I continue to get this question in one form or another, so I am going to address it in case you are wondering too. 🙂
Q: Do you ever worry about your kids resenting you because of the choices you made? If you had chosen to work rather than stay home, the family would have significantly more money and therefore the kids could have gone out to eat more, had more clothes, enjoyed more entertainment, etc.. I feel that you are being selfish to make your kids live this super frugal lifestyle that you chose because you wanted to stay home rather than work.
A: I can appreciate that after reading some of my posts, you might think that we have no “life”. We don’t spend money on the things that most Americans take for granted like shopping mall trips and eating out at restaurants, so it may seem that we just sit around and do nothing. The truth is we have lots of fun.
We have lived on two incomes in the past and enjoyed lots of new clothes, many restaurant meals and other entertainment. It was fun to spend more money, but the stress of balancing two full time jobs, school, household responsibilities as well as the health issues suffered by my son and oldest daughter, far outweighed the “fun”. We were a disconnected, stressed out family.
Now that we have a lower income our fun consists of eating dessert or ice cream out rather than a full meal, attending free concerts, having a picnic in a local park, seeing movies at the dollar theater, hanging out at local festivals and family friendly events (like our city’s upcoming Fourth of July Fireworks Display) and having dinner with friends in our home or theirs.
My husband and I have chosen to live on less because we see positive effects in our family, but I asked our children this question so let’s hear what they have to say about it in their own words:
11 year old daughter: “I don’t really care about all that stuff. I have plenty of clothes and I don’t really care about eating out. It’s nice when we do eat out, but I don’t care if we do or not, and we are always doing fun stuff. That’s what Papa is for.” (Our kids call my husband “Papa” rather than “Dad”. He is definitely our “fun” coordinator and is constantly finding free and cheap activities for us to do.)
When I asked her if she wanted me to get a job so she could have more money she replied,”I don’t want you to get a job. I like you being here.”
14 year old daughter: (laughing out loud) “Seriously mom? As for restaurants, I don’t really like the food when we do eat out. Yours tastes better. As far as clothes, I just got a Forever 21 skirt for $3 and I’ve never even walked into that store. These shorts I have on are from American Eagle, but we only paid $2.00 for them. Maybe I’m weird, but I like walking into a thrift store and thinking that $5 is too much to pay for a shirt.”
“We’re always doing something fun. Do these people think we don’t have anything or do anything?”
15 year old daughter: “I do resent you sometimes because I want to go shopping more, but that’s not a good life lesson. If you let me have whatever I want, then when I leave home I will think that it’s okay to spend all my money. Really the only thing I want is a laptop.”
17 year old son: “No, I don’t resent you. If you went back to work, I couldn’t be homeschooled and if we had more money, we would probably be living the same way we do now.”
[UPDATE: He just told me with a smile on his face that he’s going to join a support group for victims of frugality–bahahahaha!]
I guess we will have to see what happens as our children continue to mature, but for now at ages 11, 14, 15 and 17, they seem to be fairly content. All of their needs are met, and many of their wants. Two of my teens just went to a local amusement park for free (through a day camp they are attending) and my youngest just participated in horseback riding camp for a week which someone provided for her.
Doing more activities like shopping at the mall, eating out at restaurants and going to movies may seem exciting, but it is not necessarily fulfilling. We truly enjoy life, but without the stress of striving for more money.
Even if we made four times more than we do now, we would not give our children everything they wanted. We might order pizza or go out to eat a few more times a year, but I would still have them work to pay for luxury items like cell phones and laptops. As my daughter put it, that’s just a good life lesson: if you want something, work for it. That is the way we choose to parent no matter how much we make.
So there you have it–true tales from the not so rich or famous.
You ma’am, are obviously doing something right for your children. This is so very encouraging.
The Peaceful Mom says
Thank you Alyssa!
You ma’am, are obviously doing something right for your children. This is so very encouraging.
The Peaceful Mom says
Thank you Alyssa!
The Peaceful Mom says
So glad you are here Pam!
Pam O says
I’m amazed that there are no comments on this post!!! I am so encouraged by this. My husband has a very good job with a wonderful organization, but his life’s dream is to someday be able to be at home with his children so that he can pour into their lives. That will leave us with NO job, since I am already a stay-at-home homeschooling mom 🙂 He would like to be able to farm, which would be a significant decrease in our income. We are constantly looking into and trying to figure out what we can live on to help him be able to a achieve his dream. One of the things that I have worried about is the kids and how they will feel. We already live pretty frugally – buy our clothes at thrift stores, utilize the “kids eat free” times at restaurants, drive older cars that can be paid for, etc – but we do eat out more than we need to and they do take gymnastics lessons and one of my girls loves to shop. Of course, she loves to shop at thrift stores, too 🙂 My biggest worry has been what Christmas will look like when there’s not much money. But maybe that is more about me than them. I am encouraged that your children recognize that they are blessed by your decisions. I am not naive enough to think that there won’t be times when they (or I) will miss or want things, but that is life. There is ALWAYS going to be something that we wish we could have, as there will always be people who will have things that we don’t. It is good to be able to find creative ways to entertain and provide what we want. I do think that is an important life lesson – one I wish I had learned!! I have just discovered your blog and I am anxious to dig in 🙂 Thanks for posting!
The Peaceful Mom says
So glad you are here Pam!
I laughed when I read this question because it seems to me that kids (particularly those over 10) are bound to resent (at some point) their parents no matter WHAT they do. I also think the question reflects the consumption = happiness problems that so many of us face. What does working like a dog solely to give your children children luxuries teach them? How does it prepare them for life? I would have loved to spend more time with my parents – even if it meant less restaurant visits (what kid REALLY cares about those anyway) and and less clothes. Anyway, it is my opinion that what you are doing now for your family is setting them up for a wonderful life as adults, likely devoid of all the financial pitfalls too many of us painfully go through. Thank you for the inspiration and the sharing.
Kimberlee Stokes says
Thanks so much for your encouragement Peggy!
Kids shoudn’t be given everything they want. I grew up with only going out to eat 2 or 3 times a year but that made it special. We would dress in nice clothes and enjoy it. I don’t think it would have been the same if we had gone out more frequently. A kid isn’t neglected because they don’t have an xbox or wii or $100 pair of jeans or a computer though these days tat one is debatable. When growing up, my daughter came home from a school friend’s and was jealous because the friend had a pool and a tennis court. I told her she had something the friend didn’t “the abiity to survive”. As a young adult and single mother she has used that ability over and over. You aren’t depriving kids by not giving them stuff. You are creating stronger more sensible adults. That and it seems kids having video games isn’t an issue anymore. No I’m not talking about the theories that the games cause mass murders. Personally I don’t buy that. I’m talking about the kid who doesn’t hear you, won’t go outside, do his chores, etc.,etc. They are a distraction that no one needs. I wouldn’t be surprised if a study found they caused some sort of developmental delay. I’m also not saying kids shouldn’t have them at all but as with everything else moderation is key. I am saying you shouldn’t get them one because Joey has one. I’m not sure how I got going on video games they are mostly an example. Basically kids don’t need as much stuff as you think. They need food shelter, love and some enrichment but a home schooled child would get enrichment naturally. sorry about rambling but this is one of my pet peeves. People who feel the kids need the best of everything to be properly cared for. I believe your kids will grow up responsible appreciative and caring or at least able to think.
Kimberlee Stokes says
Thank you for your honest post! My husband lost his job over 18 months ago and has been painstakingly searching for work. Either he is overqualified or does not have the skills they are looking for. It has forced me out of the home to work again. We went from around 80,000 a year to currently 20,000. It has not been easy, and I cannot say that I have completely adjusted. I am daily wondering how to pay the bills and still feed our 4 children. It has devastated my husband as nobody is willing to hire him. What a blow to a father and husbands self esteem. Anyway, I admire you and your families determination. We too find wonderful things to do with our children. Our kids LOVE to go watch trains that pass through town, go to an open field and fly a kite, go to a new playground, or go for a picnic at a local park. We do look forward to the days that we will be able to go camping and hiking in Maine or North Carolina or Virginia again. But, if there is one thing that has kept us sane is our faith in God and our weekly time spent in Church with Him. In fact our kids had some of the most fun mulching the Church grounds last weekend! Then we went to pick asparagus at a picking patch to put up in the freezer for the winter. Most children these days do not know how to have fun unless an electronic object is in their palms, eyes glued to a screen and tuned out to their parent’s voices. Not ours! We are truly blessed for that!!!! So, thanks again for the inspiration and insight! God Bless you and your family!!!
Kimberlee Stokes says
Hi Stephanie! I am so sorry that your husband lost his job. I cannot imagine how difficult that is for you. Is it possible for him to start a small business out of your home using skills he has? I pray that God will open doors for you and provide everything that you need.
I am still working and it breaks my heart when my 8 month old sees me leave and has this question and longing in his eyes. I frankly don’t think he gives a darn about what brand he’s wearing. All he knows is mommy is leaving him, and it’s heartbreaking. Mommy is meant to be with her kids, run the home, and provide a welcoming environment for daddy to come back to! I think so many women these days are fighting that innate desire, but it’s only natural. I can’t wait to be able to stay home with him!
Kimberlee Stokes says
Oh Anastaysiya, I hope you are able to be at home soon. Praying for God to make a way for you!
Hi Kimberlee, thanks for your kind and encouraging words. I will definitely check out that book you recommend! My kids are generally lovely people, our family has many blessings, and it is just that this change in circumstances really took me by surprise, how they are reacting to it (resentment, which I know also has something to do with their fears). I think they saw their lives heading in a particular direction, on a particular trajectory, and this bump in the road of their stable situation has hit them hard. I have had rough times before, though, so it has not hit me as hard. I am tough and resilient. 🙂
So, since I don’t have an attitude of fear or resentment, I guess that is why it really threw me off balance, how they are reacting. More than anything, I do want to teach them how to thrive in any circumstances, and be self reliant, helpful and not selfish. I will keep you posted, how it goes! 🙂
I am coming at your post late, but I wanted to say that, as a single mom of 3 teenagers, I really appreciate where you are coming from. I am working fulltime now (have been for the past 4 years), but when my kids were younger and I was married, I stayed at home and homeschooled them. So, I have been on all sides of this! I would still be home with them, if I could.
What I am struggling with right now is seeing my kids through the transition from having an intact family with a mom at home, and plenty of money (my husband made plenty and I had plenty of time) — to the situation now, where I am the sole breadwinner, I do not make much money (about 1/4 of what my husband made), and I no longer have time, either. So, lack of money AND lack of time, but not lack of love or devotion…. my kids were spoiled way more than I realized, and they are having a very tough time transitioning.
