My brain was screaming. I wanted something else to work on other than diapers and Brittainy's feeding schedule, but here I was, a stay-at-home mom with a brand-new baby. My days ran together in a seemingly endless staccato of breast feeding, naps, and attacking the frustrating messes of a busy four-year-old big brother. What in the world was I doing? I was a smart woman whose brain had turned into a foggy mush. I was lonely and isolated. I was bored—and a little scared.
My choice to leave my full-time teaching job didn't make any sense on paper. My husband, Geoff, was serving as youth pastor at our church, a position that begged for a second income to supplement our monthly budget shortfall. Our balance sheet just didn't balance. Every month the bills outweighed the income, and here I was, fully capable of earning a steady salary, but I wasn't.
Somehow being a stay-at-home mom felt lazy, like I wasn't doing my share. And I dreaded the question that always came when we met new people: Sherry, what do you do? I wasn't sure if my answer of stay-at-home mom was the complete picture. Really, what I did was worry. I worried about money. I worried there wouldn't be a place for me when I tried to return to the classroom. I worried that I was becoming dull. I worried that the transmission on our car would give out just when we couldn't afford a car repair bill.
Geoff sensed my angst and called a family meeting. We talked about what we really wanted, and we looked at the bigger picture. What kind of life did we dream of for our family? What did we want for us as a married couple? Life was tough with a lot more dreams than cash, but we talked about the power of choice and how the economy didn't have to dictate our response. As mom and dad, the power of choosing less stuff in return for a little more sanity in our day was in our hands. We got to choose, and as materially poor as our life might have seemed to others, it was ours to build.1