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It Really Is a Good Life

I decided to wear a suit.

I figured I’d give my everyday soccer pants and favorite hoodie (a.k.a. my mommy uniform) a break – just for a day.

I hadn’t donned a suit in four years, not since I left my 9-5 to be a stay-at-home mom (for like the third time), but today it just felt right.

I wanted to make a good impression on my new doctor.  I know people judge books by there covers, and I didn’t want to be prejudged.  I wanted her to give me a chance.

Triage Nurse: How many girls do you have . . . one?

Me: Four. Why?  Do I look like a one-girl kind of mom?

{Smiles}

Nurse: Are you married?

Me: Yes.

Nurse: Is your husband alive?

{Uh . . . weird.}

Me: Yes, I tried to kill him but it didn’t’ work.

{Laughter ensues . . . I’m really just trying to make light of some bizarre questioning.}

The Doctor will see you now

The doctor enters the room, but before she does I take notice of the medical degree hanging on her wall.  I observe that both she and her husband are doctors and that both of her daughters are, too.

Doctor: How many kids do you have?

Me: Six: two boys and four girls.

Doctor: Oh my goodness!  Why did you do that?!

I’m used to people questioning my sanity about having a “large” family.  I take it in stride and laugh it off.

Me: Having babies is what women do.  {I smile softly – unable to come up with something more clever.}

Me: I’m a stay-at-home mom.

Doctor: Oh, good.  Your husband must make a lot of money.

Me: Um, he does okay.  When he got a job that replaced my salary I came home full-time.  But we don’t live large.  We own a house a few blocks away but we make a ton of sacrifices to live on one income.

The doctor feels my neck: “I need to check your thyroid . . . I thought I saw something.  Oh, it’s just fat.”  (A fat neck? I can go home and die now.)

Me: And I homeschool my two youngest kids.

Doctor: Homeschool?  Why would you do that?  I send my kids to school and I don’t want to see their face again until 3 o’clock!  You must very disciplined?  You must have a lot of structure in your day?

Yeah . . . a lot of structure I thought to myself.  That must be why my kids school in their pj’s and sometimes sleep in.

Doctor:  Education is important.  Both of my daughters went to Dartmouth and we paid for every dime of their education; they never saw a bill – those spoiled kids!  It cost us one million dollars to educate them.

Me: One million dollars (my eyes opened wide) . . . how did you save up for that?

Doctor: We started saving when they were born.  We just kept putting money away.

***

It really is a good life - family 1 edit.jpg

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“What kind of life am I living?”  I asked myself as I sat there in my suit.

I’m constantly questioned about the amount of kids I chose to have.  I’m frequently quizzed about why I think I can adequately educate my children.  I’m often led to feel that I have to defend my status as an underachieving stay-at-home mom.  After all, I’m not out changing the world in my red soled, high-heeled shoes and power suit.  I’m indoors wiping up spills, wiping noses, wiping bottoms, and wiping magic marker off of my walls (and taking day trips to my dentist as if it were a spa).

Turns out that my Tahari suit was no coat of armor; no defense for the emotional introspection that my visit would cause.

What kind of life am I making for my kids?  

I am not breaking glass ceilings in the corporate world.  

I will not be able to pay for my kids to attend a private college or university.  

I am not able to offer the expertise of a middle or high school teacher in specific subject areas.

***

There was a time when I didn’t have a convicting response to counter any of my “what kind of life” doubts.  And not understanding the value of taking the road less traveled caused me to tumble back out into the world of work, and led my kids back into public school.

Doubts about the quality of their education taunted me.  

Doubts about their quality of life – about living on one income in the most expensive city in the US almost undid me.

Pay for college?

We were just trying to manage braces x’s 2.

A savings account?

How about just getting by and “praying in” our wants?

Is it okay to not aspire to have more stuff, so that I can give my kids more of me?

Was it okay not to give my kids a life that they could have had, so that I could give them a life full of meaning?

It really is a good life - family 2 edit

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As I walked out of my doctor’s office those doubting and questioning voices fell silent; almost immediately.  In times past they would have made my head spin . . . but not anymore.

I’ve walked for many miles in the moccasins that most of our society refuses to wear, and I can tell you that while it may take some time to break them in, they are good, godly and sensible shoes.

Four of my six kids are grown-up now and have attested to the benefits of living the life that we chose.

  • They were not worse off for not having everything that money could buy; they were richer for having the love of parents that sacrificed for the things that they could not see.
  • They were not saddened by the addition of another mouth to feed; they were overcome with the joy of having more family, and they grew closer together than I ever could have imagined.
  • They may not have received a top-tier education (either at home or in public school), but they were taught to fear the Lord and that “life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (Luke 10:21)

My home is not palatial or filled with earthly treasures, but it’s warm and inviting and abounds with love and laughter.

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It really is a good life - family 3 edit

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Somehow, when we were sacrificing and living with less, and doing without and forfeiting vacations, my children were catching the very lessons that could not be taught, and bearing the fruit of a life rich in the very things that can never be brought.

Yes, it really is a good life.

 I’ve shared this article at these fabulous faith and family link-ups.