I am having a tough time, too, gradually and incrementally giving up more and more of the things we used to take for granted. For example, we used to be able to eat whatever we were in the mood for. Now, we are eating “poor people food” (good food, made from scratch, but more limited in choice, and very little meat). And I cannot afford even thrift shop clothing, yet I make do because I had a huge wardrobe before, and so I don’t really need anything or feel deprived at all. I had to be frugal in the very early years of my marriage, so I have those skills and enjoy it.
However, I am really struggling with my children’s complaints and feelings of deprivation, and my astonishment that I did, after all, unfortunately, spoil them all those years by giving them so much of ME (time), and some things we took for granted, like food treats. Now, it is a much more basic life. Hope I’m putting this across right. It’s just a struggle right now, with the transition, and also my sadness that I spoiled my kids more than I’d realized. They did not learn to do enough for themselves, because I was home, and I did so much for them, being at home, having the time, having the love and desire, cook homemade meals, etc. And I did not teach them to help. Now that I no longer have the time, they resent that I cannot do those things any more, and they do not step in to help, either.
Hi Liza! I am so sorry that you are in this position, but it is great that you are realizing where your kids are right now. They may not like it, but part of growing up (which the teenage years are) is realizing that life doesn’t always turn out the way you want it to. If I were you I would have a serious conversation with them about the realities of life now and how they can choose to pout and stay in the past, or be thankful for it and move forward with gratitude for the things they do have. I would definitely enlist their help and let them know that if they do not help there are consequences (loss of priveleges, etc.). Don’t let your grief and guilt keep you from parenting well now. It will be a difficult transition, but remain tough yet loving and you can make it!
A great resource for you would be the book Boundaries with Kids by Henry Cloud. See if you can get it from your local library. Best wishes, and I would love to hear how things are going.
My parents were poor and I remember getting laughed at for the clothes I was wearing and when you’re a teenage girl that was hard to take. I AM proud to say I was financially independent since I left home after high school to go to university. However I do think it’s a product of my childhood that I absolutely HATE second hand stuff – I like everything new – if I can’t afford to buy something new I’d rather not have it! My brothers are they same way. Also I think that we equate having kids with poverty and only one of my siblings ( they are 4 of us) has a child. Most of the people I know had their university paid for, their first car given to them, their wedding paid for, and the down payment on their first house paid for. I guess I resent having to start out life in dept ( student loan).
Thank you for sharing your perspective Marie. I am sure that living with less affects people differently, and I can totally understand your feeling badly because you were ridiculed. I really wish that people were kinder. Good for you for being financially independent and for going to college.
I am thankful that my children have not had to deal with being made fun of, and maybe it has made it a little easier for them to live with the hand-me-downs and thrift store clothing.
Thank you for taking the time to comment. 🙂
Kimberlee, I am so very happy to have found your blog! I am a former teacher currently working as a nanny and jewelry artist. I am planning to be a SAHM and homeschooler, just as soon as “God puts a baby in my belly” as one of my little buddies says! 🙂 I share many of your beliefs/values. In my opinion, the family is the foundation of our society and any time we can give time, energy, and love to teach our children, who will be adults before we know it, we are only helping them, as well as the rest of the family and society. Life really is all about working together with people and helping each other. After all, it is the people in our lives we should value, not the things we have. I also feel the world is moving too fast, we are too “plugged in,” there is a lot of pressure to be a certain way, and we haven’t the time to do the things we love, or spend enough time with the ones we love. I respect and admire your choice to stay home, put your family first, be frugal, spend time together, and find ways to make it all work! I know it is a challenge, but one worth the effort, and one I’d like to take on myself! You are a living example of these values for your children and for your followers! True happiness never comes from an accumulation of material things, but from a sense of doing right for self and others. Thank you for all you do to inspire others! I have already learned so much from your blog and can’t wait to read more!
I just read this thread and my eyes are teary. I love what your kids said. That’s the bottom line. You aren’t taking from them you are giving them what mom’s used to give when I was young. I think it’s sad how many parents give material things in place of themselves. I’m done daycare and I see kids wanting to be with their parents more than the fancy clothes they are wearing. GOOD JOB!!! Praise the Lord for your listening ears to His voice.
Thanks so much for your encouragement Sid!
I want to say that as a child my parents were rather on the very frugal, not so rich side, with a large family. (I have seven siblings.) When there were six of us kids my parents bought this tiny little two-bedroom house in the country. My mother never worked. I have the best of memories as a girl, even into my teens, of the simple kinds of fun we would have. It’s so good to hear from others that it can be done and that your example of contentment can be so powerful to your children. I too love going to a thrift store for bargains, or sew my own clothes or mend what needs it. I’m married now and have a little son and hope to have more children in the future. This post, and your whole website is very challenging and encouraging. Just want to thank you for swimming against the tide. 🙂 And encouraging others to do the same. God bless.
Thanks so much for your perspective, and your encouragement Sara. I do feel like we are swimming upstream sometimes, but it’s good to know that others have done the same. 🙂
I am a 23 yo in Perth, Australia. Prices are high for everything here because of all the mining. I love my job, but I love kids too. My partner and I are currently practicing living on one income as he’s back at university for his final year after taking a year off to work and save. One option not mentioned much is what we’re hoping to do when we have kids. We both want to work part time, thus giving us both career opportunities and time with our kids. Has anyone tried that? And if you did, what problems did you have?
We have not tried working two part time jobs, but we did work split shifts where I taught school from 7 am to 3:30 pm while my husband was home until 2:30. We used a baby sitter for the hour until I could get home and be with the children. Then we spend weekends together. It was difficult in some aspects, but enabled us to be the primary care givers and saved a ton on childcare.
I think your blog is great and has heaps of great ideas for saving money, whether you need to or not. I live with my partner and I don’t think that we spend a lot of money on unnessessary things (eg. only rarely eat out, shop to the specials etc.) but even with just the two of us we probably live on not too much less than you do with a family of 6! Although we don’t exactly need to live on less (yet, anyway), it’s always nice to be able to save up for the occasional big holiday and some of your tips can help us do that!
A question though, How you you handle things like your kids birthdays, christmas etc. Do you take these things into account in you budget and save for them, or do you give your children less presents/less expensive presents. Also things like children’s activities (eg. soccer, dancing, music lessons etc.) – these things can be expensive – do they still get to do some of these things?
Hi Bianca! We do a variety of things. I collect freebies throughout the year and buy things on sale with coupons that we give to the children. The birthday budget is usually $25 per child. Last year my 12 year old was able to play putt putt golf with two friends and have a cupcake decorating party thanks to discounts and coupons. My son chose to have a sleepover/video game night with pizza, soda and homemade treats. My daughter who is turning 16 will have a much bigger budget because we think 16 is a big deal. 🙂 She will also have a party in our home with friends. To keep the cost lower, we will make the food and play games like “glow-in-the-dark” bowling (2 ltr. bottles filled half way with water and the contents of a glow bracelet purchased in a pack of 10 at the dollar store.).
The children have participated in various activities as we have found discounted programs. Two of the girls participated in swim team at the YMCA, and a dance team. we received a gift of a one week horse day camp for my 12 year old last year and three of my children participated in a sports and science day camp. My son and daughter have played music for their church youth group, and the leader gave my daughter free keyboard lessons and my son free bass guitar lessons.
There are many activities available if you look around. 🙂
Thank you for sharing this. I was also wondering what your kids thought of your lifestyle. Mine are too young yet to understand or care. You are teaching your children how to be wise stewards and to be content with what they have. They will be light years ahead of most of us when we entered adulthood. I think that’s awesome! I hope to instill those same things in my kids too.
As far as the SAHM vs WOHM debate, I’ve done both and can honestly say they are both extremely difficult and moms everywhere should just understand this and try to help and encourage one another rather than hurt each other or put others down. I guess that will never happen, but thanks for trying to keep things civil in your blog and comments. Also, thanks for being so honest and open.
You are very welcome Mary. As a mom I have worked full-time, worked part-time, stayed home full-time and now I am a work-at-home mom so I understand all of the struggles with each of those situations. As I have said before, find what works best for your family and don’t worry what anyone else thinks. 🙂
Hi! First of all, let me say that I truely enjoy reading your blog! I’m learning so much and I’m excited to implement a few things 🙂 I am a wife and mother to a 3.5 year old girl, and I work full-time for the Army National Guard. I feel I’m very fortunate to have the job I have, which comes with a 50% pension when I retire. I do contribute to a retirement account, but I worry about my not-too-distant future; I will retire in 13 years at the age of 43! I dont have to retire then but I WANT to so I can spend more time with my daughter as she finishes her HS career and begins thinking about college. My husband and I are quite fortunate, have higher education, and make more than average for our neck of the woods. ( we live in the mid west, and because you are so forward and honest I will be too…we make about 120K annually). My concern is whether or not we can continue our way of life when I wish to retire in 13 short years. We already so some things I know to be money-wise. We pay twice the required amount on our loans (house, car, student loans), we save, and we both contribute to retirement funds. The big issue is continuing our way of life from the time I retire at 43 and the time I can draw on my retirement (my pension starts when I retire at 43). I have already scoured weekly adds for sale items and have been working on a shopping list surrounding those sales, and plan on changing the way we do date night. Thank you so much for fitting this blog into your schedule and giving me this needed insight! I applaud you for raising and teaching 4 children while taking on a project like this!!
Hi Beth–welcome! I am not sure exactly what your question is. Can you explain a little more?
Haha, I tend to babble 🙂 not so much as question as some reflections. I love what you’re doing, and although I dont feel I can embrace it fully, I do intend to adopt some of your practices to better prepare my family for my early retirement. Thanks again for what you are doing!
Hi Beth! I am so glad that you enjoy the blog. I don’t expect everyone to do what we do, but I am simply giving you lots of ideas so you can find what works best for your situation. I’m glad you stopped by.:)
I’m going on my second day of reading your blogs (good way to spend your time when half the house is sick with a flu-bug…easier to do since the “baby” is 17 lol) and I really felt compelled to respond to this one. First, your 17 year old cracks me up! We have 17 and 21 year old sons still at home, and I work outside the home as a teacher in a tuition-free private school. Yes, you read that right, a TUITION-FREE private school for students of limited financial resources! I taught in public schools, as well as at 2 different universities before making this MASSIVE switch in career paths. For starters, we as faculty have so much more autonomy to teach what each child needs, get to know the students and their families, than any of us ever did in the PS school system (we have a cap of 16 students per class, and only 1 class per grade level K-5). The majority of us have made huge sacrifices financially in order to teach here, but it is a special place, and we are truly a family there. The more I read your blog, the more I would LOVE to be able to share links to your posts on our own class website; as you can imagine, we have students whose parents both work very hard to give them what they need and some of what they want, families who are in daily “survival mode”, and parents/guardians, who like so many others in this country (and elsewhere), confuse wants with needs.
