda person. I wish we had been better friends at school. Keep blogging and I;ll keep reading.

You ARE a supremely wealthy woman and I love that you (like I) KNOW this.

Lynn from For Love or Funny said...

Hi Kristy,
I completely agree with everything you wrote. I've been a stay at home mom for 13 years, and I feel so fortunate. Spending time with my kids is awesome and awe-inspiring.

The Sayer Family said...

I will say it again, I love your writing! You have just the right way about saying things. I loved this post. My eyes were welling up with tears by the end becuase I too realized that I am a wealthy woman! Thanks so much for inspiring me today.

Tooj said...

Thank you for sharing this. Many things in here are things I needed to hear.....and oddly enough at just this moment in time. I'll leave it at that, and give my profuse thanks once again.

Cindy Beck said...

Nice post. Being an empty nest-er, I can tell you that someday, when the kids are all grown, you'll be even more grateful you were a stay-at-home-mom, and for the memories you have from the experience.

Koala Green said...

I had a small urge to go back to work yesterday. I saw my old boss out and about. I really miss it sometimes, the feeling of being needed by someone other than family and feeling a little more appreciated as well. I took a gander at your post while looking for houses for sale (I know crazy cause we couldn't sell this one anyway). I stopped looking and am feeling thankful for what I have. Thanks Kirsty! Now if I can only finish all the projects I have started I will feel a little better.

cat said...

What a beautiful post and yes, it is everybody's choice (if they have it)

Money Making Business said...

This is really a cheering post that i read today on the Internet. Moreover you have a nice blog posts to spend good time here.

-Ven

lemonologie said...

Thanks for this post, I really needed to hear it. I really want to be a SAHM, but financially we just can't pull it off right now. But, thanks for the reminder of God's grace!

jena said...

You are one smart mama :)

Samantha said...

This is a very inspiring post!

Jen said...

Beautifully said.

marisa said...

What a beautiful post...makes me grateful that I too can be a stay at home mom.