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    “You’re so lucky…”

    March 25, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    [Feminism] is mixed up with a muddled idea that women are free when they serve their employers but slaves when they help their husbands; it is ignorant of the very existence of real households where prudence comes by free-will and agreement. (G.K. Chesterton, 1927, emphasis mine)

    There are many things that, over the years, I regret having said. But some of my bigger verbal regrets tend to be the things I should have said, and didn’t. One of my regrets took place in the last couple months of my pregnancy with A. I was at my OB’s office, and the nurse was leading me back to some obscure corner of the building to find a tiny office where C-sections are scheduled for incompetent birthers such as myself.

    As we walked, the nurse informed me that the woman who scheduled C’s was also in charge of filling out the State Disability paperwork, and I could have her help me at that time. I told the nurse that no, I didn’t work, as this was my second child and I had been home with my first for two-and-a-half years. “You’re so lucky you get to do that,” she replied. I think I nodded in the affirmative. I don’t remember saying anything.

    You’re so lucky…

    It’s not the first or last time I’ve heard that phrase in regard to staying at home with my children, but it is the one time I regret that I did not respond and tell her that luck had absolutely nothing to do with it.

    You see, just weeks before, we had sold our house in order to make it all possible*. We call this “living from conviction.”

    The line of thinking goes something like this: we have a conviction (actually, we have many of them, but I will stick to a mommy nurturing her own children for now). Given this conviction, we live and make choices, and trust that God will provide. He has yet to fail us, though we have faltered in our faith and worried at times.

    We have moved cities, sold a home, gone months without professional haircuts, years without new clothes or shoes. We have eaten rice as a main dish (though Si would rather we not repeat that little stage) and bought children’s clothing second-hand (when it became absolutely necessary that we buy them at all). We spend little time in restaurants or movie theaters, though we do confess to a once-weekly Starbucks habit (we like to share a decaf venti mocha Frappuccino, if you’re interested). I decorate our home using the points from our credit card. Or we use said points to replace our broken weed-eater.

    This is not luck; this is a lifestyle.

    It’s not that I wish I had taken credit for it all when the nurse told me that I was lucky. It’s not that at all. It’s just that I wish I could have told her that she was capable of it, too. Each excess expenditure is a step into slavery to a job and a life away from family. But each act of discipline, each debt paid off after reading Accredited Debt Relief reviews online, each time one uses what they already have or decides to go without is a step toward the freedom to stay at home.

    I wish I would have sat her down and told her that it is so much better to help your own man and raise your own children than to assist some doctor and leave your kids with a virtual stranger. I wish I would have encouraged her to stop coloring her hair, getting pedicures, getting fake nails, and paying for that gym membership. I could have told her to clean her own house, cut her own grass, and prepare her own food. I could have told her that she doesn’t really need a big fancy house, two beautiful cars, cable TV, or a dog.

    I could have told her that when she is 90-years-old, any career accomplishments she might have had, and all the stuff she managed to afford because of it, will be utterly and completely forgotten, but a woman who has invested in her family will be remembered for generations.

    Following Christ in the calling of motherhood is not the stuff of luck or magic. It is the result of living deliberately, knowing that the joy found in obedience far surpasses the temporary happiness offered to me by this world.

    *I do realize that we are also blessed by God. After all, things could have gone wrong and our house not sold, and then we would be bankrupt! My point in this post is that our lives often result from the choices we make, the priorities we have.

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