I also want to commend you for your graceful approach to less than complimentary comments. First, it would be very easy to just not allow those to hit the comments section, as this is a moderated blog; yet you do chose to let them be heard. Well done! For those who are “offended” by the references to your faith and beliefs…well, as a Buddhist personally, I believe that people are certainly entitled to their beliefs, and I respect their beliefs even if they differ from my own. However, I wish (personally) that those who feel the need to pass judgement on others, publicly (be the topic, religion, politics, partnerships, SAHM status, etc), would just keep their opinions private and not tear down others.
Of course, I see the hypocrisy of me wishing others who feel the need to comment negatively would keep their negative comments to themselves 🙂 Thank you again from the bottom of my heart for you so publicly sharing your experiences and life lessons with us all. This is MY version of “it takes a village” to support each other in our walk through life!
Hi Kimberly–welcome! Thanks for your encouragement. I am a firm believer in civil discourse–everyone has a right to his or her opinion and I think that we can each learn from each other. While I am definitely a Jesus follower and believe the Bible is the Word of God, my understanding of who God is and how the world works has been challenged and improved by other’s thoughts and experiences. I think if Christians (myself included) did a better job of loving people and listening to them, more people might find the God of the Bible appealing. 🙂
I would be happy for you to share the links to my posts with people who need help. If you have any ideas for specific topics you would like for me to address, please let me know.
I have been reading through your posts for the last couple of days now, and when it comes to this post I just had to comment. I am the younger of two children, and my DAD started staying home with us when I was 3 1/2 years old, and I can honestly say it made me the woman I am today. Growing up with a stay at home parent, a ‘househusband’, or whatever you want to call it, allows the child to spend time with their parent, instead of with a potentially apathetic babysitter, and the parent to spend time with their own offspring, instead of inside an office day in and day out. My dad did all of the shopping, cleaning, shuttling of kids, and home and car repair. Even with only my mom’s salary, I never felt we wanted for anything. My parents saved frugally for the first few years of their marriage, and by their 6th year of marriage paid for our still current house in cash. Sure I didn’t have the latest brands, but I got an allowance and learned to save for what I really wanted, something that holds me well with finances now when I am almost 30. Sure, my brother may be the only Canadian boy to never play ice hockey, as it is maybe the most expensive sport ever, but it meant we all went to the much cheaper and family friendly sport of track and field, which my parents volunteered for. With age and perspective, I can see that many parts of my personality were shaped by spending more time than average with my Dad, I have his sense of humour, I am independent to a fault, and getting under a car to change the oil does not phase me at all. I would recommend more Dad time for kids, especially girls, for everybody!!!
Thanks so much for your perspective Emily! It is good to know another example of a child who was not “ruined” by having to learn about budgets. 🙂
I just found your blog and was reading through it. I can not believe the comment this person left. How in the world are you being selfish! I am a SAHM I really never thought that I would be but when we had our first child I could not believe the cost of day care. I even worked at one and still could not believe it. I also did not like the idea of my baby having to be in one room for 8 hours a day. We decided then that I would stay at home. It has been really tight but we are managing. Our daugther is now 3 and we have a 9 month old son. Instead of being in a day care with the same people every day my kids are out doing fun things. We go to the park, do crafts, playdates, and all kinds of things. Yes we have to cut corners and my children may not have the lastest toys or new clothes but are they really going to remember that later on? No they are going to remember the time you spent with them and the lessons you taught them. If what your doing is being selfish then I guess I am right there with you.
Thank you for this blog. I was a single mom for years and was able to buy my son what he wanted, when he wanted, shop like there was no tomorrow, and still be financial able. Now, I am a newlywed. Shortly after our nuptials I became pregnant and my husband lost his job. It has caused me to reflect on my budgeting skills, as I will soon be supporting a 4 member (5 every other weekend when his daughter visits) household on my teacher income. Growing up in a household with (2) 6 figure incomes, this is a frightening thought. My mother has caused me to feel a lot of guilt by what I am “denying” my son, but he doesn’t seem to mind and is excited about the changes in our lives, as am I. He seems happier. It is a diffcult concept to explain. I have much to learn about making it all work, but I plan on revisiting your blog many times to continue to be encouraged, inspired, and borrow some of your ideas along the way. Thank you!
I am sorry that your husband lost his job Rachel–I can’t imagine what an adjustment you are going through, but I am so proud of you for determining to make things work instead of denying what’s going on. I sincerely hope that I can be an encouragement to you. Please feel free to ask any questions you have.
We are fighting similar issues/mind sets as some of you state. We enjoy “homemade living” through frugality and see that our 2yr old is already better for it. She loves to help w/ the homemade cooking, DIY and cheap/free activities in which we spend quality time together. While we are at work, she is at a SAHM sitter who is sweet and loving as can be, but very focused on keeping up w/ the Jones’. Our DD is typically very loving, sweet, sharing and content when she’s w/ us- but we have to daily go through some retraining after she’s been at the sitter. Her littles are constantly in front of the TV, XBox, iPhone and playing in plastic toys piled to the cealing. Meals are rare in their house because snacking on starches and sugary foods all day is the norm. We continue to attempt to change this process w/ them, but this is the norm w/ sitters we interviewed and realize it’s best for me to just be a SAHM eventually (hopefully within another year).
Though, many times, we do without because we “have” to, we also prefer to do without many things because it gives us better life perspective.
Estelle Stone says
I agree with everything you are saying. We are fortunate in the fact that my husband does make a comfortable living and I am able to stay home. Do we give our children everything? NO! We make them work for what they have. They have to earn everything. Our now 26 year old son thanks us that we made him buy his own car, pay for his own insurance, etc. Our friends thought we were crazy. Don’t care. They need to learn how to make it on their own. I make my own cleaning products, laundry detergent, etc. You are spot on with the comment that even if you made more money you still wouldn’t be paying for luxury items. It’s a great life lesson. One they will take with them always. Thanks for the insight.
Thanks Estelle! It’s good to know that someone else shares our views. 🙂
Alicia P. says
Just stumbled on this post, thanks to Pinterest. I guess I’m a bit of a financial weirdo, especially for my age (25 and single, but I’ve been this way forever) – I clip coupons, shop sales, agree that $5 is too much to pay for (most) shirts, and am happier when I bring something home for free or cheap than when I spend a fortune on it. Not that you need my approval, but I really just wanted to say congrats on the lessons you’re teaching your children – I love your 11 and 14 year olds’ comments, especially! And boo to the naysayers like the ones who ask you that question. Material things don’t make you happy, they often just get in the way of happiness! Keep on keepin’ on! 🙂
I wish I was able to accomplish what you have! Less is absolutely more and I find that sometimes spending money is just a way to self-medicate any one of my given issues at the moment. A skill I do not want my daughter to learn. I have been filling up bags to take to good will to declutter my life (house) and I will go from there. Kudos to you! I will get there . . . I hope! I have tons of student loan debt having just finished law school—but I only have one child so I’m sure I can do it. Just have to keep working at it. Thank you for your so very useful and honest posting!
Yes Veronica–just keep moving! 🙂 Good for you for decluttering. I think you will be amazed at how much that helps.
Glad you enjoy the site.
Wesley cooper says
Im so sorry you have people post such questions! I come from a family where my mom was single for 9 years and in those 9 years she chose to work only when we were in school and to stay home most of the time. Then when she remarried we ended up with a family of six on one income. I was frustrated at times that I couldn’t go shopping but I also was pretty selfish but I NEVER resented my family! I was so encouraged by my mom always being their that I feel it saved me from
A potentially destructive life! And, now a mom myself, I want to be just like her! My family sacrificed and I feel that, life is better because I’m happy with being frugal and putting my children first( which can I say, is so not selfish! It takes way more energy to be with my kiddos then to go to a job! A stay a home mom is 24/7. There are no breaks, me time! It’s almost always about them!)
Thanks for giving me the perspective of someone who is on the other side. I actually don’t mind the question because it gave me the opportunity to answer something that other people may have been thinking too. 🙂
Amen Sister!!! I just found your blog today and I can’t stop reading. I mean seriously it has been like three hours!!! LOL! But this post has been the one that has effected me the most. I would like to start by saying……Honey, you are one of the few parents now that has actually got your priorities straight! Don’t let anyone tell you any different! Kids should not be raised to think that malls and movie theaters are the only things that can keep them entertained. And they should not be taught that they “have to” do anything(i.e. have a certain brand of clothes) just because everyone else is doing it. Giving in to these things is teaching our children that you should give in to peer pressure instead of standing against it and it is also what has got millions of people in debt! Plus, your lifestyse is enabling you to spend more time with your faimly which (in my opinion) is much more important that any material thing that you could buy with that money from that job that you gave up! You are raising smart, creative, happy, healthy, and secure kids so more power to ya!
I love this site and I can definately see myself spending many more hours reading your posts. I love your great tips and your transparency. I am trying to get caught up on everything and trying to figure out how to start incorporating some of your ideas. Wish me luck!!!!
Hi Kristi-thanks so much for your very kind comments. We are certainly not perfect parents by any means, but we are definitely trying to do our best. I hope you find lots of good ideas here. 🙂
Good for you! You don’t have to spend money to have fun or be good parents.
We have Family Fun night every Friday where we buy a $5 pizza an play board games with our kids. It’s my only planned meal each week where we don’t have to cook or eat leftovers and it’s the cheapest pizza around and all our friends make fun of us for it.
It’s also a time to disconnect from our busy lives and connect as a family, almost like our Sabbath.
You only have years, months even, left to be a whole family at home together so I commend you for all you do and for being home.
Lately I have started to feel like I need to find a way to be more available to my daughters and am exploring ways to get by on just one salary and your blog has been very inspirational.
I miss Friday night pizza night! When I worked we ordered pizza every Friday. I should probably start making our own and continuing that tradition. 🙂
Thank you for your words and your smart blog.
