January 08, 2010

Two Roads Diverged in the Middle of My Life

I have been feeling somewhat blue in the past few days.  We have had another snowstorm and school was cancelled yesterday and today.  The temp is below zero and here I am in my bathrobe at the dining room table typing this post.  Peanut butter dog treats are in the oven (we ran out last night).  I am warm, I have clothes, food and shelter - yet I have this feeling deep down in which I wonder if I am going to make it or not living on one income and being at home. 

This feeling is temporary - perhaps it is hormonal.  My DH's job has been stressful and frankly if given another job opportunity he would leave.  We lost 1/3  of our income last year when I became unemployed and now I am wondering if I should have accepted a couple of the job offers that came my way last summer?  The job market is totally dried up now and I should not spend time second guessing my decision to stay home. 

I never felt much financial stress when I was working as my income was the cushion income in case something happened.  Tuesday of this week I was in the upstairs of our home and the sunshine was spilling through the windows brightening our bedroom.  I looked up and I thought I noticed some "old" moisture spots and a small crack in the gabled ceiling.  We know our roof is going to need to be replaced in the next couple of years but now I was thinking - oh no, it is going to need to be replaced this year.  This sent me into a little bit of a spiral.  Add to this that my DH's job is not going well, and I got one big case of the doubts - perhaps a pity party is a better way to describe it.

I don't believe that being home full time for 5 months is enough time to actually determine if this is what I want to do long term.  Too many decisions are made during an emotional time and I know that deep down I want to keep trying. 

This morning on the "Today Show" on NBC they interviewed Gretchen Rubin who wrote "The Happiness Project."  As I was listening to the interview I understood the epiphany she had experienced regarding her life and the changes she wanted to make.  I had such an epiphany in September 2008 and that was that my life was too hectic.  I owned an old house that I wanted to restore and never had time to get anything done due to work.  My youngest DS was going to college in a few years (now 18 months away) and there were many things I had left to teach him and to just enjoy being with him.

When I lost my job and had a couple of job offers I saw that I did have two roads to choose at that time.  Who was turning down job offers last summer?  People were unemployed and many were desperately seeking a job.   But I decided that instead of continuing the way I was continuing I would take a road that was being less travelled at this time.  I had a choice and I chose to stay home. 

No one has a perfect, happy life.  Stuff happens - snow storms, loss of income, health problems, stress and such but we do choose what to do with these situations.  My question to myself today is this:  am I going to let circumstances in life steal my joy?  Or am I going to accept that life does hand you lemons, move on and keep working at what I find that I really do best - being home and becoming a homemaker.  I have been given a great opportunity to be home.   If I were to be offered a job today and accept it I would always wonder what would have happened if I would have given myself more time. 

I can't control how my DH's boss treats him.  I can't control the economy.  I can't control the fact that our roof has reached the end of it's life.  I can't control the majority of things that happen in my life but I can control how I react or don't react to these circumstances.  I can continue to watch the pennies, nickles and dimes and save up the money we will need for a new roof. 

It is true what they say - that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.  I am making a conscious decision today to be happy and be grateful.  I have more resources than the majority of people in the world have.  I have the love of God along with my needs being met.  I have a wonderful family and most of all the love of a great man.


Tammy said...

And I, I took the one less traveled. And that has made all the difference. :D}

Tammy said...

After leaving my previous reply, I went for a long walk- alone, for a change. I wanted to share with you some of the things that this "path" leads me(us)on from time to time.

It's a hard decision to transform yourself into a completely different person. It's not only the money aspect. For me, it was also the fact that in the back of my head, I knew that I was somehow contributing to the household. I know my husband would and will still say" you do contribute- blah,blah,blah" , but it wasn't and frankly, still isn't the same. I'm not sure if it ever will be for me.

