Every day of our lives, we have to make choices. Some are easy, some are hard. Some are big, some are small. But, when it comes down to it, they are our choices. Unfortunately, there are people out there who think that they have a right to evaluate our choices and judge them as right or wrong.
When my husband and I got married, we made decisions about how we wanted to live our life together. When we became pregnant with our first child, we had some really big decisions to make. I was a full-time teacher and he had just left his corporate job to be a freelance writer and independent filmmaker. We made the decision that I would continue to work, and he would stay home with our child.
This meant making certain sacrifices. We weren't going to be able to take big vacations anymore. We would have to drive our cars into the ground. We wouldn't have new furniture in a big house. We knew that there were going to be lean times, but we decided that it was the best choice for us. We wanted our son to have at least one parent home with him and not send him to a daycare or sitter.
The work situation we chose to go with meant that while I was at work, my husband was at home with our kids. When I got home from work, I was "on duty" while he did his work. This meant that he was essentially working third shift. Our kids didn't have traditional bedtimes. Nobody ever seemed to understand that my husband slept late in the day, not because he was lazy, but because that was his nighttime after putting in an eight-hour work day in the middle of the night. We didn't feel that it mattered for the kids until it was time for them to go to school, and it didn't.
Our choices also meant that we rent a house rather than owning one. With the way the economy and housing markets are, this is probably one of the best choices we have made. We have seen friends spend months with their house on the market, stuck where they are at. They may have had to take less than they were asking just to unload their old house. Or, they sell their house and have to live with their parents until they save enough money to put a down payment on a house. One friend spent Thanksgiving Day dealing with a sewage backup. At our house, if something breaks, we just call the landlord.
So, I don't live in a big house that I own. I don't get to take yearly vacations to Disney. I drive a 2003 Saturn and my husband drives a 1998 Taurus. But, these are choices we made so that our kids would always have a parent at home with them. These are the sacrifices we made so that our boys can go to summer camp at their dad's old camp. If we want to take a big trip with our kids, I set up a savings account that we pay into every paycheck until we have enough. If we want to take a getaway for just the two of us, we budget for it.
People may make judgments about the choices we have made, but I don't really care what they think. We have three very intelligent, well-adjusted sons who know that we love them more than anything in the world and that we are willing to make sacrifices for them. These are the choices I've made, and I don't regret a single one.