My parents taught us (5 children) in a frugal environment. My mother stayed home with us and never went back to full time work because she felt that TIME=LOVE. She was and still is the best teacher I have ever had. I swear there is nothing she can’t do! If ever I have a problem, I still turn to her first! And now as a mother of two boys, 3 and 1, I cannot imagine leaving their care and education to someone else while I leave them to add to the income we can already comfortably live on.
I have a friend who has had to work outside of the home, not by choice. She grieves for the time she has missed with her 4 kids – they have essentially been raised by someone else.
I would rather live on less and teach my children to live frugally than to live and work away from my family. Someone else said it – you can never get those moments back. We live for those moments! We should savor them.
And this one has been said so many times, but it is so true: you cannot leave this life with things, only the relationships you have built.
Sharon E. says
Sorry to comment on pretty much every post, Kimberlee! But I wanted to reiterate what you say above, that women who make all kinds of life decisions should have mutual respect for each other.
I am the adult daughter of a working mother. I grew up in a house with two incomes, probably totaling around $200K. BUT both of my parents were products of very frugal households and so money was never a focus in our house. Our favorite places to shop are thrift stores and places like TJMaxx and Marshalls, and we love going to yard sales.
I just wanted to weigh in for the side of working mothers and say that just because a mother works it does not mean that the children are showered with gifts or just handed wads of cash. I have grown into a very financially responsible adult, and my mom and I share a very close and meaningful relationship.
Thanks for sharing your perspective Sharon. Hopefully everyone will read what I write with the understanding that I am simply sharing what we have chosen to do, not judging anyone else’s decisions. 🙂
Well put! I couldn’t agree more!
When I was growing up we had very little, but I had the most fantastic family. Today my brother is my best friend and I see my parents/the kids see their grandparents weekly without fail. I am more thankful for that then any material item my parents could have purchased had my mother worked.
Now as a mother myself I have chosen to work. But only after my kids went off to school and only part time so I can be there EVERY day after school. I have had to pass on many promotions but I know at the end of the day this is better for my kids and my husband and I then any paycheck could ever be!
Thanks for sharing your story and your ideas for living a frugal lifestyle. Loving your blog!!!
Good for you for making sacrifices to be there for your children. You will never regret it!
Thanks Kimberlee! I’ve read the series on living on 28 000 a year, but the link before definitely helps as well! Awesome blog, so inspiring that you don’t need to be rich to feel rich!
I just found your website on Pinterest and it is a HUGE eye opener. Having just graduated Teachers College in Ontario and there being no jobs, my current annual income will be about $27K. My boyfriend who has a 3 year old from a previous relationship is making about $25K and we are trying to save for our first home as well as getting married. Any suggestions on saving money for a future? He is the only one that drives – I have my license but no car, my friends think I’m weird for taking the bus all the time but I took it for 5 years for school, so why stop now when gas prices are so high?
Hi Jennifer! You can read all of my money saving tips here: https://thepeacefulmom.com/money-saving-ideas/; the Living on Less Than $28,000 a year series here: https://thepeacefulmom.com/living-on-less-than-28000-a-year-series/. I think the main thing I would suggest is knowing exactly what you want to save for and putting every cent you can find toward that goal. Make a vision board or a list of your goals and keep it in front of you to keep yourself motivated. Good luck!
I choose to stay at home with my kids because that is what is best for them and me. I find it a true tragedy that any mother feels she must defend her choices – to work or stay home or something in between. When did it happen in our society that we had to justify our family’s lifestyle choices?
When the media overflows with the acceptance of previously rejected lifestyles how can this one – doing what is right for your family and your circumstances be so vastly undervalued?
Thanks for your honest and honestly kind response.
Thanks so much for your posting. I too am a SAHM. Our budget is pretty tight, but we have what we need. I volunteer at my 8yo daughter’s school and had our second miracle in January (I was told I would never get pregnant – our first is adopted and I got pregnant 7 years later w/our 2nd). Our little one has severe reflux and needs special medicine and soy liquid formula! I have cut our grocery budget in half. I am feeding 3 of us for $100 a pay period (15 days) and her formula is around $90 for 15 days. Also, we just found out she will need to wear a DOC helmet band and our insurance only covers 75%. We will pay about $1400. Luckily they allow a payment plan! We too got to thrift shops, garage sales and utilize the library for entertainment a lot. We do have 2 cars, but I do not drive it but a few days each week. We walk to and from school (weather permitting), to the park and even to the grocery store if we need just a couple of items. I can generally get away with one fill up for the pay period which also saves. Your blog is inspiring. Hugs!
Congratulations on your baby! I’m sorry that you are dealing with medical difficulties, but it sounds like you are doing what it takes to make things work. I’m so glad that the blog is helpful to you.
Thanks for this! I am about to become a stat-at-home mom at 35. We tried the two-job family when our daughter was birn in 2003, and we are always so stressed. Now a new baby is on the way, and we’re taking the opportunity to revamp our lifestyle. It’s good to know that I’m not crazy for trying this even though my husband doesn’t make $75,000+ a year!
In the last year my husband and I made a decision to sell our house and move out of the state where our children were born in order for me to stay home. We sold our beautiful house in the city to live in a two bedroom little trailer in the country. We have cut our income in half and have had to make several financial sacrifices just to make it work. That said, this past year has been the most beautiful time in our lives. We have been forced to slow down and enjoy eachother. I am sure times of resentment will creep in to our lives, however they quickly fade away as the time spent building memories take their place. As adults when our children look back at this time in their lives they will appreciate having learned to be good stewards of what they have been given. They will never have to “resent” us for lack of quality time, amazing memories and sacrifices made for the greater good of the family. I thank God for that daily. Good for you for putting your family first and “stuff” on the back burner where it belongs. Your humble response and honest attitude toward living on less is an amazing blessing, keep up the good work. 🙂
Just curious about how you handle unexpected school related expenses, or unexpected kid related expenses in general. For example my daughter got inducted into NJHS and the whole group went to an amusement park, she needed $30 for the ticket plus spending money. Her whole grade goes on an overnight trip each year which is between $150-$700 (gets more expensive each year). Do your kids earn money to cover those type things, sit out, or do you come up ways to cover them?
We had an unexpected event occur about a month ago when both my daughters advanced in a Fine Arts competition to the National Level. We are responsible for transportation and expenses for them to travel to a state that is 800 miles away and stay for a week.
My daughters are baking cookies and making bookmarks to sell. I wrote an ebook which I am selling on my blog and we are half way there. I like the fact that we are both working toward the goal and even if we had the money to cover everything I would probably still have them work for part of it. There have been times when we have had to say no due to finances and those times are very difficult, but I think it is unwise to spend money you need for basic bills so that a child can have a “luxury” experience. I know that other parents feel differently, that is just what we decided is best for our family.
My children are 17, 15, and 13, my husband and I choose for me to stay home with them as well. It’s priceless and I wouldn’t change it for any amount of money!! Our oldest just graduated high school and he has made the decision to go into the Air Force. It’s just a reminder of how little time we really do have with our children. It seems like just yesterday he was 4 and wanted to be a train conductor. Your doing a great job, keep up the good work!!!!
Your doing a great job, keep up the good work!!!!
It’s amazing that this country has their perceptions so twisted as to think a stay at home mom caring for her family is selfish. I consider this sacrificial and truly trying to give the best for your children.
You have more energy to talk and listen to them because you aren’t frazzled or worn out from a long day at work.
You cook healthy meals for them rather than picking up McDonald’s or some of junk food all the time.
And the list goes on, but really I think that time and attention in the way you parent shows much more love than showering them with money and crap they don’t need.
oh and another way that you are loving them…. not racking up a mountain of debt for them to have to pay off as adults when your husband is no longer able to work. Oh yes you are very selfish people….
Kim, long-time reader, first time commenter here 😉
I’m glad you showed your children’s responses. Frankly, I don’t know why people think you are depriving them just because you live a frugal lifestyle. Honestly, when my mom was raising my brother and me by herself we had more fun and interacted together more than we did after she got married to a “rich doctor.” Not because they were ignoring us by any means, but I think once we had more money we didn’t do as many of the free activities (which actually are more fun and fulfilling) because we were able to spend money on other things……I’m probably not making sense, lol, but I enjoy reading your blog and I love how your 14 year old and I share the same thrifter attitude 🙂
Kudos to you, and this was a gret post.
Thanks Tara, and thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I’m glad to know you’re here. 🙂
Emily Mayfield says
Beautiful response! You are investing in THE most important thing! You are providing for generations to come by building a legacy of what matters most now. Love your blog!
I just came upon your site on pinterest – its sad that so many people dont realize staying home with your children is something that is the best thing in the world and you can not get back the time that they grow up. My children are grown now. I stayed home with them and I am so blessed to have seen their first steps , first words, walking to the parks, hanging out at home. We’ve become a materialistic world. I grew up poor not by choice and we never lacked , we always had a warm meal, roof over our head and LOVE. I would rather eat at home than somewherewhere I dont know if the cook washed their hands, yuck .
I recently saw a quote on FB that said “People are made to be loved and things are made to be used. The problem with life today is that things are being loved and people are being used.”
I think the person that asked this question has this problem with life. Money and things don’t = happiness.
I think you are spot on with your frugal choices and close family life style. After all, all the wealthy people I know personally got there by saving and not spending. And the happiest families I know are rarely the richest financially – they are the richest in love and family.
Love that quote–thanks Stephanie!
Excellent response Kimberly! You have such a graceful way of answering difficult questions and it’s so encouraging to see what life lessons you are instilling in your children!
Thanks so much Marissa!
love your son’s victim of frugality remark. That is funnier than the sitcoms husband was watching last night. Your son may have a career as a writer
I think you may be right. 😉
Teresa Wood says
I’m Teresa – Derek’s wife from above. It is late at night and I finally have a chance to sit down and comment. I caught your post on facebook this morning too and immediately went to read it – I also COULD NOT believe that you actually received that question – and the way is was stated. By the time Derek came back in the house I was pretty steamed and told him all about it giving it to him to read – that is why he ended up commenting. I was so impressed that you answered the question with so much restraint and good will.
We also live a simple and frugal life so that we can be with our 3 year old. We are a little more extreme then most as we don’t own a house or even rent one. We live in a cabin at the provincial park we manage for 5 months and travel the rest of the time. The three of us + I LARGE dog and 3 cats live on about $22,000 per year. I blog about our lifestyle and how we ‘keep it simple’. We are so much happier living the frugal lifestyle and KNOW that we are doing well by our daughter raising her this way.
I am so happy to have found your blog only recently. One of the many things I appreciate about it is that your children are older – nice to see the comparisons as most of the other blogs I visit are raising young children.
