Those with children…

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AnnaBanana

Puritan Board Freshman
How do you do it?

I am seeing a close friend of mine and her husband struggle financially, and it is breaking my heart for them.

They have two children and another on the way, and are struggling to stay afloat due to their desire to keep her home with the children and only living off one income.

I feel helpless in this situation as I do not have children or a partner, and find myself only saying “I’m so sorry, I will pray for you” when she is confiding in me and we are praying together over the situation. I want to give her advice and wisdom, but I am lost. I can’t understand why they would have another child, if they are struggling… but, it is not my decision nor my life.

To be honest, even being a single woman on my own- there are times when something will come up (car breaks down, something in my apartment breaks, etc) and it does make a dent in my bank account… I can’t even what it would be like adding children to the mix.

So, my question is… for those of you that have children- do you struggle financially and if you could pass on some advice for me to share with her - what would it be?

(Her husband is in school right now as well which is why he is only able to work so many hours during the week.)
 

Miss Marple

Puritan Board Junior
I tried to accept that I was basically going to be poor.

And I tried to bring in what income I could. That is tough because it affects the marital dynamic.

Many people were very kind.

We did not take vacations except to stay with relatives. We had one car. We bought no property. I applied for financial aid whatever we did. I figured out a rotation of the cheapest meals. Our kids did not get allowance. I did have them do aluminum recycling for pocket money and they worked as soon as they could and kept their own money. One gift from us for birthday and one for Christmas. (They got much more due to relatives). Birthday parties were games and cake at our house or a playground - no pony rides or amusement parks. They didn’t get a cell phone until they could buy it and make the monthly service payments.
 

Miss Marple

Puritan Board Junior
Wow my post above has a grim tone but often we had a good time and my kids are doing well. I had fall back if a true medical or dental emergency occurred but thankfully never had to make the call. Clothes were much handed down. The hardest thing for me was differences about spending what we did have especially when I earned some of it under extreme difficulty. Sanctifying?
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Graduate
I tried to accept that I was basically going to be poor.

And I tried to bring in what income I could. That is tough because it affects the marital dynamic.

Many people were very kind.

We did not take vacations except to stay with relatives. We had one car. We bought no property. I applied for financial aid whatever we did. I figured out a rotation of the cheapest meals. Our kids did not get allowance. I did have them do aluminum recycling for pocket money and they worked as soon as they could and kept their own money. One gift from us for birthday and one for Christmas. (They got much more due to relatives). Birthday parties were games and cake at our house or a playground - no pony rides or amusement parks. They didn’t get a cell phone until they could buy it and make the monthly service payments.
:ditto: Amen. My wife and I have raised six children with essentially the same approach.

What you describe sounds a lot like how our grandparent's were brought up. And they called them "The greatest generation."
 

CJW

Puritan Board Freshman
We have 3 children, and I stay home. My husband is blessed to have an excellent job, but I have learned to cook, from scratch, using the cheaper cuts of meat, or beans, rice, cornbread, eggs. (I was also blessed to have grown up bottom rung barely lower middle class, so poor folk food was what I was used to! :) ). Drive antiquated cars, and wear antiquated clothes almost exclusively from the thrift stores. I think we’ve bought 2-3 items of new furniture, everything else is thrifted, or estate sale.

The children get a new outfit for church, and everything else is thrift. They get no allowance, and have to work (we’re on land) around here to get paid. 1 church outfit, 2 decent going out outfits, and 2 ratty set of play/work clothes are quite sufficient. We wear our work clothes all week (how shocking it sounds to admit it!! :) ) which saves a ton on laundry.

We do all cooking from scratch (including the bread..in a machine so I don’t sound uppity!), and buy our basics in bulk. We make very infrequent trips to the grocery store (as every trip adds something not 100% needed), make a list and buy only that. Cokes, candy, chips, etc. are only for special occasions. Popcorn kernels are the only standard snack food in the house. We don’t do Christmas (at all) or birthday presents and parties. Only cake and ice cream at birthday. The children got almost all their toys from the thrift store (or grandparents). They have to buy new toys they think they must have with their own money. It’s amazing how creative they are with cardboard, paper, and milk jugs!

Meal planning is a very essential skill for saving money. Leftovers for lunch every day, takeaways only once every other month. Learning to completely use your meat. Buy whole chicken, roast it, eat day 1, sandwiches or chicken salad next day, use the carcass for soup and throw in vegetables (frozen are cheapest) with some noodles (or dumplings! :) on day 3. Cheap cuts of meat (shin, offal, ribs, ground) padded out with beans and vegetables can easily make 2-3 meals. There are quite a few frugal living blogs and websites around with great ideas.

