With life in a big family, it seems we're always balancing the budget, comparatively shopping, weighing the costs.
How much is that gallon of orange juice? How much was that? We can get it cheaper at Walmart. If you buy a dozen, it's less than if you buy two of the 6-packs. How much gas did you put in your tank? How much time does it take? How much longer will you be? How much money is left in the account?
We're constantly trying to get more for less...always trying to squeeze in extra...always on this never-ending quest to save time and money. Heck, even I cashed in on the "BOGO" special with two of my pregnancies. Twins...twice! Talk about a time saver!
But are we really weighing ALL of the costs? Is life really cheaper when we squeeze all we can out of it without putting anything extra into it? Does life really come in bulk?
Recently, our world has turned into a real-life depiction of Cheaper By The Dozen. You remember that movie. You know, the 2003 remake starring Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Hilary Duff and Tom Welling?
Ahem! Hello? Um...Hellooo??? I lost you at Tom Welling, didn't I? Dang, girl! FOCUS!
Anyway, in that movie, husband and wife duo, Tom Baker (Martin) and Kate Baker (Hunt), parents of 12 children, are both offered wonderful opportunities that could potentially take their careers to all-time highs. After a move to the big city, Kate and Tom forge full-steam ahead with their career goals only to discover they are on two separate paths. Drastic changes and a bulk-sized order of life prove to be too much for the family. Tom and Kate's inability to accurately weigh the costs shows what happens when we try to buy more out of life than we can afford.
Now, I'm sure you're wondering how life in my crazy household resembles that of The Baker's. Let me break it down for you:
- We don't have 12 kids, but 8 is damn sure close enough...believe that!
- Aastan is not a big time college football coach, but he is the Systems Architect for his company's IT team, which essentially means he plays a large role in "designing the plays" that will be carried out by his teammates.
- I, like Kate, am a writer and the manager of this family's chaos.
- Like The Bakers, we JUST moved.
- Much like Tom and Kate, Aastan and I, both, have been making positive strides career-wise that unfortunately require extra time, effort and commitment on our parts.
- Oh yeah, and our frog escaped, too! I'll tell you all about that in a minute!
With new and exciting things happening on the job front, Aastan has been away a lot. This has been challenging on the entire family. He's tired...the kids don't see him as much...I don't see or talk to him as much...we're a little grumpy...a little stressed...the whole nine!
But let's keep it real, for a moment. It's challenging on everyone, but it really presents me (the wife, the mom, the ringmaster of this circus) with a heavier load. And this heavier load comes at a time when several awesome career opportunities have presented themselves for me, as well.
I'm on the cast of Listen To Your Mother: Charleston; I'm about to submit my children's book manuscript to an agent; I just signed a contract to be a contributing writer on a major women's website; I've been asked to be a speaker at two events coming up in the fall; and I'm hammering out a few ideas designed specifically with women and young girls in mind!
But...timing is everything.
All of these wonderful things are happening for my husband and me...I am happy for him and proud of his achievements, AND I'm happy for and proud of myself, too. But of course, we have to think of our kids...they need us...BOTH of us!
I don't know that we've truly weighed the costs. Our family has been set on fast-forward recently, and it's become a wild ride. Awesome things are happening, but at what price? Our family's happiness, our family's laughter, our family's love?
Life in a family of ten is hard enough. Add in everyone's stuff and there are days when it's beyond difficult.
All of this has me wondering...Is life really cheaper by the dozen? Does a big box of happy and fulfilled life even come in bulk-sizing? And if it does, can we even afford it right now?
How do you deal with this type of balance? How do you weigh the costs of all of life's options? Please share in the comments below! These are discussions that all families--large and SMALL--can benefit from having.
Oh yeah! I almost forgot! The Great Frog Escape! Our albino African-clawed frog got out of his tank...TWICE! We had to hunt him down! His name has been legally changed to Froggie Went A Courtin'. The scene looked something like the following...pretty much!