My hope is that one day our daughter would answer that type of question in a similar manner as your children!
My husband would love to live in a cabin and travel 5 months out of the year! I’ll check out your blog. Thanks for your encouragement.
Wow… I really admire you. I grew up in a family of five, and my mom worked part-time.
We never went on shopping trips like my friends, and sometimes, in high school, I wished we had more money.
Looking back, I am so glad we just made it work with what we had. I have learned that “things” do not make someone happy. I learned a lot not getting everything handed to me!
I think it’s awesome that your family lives the way you describe! Too often, we as Americans believe we always need more and better: a better/newer house, car, clothes, purses, etc., and I think families like yours go to show that that is not the case!
Thanks Susan. 🙂
I completely agree with Susan! I grew up in a family of 10. Money was always too tight and I hated it at times. We (the children) were expected to help out in any way possible. I still remember using money I had worked all summer to save to buy my siblings school supplies rather then the “new” (second hand) clothes I wanted. I still had enough, but it taught me to look at other peoples needs, not just my needs and then my wants.
Now I am a SAHM, my husband makes about 5X what my parents did, and we have 4 children. I am SO thankful for the way I was raised!!! Every time I say something about saving money in some way my friends think its so sad! It kills me to hear them talk about things like buying a child a new toy that was ONLY $25 just as a way to say “I love you” or “you’re special to me” (this happens almost weekly and they have 4 kids too). REALLY! And I’m the bad mom for making my kids do chores to earn the money so they can buy their toy, then just saying I love you! or You are special to me!
Kids will be better off knowing how to really think about what is important, not just having more “stuff” while dad and mom are never around!
Trista Bytheway says
Aren’t we stay-at-home moms so selfish? All we ever think about is ourselves and how we can make ourselves happier. The world would be a better place without us. 😉
My mom was a stay-at-home mom. There were eight children, my dad went from job to job much of my childhood, and once he did get a steady job it was as a teacher in Utah. Not the best pay in the whole world! If I could go back in time I wouldn’t change a thing. Having my mom home when I got home from school, knowing she was there if I ever needed her during the day…that is priceless. She is and always has been my best friend, I always knew that nothing was more important to my parents than us, she taught me the real value of things, I have never spent more than I’ve made, etc. etc. Because of her I never wanted to be anything but a stay-at-home mom. It wasn’t until I was that I realized how hard it was, but it is the best job I’ve ever had!
Keep up the good work!
I haven’t commented before, but read your blog by email. I felt strongly compelled to comment on this post.
I was raised on “less” as it were. My brother and sisters and I were home schooled… I have turned out surprisingly well adjusted, compared to some “normal” people. I’m in my twenties now, and my siblings are some of my best friends.
Family is more important than money, and it seems like if people are asking these questions, maybe they have a hard time understanding the bond that can be formed, when living with less. Happiness isn’t something that having money is going to give you, and your children will not resent you for giving you the blessing of YOUR TIME and LOVE. That far exceeds any material gains.
I find it a little bit offensive that people think that all kids feel they are entitled to more than what they need. Often times it’s something that is instilled in them, and I think we all know the source of that.
I’m sorry to rant, but I feel strongly on this… I just wanted to put in my two bits with the other hundreds as well.
Thanks for taking the time to comment Gracie. I think it’s easy to be fooled by materialism. Television portrays lifestyles filled with the things that money can buy and they make it look very attractive. If people have never been given the opportunity to experience life differently, it’s difficult for them to understand.
I try to teach my kids to hear what the other person is REALLY saying, because a lot of times, they are too scared to ask their real question. What that question says, to me is, “Look, I am working a lot of hours, I never see my family, but I have all this money to give them, and isn’t that better? Will my kids appreciate that I have sacrificed time with them, in order to give them nice things? 20 years from now, will my kids think I made the right choice? Will I?” Or maybe they are saying, “I am scared. What if I want to stay home, and we don’t make it? What if we can’t pay the rent, or the utilities?” I just found your blog, through Pinterest, and am looking forward to reading more, and learning from you. Thank you for your bravery, and your courage, for putting yourself out there.
Wow Dawn – I have to say I so so appreciate your insight. I think you are probably spot on in your comment. I watch other people’s children in my home so I can stay with my own little ones. I have felt a terrible ache inside for the moms whose children I have when I saw the first roll over, the first french fry, the first step instead of them. I was blessed to see that for my own kids and it breaks my heart that they missed it with theirs. Question asking reader: the answer is yes – take the leap and build your wings on the way down!!
I left a great, well paying job last August after having worked for the company 19 years (since high school) in order to stay home with my kids. We went down to 45% of our income and I couldn’t be happier. My kids love having me home and we are always finding free and cheap stuff to do. It’s quality, not quantity that counts. I have finally been able to attend school concerts, go on their field trips and take then to Wild Water Days or outdoor movies at our local community centre. I do feel like people think my husband is making loads of money or we have huge savings or that I’ve lost my mind. We are happier than ever now so I try not to care what others think.
Hats off to you, Anita and Kimberlee too. My job loss wasn’t a choice and we lost 2/3s of our income (ouch!) but what a blessing and an amazing life lesson it has been. I’m not the most religious person, but I do believe this was orchestrated from above. 🙂 We are still learning to live this way but we are also all happier. I, for one, have great memories of my poor but awesome parents and very few memories about clothes! LOL
That is so true about rarely remembering clothes Rory. I do remember the beautiful wool sweater that my sister washed by mistake though–haha!
I love the way you respond to these questions! You are honest without a bit sounding rude which is the opposite the person asking the question. C: My dad is a preacher and we didn’t have money growing up. I never resented my parents. I only resented people making me feel less because we didn’t have money. Your sacrifices will SO pay off in the end. ~ A different note, I love your blog. I have been recommended it to all my friends. Thank you for all you do for us readers! C:
I’m so glad you enjoy the blog Amy. Thanks for recommending me. 🙂
Jennifer G says
I love that your 15 yr old was honest (and is comfortable enough with you to be honest). And I love your 14 yr old’s answer. Yes she is weird, but in a fantastic way!! 🙂
OH! I politely and respectfully disagree. I think the 14 year is not weird but is showing good common sense and also aware of name brands (as teenagers are) as well as cost of such items. Hopefully that awareness will carry on through out her life and the child will grow up knowing how to use money wisely. I wish my 16 year old was “weird” in that way. She spends money so thoughtlessly and it “kills” me.
Thanks Anna. Sometimes it’s good to be weird, right? 🙂
I just found your blog and read the question above and felt that I had to respond. Our daughter will be 22 years old in a week and a half and she LOVES thrift shops. She and her group of friends think it is the coolest thing ever to get a great blouse or pair of shorts for under $5! Unfortunately, she did not learn that from me. In fact, I’ve been learning from her! If I had it all to do over again, I would have stayed home with my children. You obviously have a strong, loving family! I know you are proud. Keep your ideas coming!
Thanks so much Laura. I learn a thing or two from my kids too! 🙂
Kimberlee… great great response, and thank you so much for addressing such funny questions. It’s amazing to see how people who are used to just spending and spending cannot seem to come to grips with the thought of actually doing free things, and living on less… they need to listen to Dave Ramsey a bit more, eh? 😀
To whoever posted the comment, ‘ I feel that you are being selfish to make your kids live this super frugal lifestyle that you chose because you wanted to stay home rather than work.’ Are you serious? Stay at home mom’s are the most unselfish people there are! It takes a mom who is willing to sacrifice clothes, super nice cars, etc. to spend TIME with her children, rather than build a career. In case you haven’t noticed… that’s exactly what our children need these days, is for more moms to come home and spend time with their children.
AMEN! I never planned to be a SAHM but I ended up giving up my career to stay home with my kids. Best decision I ever made…come 5pm some days I’d say it was the worst when I’m trying to get dinner on the table my 3 year old won’t stop talking and my 1 year old is whining and hanging on my leg. But when I can volunteer at school or attend every practice it confirms that giving up a career wasn’t nearly as much as what I am getting in return.
I completely agree! My husband and I are expecting our first child so I don’t have personal stay-at-home mother experience yet but I have one from being a child. My parents worked very hard so that my mom could stay home with me and my 3 brothers.
For almost all of my life my mom was able to stay there with us at home and be there whenever we needed anything and that is worth far more than anything that ever could have been bought.
There was about a 4 year period when my mom did go to work due to some circumstances and during that time we did have A LOT of money but you ask any member of our family and that is the time that we all hated the most.
That is a wonderful answer that you gave Kimberlee, I applaud what you have been able to do and your family will thank you for it, and it looks like they already are.
Thank you for your blog and the things that you are sharing on here.
Thanks so much Jessica. 🙂
I dont think it’s fair to judge one woman’s choice of building a career “over” spending time with her family. Personally speaking, my own mother was a so called “career builder” but we spent nights, weekends and summers together. Just because a woman chooses a career does not mean that she cannot choose to have a family as well. I believe that women in our society need to be more supportive of other women no matter what choices they make. Women have come so far in regards to even having an opportunity TO build a career. I think we women need to applaud every type of mom; the stay at homers, the so called ‘career builders’ and every type of woman in between!
I love what you said: “I believe that women in our society need to be more supportive of other women no matter what choices they make.” I want all women to feel supported and encouraged here.
The important thing is to know your values and then to live them. Many moms don’t have the choice to stay home rather than work outside the home, but they can still make their children a priority in their lives. I know you are responding to Heather, but I just wanted to say that I am sharing my story so that those moms who want to stay home know that someone else has done it on a “low” income. Blessings!
I’m still trying to figure out how the kids getting to go out to eat more, have more clothes and enjoyed more (costly) entertainment makes them happier?!!! The Bible says having sustenance and covering – not having a lavish lifestyle.
I feel that most kids today are totally spoiled. They are bored if they don’t have 3 electronic things flashing in their face 24/7. I had an older brother (6 1/2 yrs) and I played most of the time by myself. I knew how to amuse myself and make games out of not much. My mom tells me all she had to play with back in those days were boxes. I’m sure she had a doll but the point is you don’t have to have all this “fancy” stuff to be happy.
I for one am glad you don’t keep up with the Joneses – I used to be one who tried and failed miserably. I gave my kids new gadgets, new toys, ate out alot, went shopping all the time and now I have grown kids who feel like if they have $$ in their pocket they need to be spending it and their children are bored easily because of always wanting to go spend $ or have the latest game. This was with me being a sahm! So it doesn’t matter if you work or sahm – it’s the principles and the philosophies that you instill in your children that brings them lasting happiness.
