The following was written by my wife two weeks before we moved, two months ago. JM
I am proud to call myself a mom, a wife and a teacher.
I have carried the label of teacher for more years than the others and absolutely know that I chose the perfect profession for myself. I've been teaching for thirteen years now. I've also been happily married for nine years and am a mother to two girls, aged eight and three.
My husband and I worked diligently together to become debt free. Well, he did the work and I was supportive (and along for the ride). Anyway, we did it.
We paid off all our car loans, student loans and consumer debt. All the while I was happily teaching at a school that I loved that my oldest daughter also attended. Life didn't get any better for me.
Daughters both happy and thriving in ideal environments…check.
Debt free minus the mortgage on a house I love…check.
Husband, the breadwinner of the family, loving and thriving at his job…………………no go.
Thus Began His Job Hunt
So began a months-long job search focused in the area where we lived. Frustration, worry, and a general sense of dissatisfaction began to grow for my husband. Early on in the search, a job offer had been made that would have required us to relocate our family. My thoughtful husband turned down this wonderful offer. So the search continued on, as did our lives with our girls.
After months had passed without a new job, the old wonderful job offer surfaced again.
After much thought on my part, I encouraged and supported my husband to go for the interview. I knew in my heart that this job was a big step up for my husband and would put him on the professional path he so desired and deserved. This, however, was not an easy decision for me. I wanted to be selfish. I wanted to say that he'd find something here. I didn't want to leave my job, my home and start all over again. It's just, I couldn't do it.
So off he went.
People talk about gut feelings. I went with mine on this, as well as my heart. I knew this was the path our family was meant to take. Not to say that this has been an easy path for me personally and professionally. There have been a lot of sleepless nights, stress, anxiety and tears. I've had to be a full time teacher and a single parent during the week for six months while he worked in a city three hours away. I've now said goodbye to my school and my job. I'm still working on goodbyes to my friends.
We've sold our house and are downsizing our living space by half. Not a fun process when you have two kids and are a teacher who can find use for just about anything. Our moving date is two weeks away, and I am truly excited for this next chapter for our family.
My husband loves his new job. We have found a wonderful place to live in an exciting urban environment. Best of all, because we are debt free, I will now be a stay at home mom for our new girls. Big changes are happening and I've learned something very important about my marriage and myself. Love and respect do go a long way. Home is really where the heart is. My heart has many different people and places that are home. An address is just that, an address. Home is something entirely different and much more important for myself and my family.
I do not second guess this big decision that we've made together. I am still a wife, a mom and a teacher, and now a full time, stay at home mommy.
How could life be any more sweet?
I want to thank my wife, not only for writing this, but for everything she has done and continues to do for our family. The last and only time she wrote something for MWD, it got picked up by the American Library Association. 🙂
As you can see from above, she wasn't the one running from a shitty job and unhappiness. She was perfectly happy where she was, and was probably thinking about high school for our daughters, which is a long way away.
She left friends and a job she loved to start new, and I thank her for that. But she did it for our family, using the same faith in family that helped us get out of debt.
She wrote this piece before we moved, and I must admit it got pushed to the side for two months in the chaos of moving a home and office in the back of a truck. But reading it made me happy, especially since she and the girls are now settled in, and our apartment is now starting to feel like a home.
As you know if you are a regular reader, we paid off everything but the house a year ago, in fact, on the day we departed on a two week European vacation. And about five weeks ago when we signed our house over to the buyer, we became truly debt free.
This was because we finally got fed up with debt, or more accurately, tired of working our asses off to tread water.
This revelation came at a time when the stock market was taking daily nosedives, banks were failing, and it became clear that everything involving money was held together by a simultaneous collective confidence (and collective fear) that if we stop believing in it even for just a second, that all the balls in the air would fall onto the wooden floor of an empty room. And with each failing bounce the sound gets softer, and now quickly back to the song, and it's like it never even happened.
Back to reality. I've come to accept the fact that you can't have your cake and eat it too. If you want to enjoy your life and have friends and join the sports team and integrate into society, you have to spend money. And if you spend your money, you never get ahead. But now that we are out of debt, I've suspended the notion of getting ahead because there's nowhere to go – there's only time and societal expectations to fulfill. Unless you are pulling in $250 thousand per year, it's going to be really hard to imagine a life without working. And as long as we are working, there's a need to hit the tavern and kill some time, money, and brain cells.
So I've stopped caring too much about spending because I'm numb to it, but my wife's last paycheck will soon be arriving and the brief taste of getting ahead will be replaced with the morning breath of just getting by. But remember, with getting by comes….getting, I guess, because getting means having fun and living life. Just so long as we are clear that no one is expecting me to leave anything behind, including debt.