Guest post from Ariel of A Meaningful Motherhood:
I sat at the table and cried.
Our 1100 square foot house was practically choking me. The kitchen cabinets were falling off. The dishwasher had been broken for nearly a year. Our wooden kitchen table was “lovingly” dinged, dented, and wobbly. The children had peeled paint off the wall like a banana peel. We held our breath every time we walked around the garage because we had no idea when it might decide to fall.
Our family of six isn’t getting smaller. We’ve got four kids all under the age of ten in a three bedroom house with one working bathroom. We also homeschool, so there are books everywhere (which, isn’t a huge problem!), and have two Golden Retrievers who shed more hair than they have.
We were in a pit of debt and trying so hard to climb out.
As I sat there sobbing, I felt I’d never see that glistening homeschool room, bookshelves to the ceiling, or perfectly groomed dogs. Everything felt so mountainous.
Our debt was a hindrance in our finances and our marriage. It caused fights, discussions, tears, and holding a magnifying glass over ourselves to find traits and habits we didn’t like. It also made this mountainous climb feel impossible.
The worst was the guilt of wanting money to afford nicer things. So I cried for my guilt and I cried for my foolishness.
Some people will say that being in debt is not forever, that we can get out and change our lives. I believe this is true. But I also am a realist and know that not everything I want will actually happen.
I may never have the homeschool room I desire or gleaming shelves of books. My kitchen may never be lined with fingerprint-free gray cabinetry worthy of HGTV and a dishwasher that cleans cooked-on eggs.
Sometimes it’s disheartening not to have things that make our lives easier or look magazine-worthy or offer us a pleasing aesthetic… but we cannot let that weigh on us. The truth is, even if I eliminate all my debt, that doesn’t mean I’ll have everything I want.
The good news is, both finances and attitudes ARE changeable based on our own perception.
I don’t want to stay at that table and cry. I want to get up and change my outlook and my situation.
I don’t have a working dishwasher, but I have four kids willing to pitch in washing dishes every day.
I don’t have sturdy bookshelves, but it gives me an opportunity to be creative in how to store them.
My dogs will provide many memories for our family, despite the clumps of golden hair I find lurking in every crevice.
What’s a life at the end when you’ve got everything you’ve wanted?
What matters is stewardship of our resources: our time, finances, and relationships.
My situation doesn’t have to define my perspective; I get to choose that. And in the pit of debt, when it’s overwhelming and heavy, perspective is a life-line!
Ariel is a Mid-Western wife to Greg, and stay-at-home mom to four kiddos. She is a freelance writer, homeschooling mom, and blogs about the challenges of motherhood at A Meaningful Motherhood. She loves books, coffee, and avocados.