BTW – a sahm works just as hard as one with a career – she just doesn’t get as much adult conversation most of the time. 🙂
Thank you for posting this. We are living on one income for the past year and have all been adjusting to our new life. Our decision for me to stay home initially took place because we had 2 small babies and child care was just not an option for us (finically or emotionally). It is sometimes difficult for our 12 and 9 year old girls to understand why we can’t just go eat out or go to the movies whenever we like. We have learned not to take things for granted and to we have realized that there is so much fun to be had right at home. Thank you for sharing your children’s views I will share these with my daughters.
Both of my parents worked while I was growing up. Now that I know how much they made, I realize they could have given my sister and I lots of “stuff” that we wanted, but they made us work for it. I’m so glad they did because I feel like we both take care of/ appreciate what we have. My parents are sitting much better for retirement because of those financial parenting decisions they made.
I now work with “at risk” kids. So many people think that means poor….well, it doesn’t!! I am here to say I’ve had “rich” kids come through our program having bigger issues than the “poor” ones. I hate even using that word – poor – but it simplifies for this conversation. The kids who come from wealthy families have been so over-endulged, they are almost bullies when they don’t get what they want. I just don’t see how giving your kids everything they want when they want it benefits them. Even though my parents probably could have, they decided to teach us the meaning of a dollar, and how to prioritize your finances 🙂
If anyone is lacking anything or making a sacrafic it is probably Kimberlee. I know from my personal experience, that I have sacraficed a lot to be at home with my son and attend school. If anyone in this family goes without its usually me or my husband- not my son.
Kimberlee- Your answer was “seasoned with salt and full of grace.” Isn’t it amazing….SAHMs are “depriving” their children…just like June Cleaver deprived her boys!!! I have to admit that I get a little angry when I see a Porsche pull into KinderCare 1 minute before closing to pick up that precious child who has probably been there since 7am. Sorry, but a fancy car is not more important than children. I too have a college degree and worked outside the home until our children were born. I also had a 2 year stint where I had to work full time when we relocated to another state. I hated leaving my children in preschool (I refused to call it daycare). We have been homeschoolers for over 5 years and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s the hardest JOB I have ever had. Even political pundits have made fun of women who don’t work for pay and put their children first (I understand some don’t have any choice and I feel for them). It’s a feminist (it takes a village) mindset and it’s wrong. Your family’s priorties should be held up as a model example. Great job.
I am a stay at home mom and also home school. My husband loves and supports that I want to be home with our son. I feel so fulfilled with my role as mother and “house wife” that I could not imagine anything else. I LOVE taking care of my child AND my husband. My own mother could not stay at home ’cause of financial issues, so I was raised partially by my grandmother. I felt loved every day and had a great childhood despite the fact that we never had much money and did not even have central heat/air or hot water in the kitchen. I never had name brand clothes or went out to eat at expensive restaurants. My husband also grew up in a similar fashion. Maybe living in “poverty” when we were younger makes us feel blessed and we don’t have the “want” to buy fancy things or live beyond our means. It was hard at first, for years even, but now, even though we are financially stable (and we thank God everyday for that!) we still don’t splurge on many things. To each her own, but I cannot understand the negativity on stay at home moms.
My children grew up with a very frugal, and rural, life-style. Most of their friends did also and so there was very little, “why can I have what they have?”. Something else that helped was that we didn’t have cable and we only got 2 tv stations. Because they weren’t seeing all the commercials for toys and things they didn’t realize they should want that newest thing that everyone should have. My daughter did resent, for a while, not being able to walk into the mall and buy high end clothes. However, she learned that $20.00 at a thrift store could buy her so much more and she became an expert at finding quality clothes. She scored a Versace skirt for less than $7 dollars. She also discovered a talent for putting together outfits that no one else had. She ended up being voted best dressed in her High School. It really helped that frugality was the norm where we lived, and that my children grew up this way. They didn’t have to adjust from living a more lavish life-style. Staying home with my kids gave me an opportunity to become closer to them and allowed our home to be the one their friends came to to hang out.
My kids are adults now and they both have expressed gratitude that they learned to work and wait for expensive things and tell the difference between a want and a need.
I LOVE that she was voted best dressed in thrift store clothes!
karen b says
Truly amazing to me that you had to answer this question. We live on a little more per year than you do & we still don’t eat out often or do some of that other stuff. Just today my daughter & I was looking for a white dressy top we found one but neither one of us was willing to pay the price. We decided to head to a couple of our local Goodwills & try to find one. ( We are going out on Saturday so will look then.) We don’t buy any clothes items unless they are on sale or @ a thriftstore:) I guess my children are deprived also:)
I am so glad you addressed this. I think that anyone who reads your blog for more than a week or two is aware that your family is busy and engaged in living a full life, and that you value your children not only today, but their future selves when they grow to be responsible, grounded adults. My parents were only thinking of themselves and what they wanted, and they didn’t really want children and allowed us to feel the resentment. I grew up with feeling deprived and with no concept of how to manage money or what really mattered. I envy your children, and I’m nearly 50 years old. What misery I would have avoided if I’d had a mother like you.
I am so sorry about your childhood. Thanks for understanding where I am coming from and for encouraging me. 🙂
I hope my kids would say the same thing as yours do. They are still young, but when they ask for something at the store and I say no, they respond with, “Why, Mom? It’s not on sale?” 🙂
I recently heard of an aquaintance who was living many states away from her family so she could pursue a degree and I can’t help wondering where that families priorities are. Its much more unselfish of a mother to stay at home with her children if at all possible than to pursue a career to find fulfillment. Mothers are designed to nurture their children and there is no higher calling. I am so thankful that I am able to stay home with mine.
That’s funny that your kids say that Heather. As far as working moms, I just want to be clear that I understand that some moms need to work or choose to work and I am in no way judging their decision (not saying that you are either). I am just sharing what has worked for us. I want everyone to feel welcome here. 🙂
My mom worked every day of my life-at times because she had to but mostly because she wanted to have “extras”. I always wanted her home more. I am now a SAHM and know that my children are receiving blessings from having their mom home with them.
Hooray for stay at home moms!
I am sorry to be blunt, but I can’t believe someone could cast a judgement of “selfishness” for someone who wants to be a stay-at-home mom and take on her children full-time. It wasn’t long ago that women were expected to stay at home and not given the option to work. Now, I feel as though putting your family bonds and relationships first is being considered not an option. Women fought for their rights, and part of those rights is the right to choose to stay home with your children. And children will learn far more from quality time and events with their parents than they will from a shopping spree at the mall followed by a movie and video games. I absolutely commend you for your clear and obvious devotion and love to your family. Frugality has simply been your means of building strong and lasting bonds with each other. Kudos!
I don’t usually comment on blog posts, but this one hit pretty close to home. I am 37 years old and was raised in a similar environment. My parents did an excellent job of explaining to me and my sister about why we lived on a tight budget. (We even helped mom cut coupons!) For the most part we were fine with this. There was a time when I was in Jr. High that I started resenting the way we scrimped and saved – I wanted the trendy clothes, shoes, etc. that my classmates had. My parents told me to feel free to take some little jobs around the neighborhood to make my own money so I did – washing cars, mowing lawns, babysitting, etc. I loved making money, but because of my upbringing I had a really hard time justifying spending money on “wants”. My first purchase was a Members Only jacket…Remember those? I had it about a month before I ripped the sleeve on an open locker at school. That was a huge lesson for me. That money ($30??) was a complete waste. My resentment probably lasted about a year in total. I know I gave my parents a hard time – I still apologize for it.
The lessons that they taught me have stayed with me to this day. Because I was not fortunate enough to have children my husband and I both work. Even so, we have always made it a practice to live on one salary (the smallest one!) and save/invest the other. Because of savings and smart investments we will both be able to retire at 40 – not that we will, but we will be able to!
How’s that for resentment?!?!?!
Way to use your “resentment” for good–LOL! I do remember Members Only jackets. I had a knock off. 😉
Vicki Rethemeyer says
I agree, your children seem very well adjusted. I find it interesting that some people think that happiness and success in life comes from things. You have given your children an opportunity to see what real life problems are all about.
My husband and I both grew up this way… we got what we needed, not everything we wanted. We raised our 4 children with the same values. I think my children (and yours) are actually very lucky. I would never use the word “shallow” to describe them. They do not expect anything to be handed to them, they know the value of work and personal sacrifice. They value human relationships over things. What a world it would be if more people were like that!
Thanks for sharing your life with us all!
This brought tears to my eyes, Kimberlee. Your children’s responses are the evidence of why your choice to stay home is completely unselfish. Unlike the person who asked the question, they have their priorities straight and value your presence over materialism. I will admit that I prefer being home (mostly) fulltime rather than working outside the home fulltime. So I guess in my case there is some selfishness to it. But objectively speaking, my family benefits from me being home (almost fulltime) in many ways that a fulltime paycheck could never compensate for.
I don’t think that anyone can call a mom who does things for her family, whether by working or by staying at home, selfish. Most mothers I know are doing the very best they can for their children.
I didn’t mean to imply that other moms are selfish. I was referring to myself, that my motivations for being mostly home do have a selfish component to it because I prefer being home most of the time. I did work fulltime outside the home when my son was a baby, so I would never judge a working mother. I am thankful that I was able to cut my hours to part-time, and I know firsthand that this is not an option for many mothers. The only thing I question is the idea that material things are more important than spending time with kids, which is the attitude I perceived from the question about whether your kids resent you.
Hi Claire, sorry, I wasn’t really addressing you. I just wanted other people who read the comment to understand where I am coming from. I didn’t think you were implying that. 🙂
Thanks Kimberlee. I’m actually really grateful for your response, because in re-reading my comment, I can see that I didn’t express myself well and it could definitely be misinterpreted. So I’m glad that you’re response prompted me to (hopefully) clarify any misinterpretations due to my own poor wording. I should know by now not to post when I’m distracted! Anyway, thank you again for this beautiful post.
You are very welcome Claire. 🙂
Derek Wood says
my wife Teresa and I thoroughly enjoyed your article. My wife loves your blog. Thanks , Derek.
