Okay, I admit it: We’re weird. I realize more each day that my husband and I have made some counter-cultural decisions for our family.
There are certain things that we Americans deem “normal” and even “essential” for daily life, but my husband and I have decided to say “no” to some of those norms.
WHAT WE DON’T HAVE
Two Incomes- Although I have a college degree and made a decent income as a teacher, we have chosen for me to stay home with our children because we believe it is best for our family situation. We have one income, and let’s just say it’s less than average for our family size.
Credit Cards- You may assume that because we have only one income that we have huge credit card debt. Although we have had cards in the past, we don’t own a single one at this time. If we have an emergency we have to handle it our of savings or trust God to provide for our need.
A Second Car- As of right now, we are a one car family (one paid for car!). We may buy a second car in the future, but only with cash. This means we have to coordinate the use of the car, but more communication has only been a good thing in our marriage.
(Update: we did purchase a second car with cash when my husband took on a second part time job a few months ago.)
Cable Television (or any television for that matter!)- I said we’re weird. We have never had cable or satellite television. At one time we did watch shows like American Idol with our children, but once the digital switch came and the free converter box didn’t work, we went t.v.-less.
I don’t ever want to go back. We have so much more peace in our home and our children read more and talk to each other more than when we had the television on.
A Schedule Determined by Others- We choose not to participate in the daily grind of driving our children to and from school and other activities. We still educate our children, visit the library and take lots of fun field trips, but we do it on our schedule. We are able to let teenagers sleep in if they need it and we are able to adjust our curriculum to meet the needs of our children who have learning disabilities. Sick days don’t cause a crisis.
WHAT WE DO HAVE
Peace-My family experiences spiritual and emotional peace most of the time. We are able to control much of the stress in our lives because we have eliminated many of the stressors.
Emotional Energy-When we do experience stress we have the emotional resources that we need to meet the demands. If a problem arises, it doesn’t through our family into crisis mode.
Family Relationships-My children are friends. They still have the occasional squabble and my teenage son gets irritated by his little sister on a regular basis, but in the next minute they will be playing together or talking.
I also have a better relationship with my husband because we spend a lot of time together. Driving him to work on days that I need the car provides a built-in quiet time for conversation. We talk about issues that come up on a regular basis and have a weekly date night.
Freedom from Debt-As I mentioned previously, we do not use credit cards. We have a limited budget, but we want to live within it, not spend more than we make. We don’t enjoy spending hours at the mall each weekend looking for the latest fashion or newest gadget. As a result, we don’t have the debt that goes along with that kind of lifestyle. We do enjoy shopping at thrift or discount stores occasionally though!
Time-We have time to read good books, to take walks together, to have conversations, to sleep. We still have to do all the required daily chores of course, but we can do them and still have time for fun.
I have to say that while we have been deliberate in making these choices, we have been able to make them by God’s grace. It’s His faithfulness that allows us to enjoy this kind of lifestyle.
Granted, you may not make the same decisions that we have made, but have you taken the time to evaluate why you are living life the way you do?
If there are things that you would like to change, make an action plan to get the life that you want, not what others say you should have.
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I enjoyed reading this post. For the longest time I’ve wanted a counter-culture family and lifestyle also.
I rebelled against the concept of a 9-5 work, 8-3 school, 12 extracurricular activities and no time off lifestyle that everyone seems to accept as necessary.
We don’t have kids yet and now hubby is back in school, but we are working toward this goal. Trying to pay off debt, living simply and eliminating clutter.
I despise cable, and never grew up with it; but have even managed to talk the spouse out of it. We just use dvds or netflix/hulu replacements instead.
Welcome to the Weird Club Hannah! 🙂 Good for you for thinking about what you want your life to look like instead of just going with the flow.
We are “weird” as well, but that is the way we like it! I am a stay at home mom with a college degree as well, but we didn’t want someone else to raise our children so we made the decision to live on less. We are happy with our sacrifices. We have been without TV hookup for several years now and don’t miss it a bit – DVDs take up that slack. We did make the mistake of using credit cards, though, and are currently trying to eliminate those. Keep up the inspiring posts!
Sacrifice is definitely easier when it’s our choice, right?
Alycia M says
I haven’t been receiving your posts for very long but I felt a kinship with you from the beginning! In our family we’ve made all of the same choices you have. Only we are still paying off our (previously earned) debt. We aren’t making any more but it sure takes a long time to climb out of this hole!
We do have a converter box that works but we don’t watch TV much.
I’ve only recently realized how radical we are but I’m glad to have found a like-minded friend! 🙂
Thanks, it’s encouraging to know someone is weird like me!
Sometimes I feel a little odd too, and my partner hasn’t quite gotten used to some of these changes. I think managing on my modest income so he can be a SAHD is quite worth it though. By canceling cable, we both spend more time reading stories to the kids than plopping them in front of the Disney Channel- a good move for all. Also, by having one (paid for) car, he spends more time getting fresh air and bike riding (with a fabulous used trailer for the kids that he picked up for $20. When we moved, we chose a location less than a mile from a park and grocery store so they can easily go to both without crossing major streets. We picked a cozy (small) house, but that means there’s less space to clean! It’s in the city and isn’t quite as nice as the suburbs, but it is safe and it means I have a short commute (less gas, more time with the kids).
Sometimes less really is more.
Choosing to downsize makes so much sense in this economy and I love the idea of living closer to work so you can spend more time with the kids.
Vicky Hadley says
I can’t remember how I stumbled onto your website a couple of days ago, but I’m sure glad I did! I think it’s wonderful and very uplifting and encouraging! Thank you!
I am happy that the site is helpful to you Vicky!
Kimberlee, I really appreciate this post. My DH was blessed to find a new job, but the pay cut was huge. we are trying to figure out how to reduce and reuse.
May I please ask, how do your children occupy themselves during the day after school is over? We have set out to limit TV to 5p-dinner and limit nintendo time to 1 hour a day. The weekends are very difficult. Can you offer some suggestions?
Also, do you get your internet thru your phone provider rather than your cable?
I am sorry about the pay cut. Hopefully you can find some more ideas on the website to help you. As for internet, we have chosen to go through the phone provider. It actually is a cheaper plan where we live than through the cable company.
As for the children, my daughters (ages 9-13) love to read, draw and play Nintendo games (which we also limit to 1 hour a day). They also watch DVDs from the library, talk and take walks with the neighbor kids and from time to time spend days on a board game marathon like Monopoly or Life.
My son (15) would play video games all day if I let him, but he will also ride his bike, talk to the neighborhood kids and work on his latest comic book creation.
Many times their boredom leads to creativity. They have created their own board game, built a “camp” in the woods behind our house and baked cookies to sell to the neighbors to raise money for something they want to buy. I hope that gives you some ideas.