Sunday, December 17, 2006

Family: Priorities

Nearly two years ago, Jennifer and I decided that she should resign from her job and become a stay-at-home mom. We knew at the time we made the decision that is was not the practical thing to do. Living on two professional incomes had afforded us a measure of financial stability if not flexibility; living on one income would require us to trim whatever fat remained in a lifestyle that was already on the lean side, at least as compared to that of many of our friends. However, we also knew when we made the decision that it would allow for more focused attention on our four kids, and their needs, education, and activities. That knowledge assured us that, however impractical, our decision was the proper one.

In the time since, our kids have been bringing home straight-A report cards where there had been some struggling before. We can’t help but think that Jennifer’s time with them on their homework, as well as her very visible presence and involvement in their schools, has played a part. Equally if not more important, our kids have each developed a strong circle of friends, which had been lacking before. Now that Jennifer’s schedule no longer consists of zooming back and forth between the office, court, and daycare and afterschool pickups, it’s much easier to work in playdates and social outings for the kids. Last but not least, there’s that intangible something that’s come from slowing down and cutting back. It’s true that our life can still feel harried, rushed, and even chaotic at times, even though we’re no longer juggling two careers and dealing with all of the tensions that accompany that high-wire act; however, we seem to have a better sense of family. And that is what’s most important.

It was the right decision for us. But did I mention that it was impractical? More on that in the next post.

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