Thanks so much Derek. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and it’s really fun to see a husband taking the time to comment. 🙂
While I agree that no kid needs to have an overabundance of new clothing, trips to restaurants, or frivolous activities – working moms can make a very important difference in their kids’ lives. Because my mom worked, we had medical/dental insurance, which meant that my medically fragile brother with autism had the healthcare he needed, I was able to get the tonsillectomy and orthodontic care I needed as well. It meant that when my dad couldn’t get a lot of hours, our house wasn’t foreclosed on. As far as having time with us kids – my mom was my Brownie leader and never missed any of our band concerts or plays in 9 years. I was never handed anything and I still had to save up for any cool stuff I wanted, but my mom’s financial contributions to the family gave me some really important stuff too. And they have benefited her, as well – with any luck she and my dad might actually be able to retire within a reasonable time frame – another thing that definitely would not have been possible without her income. Just some things to consider.
Absolutely! Please do not hear any judgment of working moms in my post. As I mentioned I have worked in the past and this is the choice we have made for our family for now. I am not saying that working moms cannot have what we have, only that I wasn’t able to make it work. Money is definitely important when you have medical issues as well.
I also REALLY appreciate the tone of your comment–not being defensive or angry. I love civil dialogue about points that people disagree on. THANK YOU!
This posting caught my eye too and as I read the comments I started wondering the same thought “working moms can make a very important difference in their kids’ lives.” As a single mom of 4 including one with special needs, I work outside the home to support my 4 children. Our medical costs alone are outrageous. I myself have asthma and injured my back and have no feeling in my left leg now. Just by getting up each day to go to work and not complaining about my limits my kids learn something each day. About a year ago my asthma was so bad I was experiencing “air hunger” and almost died–right in front of my kids! In the midst of all of this responsibility I have another child with asthma and a child with a genetic disease who may not be on earth as long as I might wish. Do I take care of us all by myself? No, my faith and my love for my kids is how we take care of ourselves. We live frugally and modestly. I feel blessed because I have a good job and have decent health insurance and flexability in my hours. I try to do my best at my job so my children will see and hopefully choose to do the best at their future jobs (be it a stay at home parent or working parent). I do not wish for my life to be “different” or less complicated. My life is what it is and I accept what has been given to me. I spend time with my kids and I make our lunches (25 sandwiches, 25 baggies of rices cakes, 25 baggies of carrots, 25 baggies of grapes, 25 baggies of homemade cookies or treats every weekend during the academic year). I do this because I love us and I do it because it saves me money. I also make a hand written note for each child for each day to put in their lunch (25 notes!) to let them know I love them and am thinking of them. That is the best part of the day they tell me.
Everyone’s load is different in life. Some people may think my load is complex but I feel blessed and I don’t resent my life. My kids seem well adjusted and happy because maybe, just maybe because I am :).
PS I write 20 notes for my kids and my kids write me a note to put in my lunch. It brings tears to my eyes when I think about how kids learn by a parent’s example.
Sounds like you are a terrific mom and great at handling what you have to do. I am very impressed, and especially by your attitude.
Crystal @ Serving Joyfully says
I read that comment last night and was somewhat appalled. I think that very attitude is what’s wrong with our society (not that woman in particular, but the attitude).
My kids are very content, although they are young. As a child, my happiest memories are from early childhood, before anyone told me that I was poor..because all I knew is that I was happy and content. Being “poor” or being “content” are both learned behaviors. (since I believe that being “poor” is a matter of attitude and not bank account). I would rather teach my children how to be content than how to be poor.
I do want to say for anyone else reading this and for that person, I totally respect the question which is why I answered it. I don’t think she meant it to be rude, she honestly wanted to know. If I put my life “out there” then I have to be able to answer hard questions.
Crystal @ Serving Joyfully says
Kimberlee, I think it’s awesome that you have such thick skin (a definite plus for having a big blog), but I think calling someone else selfish for their parenting choices is rude. Not everyone has the commenters same values of what’s important. For my family, it’s time with our family, and contentment and not material things.
I wouldn’t call her selfish for choosing to work just so she can afford nice things, even though it’s different than what my family has chosen.
I’m sorry Crystal, but I don’t know what you are talking about? When did I call someone selfish?
Crystal @ Serving Joyfully says
I think you must have just skimmed my comment. I wasn’t talking about you, I was talking about the question you were responding to. When I said I was appalled by her comment, you responded that you respected the question and didn’t feel it was rude. I’m saying that I’m glad you have thick skin, but since she calls your choices selfish (and mine as well since they are similar), I think that it was a rude comment.
Oh, got it. Thanks for clearing that up. 🙂 I just wanted to make sure that I had not written something that could be misunderstood.
Kimberly, you probably figured this out by now, but Crystal wasn’t saying that YOU called someone selfish when she said in her last statement “I wouldn’t call her selfish for choosing to work just so she can afford nice things, even though it’s different than what my family has chosen.” I read it as Crystal saying that SHE wouldn’t call the commenter selfish even though the commenter chooses to live her life differently than how Crystal lives, so why should the commenter call anyone else selfish for choosing to live differently than the commenter. But like I said, you probably figured this out already. 🙂
Wow, my kids would hate it if I had to go back to work. They would rather have “nothing” (as in the world’s eyes) than have to go to daycare so they can have designer clothes and eat at restaurants. We just got a bag of hand me down clothes. In it consisted of 8 barely used Justice for Girls shirts. We go shopping it is just through the boxes we already have in storage. My girls love season change so they can see what they get to wear this year.
We have wonderful friends, we have a wonderful church and we are really too busy. WE only have one car and I have recently decided to let my husband take it to work instead of me taking him and picking him up. We were actually going too much and it was getting stressful. It is nice to have 2-4 days a week where we are stuck at home.
That is one of the things that I enjoy the most about having one car–I have an excuse to stay home some days! 🙂
Love your response. I totally agree. Before we had kids I worked and I do not feel we ever had anymore moeny then than we do now! Staying at home with my children and getting to teach them and experience all their milestones myself is so worth it to me. Some people wonder how I can go without cable or an iphone or new car. But I wonder how can they work all day and leave their kids for someone else to raise and educate just to have those material possesions.
Loved you 14 year old’s response about how she thinks $5 is too much for shorts at the thrift store! I feel the same way sometimes at garage sales. Even more so at a retail store!
Staying at home instead of working is the most selfLESS decision that any mother can make. I don’t see how in the world people can think that you’re selfish for wanting put your family first. I appreciate the example that you’re setting for other women, and I thoroughly enjoy keeping up with your blog. I just recently quit work to stay home with my little ones and homeschool them when they’re old enough, and I am so thrilled to know that there are other mothers like you online who can provide me with the encouragement that I’ll need over the years. Thank you for being such an inspiration!
Thanks Sarah–I’m glad you enjoy the blog.
Lacey Hunt says
This was a great post. Caught my attention from Facebook. I really enjoyed it and commend you and your husband for choosing to live this lifestyle. It is so against the flow of normal culture and society, I am not surprised you are getting criticized. But truly our kids deserve our time, to be raised by us, and that is better than having all the “things” that our society so highly values. I need to learn this lesson probably still but anyway I commend you guys!
And, I LOVE the way you ended the article…. ‘True tales from the not-so-rich-and-famous’ Bahaha! love it.
Thank you very much Lacey! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Do you remember the Veggie Tales song about ” materialism”? About buying more “stuff”. We’ll today’s society thinks that in order to have a happy life and be content is to have more “stuff”. Molding our children to be materialistic. We lived in Europe for 8 years and have learned not to be wasteful. Our German friends have taught us how to live simply. They only purchase items they needed. They don’t go to restaurants unless it’s to celebrate a love ones birthday. For enjoyment, we invite them over for tea or grill bratwurst and watch our kids play in our backyard. Go on bike rides and walk the trails. We visited castles with free admission. Take a picnic basket and explore another country ( cost is only for fuel). We lived simply and truly enjoyed our life there. Now that we are stateside I see a big difference in the Americans. I’ve met parents that feed their children’s materialism and yet, their children are still unhappy. So they go out and shop for more stuff. Once they’re bored with their new purchases, they go shopping again…an endless cycle. How sad, instead of teaching their children financial responsibility, they are teaching them that it’s okay to keep buying things they can’t afford. Instead of teaching them contentment they are teaching them to be self centered and greed. I used to get demeaning comments from my husbands female coworkers about being a housewife, my reply to their hateful comments is: I love my children and husband more than money. Funny thing is they would call me and ask me to cook a meal for their family because they just don’t have time. How sad is that? Sorry for the long novel. Take care Kimberlee you are a great encouragement to mothers.
Thank you Monica. 🙂
I really enjoyed reading what your kids added. My three kids are much younger and I worry about spoiling them VS having them “go without.” I put go without in quotes because they have all their basic needs met and so much more. I appreciate your kids honest answers and insight too! Also I noticed you said in one of the comments that you took your kids on a mission trip. What age were they? This is something we are interested in doing but want to make sure that our kids are old enough to understand and remember their experience!
Hi Tabitha- Our kids were 14, 12, 11 and 9 when we took the trip. I think that children could benefit from going as early as 4 or 5 as long as you talked them through it.
I think it’s ridiculous to think that eating out and going on expensive outings would be more valuable than having a mom at home. I grew up with my mom staying home and I grew up very differently than my husband did (I was homeschooled, always had my mom available, he was in day care as a baby and public schooled the whole way through) but I don’t think that I was deprived in any way. We did have good homemade meals, I remember learning how to read sitting on my mom’s lap on our couch. I remember lots of fun nights as a family playing cards and eating homemade pop corn. My husband rarely calls his parents and doesn’t have the same kinds of memories together because he didn’t spend as much time with them as I did with mine.
Kudos to you for answering a somewhat rude question!
I think it’s interesting that people assume if there was more money, kids would never resent them. In my opinion, teenagers will always find some reason to resent their parents at some point or another! 😉
Also, having money does not equal happiness (although like someone else said, more peace of mind perhaps!). I had an acquaintance whose parents were quite wealthy, so when she turned 16 she expected a car. Well, her parents decided to teach her a life lesson about the value of working for something you want and refused to get her one and said she had to work for it. She was so used to getting things that she STILL hasn’t forgiven her parents for that! (and it’s like, ten years later!)
Anyway, I appreciate your blog and love Freebie Fridays! I’m terrible at implementing your grocery plan so far, but I’m slowly working on it! Keep up the good work!
That’s sad that the poor girl still feels angry about that. I hope she can forgive them.
As far as the groceries, just take one step at a time Kat. Any move in the right direction is positive. 🙂
Brittany Smith says
This is really encouraging! My family has been tremendously blessed by your “Living on less” series!! Thank you for your transparency!
