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Are You Trying to Make it on One Income?
When the kids were first born we were living in an expensive apartment in downtown Toronto (that's the only kind of apartment that exists in downtown Toronto). Keith worked but I didn't. We didn't have a car. We bought everything second hand. We didn't have cable. I tried to save as much money as I could.

And in those years when we didn't have a lot of income because he was a resident, we still managed to save for the downpayment for a house and tithe.

I think it's all in your attitude. Many of Keith's classmates purchased homes, and had nannies, and went into all kinds of debt because they knew their income would increase one day. They wanted their nice homes now. But we didn't. We bided our time. We didn't think we necessarily deserved anything.

Now, if I talk about saving money, people get mad at me because my husband is a doctor and what do I know? But the truth is I do know. We did live very frugally for a few years.

But here's the kicker: we didn't feel like we were living frugally. We felt like we had everything we wanted. Which shows that what really counts when you're trying to make ends meet is your attitude. How are you going to judge your life? Are you going to hold it up to comparison to other people's, or are you just going to live within your means and feel happy about it?

I know it's different if you're stuck in a low income cycle for decades, rather than just seven years like we were, but I think the principle is the same. Decide that you're going to live for the eternal, not the here and now, and don't push for "things" to make you happy.

Anyway, lest I lecture too much, why not go over to Like Merchant Ships? They're having a great discussion about this topic, by people who are still dealing with it now. And they've decided that attitude is the answer, too.

I think it's also lifestyle choice. When I was pregnant with Rebecca, my first child, I had morning sickness galore. One morning I was feeling extremely nauseated while riding the subway to work, and I asked myself, "why am I doing this?". We didn't actually need the money. So I quit. I ended up getting some work to do from home, which was closer to the toilet should I need it, so the income didn't stop completely. But the hassle sure did.

I know many professional women who have worked right up until their due date. Some have even done call at the hospital like that, and I just don't understand it. Maybe they can take more than I could, but when I was 9 months' pregnant, I wouldn't have been able to handle no sleep for a few nights running, let alone physically exhausting work. But they push themselves anyway.

I don't think it's worth it. I really don't. Of course, I can't make those decisions for anybody else, but I still marvel that women would put themselves through that IF THEY DON'T HAVE TO.

And I think that's the issue here: when it comes to work, for some of us it still is optional. We can survive, although perhaps not as well as we might like, on one income. It's all in your attitude.

If you're debating whether or not to go back to work, listen to my talk, Making Decisions Between Work and Family.

To Love, Honor and Vacuum, the book, also has a chapter on how to make these decisions and how to make your money go farther!

Related post: Do all you stay at home moms feel elitist?

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At 9:27 AM , Blogger Fuschia said…

The "I wish I didn't have to work" line is often like the "I just couldn't home school" line. When women say either of those to me, I listen to see if they are actually asking HOW to do it, or just making sure I know that the CAN'T.

It is amazing to me how many women actually believe that they have no choice regarding working out side the home or home schooling, when in truth, there is almost always a way for them to do what is truly in their heart to do!

What saddens me is that most women I meet (in ministry) are so unsure of what is in their HEART (staying home with the kids, or home schooling, or even ministry) that they can only focus on what is in their HEAD (finances, or patience, or education). Or perhaps it is that they have buried their heart beneath their head for so long they do not remember what was in their heart so long ago...yeah, it makes me sad!


At 10:27 AM , Blogger Donnetta (momrn2) said…

I worked FT for 7 years. When we made the change last year to have me come home FT we knew it meant some sacrifices. We have had to make those and live each day reminded of many of them. But, we don't regret it for one minute!


At 12:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

I personally work part time because I think worrying about not having enough income to cover retirement/an emergency/ the rising cost of fuel and food etc. would be harder to deal with than working.

We could make it, but if something happens I'd have to face those consequences because it was my choice not to work.


At 11:46 PM , Blogger Becky said…

Hi Sheila!
I found your site through Grace Comes by Hearing. I'm an adoptive mom and I am following Tracey's journey, trying to offer encouragement because I have been there.
We live on basically one income. My husband is a coach so, we have to budget wisely! I have worked part time in our church's children's ministry since I became a mom and that helps a little.
I is about the attitude, expectations for a certain lifestyle, an choosing to live for the eternal....and what we are investing in our children by my being with them on a consistent basis!
The Lord has alwayls provided all that we NEED and the WANTS become less and less important!
Becky @ 4 Days in a Week

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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