This week’s guest blogger is Sharon, a wife of 15 years & mother of 1 daughter. She works in the medical industry, is involved in several charities and sits on the board of her daughters school. Financially, her family started close to rock bottom and are now sitting very comfortably in mid-upper class. She knows that money doesn’t buy happiness but believes it certainly helps.
I am writing this, not as a response to the previous guest blog but as a look into the life of a parent who chose to make the opposite sacrifice.
We had a plan, a very specific plan that involved finishing school, finding careers, buying our dream house and finally bringing a child into our family. We were careful but not careful enough. Still, I cried tears of joy when my doctor gave us the results. I have always wanted to be a mom so even if the news came 10 years too early we were thrilled.
An amendment to the plan was made. My husband, who already had 1 degree, would postpone his graduate studies and find work. I would finish school after the baby arrived. This was easier said than done. When our daughter was born, she was perfect in every way and the last thing I wanted to do was leave her with someone that wasn’t me all day while I selfishly pursued higher education. I made another amendment to the plan.
One morning at our local playgroup, my daughter having just turned 2, something happened. I watched as my little girl played happily with the other children and I became envious. I saw the brand name clothes the other kids were wearing. I heard the stories the parents and nannies told back and forth about the family trips, the cost of sports for the older children, how great the private school in the next town was. I wanted to be one of those parents, who could give my kids all of those opportunities. All of a sudden I didn’t feel so selfish anymore.
My husband was on a career path he enjoyed but the paycheck was not enough to cover school, daycare & all the bills. We gave up our 3 bedroom condo rental and moved into a 1 bedroom basement apartment. I returned to school and my old part-time job. We left our child with a caregiver for 10+ hours a day. We were living paycheck to paycheck, my husband was picking up overtime shifts and our daughter was growing up at the speed of light. I graduated and immediately took a low level position within my field. The pay was awful, the hours were long but when I looked at my daughter who was handling this all with grace and independence, I felt okay. She wasn’t being neglected, she wasn’t missing out. What little time we did have together was amazing and was that much more special.
Fast forward 10 years. Our daughter is an intelligent, bright, confident young lady. My husband and I are both in careers that make us happy, have flexible hours and lots of time off with our daughter. Four years after graduation, we purchased our dream home. We travel twice a year as a family, our savings are on track to cover her entire university education and for the past 3 years, she has been attending that private school.
Do I regret missing out on big chunks of her early life? Of course I do. Then I look at the family we are today and see that the sacrifices we had to make were completely worth it. In 10 years, my daughter isn’t going to look back on her childhood with memories that her mom wasn’t around much when she was 3. She is going to remember the amazing times we had as a family, the trips we took, the opportunities she had.