Comments

  1. You had me totally laughing with the comment about visiting the dentist like it was a spa! I think every woman who has left a career to raise kids has wrestled with many of these questions. And the education piece can be a head game until you are very confident in the direction God has lead your family–whether you homeschool or not. Enjoyed linking with you today at Grace and Truth.

    • Hi there, Ginger! I agree with you when you say it is every’s woman’s struggle, and that we definitely need to have the confidence that God is directing our families – or else we’re toast! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  2. Tiffiney, this so lovely and affirming! I am also in the “emptying nest” phase with some kids grown and some still at home, and it is a blessing to see our kids validate our lifestyle choices by going out and establishing homes that are so much like the one they grew up in.

  3. First of all, I love your story telling! It made me laugh with you and cringe at the comments you faced. This is real life!

    You stated so well how this was right for your family. I think the tricky part is how sensitive we all can be on this issue. It is personal and hard and we all feel some sense of guilt no matter what side of the work fence we fall on. Remembering that we’re all doing the best we can at any given moment is a beautiful thing.

    Oh, and your comment about the moccasins is fantastic!
    Visiting from Holley’s!

    • Hi Beckey, thanks for the quiet reminder that even working women struggle with these emotions. I so appreciate what you’ve shared. Thanks for stopping by from Holleys. Have a blessed week!

  4. Loved being in that doctor’s office with you. You have a great sense of humor. For me, with my kids, having a faith and loving each other are the most important things.

    • Hey Rachel, I love your perspective on the matter: faith and family is what life is all about. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

  5. “Was it okay not to give my kids a life that they could have had, so that I could give them a life full of meaning?” YES! YES! YES!! I think you may need to keep looking for a new doctor. Anyone who tells you that you have neck fat needs to go! Wow, you make me laugh Girl! I just republished the Blog Hop post after getting your comment and realized it was showing up on some browsers. I’d love for you to come back and share this. It is too good! Blessings and Hugs!!

  6. You never fail to bring a smile to my face! Look at you, dressing up for the doctor. That’s just crazy enough, I would do it myself. I so appreciate your humor and your perspective in this post. I especially enjoyed this little nugget of truth: My home is not palatial or filled with earthly treasures, but it’s warm and inviting and abounds with love and laughter.

    Amen, Sister! Keep on sacrificing so your kids can have the best….the best is you, always you!

    • Hey Sarah, thank you for stopping by and blessing me with your kind words. Its always great to hear from you. ☺

  7. Hi Tiffiney! Sometimes it amazes me what people say without realizing how it comes across. You are modeling contentment in a world that seeks earthly pleasures. You are instilling in your children the priceless truth of God’s word and the presence of a loving mom. This was such a great post! You could have flown out of that office because you’re supermom!

    • “Supermom”? Valerie I love you and I need you in my life. You and ice coffee! Don’t ever leave me.

  8. Tiffiney, this is such a good post! I absolutely love it! Thanks for the encouragement from a homeschooling mom as well. You definitely put it in words in what all homeschooling moms want say. It really is a good life!

  9. Goodness, Tiffiney! It’s only by the grace of God you walked out of there without either crying or exploding at this doctor! I can’t imagine having 6 kiddos nor have I ever felt I was called to home school, but that does not mean your way is weird and mine is not! I admire you so much for exactly that reason! You are living out your gifting in obedience to God and that is beautiful! Thank you for sharing your story. There is so much hope here. When people treat us in less than kind ways, casting judgement from their perch, it is easy to feel confused and hopeless. But you have given testimony to living life in obedience to your calling. In turn, you have an attitude of hope and joy! thanks so much for sharing with us at #MomentsofHope!
    BTW – I love your new pic! Your smile is contagious! And I bet you looked fabulous in that Tahari suit :_0
    Hugs,
    Lori

    • Lori…you know just what to say to make a girl/mom feel good. :o) Thank you for your thoughtful and sweet words of affitmation.

  10. Preach it, sister! You have chosen a good life, and you’ve given your children a good life. How blessed you all are!

    Thanks so much for joining the Grace at Home party! Every blessing to you.

  11. As I was reading this, I felt like I was reading about my own life – but from my own mother’s perspective! I’m the oldest of six (4 girls, 2 boys), and my mother stayed at home with us. And we all had to pay for our own college. My youngest brother is graduating from high school this year! I feel like we had the BEST life. I wouldn’t trade vacations, education, possessions, a bigger house, nothing! for the love and faith we had growing up. And reading your post, I know your kids feel the same way! Thank you so much for your gift of love, life, and faith to your children and for sharing it with all of us. You are truly a light in this world! -Jessica, Sweet Little Ones
    P.S. I host a link party every Tuesday at 8am EST with 12 other co-hosts called Tuesday Talk. I would love for you to join us every week! You would truly bless everyone!

    • Hi Jessica, I absolutely loved your feedback. It’s so good to hear from kids that have lived through what I’m trying to accomplish with my own kids. Your enthusiasm is infectious! I hope all of my kids feel the same way. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your heart. :o) And I’d love to join in your link party. Thanks for the invite – and see ya there! Woo hoo!

