On Being A Single Income Family

“How do you make extra money? Every stay-at-home mom makes extra money. You can’t just have all that fall on your husband, right?”

Crickets. I never know what to say. And then I need to step away and breathe. Because I’m not sure how our personal finances became a topic in the clearanced party supplies endcap.

We are a single income family. There is a lot of pressure on me to somehow make money. Not from Dave. No, the pressure comes from society.

Everywhere I turn, I’m being told that staying home with my kids requires a side job. I need to be bringing extra $$$ into our house. The world says it because they want us buying more things. The Christian community says it because the Proverbs 31 woman sold things.

And it works for so many women. I know very few SAHMs who aren’t selling a good or service. And many moms who work outside the home, in addition to raising kids, sell something on the side. And they are successful and happy! I love that for them!

But where does that leave me? A person who isn’t good at selling things? I sold cosmetics and skin care for five years, tutored, ran an eBay business, and did some freelance writing. All those things came to an end. 

So we are truly a single income family. Dave’s check is direct-deposited every other week. There is nothing else. And I receive so many messages asking how I’m going to make extra money for us and I have zero answers.

So many of our new friends here at Little House think I make income from this blog. But I don’t. I think it’s great when others do, but our blog doesn’t provide any money for us. It’s just a source of catharsis and a place to meet so many awesome people.

I know my limitations, and I know I can’t do parties, catalogs, or get-togethers. I don’t make anything or bake or possess a marketable skill. I cleaned houses in college, but I can’t even get my own house clean at this point. My degree facilitates tutoring. But few people pay for tutoring now, because they can get it free through schools and after-school programs.

When I mention to Dave that I am praying about how I can bring more income in, he reminds me that we always planned on being a single income home and he doesn’t expect me to attempt anything else on top of caring for our kids. But we never planned on Adelaide needing so many things. She doesn’t go without needs, but I sometimes get caught up in the wants.

Do I want a side business for the needs or the wants? Not entirely sure. I used all my freelance writing money from the summer to buy a wheelchair ramp, homeschool curriculum, and then sent goodies to our sponsor kiddos. It was fun to have money off the books.

I don’t even think it’s about the money. I think it’s a heart issue, if I am totally transparent about it. I think I desire to make money for our family, because I think what I do as a mom isn’t good enough. That even though I’m raising little humans who need me, I’m not doing such a hot job of it.

If I was making money, I could point to it and say, “I made $70 this month!” If I point to my house, I say, “Turn off the lights, Dave. I can’t even look at this mess.” When I point to my kids, I think, “They deserve so much better. A cleanish house, fun activities, and a meal worth eating.”

I guess it often comes down to heart issues for this mama. The world around me says, “Do more. Make more. Help your family more.” and I feel like, “I can’t even do the basics of motherhood.” If only I could figure out how to make money off all my issues. Maybe I could offer my ramblings to Christian counselors who are writing books and need a case study. I could call my side business “A Penny For Her Thoughts”… ; )

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