May 17, 2011

Validation


It always happens. Every time we are in a rough patch financially, I think to myself, "Should I still be a stay at home mom?"

It's what I've wanted to do since the moment I thought about having kids. That happens to come in handy when the cost of daycare roughly equals what I made at my secretarial job at a hospital here. But then, I always seem to stumble across that story that floats around the internet- the one that says being a stay at home mom costs a million dollars over a lifetime (although, it seems hard to find articles that total the cost of working- i.e., commuting, lunch, daycare, work clothes, etc.). It's then that I look at Millie and think, what am I supposed to be doing?

One of the Family Assistance Centers I've been speaking to gave my phone number to a military financial counselor today. When she called, her first order of business was to tell me I should have an emergency bank account in case something like this happens with the Guard again. But after discussing my bills one by one, she began to understand that it wasn't a lack of preparation on our part. We don't go out to eat, and we don't do all the extra things she would suggest as ways to cut back. We just don't. We can't.

And then, she said something that totally made my day. When we talked about Millie and all the costs she incurs, the lady said to me, "In your situation, it is definitely the best thing that you're staying home with her." Finally, validation that it makes sense financially. Not to everyone, not in every circumstance- but it's good to know that I'm doing the right thing for my family.

With that said, I want to thank a couple people. I'm not going to say there names here, but if you read any military blogs, you have probably read theirs. These two ladies each messaged me on Facebook, and asked if they could help. One of them asked Millie's size in diapers. To be honest with you, it was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done to swallow my pride and give them my mailing address. I felt weak. I felt like a bad mother. I felt like a 26 year old girl who should have things more together than this. But with all of that, I felt, more than anything, an enormous sense of gratefulness and awe that two women I have never met in person would show my family such kindness. I'm crying just writing this.

It's been a rough few weeks. I have been less than enamored with the military. I've been wondering why all resources I'm told exist don't seem to be around when someone actually needs help. To be honest, I've spent a lot of it feeling angry. I've felt doubt. I've felt worry. I've felt like things were totally out of my control, and that feeling scares me to death. And in the midst of all of these feelings, I have felt nothing but love from all of my readers- all your comments and support have meant the world to me.

It's good to know I'm not alone.
It's great to know we'll be okay.
And it's amazing to have such beautiful people as my friends.

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12 kind comments from you:

Marine Wife Unplugged said...

This post really encouraged me, and I'll tell you why. I'm a stay at home mom, too, and having dealt with the same round-about thoughts that you have had regarding finances, I know that my staying home is also what's best for my family. What many people don't understand is that back in 2008 when my husband was forced out of the Marine Corps against his wishes for a temporary retirement due to PTSD and a TBI, he had no job, the disability from the VA was teetering, and we did not have food stamps or WIC at the time. We didn't have friends in our area and we didn't know who to contact. My husband's employment lasted 2 years and in that time, I could not venture off and leave our son home with him because of his raging PTSD symptoms. It was scary. It was during this time that, I kid you not, people I barely knew rang my doorbell to bring me envelopes of money, diapers, send boxes of pasta and sauce and wipes from an Air Force base in England, and many other amazing miracles. I learned the hard way that God does not forsake those He loves.

I am tearing up as I'm writing this, because I know how horrifying it can be. I often think of some of the people who came without a moment's notice as angels in disguise. God was with us.

Marine Wife Unplugged said...

I meant my husband's "un-"employment. I should have proofread. Sorry. :)

Consider The Lilies said...

girl you have so much love here, know that and embrace it :) this blog world is crazy..it's really and truly a world in itself and I always refer to y'all as my friends in everyday talk. what a blessing those two ladies must have been to you. praying for you in these hard times love <3

Mr. Superman & Mrs. S. said...

I am so glad you got some encouragement and help. You're a great mama!

Kerry said...

It's wonderful people are offering their help to you, because I am sure you would do it for them. The world needs more of these people...I live in Australia but I am sure if I was closer I would be asking for your mailing address too!You will come through this xx

Kaylee said...

I teared up reading this. Hold strong! Thinking of you.

Katie said...

You are such a strong woman and it's always nice to have some reassurance that your decisions are the right ones! Keep the faith, although it seems like a lot of people don't appreciate what you and Sky do, we all do and we all know the sacrifices you make. Thank you for that, both of you! I just went to the mail box, so hopefully you'll be receiving something within a day or two.

heart like mine said...

awesome, encouraging post, erika! one, that is such a blessing that you now have NO doubts about staying home to be with and raise your beautiful daughter. and two, what a pair of incredible women who would reach out to help you in your current situation. i'm glad you were able to realize taht your situation does NOT make you a bad mother and that there is nothing wrong with receiving help from people who are willing to give it.

love you, girl, you're always in my thoughts.

Nicole Marie said...

Through our posts back and forth I have really grown to appreciate you and all of your encouraging words. I respect you as a fellow military spouse, a mother, a writer and a friend. You are an amazing person, Erika. Don't feel weak when offered help. You are anything but weak. Fell proud that people see something great in you, and feel obligated to help.

Things will get better. Everything takes time.

Mrs. H said...

Yay for mamas!! Millie is such a blessed little girl to have you as her mom.

You're making it work and flood gates of heaven will soon open!!! (And anything you need let me know!)


You're an incredible woman!

Renee said...

It's so hard to swallow your pride and accept help - I know this personally. Way back when when my husband & I had one baby with one on the way..he was a Spec4 (Army). We moved on base (finally) - the first paycheck wasn't enough to pay the charge for a phone that we had to have (cell phones had not been invented in the mid-80's). We had nothing...money or food. After he pawned the VCR and donated plasma for gas and milk (I was using cloth diapers because we couldn't afford disposable) someone in the unit got wind. Without knowing, a hat was passed around and someone showed up at our door with several bags of groceries, diapers and money that held us over until the next payday. I have NEVER forgotten that generosity! It's 25 years later and without a doubt, that help back then made a huge difference in how my life turned out.

You are an awesome little family! Please send me your address (sugrtwn66@yahoo.com)

JennyTheBeatBoxer said...

One of my friends works for ChaCha. I don't know if you've heard of it, you text a question and they answer it. It's really easy, you answer questions whenever you can via the internet. I'm not sure how much it pays but you can go to their website and if they aren't currently hiring then they'll put your name on a list and contact you when they are. It would be something easy to do at home and would be some extra money.
You're such a strong woman and I love reading your posts!

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