My husband is a custom home builder, and Thank God, the economy in this area has not been affected to the extreme as in other areas of the US. A lot of our money is tied up right now, though, and sometimes I think, am I making the right decision to stay at home? My son is 9. He can go to extended day at the school for an hour or two like some of his friends.... The reasons I stayed home 9 years ago are not the same! I have a college degree- it's a waste not to use it-blah,blah,blah.

The lady who lives right across the street is married to a Major who works on the arsenal here in Alabama. They are from Germany. They are very wealthy, and believe me, she lets me know about it everytime we walk. At first, I was ENVIOUS of all her beautiful furniture, crystal, clothes etc. My DH quickly reminded me that it was a sin to envy someone.Now it just really gets on my nerves to hear her ramble on and on about buying this and that! The reason I bring this up, is because, while puttin SNUGGLE into the washer ( we've had it for probably 15 years) it started making a squeeking noise and stopped draining. My husband has now rigged it so that it will still work, but you
have to leave the lid up! We have the money to replace it, but he will eventually get around to fixing it, and it does still work. Pedra- my dear sweet neighbor- would just DIE if she could see this in OUR neighborhood!

Like you said, no life is perfect. There is always stress. God does not give us anything that we can't handle. The grass is never greener. Sh?t happens.

Make some potato soup and conbread(do you eat cornbread there?),make a nice fire, have a glass of wine, and look at some old photo albums! That always makes me feel better!

PS. WOW! The Road Less Traveled is my favorite. When I saw THAT this morning, I was on my way out the door, read your blog real quick, and recited it over and over in my head all afternoon! Thanks

Martha said...


I have had the same experiences that you have had with people having more money and such. Right now my washing machine has a brick on the lid so that the weight will trigger a gizmo to make it spin out.

I am not going to give up on myself and my choice to be home. I truly believe that it will all fall into place and I don't want to be tempted to give up.

My DH has worked for the same company for over 20 years. The company merged 18 months ago and the new management treats people very poorly. It is a "you can be replaced" mentality.

But he has a job and he needs to be able to work through this bad time, hang in there and in a couple of years when the job market picks up, he will look for something else. At least several years ago we had the foresight for him to go to graduate school and get his MBA.

I am not going to give up on being home as I know this is where I need and want to be. If I were working I would still have the problem of not being able to get anything done around the house which drove me nuts.

BTW - I love potato soup and yes we do have cornbread here. It is my favorite and I love it with honey on it. I also bake cornmeal sugar cookies that I enjoy.

Right in the middle of my comment my former boss, now a judge, stopped by my house to bring me a belated Christmas gift -a bottle of wine from his wine cellar. I will definitely be having a glass of that tonight.

I am definitely on the Road Less Traveled and it would be easy to take a detour but I am not going to do it. I am sticking to this lifestyle as I know in the end I will be happier. I know it. I just have to keep telling myself on the bad days, that it will all work out. I had bad days when I was working. Now I get the luxury when I have a bad day I can leave the house and go for a walk or get in a bubble bath. Couldn't do that when I worked.

I truly, truly appreciate your comment and insight. It really helped me.

Tammy said...

That's what friend's are for!

PS Love the brick idea!

Anonymous said...

As someone who has been on the side you are on for a long time now, I can only say that yes, there have been many times of being broke, and there still are. That hasn't changed so much.

However, I've never been sorry to have been home full-time. That time home gave me the opportunity to spend time with my only child, who passed away unexpectedly. Most people do not think that such a thing could happen to them.

I think if you continue to look at what you have versus what you don't/or might not have you will do just fine. You are blessed with a home, a husband who has a job, and a child. I would say you are pretty blessed. Time is more precious than money (you can't get time back), and most of all, people are more precious than money. I would trade anything in the world to have time with my child again.

Follow your heart and keep the right perspective and you'll be just fine.

Martha said...


My sincere condolences for what you have been through. In 1984 our first born child died 3 hours after her birth. In 1985 our son was born prematurely but with no long term effects. In 1993 we were blessed with a second son.

Your comment reminds me of everything that is important - people and not money. Thank you.