Thanks for letting me know Brittany. 🙂
We didn’t have much growing up, but I always felt safe, loved, and cared for by my stay-at-home mother. When my parents divorced and went back to work it was terrible. You can never measure the worth of a mother in the home by monetary means. I feel bad for the people who think giving the gift of money is more important than the gift of yourself. I’m shocked that people are so out of touch with what is truly important these days.
I really admire your gutsiness in addressing this reader’s question head on, especially by asking your kids. I loved their honest answers and I bet as a mom it was encouraging for you to hear them too.
Just this morning I was reading a New Yorker Magazine article about why American kids are so spoiled. (you can read it here:) http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2012/07/02/120702crbo_books_kolbert It definitely adds to the discussion of why our modern society has such high expectations for a materialistic, doted-upon childhood. I don’t think a fun childhood or meaningful adolescence has to be equated with materialism. In fact, they are each mutually exclusive – how many “rich” people do we all know that are incredibly unsatisfied? And those happy and satisfied people we do know are usually not that way because of their paychecks. It’s usually because they have become life-giving people and have found meaning in the non-material blessings. (By life-giving, I don’t mean childbirthing, I mean simply blessing others around them however they can, materially and immaterially).
Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the fullest.” It is clear that you know the secret to the life he promised is so far beyond what money can do for us. What a different world we would live in if everyone knew that as well!
Keep up the inspiring posts. You’re a great mom and a great blogger.
Thanks so much Jen. 🙂
I have NOT read your post yet…I feel so strongly about this question that I simply skipped on down to say…
My mom was a SAHM. She could have worked full time. We could’ve had a larger house, better food, etc…but I will tell you that as a child, hands down, I would have voted for my mom to be there over things every time. I am now a SAHM to my 7,4,2 and 9 week old. Kids (especially this age), don’t know they have it any differently than someone else’s kids. If they are resentful then I think I need to do a better job of raising them because they have their priorities in the wrong places.
Now I’m gonna go read your answer 🙂
Haha Julie–I like your strong opinion. 🙂
Kids want time with their parents.
I too applaud you for your efforts in teaching your children to live on a budget. I was raised on a dairy farm and we had to earn money to go spend on non-essentials too. We did things like get up early (5-6 am) to feed or milk cows and some nights we were up till midnight haying. Did we resent our parents? Not at all. Well, maybe after the third night of haying till midnight and getting up at 6, but generally we appreciated the wage and the valuable lessons that hard work taught us.
So keep up the good work and don’t worry what people think about you! <3
Sounds like a blessed life to me! I’m a firm believer that less equals more :o) And by your kids responses, they seem very happy with how their life is!!! Love that!!
I am floored that some readers have submitted such words as “you wanted to stay home rather than work.” I almost feel as though they may have just read one blog post and made assumptions about this lifestyle decision.
One, as you know, staying home IS work. Two, this was a choice you and your husband made together, as a family, as it should be. I completely agree with you that the issue of whether your children resent you or not because of materialistic and consumeristic attitudes is 100% a parenting issue – it’s how you raise your kids, the values you instill in them, and the way you teach them the true value of work and money.
But you know all that 🙂 You go, sister, I am impressed by your organization and thrift! Plus, your children are going to grown up into effective, productive, and GOOD adults. What more can you ultimately ask for?
Thanks Liz. It’s definitely work, isn’t it? LOL
I second Jennifer, and appreciate how “real” you are…and I love that you included your children’s responses to show how they really feel and what they are learning.
When I first decided to stay home with my twins (they are almost two now), I definitely got mixed comments. Some women (mostly older) thought it was great, but most of the girls close to my age thought I was crazy because it cut our family’s income nearly in half. In our society, living on less and choosing to do wtihout some of the “necessities” of today’s culture (like cable TV, or expensive vacations) is just so out of the norm.
I also get lots of comments like, “If I had a money tree, I’d stay home too,” or “It’s so nice that you have that opportunity,” which I always think is a tiny bit patronizing – like they think my salary was superfluous before. I do value the opportunity…but it takes work. And discipline. And sacrifice. But it’s worth it.
Great post and I am so glad you were able to answer this question and have your kids answer honestly. A lot of people think it is selfish to stay home instead of work and just don’t “get” the concept at all! But I don’t think working just so you can go out to eat more and have nicer clothes makes any sense at all. People’s priorities are very skewed these days, and I learned this a few years ago when I worked full time so our kids could have things. The best and most important thing (other than sharing your faith) is giving your children a loving and happy home and raising them to become responsible adults whether you work or don’t work.
Thank you for sharing this. I had been wondering it myself, not because I think you are depriving your kids, but because I am just getting our finances organized and with four kids, one being home schooled, me staying home, and my husband being the only provider, I know we are going to be living a very similar life to yours and I wondered if our kids will resent it.
But then I think what valuable lessons they will learn from not having everything just handed to them anyway. It sounds like you have four very well-adjusted kids on your hands. Good for you!!
Thanks Jessie. I think the key has been including them in the entire decision making process and talking about why we are making certain choices, rather than just saying “we can’t afford that”. We talk about what we will have to give up if we make certain purchases and then decide together if it’s worth the sacrifice. I think that helps them not to feel like victims of frugality.
I think that makes a HUGE difference! I was brought up in a “we can’t afford that” house and I was always under the impression that we were poor. In reality we had plenty of money, my parents just decided not to spend money on that stuff. If they had said “it’s not in the budget” I think that would’ve made a vast difference. They also never talked to us about handling money, which has resulted in some tough lessons for me! So, I think involving your kids in the family finances is a great idea and sets them up for a solid foundation to work from.
Betsy Derr says
Wow! It’s kind of amazing to me that you’d even have to answer a question like that, let alone from many different people, but we live in a very materialistic society. These people with all this money to blow should take a little trip to a third world country so they can see where they should really be putting their extra money, instead of getting their kids everything they want but don’t need. The poorest American lives richer than some people in other parts of the world. Americans are so spoiled, it’s sad really. We need so little. Most of us know people who lived through the depression. Some of those people were depressed, certainly, but the large majority of children would say they didn’t even know they were poor. They had love, enough food and a rock and a stick to play with!
I think it has helped that we took the family on a service trip to Guatemala. They saw true poverty first hand, so they are aware of how blessed they are.
Betsy Derr says
karen Roberts says
You were much kinder than I would have been. We are creating responsible adults who know work is required to obtain “things” but, they also know the most important things in life cannot be bought!
I often joke with my husband about him staying at home with the kids and me going to his job! It annoys me that people think stay at home moms sit around doing nothing all day. My day starts at 7 am (sometimes earlier) and starts winding down at 8 pm (bedtime). Then there are the odds and ends things that I prefer doing after the kids are in bed. My work day is at least 13 hours long. And while it would be nice to have a little more wiggle room financially, I enjoyed getting paid in hugs and kisses! 🙂
Good for you!!!!!!!! Society has too much “entitlementitis”, we’re supposed to work for what we have, live within our means and prioritize not buy on credit and act like wants are necessities.
Amanda Dittlinger says
I thought of you while grocery shopping today. We are working with a budget for the first time and it is fun and challenging. I overspent my grocery budget a bit this month. I always do my grocery shopping on Wednesdays. So today when I went out, I only had $28. That meant for some creative pantry “shopping” and just filling in with the essentials. It was actually fun and I only spent 12 minutes in the store! I am lucky enough to have a full pantry to work from, I know a lot of families might only have the $28 to come up with their entire meal plan. I also eat mostly grassfed/organic so that makes for some interesting budget dilemmas too! Thank you for the inspiration you provide.
As for todays post, I like to think my kids are having a fun life too. A friend invited us to a fancy water park today that would have cost us $30 just for the tickets. I told her to have fun, and later this week perhaps she and her kids could join us at our (free) neighborhood pool. It may not have fun slides, but it’s still good fun!
Good for you for sticking to your budget Amanda! I also like the way you handled the water park invite– no judgment, just an invitation to join you later for a different kind of fun. 🙂
My children pitch newspapers all summer to pay for sports fees and uniforms, I was told by another parent it’s “cruel” to get them out of bed so early to work for the money, but they try harder on the field (and in school) because they’re paying for their activities by themselves. They also pooled their earnings/birthday/tooth fairy money for OVER A YEAR in order to buy the game system they both wanted. They are 8 and 10 and don’t throw fits in stores over buying things, and they take care of what they have because they understand the work that goes into the purchase. I’m glad to see that there are other parents out there who don’t let the guilt of “Keeping up with the Joneses” rule their lives!
My two oldest girls saved their money for two years to buy an iPod. I can assure you they take care of it!
it all comes down to what you do with what you have.
i don’t earn a lot, but i have zero debt. when i treat my family to something, i know that i’m not going to have two years’ worth of minimum payments to pay for it.
as americans, we’ve come to expect bigger, better, newer. since you shop thrift stores you’ll understand how many times i run across clothes that still have the tags on them. what did that name brand sweater do for its previous owner, when (s)he never even wore it? how is being able to spend more money the key to a happier life??
i’m so happy to read your kids’ replies. you’re doing an awesome job… and your daughter who wants the laptop, you and i both know that she’ll take better care of it (when she gets it) than a kid who gets always gets the newest and latest toys.
Oh, I just think the question is funny. You chose to stay home “rather than work”?? LOL! Many days I believe going back to work would have been much less work… and less beneficial for our family. People who ask the question are, in my opinion, the selfish ones.
Thanks for the post, you always write about the way I feel!
Well, I suppose you can’t blame people for asking! It does seem like a foreign concept in today’s society. Your response was very thoughtful and thought provoking. Obviously you are instilling lifelong values in your kids- something money just can’t buy!
jennifer brown says
I LOVE how “real” you are.
Thank you for showing us into your daily lives. I was just sitting her contemplating buying a new to us used SVU simply because out car is ugly and it seems like we are constantly putting money into. I am going to wait and buy something newer with our tax return. (we have not had a car payment in over 4 years—what was I thinking:)
You have helped me through this, even though it was nothing you did.
Keep on blogging so I can follow you throughout the rest of my life.
Hahaha Jennifer–you made me laugh! I am so glad I could help you. 🙂
Those questions must come from people who either think they should get it all or think their job is to provide their kids with everything they want. The only think more money would provide me is peace of mind. I wouldn’t have to stress so much about paying for braces or college. But I wouldn’t really be spending more. We have everything we need now.
Loved your answers and I think your children are very well-adjusted! No reason to spend the same amount as anyone else does, even if you can. We need to be responsible and teach our children to be good stewards with their resources. Nothing speaks that lesson louder than living it ourselves. Good for you, you’re doing a fantastic job!
Thanks so much Wendy.