I was chatting to a friend the other day about our lifestyle. The usual stuff that I chat on this blog about….homeschooling, traveling, becoming more self-sufficient. She commented to me about how impressed she was, that I had sacrificed so much for this lifestyle. I nodded and agreed, not having time to form an opinion on the matter.
I knew what she meant by this well-meaning comment. I’ve sacrificed a life outside the home. I’ve sacrificed pursuing my interests. I’ve sacrificed the feeling of satisfaction one gets from having a career. I’ve sacrificed the most beautiful feeling of taking time out from being a mother and a house wife and instead having time to be myself without children hanging off of me. I TOTALLY get it.
But when I started to ask myself the question, “What have I sacrificed for this lifestyle?” I didn’t have too many answers.
Before I had children I worked in the accounting department of a large company. I liked my job, I got a good wage and fantastic benefits but I was never passionate about my job. I didn’t hate going to work but I didn’t love it either.
Once we had children it simply made no sense economically for me to go back to work. Even with my good wage I would not be earning much above the cost of daycare for two children and the cost of commuting 30 kms to work. Financially, it made more sense for me to stay at home. If I had a different career, one that filled me with joy, I may have made a different decision. But the fact is I have yet to find that one thing I am passionate about that would also earn me a decent living.
When I first became a stay-at-home mom I definitely sacrificed my sense of self and my sense of community. There were days when Mike would come home from work and I would be so DONE with being a mother I would retreat to the bedroom and cry. In those early years I had a few good friends that certainly helped to make me more sane but I had yet to find the community that I have now.
But the kids are older now, its been a long time since they have been attached to my breasts and have needed me every second of the day. We all have time to do our own thing throughout the day. Even with our homeschooling I still get time away from them. I get out to yoga classes a few times a week which really helps to recenter me. We have family close by (ehem…next door!) and the kids love to go to grandma’s for a day or a weekend, which really helps to recenter Mike and my relationship. I’ve found the most beautiful community a homeschooling, granola mom could ask for and I feel supported and honoured within it. No sacrifices there.
Even though I don’t bring in much money into our household I contribute a heck of a lot. I grow, cook, bake, and preserve much of our own food. If I can make it from scratch I do and that saves us a huge amount on our grocery bill. I shop at thrift stores and garage sales for most of our purchases. Our lifestyle is conducive to saving money so that we can afford to travel. So even though I don’t have a job, I do. Even though I don’t get a pay check I still contribute to our income by working hard to make our dollar go further.
I’m passionate about our lifestyle (can you tell? :)) The homeschooling, the travelling, the community bonds, the amazing people we continue to meet, growing our own food, raising our own chickens, renovating our own house, living small so that we can live large.
All of this, everything we do, comes back to our primary passions of travel and letting the world educate our children. Giving up our dream, that would be the sacrifice.
What are your thoughts? Have you felt that you have had to make sacrifices in your own lifestyle design?