Today marks a week since my first full day working as a custodian at the school where my husband works. Little did I know that the answer to many of my concerns, came through doing something I didn’t want to do.
I grew up in a community of traditional nuclear families. The dads would go to work, and the moms would take care of the needs of the home. I always had envisioned in my mind that if I were fortunate enough to get married and have children, that I would make the sacrifices necessary so that our family would be able to live off of my husband’s income.
Then reality hit me and brought me down to earth. We now have student loans and credit cards to pay off that amount to nearly half of my husband’s income. The other half of his income goes to the mortgage. That doesn’t leave much wiggle room when you have four kids under the age of five to support.
Luckily, another belief system I grew up with is that the husband and wife should work together to help each other in their family roles. I knew I needed to gain some employment so we could get ahead in paying off our debts. So I started looking.
Working during the day was not an option because my entire paycheck would have gone to daycare. Graveyard shift was also out of the question because I have a newborn that isn’t sleeping through the night yet, and a husband who is a deep sleeper. It had to be an evening shift. I had applied at a couple places, but I wanted weekends off, and they wouldn’t honor that request.
At the point where I was discouraged and going into panic mode, not knowing how we would pay all the bills, my husband came home from work that evening and informed me that the evening custodian at his school would be switching to the weekend shift, and the position was open if I wanted it. I said I did, and I was hired right away.
The house was a complete disaster because I was exhausted and would rather sleep than clean. I rarely left the house, because I didn’t see the need to get out of the house, and it was too much of a hassle to get all the kids bundled and out the door to go somewhere. I had been chasing kids all day, so I was lucky if I got a shower. My husband would come home after a long day at work and be frustrated that the house was still a mess. Then he would ask me what was for dinner, and I would respond, “I don’t know, whatever you’re making.” I was depressed, and had no motivation to do anything.
For whatever reason, my days seem easier to manage now. We tag team more of the responsibilities. My husband gets to spend more one on one time with the kids. I know that no matter how hard the day was, I will get some peace and quiet at the end of the day. I am doing more walking, I’m getting some fresh air, I’m drinking more water. I’m running errands after work without having to bring the kids along. And of course, I am helping to ease the burden my husband has of having to support the family financially all on his own.
We are also better able to see each other’s perspective. My husband now has a better understanding of how difficult it is to get things done while the kids are awake. I have a better understanding of how hard it is to leave the family each day and deal with some difficult people to get along with. The kids are also benefitting from me working because I have more patience with them.
Sometimes the answers for our lives come in the most unlikely way. I’m grateful that God has a much better plan for me than I have for myself. He knows me, and knows the end from the beginning. I just have to be willing to listen.