Saturday, March 28, 2015

My Time as a Stay-at-Home-Wife: Blessing or Burden?

I graduated from law school in May of 2013 and began a year long federal clerkship the following September. It was a prestigious position that I enjoyed, but it also confirmed my thoughts that while I felt God had called me to law school, practicing law wasn't in my future. As my clerkship drew to a close, Brandon and I made the decision to make the move to Minnesota. At that point, we decided that because back surgery was looking like an option, and we were facing a major transitional period as a couple, it would be best for me to spend some time staying at home.

And so with quite a bit of energy and excitement, I embraced my new occupation as a Stay-at-Home-Wife. 

Because we had just moved to a new place, I frequently got asked what I did for a living - and got quite a few interesting looks when I shared my new role. The majority of people were quite inquisitive - why was I staying home? What were the circumstances? Did we have kids on the way? Could I not find a job? It seemed to be difficult for many people to understand that I was choosing to be a homemaker when I didn't have any children to look after. They viewed my role as a burden, particularly financially, to Brandon.

In reality, the truth was far from that. My time at home was such a blessing to our marriage!

First an explanation:

What I did: cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, packing, unpacking, decorating, researching churches for us to visit, volunteering, getting involved in our new church community, building relationships, getting paperwork in order after our transfer from Michigan to Minnesota, taking care of the cars, laundry, etc.

What I did not do: Sit at home and watch TV all day, pamper myself, eat out everyday with friends, or spend unlimited amounts of time just laying around.

Because I didn't have any children to look after, I was able to spend my days taking care of our home and running errands - all of the things that had I been working outside the home, would have taken up time after work and on weekends. Instead, Brandon and I were able to spend that time together, engaging in hobbies and volunteer work, and building relationships. 

Yes, financially things were a little bit tighter, but our philosophy has always been to live off 1 income, so the changes weren't that drastic. Furthermore, I was able to really focus on our budget and searching out ways we could cut back and save. Even now that we are a 2-income household, I still use the practices we put into place while I was at home - allowing us to maximize our savings and debt payments.

After 5 months at home I was offered my current job. After a lot of prayer, Brandon and I decided that this was a really good opportunity for me, and that my income would be an asset in saving for down payment and helping us get out of debt faster while we waited for the Lord to bless us with children. It was a hard decision! We both loved having me at home and the calmness and organization it brought to our marriage. 

At one point Brandon said - "I get it now, this is how it's supposed to be. One person working outside the home, while one person stays home. Everything just runs so much smoother and is less stressful!" 

At the end of the day, it truly doesn't matter what other people think about your occupation. What matters is that as wives, our home and our husbands should be our first priority - our first mission field. I'm not saying that that can't be accomplished when both spouses work outside the home (another post coming on how I've learned to balance things since starting my new job), but I am saying that there are definite benefits to stay-at-home-wifedom!

3 comments:

  1. Excellent post, dear one and surely to be a blessing to many young wives. I used to joke that I wanted to go back to my corporate job because it was a lot more restful than staying at home. I even got have nice lunches in restaurants where we lingered and chatted. It is definitely the hardest job there is and also the most rewarding. I always have loved being at home so making the move to COO of the old Wachter corp wasn't hard for me. However,it was interesting to hear all the testimony of women who had been working outside the home and how difficult it was to transition into their roles at home. And to be honest, I think it is in large part because they do expect it to be an easy sort of job instead of approaching it as a real employment. Another thing I believe makes the transition difficult is even when most women decide to make the transition home they do so as a default...ie: day care is more expensive than my income... Women do not believe it is enough to "just be at home" nor that it can be a truly rewarding and fulfilling role. In the case of my parents my father always resented that my mother didn't want to go to work and help with earnings during a difficult economy but after mentoring and counseling MANY couples over the last twenty years I have come to know that is the exception. In fact, every couple we know who has had an issue with this idea of staying at home it has been the wife who wanted to work and the husband who wished she would stay at home full time. You and Brandon are so wise and I am always blessed to watch as your life together unfolds. Allen and I are so grateful for your example and pray our children will be as intentional and wise! Love to you and hugs all around.

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  2. I was still in school throughout a good chunk of our marriage in America (since we got married during fall semester of my Junior year), so because I was a student I had a good 'excuse' for a while why I didn't also have a job, but during the year that we were preparing to move to China, I wasn't working (also a decision that we made that it would be the best for our lifestyle and future if I was home and available instead of trying to juggle my work schedule with Angel's hospital schedule). It was definitely a blessing to us. Now we're both working, and I love the job I have, but I don't believe that my only route to a worthwhile life is to always have a job that makes money. Who knows what the future will bring?

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  3. love your ending to this post...I work part time and I must say my admiration for women who work full time has really gone up since getting married. There is so much to balance! I'm grateful for what God has provided right now to be able to earn some extra income but still be at home some and many people don't have that privilege. I feel fairly strongly that God leads each couple to do what's right for them - including both working full time. Thanks for sharing!

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