  12. I was thinking about this subject just the other day. My husband and I are seeing ourselves as the “in-laws” or someday “grandparents” that are (probably will continue to be) the cheapskates, because we don’t make near as much money as our son’s wife’s parents do. And it made me wonder if having so much wealth will hurt our daughter-in-laws ability to adjust to being a pastor’s wife on a pastors salary. 🙁 Now we weren’t and aren’t dirt poor, but I’m kind of glad that our son knows what it is and was like to want and not get. Tiffiney, I believe that your kids will be better rounded and able to manage the losses and lack in life because you didn’t hand everything to them and were a great example of integrity being the foundation and not just worldly ambition. Great post and loved the way you went about telling your story!

    • Hi there, Beth! I’m so glad you stopped by for a visit! It seems that I’m always in your neck of the woods every Wednesday. Thank you for sharing your heart. Your words of affirmation mean so much. We really are giving theses kids just what they need…the wants are not as important. Your husbands wife may need some time to break in her new moccasins, but I’m sure that in time, by God’s grace, she’ll do just fine. :o)

  13. So beautiful, Tiffany. Such truth. I think this is my first visit here. Nice to meet you. 🙂 We’re about to graduate our 2nd child from homeschool next weekend. It’s a road less taken, but, the memories are precious, and I’m thankful that God called us to it for the time that He did. Great post, thanks for sharing. ((grace upon grace))

    • Brenda…I receive that grace upon grace! Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your heart. It’s so good to have you here. We are in the (at-home-mom and homeschooling) trenches together. This parenting thing – it really is an exciting journey!

  14. “Is it okay to not aspire to have more stuff, so that I can give my kids more of me?” Yes, yes, yes, dear Tiffiney! I LOVE this…all of it. Your humor, your wisdom, your perspective. I SO can relate to feeling like an underachiever because I “just” stay home. But I truly believe that if a home and the people who dwell in it do not have someone caring for it and them as their primary job, “something” has to go. “Something” has to be given up. “Something” will be lost. And we have not wanted to give up or lose those somethings. So we’ve given up and lost others. And I wouldn’t give up what we’ve gained and found for anything. Blessings on you, sweet friend! Stopping by from Sitting Among Friends!

    • Elizabeth…you came!! So good hearing from you. I just stopped by your “home” to read your list of expectations for the summer. So funny! I appreciate your kind words of affirmation. Thanks for stopping by and for sharing your heart. Do come again!

  15. a fascinating conversation with your doctor, for sure. and suit or no, you’ve got your head tied on straight! love your perspective, your joy of being a mama.

    and yes, Tiffany, when all is said and done, there’s no better calling, no more worthwhile task …

    • Hi Linda, Thank you so much for your encouragement and your kind words of affirmation. No matter how many times I hear the truth, it never gets old!

  16. I laughed. I got serious and read. I identified with you. I remember sitting on the table with that paper thing wrapped around me as the doctor asked me why I had my tubes reversed and reminded me about what could happen with that!! I love your writing style. Have a great week sweet friend.

    • Hey Judith, Apparently, we both have drank the “Be fruitful and multiply” Koolaid…and you know, I don’t regret it at all. It turns out that it was the best drink ever! Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

  17. You are blessed indeed!!

    This post brought back wonderful memories of traveling the same path that you did, albeit with two children, (but my son had ADHD and felt like four) lol. But seriously, even at my empty nest phase, I look back at those homeschooling years as the happiest times of my life so thankful that the Lord blessed me with the ability to stay home and raise my children up in the fear and admonition of the Lord and that we as a family enjoyed each other.

    Blessings.

    • Hi Karen: When I’m an empty nester I hope I feel the same way. Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

  18. “I’ve walked for many miles in the moccasins that most of our society refuses to wear, and I can tell you that while it may take some time to break them in, they are good, godly and sensible shoes.” -Love this. I’m so glad you’re living and loving exactly what the Lord has brought you to! Sounds wonderful to me- and those questions are what seem silly : P #TestimonyTuesday

    Nice to meet you Tiffany!

    • Hi Bethany, Thanks for stopping over! And thanks for the affirmation. Nice meeting you, too. :o)

  19. I am right with you, Tiffiney!

    My husband came from a well-resourced family and it has taken years before we could see eye to eye on the we-might-not-be-able-to-pay-our-children’s-college-tuition thing.

    And now we’re there and it’s so freeing. Being faithful today means (in part) not fearing for tomorrow.

    His perfect love casts out fear and He is providing more than I ever expected possible for our family (although I get the same questions from my children’s pediatricians).

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Hi Nicole! I love what your shared about being faithful today and not fearing for tomorrow. Perfect love really does cast out all fear. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing.

  20. It seems we moms face opposition no matter what road we choose. I think it is because we all passionately want what we think is best for our kids. We’re all just trying to navigate that winding road and praying we’re doing what’s right. I’m far from a perfect mom by anyone’s standards, but I find peace in the fact that my boys know the Lord. Blessings, liz

    • Hey Liz! Every momma’s heart can truly find peace in knowing that her kids have a sincere relationship with Christ. I’m so glad that this is your experience. Blessings to you and thanks for stopping by!

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