When Takisha and I first decided to try being stay-at-home, not working a full-time job, we just did it. No plan. She had been through several roles with companies that just never seemed to be good fits for her. So we decided that we should try her being home, and “make it work somehow”. In retrospect, it was more about rationalizing emotions than about making a sound decision in honor and obedience to God. But that was our M.O. For example, in our second year of marriage we decided to move to an apartment we really couldn’t afford. Our family was growing (Z2 was on the way), and we wanted to move out of our cramped 2-bedroom apartment into a 3-bedroom house or apartment. We also had to get new furniture and appliances for our new place – racking up debt. We did all of this before I finished graduate school and had “the job”. Takisha was also in between jobs. But we rationalized an emotional decision saying that we’d “make it work somehow”. We were trying to skip ahead to having the life we wanted before finishing all the work that would give us that life.
Admittedly, it remains our M.O. in many ways. But over the years, I’ve learned that things work out better when there’s a plan, and we work that plan without trying to skip ahead.
“Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.” (Proverbs 24:27)
Now we know the book of Proverbs is a book of Godly wisdom and general principles to live by. With that said, before you make the transition to homemaking or stay-at-home, sit down together, pray and plan! From experience, “making it work somehow” is not the best approach. For us, it has either failed, or caused a lot of needless stress and conflict. Even if this transition was not a transition at all – it was thrust upon you voluntarily or involuntarily – it’s not too late to plan so that it can be sustainable.
So, what does this look like? Look at your current lifestyle and be practical. Determine what you truly need to live and consider everything else a luxury that can be temporarily reduced or eliminated. There still may be a need for a second income to meet needs, such as housing and food costs. So there will need to be an agreement on how the wife will earn this income while keeping home her priority and primary duty. Or, perhaps husband’s income is enough to meet daily needs, but other spending – such as on travel and entertainment – may need to be cut back substantially until husband’s income can increase. Whatever the case, the two of you should talk about this openly and honestly. Lay out and agree to a plan for how you anticipate things will “catch up” over time, knowing that the sacrifice is worth it for everyone’s benefit. Having a plan that you both agreed to will also make it easier during those inevitable difficult times to come or make it easier to adjust to unexpected changes. For example, perhaps you decide to reduce expenses temporarily by going down to one vehicle instead of two and cutting entertainment subscriptions. Doing so allows you to save money even with the reduced income. The savings could help support the family during an unexpected job loss or medical emergency. These things might elongate the “catch-up” period but keep you on a plan.
In the end, the sacrifice is worth it, bringing honor and glory to God, and your life will somehow be better than you ever imagined it would be.