In 2002, the census found that only seven percent of U.S. households were the traditional family, which include married-couple households with children where only the husband is in the labor force. It is no longer the norm to have one income flowing into the household, but why has that been lost? Life getting too expensive? Cost of living increased? There are so many factors, but we’ve kept it traditional here at my house and I felt like sharing my reasoning for this.
Time and time again my wife and I will turn to each other thinking, what if we were both working then we would be more financially stable. We wouldn’t have to live in our condo that barely fits our growing family, we could purchase that damn minivan my wife wants so badly and we wouldn’t have to worry so much if could spend money on new clothes for ourselves.
But are these things really that important? Are these the things that we need to be worrying about, or could there be other things to worry about? Things like, who would watch the kids while we were at work? Do we want to be the ones raising our children, or would we rather have that responsibility given to someone else?
Personally I would rather be the parent to my children. I have talked about my feelings when it comes to daycare (see post here) and I feel like if we were to have our kids be watched by others I for sure wouldn’t be able to send them to a daycare. I know that daycare is a great option for people, but I just can’t bring myself to justify it: the cost, cleanliness, control, etc. That would mean that we would have them being watched by a family member or close friend.
I know a lot of people who have the privilege of having a family member watch their children for them and I say, that truly is a blessing. We on the other hand don’t have that privilege. Yes, all our family does live close by, but they work and every time we have our parents watch our kids for a long period of time we end up feeling bad that we left them with our parents, when really they are grandparents now, not parents. They are very involved grandparents and are willing to help whenever needed which is just the type of relationship we want them to have with our children.
Another atypical attribute is that both my wife an I have college degrees. We both graduated from Westminster College here in Utah where she got her degree in education and I got mine in communication. I say this because it puts us even in an even smaller percentage of people that are considered the traditional family where both parents have a college education and only have one parent in the work force.
What am I getting at with all of this? It’s hard being parents on just one income. The stresses of money, the constant struggle to make sure everything is being paid on time and living within our means. Life is hard as parents, but at the end of the day that’s what we are. We are parents and we want to make sure that at least one of us is always being the parent. We don’t want to pass that amazing responsibility on to someone else when we are clearly able to be the parent of our kids. So yes, we struggle, scrimp and save but for us it is worth it to be able to witness our children’s daily growth and discoveries. We both waited a VERY long time to have this opportunity. So even if it is a struggle, we find it a blessing.
Maybe this means we won’t get into the dream home we want immediately. Or we won’t be able to purchase that minivan I so desperately can’t wait to purchase. But what this does mean is that I get to support my family, my wife can spend valuable time with our children and together we will be the ones to raise them and teach them the things that we believe are important. No matter how hard it is we still wouldn’t change a thing.