This morning started like any other morning; I woke up, made my coffee, and got Milo up. The only difference was I didn’t leave for work and, for the indefinite future, I will never leave for work again. Today is the first day of my new job as full-time homemaker/mommy.
I’m excited about my new job. It catches me off guard how happy I am to be in this position. For years I ranted on about how I would never be a housewife or stay-at-home mom. To me, that “job” was more like the absence of a job. I didn’t see the value in caring for a home full-time until I had a home and family of my own. Now I feel called to this role and am thrilled for this opportunity.
But as I do with any kind of change, I have some fears and apprehensions about staying at home. I’m not worried about having nothing to do (I’ll go into more details about my job responsibilities in part 2 of this post…stay tuned!) or that I won’t feel satisfied about my work. It’s the money.
Sure, things are going to be tight on a one income budget. If you don’t know anything about a pastor’s salary, let me tell you it’s not the highest paying job out there. But there are additional perks to the job, like our house we get to live in free of charge. My car is also paid off this month and Nick’s will be by the end of the summer, so many of our regular monthly expenses will be eliminated. Financially it sets us up perfectly to let me stay at home. So why did I say that it’s the money that worries me?
I’ve been working since I was 13. The summer before 8th grade, I babysat the 3 kids who lived across the street Monday-Friday, 8-5pm. It was the first time in my life I earned a regular paycheck. I worked the same job the next summer as well as working at the local Dairy Queen. I supplemented by income by mowing our yard and a neighbor’s yard.
I’ve been a workaholic from a very young age. While I enjoy working for the sake of labor, it’s also a monetary issue. I have always taken a lot of pride in financially providing for myself. When I didn’t want to share a car with my younger sister, I bought my own car with the money I saved from working. When I decided to do another year of college to become a personal trainer, I paid for my entire tuition in full without any loans. There is something about earning a paycheck and being able to provide for myself that adds to my identity and self-worth.
It was hard for me to adjust to the “our money” mentality when Nick and I got married. But to be honest, being the bread winner made it easier for me to feel ok about it. I felt secure knowing that I had earned the money I was spending. I hardly ever felt guilty for a purchase I made because as far as I was concerned it was my money anyways (side note-this was not a healthy attitude for a marriage!).
For the first time in 15 years, I won’t be earning a paycheck. I won’t be providing any income for my family. The money I spend will not be my money. This is a struggle for me. I think a lot about finding a small, part-time job not because we need the money or that I want to work, but because I need to earn money. I need to believe I have claims to our finances, that I am a contributor to our income.
I don’t really need a job and I’m trying to resist the temptation. Because what I believe I really need is to trust Nick. I need to trust his love for me, that love does not hold something like income over the other person. That love values what a person does, even if there is no money attached to the work. I need to trust Nick will not hold our money over me. This kind of trust is hard for someone like me, someone who believes in doing things for themselves. But that’s marriage
for you, moving beyond yourself and the need to be the sole provider and understanding the sum of the team is greater than its parts.