Six months after my twins were born, the husband and I decided that it would be a good idea for me to step down from my management position at a popular women’s clothing retailer and stay at home with our children full time. A large percentage of my income was going towards childcare, and by the time I’d worked a full shift, picked my children up from the sitters, got home, made dinner, and then put the twins in bed, the time that I’d spent with them didn’t really amount to much. These were the only children that I was ever going to have (thanks to the big snip), so I didn’t want to miss a thing. Staying at home with my children, to us, seemed like the obvious solution.
The first year things were great. We had saved a little bit, and we’d come up with a nice little budget that we did our best to adhere to; but as the months went on, things began to get hard. I was able to supplement our income a bit through occasional graphic design projects, but that wasn’t cutting it. Life was starting to hit us hard. My mother had recently been diagnosed with cancer, and I travel frequently to be by her side. Between traveling expenses and constant car troubles, the few coins that we had managed to save quickly depleted. We were, for all intents and purposes, broke as a joke… but that mess wasn’t funny.
Recently, things came to a head. I found myself at the grocery store having to decide between canned meat or frozen fish sticks for our dinner. This sucked, and although my kids were oblivious, this was definitely not the way I wanted them to have to live. Don’t get me wrong. I was grateful that I even had the options of meat or fish (regardless of the forms). I knew that there were many out there who didn’t even have that; but I wanted more for my children.
I found myself, standing in front of the potted meats – holding a can of processed chicken meat in one hand and fish parts shaped like sticks in the other – wondering if I’d had my children at the right time. Maybe I should have waited until I’d established my career. Maybe I just should’ve… Waited.
When you’re single, childless, and in your twenties, you find miraculous ways to sustain yourself with small sums of money. Sardines and a box of cereal (separately of course) can last you for a week if you play your cards right. And somehow, in your twenties, that’s acceptable. When you have children, the way that you see life changes indefinitely. From day one your priorities change, and your entire reason for being becomes finding ways to provide your children with the best of everything. You want them to attend the best schools, wear the best clothes…. and eat the best foods. Things aren’t just about you anymore. This was hard. This sucked. This was being a parent. This was LIFE!
Good times. Hard times. Kids. Marriage. These experiences are all a rite-of-passage on the road to true adulthood. I realized that I was going to have to accept that. My husband and I were learning how to roll with the punches; and things aren’t as bad as they could be. My kids are happy and oblivious, and the husband and I have learned that we can forge a bond when times get tough. That’s more than a lot of couples can say nowadays. (Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman? I’m still trying to get over that one.)
Since my breakdown in the potted meats aisle, things have gotten a little better. You guys seem to like what I’ve got going on here at We Got Kidz. Readership has picked up quite a bit; and it has since afforded me some amazing opportunities to partner up with some of my favorite brands. These partnerships have proven to be enriching… as well as mildly lucrative. Because of this, I think we’re going to be alright. My twins are awesome. They’re thriving, rambunctious, and coming into their “two-ness” wonderfully. (Take that how you will.) I can honestly say that, so far, I have no regrets.