ImageBeing a single-income family in a culture driven by dual-income wish lists is going to be tricky. As my maternity leave benefits come to an end, I’m realizing that in choosing to have a parent at home, we are going to live differently than many other families. Our lives won’t be better or worse than those around us – just different.

I want my daughters to learn the value in enough. I want them to understand gratitude. And what better way to illustrate these concepts than to sacrifice material possessions in exchange for deeper relationships and the constant presence of a loving parent?  Their bellies will always be full; they will always be clothed in (relatively) clean, well-fitting clothes; they will always have toys to play with, books to read, and opportunities to learn, grow and engage in the world around them. Will they eat in restaurants every week? No. Will they receive every toy they ask for? Of course not. Will we travel as much as other families? Probably not. Will they suffer because they lack these things? Not even a little bit.

God-willing, my children will never be without enough. And I hope they never want for anything – not because they already have everything they could wish for, but because they have learned to be content with what they do have. Don’t get me wrong, though. I want to be able to give them nice things. I want them to have goals and aspirations. But I don’t want their happiness to hinge on material possessions. I want to teach them, by example, that true happiness comes from being content where you are, as you are.

So why am I concerned with raising children on one income? It isn’t because we don’t have enough, because in fact, we are wealthier than much of the world’s population could ever imagine. It is because of the impact our instant gratification society will have on these girls. I don’t want them to see their friends with a constant array of brand new clothes and toys and feel sad. I want them to recognize that we have enough and be grateful.

I hope my presence has an impact on these beautiful girls. I hope they understand that having Mama home with them every day is worth the sacrifice.

– Alison


4 thoughts on “Enough

  1. Alison,
    This really resonated with me! Parenting is not about going to Disney every year or a continuous parade of toys but the importance of these lasting relationships with one another. The time my mother invested in my life was not a waste. I watched her lay down her own life…time, energy, joy and even her body. I learned that the many sacrifices we make as mothers great and small are all for riches in heaven.

    “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” John 6:27. We are working for food that lasts!

    Thanks for sharing your perspective, Alison 🙂

  2. I think that we are the example from which our children learn, in many, many ways. The value we place on material goods is one of those examples.
    Interesting to read your take, as I have been home with my girls for the past seven years and am just now re-entering the workplace by opening a yoga studio with my husband. And that means cash is tight right now. So we cancelled some trips and instead focus on days at the beach, afternoons in the park, maybe some weekends spent camping in the tents. And like you, I hope that my daughters look back and understand that I was creating the life I wanted for myself and for my family, and appreciate the sacrifices and courage that my choices required.
    Will your girls feel envy that their friends have a certain toy and they don’t? Yup, they will. But the thing is, that it doesn’t matter how “much” you ever gave your daughters, envy will exist. That’s one of the problems of spoiling our children, or teaching them to address emotions with material possessions: there’s never enough.
    This is part of the task that comes with raising children. It’s important to teach them how to appreciate material goods, how to have respect for them, but also, to teach them that material possessions are never, ever what will make us happy or lead us to a fulfilled life.
    You’re doing a great job, Alison, and your daughters and husband are all very blessed to have you 🙂

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