Friday, August 6, 2010

choices

The other day Lucy asked me why we had such an ugly car.

We were driving along, and the question came out of nowhere.

"Why can't we have a car like Nina and Papa's, or Grandma and Grandpa's? Nice and new and smells good! Why can't we get a minivan?"

"Well," I replied, willing myself to think fast, because this was the ultimate of teachable moments, "Life is all about choices, Lu. If we had a car like Nina and Papa's or Grandma and Grandpa's I would have to go back to work. Those things cost money, and those things aren't important to us right now. Your grandparents are older and aren't raising kids. Right now, it's more important to your dad and me that I'm home raising you instead of driving around a fancy car."

"But I want a really nice car!"

"OK, how about this. We don't go to Costco for lunch, or McDonald's, or go on any vacations. Mommy will get you up really early each morning to go to day care so we can have expensive things in our house. You won't actually get home until 6 PM or so, and an hour after that you'll go to bed. Then, the next morning, you'll repeat it all over again. No playdates or mommy coming to your school and helping out in your classroom. But, I'll always show up to pick you up in that beautiful mini-van you're wanting."

a few moments of silence, then...

"Mama? Let's keep this car forever."

17 comments:

quinnley said...

LOVE IT!!!
This is why you are an amazing parent.

Michelle said...

Way to break it down for her. I bet she will remember this conversation forever.

Anonymous said...

Yikes. Not everyone works to bring home fancy things. Hope she doesn't tell some kid in her class that her mommy works because she cares more about cars than being with her.

The McFamily said...

I'll go with anonymous.
I work full time. I drive a Bitchin' 2000 Honda Civic.
Sometimes people don't work for the fancy things. Sometimes women aren't stay at home moms because if they stayed home THERE WOULD BE NO HOME TO STAY IN.
Suzanne

Anonymous said...

I'd rather live in my car, then let my kids get raised by strangers in a daycare. I have worked in many daycares...trust me once you have spent more than a few days there you would realize it is no place to raise a child in. And for the record, my family is hurting very much financially. In some situations there really may be no other way...but in most it comes to priorities.

Cole said...

WOW...I think she and Tristan have been secretly conversing on the telephone! THAT was a great teachable moment.

I understand some of the responses and that staying at home is not for everyone, but your priorities and mine are in tune...I want to be the one feeding my babies and putting them down for naps. Playing and cleaning and just sharing my time with them. Life would be easier for us financially if I was working right now, but I would be miserable..there are pricetags on everything, it really is a choice.

Anonymous said...

Rachel,
Great response to Lucy. That is your situation and I am proud of you for using this as a teachable moment. In response to anonymous #2, for YOUR situation it may come down to priorities. How dare you judge everyone else's situation and assume that its priorities. Maybe its health insurance (pretty important priority I would say so), maybe its medical bills, maybe its a house payment, maybe its a lot of different reasons. Everyone's situation is different as is everyone's "teachable" moment. Careful how you judge lest you be judged as well.

The McFamily said...

Anonymous after me...
No one, and I repeat no one, is raising my children except for us.

Have I had help along the way? Absolutely. I believe in most respects that it takes a village, some paid for and some not paid for to help raise your children. You cannot be totally insular because at some point everyone needs help or support.

I am sorry that you worked in some rotten daycare centers. In my 8+ years of being a mom, I have had nothing but good experiences with them.

Part of raising children also includes supporting them financially.

In my case, I refuse to martyr myself and make my children live in abject poverty by refusing to work or having a husband who has to work all the time and not get to enjoy his children simply because I am throwing myself on the sword of 'I will not work because someone will be "raising"my child".

Raising children goes long past those first 5 years of their lives. Now that my kids are in school, I realize that the "raising" part hardly even began before they were old enough to be their own people.



I'm all for making the choices that are best for your family, but I think speaking poorly of others choices to booster your own argument is in poor taste. I respect your choices. Please respect mine.

Kate said...

Great job Mama and good answer, Lucy! :)

Kiki said...

I want to know what you would have said if she said okay!

Pipsylou said...

I stated that if we had brand new cars I would have to go back to work, which is merely a statement of fact. If I went back to work, we would have $30,000 - $40,000 extra to do with what we pleased.

This is a fact.

It's also a fact that I chose to stay home. And yes, I have that luxury. But I know plenty of couples who both work outside the home and they choose to do that. In America, more often than not it is a choice.

That is a statement of fact, as well.

Nowhere in this conversation did I tell her that other people work because they care more about cars than their kids.

I told her that I value being home with her more than I do a 2010 Honda Odyssey. I think that's important for kids to hear: "You are more important than this or that thing."

I have no idea what my readers' financial situation is, and I won't purport to guess. Of course there are moms who have to work to keep the lights on and the bills paid. Again, I was talking about our own situation.

I never dreamed I would have to check with the P.C. police before posting a simple conversation I had with my daughter.

FYI - No need to post anonymously. There are a few anonymous posts that are from friends of mine. I'd hope you know our friendship can transcend differing opinions on this or that topic.

It's what makes the world go round, yes?

An said...

love this. reminds me of this: http://buildingtheblocks.blogspot.com/2010/07/id-choose-you_30.html

Holly said...

Lucy is such a sweetheart! I love that conversation. My girls love (and vastly prefer) our "gray car" which is a '95 corolla and strongly dislike and protest riding in our '06 SUV. I'm glad, because we have no plans to replace it!

Claire said...

It's interesting what a "hot button" they "stay at home" vs. "go to work" issue is. Rachel's post wasn't about the work vs. stay at home debate, it was about teaching priorities to your children. She was merely talking about THEIR family situation. In their family situation, if they wanted everything nice and new, Rachel would have to go back to work.

Yet, it quickly turned into the "home or not" debate. That's interesting to me. It tells me a couple things:

1. We haven't been very kind about how we approach this issue with each other.
2. There is a lot of personal guilt (and probably some of the flip-- superiority) that people feel about whatever decision they make.
3. As a Christ-follower, I wonder how "the Church" can do a better job of walking with people through these difficult decisions. How we can be more of a family to each other. I worry that maybe, instead, Christian couples are a source of pressure regarding this decisions; that they increase guilt instead of abating it.

Personally, my husband and I don't even have kids yet, but we think and talk about this decision regularly. We are option to all the options right now, from either one of us staying at home while the kids are young (yes, it's more than just moms staying at home these days) to a hybrid situation of both of us working condensed work weeks and having the kids in daycare or with family friends for 2-3 days a week to both of us working full time. We know our circumstances at the time will partly dictate what we end up doing.

Rachel-- great answer with Lucy! I think that discussion will continue to be a teaching tool in her life in the years to come. I love how she thought it all through!

Bring About {art} said...

Smart girl. ---And smart mom, too.

See Jamie blog said...

Wow, quite a discussion happening in your comments here! But I just clickd "leave a comment" to agree that this was most definitely a teachable moment, and I think you handled it well. :)

Melodie said...

Awsome! Rachel on addressing comments given and addressing Lucy's questions!

I completly understand where you are coming from and although I would like to go back to school, back to work, and have a new car; the costs are just to much financially and mentally.

I agree with the person who commented on the fact that we as people are not very nice to each other on the matter of weather or not to stay home with kids. I have been on the end of not so nice treatment because I stay home.