Making decisions can be tricky but, having all the facts is important if we want to be sure we are making the right ones for ourselves and our families. Once you’re a parent there are so many filters your decisions must go through to make sure they’re a good fit. Sometimes, no matter how much we want something, those decisions come unstuck as we put them to the test.
Earlier in the week on the Happy Families Podcast, Justin shared his definition of sacrifice: giving up something of lesser value for something of greater value. Over the past few weeks, I have WRESTLED with that idea. I have been a stay-at-home mum now for 21 years. That has been a very conscious and, at times, privileged decision that Justin and I have made together. But it has required sacrifice from both of us. There were times in our early years while Justin was studying full time that he worked 3 part time jobs to make ends meet, while I, suffering from PND, juggled babies all alone at home. They were some rough years. Then we moved interstate and he studied for another 4 years doing his PhD while I started all over again, to make new connections and help my children settle into our new life away from the familiar faces of family and friends. Life has never been a bed of roses and while our decision for me to stay home has been conscious it has, at times, been really hard.
But this was going to be the year it all changed for me. With the children all at the local school, just a 10 min ride down the street, and with Justin’s travel plans still on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions, together we had decided that I might study, embrace new opportunities, learn new skills, and spread my wings. It was scary and exciting all at the same time.
So, we decided. I would just start small. A 6 -month floristry course at TAFE. Logistics would be challenging, but I was pumped. This was finally going to be my year to do something for me.
Orientation arrived and I headed off with a head full of dreams and heart full of hope. But as the day unfolded a few extra requirements I had been unaware of surfaced. I found myself staggering under the weight of the workload. Yes I could do it, and I was excited to do it, but could I do it and be the mum and wife I want and need to be? Not a chance. There was no way I could do it all. Not without significant support. I came home dejected and collapsed in a heap on my bed. After months of excitement and build up I was going to have to pull the pin. There was just no way we could make it work.
For a few days I entered that big black hole of self-pity. Why do I always have to give up what I want to do? When will it be my turn? It was a dark space to wallow and wallow I did.
We continued the conversation. We talked about other possibilities. I mean, let’s face it, we’ve been in tight spots before and we’ve made it work. This is no different, right?
A few days later I was having a conversation with a friend who reminded me that if it’s worth it, you’ll pay the price. And that’s when everything started to change. I realised that I am not a victim of circumstance. This, this is the life I chose. Has it been a sacrifice? Yes. One hundred percent, and yet hands down I would choose it again if I had a do over. My family are literally the most important people in my world. I would do anything for them.
Once I reconnected with the values that I cherish the most, it was an easy “no” for me. This want was just that - a want.
Do my wants matter? Of course they do. And if I wanted it bad enough, I would have been willing to make the sacrifice and pay the price.
But I don’t want it that bad…
And let’s face it, I’m not saying no forever, just for today. Right now, I choose my family. And the power that comes from remembering that I get to choose is electrifying.