I know in type in sounds terribly Scroogesque, but in reality, we are happy with how we live, and wouldn’t change it. I shall pray for your friend. She’s very blessed to have a friend like you! :)


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

Jonathan95

Puritan Board Sophomore
We do what we can. We are very affectionate with each other and the kids. We lean on our church as much as possible. We have difficult days followed by sweet ones. As most do.

Praise God.
 

Christopher Robin

Puritan Board Freshman
Mrs. CR and I knew in advance that a decision like that (to have kids and live on one income) would mean, but we decided it was well worth not having a fancy waterfront house with a swimming pool and all that. But we had time with the kids, lots and lots of time. I worked 24-hour shifts with 48-hours off in between, so two or three days a week full time. I brought a big-city paycheck home to an inexpensive rural town a couple of hours away. For most of that time the cost of commuting was reasonable. Mrs. CR home schooled the kids, raised chickens and home-grown crops, and made our modest house a home. The choice to have lots of time to invest in the kids has made all the difference in the world.
 

AnnaBanana

Puritan Board Freshman
after reading these posts, it has made me realize that you all are extremely rich in life for all the beautiful and right reasons.
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Senior
I agree with everything above. Very well said thoughts. We have 3 children, one income, and that income is only a median income. We also live in a fairly expensive city. God has provided, and I'm so thankful.

On top of God blessing us, we've had to be very careful and wise with how we spend, how we save, and the timing of life decisions. We married after college was finished, we waited a few years to buy a house when the perfect deal came along, we upgraded a vehicle after patiently waiting for the best deal, we budget every month, etc. We plan with wisdom, and we live within our means. I hope this helps!
 

Elizabeth

Puritan Board Sophomore
Long time ago, now, but my children faced growing up in a home without extras. Struggles to pay normal bills, etc. When the washing machine broke down washed clothes in the tub, etc. No vacations, old cars. Old house. One small regular income, home-schooling four.

Happily, my children all survived, and learned some things along the way. Focus on the joy of those blessings, would be my advice. God did not say that they are blessings in certain circumstances...but that they ARE blessings.

Ask for help when needed, etc.

Maybe help her find some resources that could aid them? I don't know where you are located, but food stamps, healthcare, housing, etc. and all sorts of things are available to families in their situation. That's changed a lot since I reared my kids. No reason they shouldn't utilize those things if available to them.
 

Smeagol

Puritan Board Senior
This has been a great thread to read. I am a father of 3 and our family homeschools as well. The Lord has blessed me with a good job and thankfully Mississippi cost of living is very doable. I have a question I have often wondered about. If a family, like the one mentioned in the OP, finds themselves in a situation where it is years of reliance “government financial aid” vs. “the mother deciding to get a paying job and kids go to public school” what is the right answer?

I know there is not a one-size answer, but should there also not be a duty to get off aid? How have you tried to find balance. I claim large ignorance here I my family has never had to apply for aid, nor do we need to. Should homeschool be such a priority that we use government funding for years and years in order to make homeschool doable?
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Senior
This has been a great thread to read. I am a father of 3 and our family homeschools as well. The Lord has blessed me with a good job and thankfully Mississippi cost of living is very doable. I have a question I have often wondered about. If a family, like the one mentioned in the OP, finds themselves in a situation where it is years of reliance “government financial aid” vs. “the mother deciding to get a paying job and kids go to public school” what is the right answer?

I know there is not a one-size answer, but should there also not be a duty to get off aid? How have you tried to find balance. I claim large ignorance here I my family has never had to apply for aid, nor do we need to. Should homeschool be such a priority that we use government funding for years and years in order to make homeschool doable?
This is a really good question. I've thought about this as well. I think this is a good place to draw certain capitalistic and socialistic principles that are found in the Bible. In my opinion, our greatest aim is to seek the kingdom of heaven and God's righteousness. Our family is very convinced that it is vitally important for our children to be raised in our care, to be raised up in the Lord with love, protection, and oversight continually. This is our responsibility and we would not choose for someone else to do this for the majority of the day. Therefore I believe my wife being at home with the children is the Lord's will for us.

If someone is doing all they can to provide for their family in the way they believe God would desire for them to live, and they are still not able to fully provide, I think God has blessed us with different types of aid within our country to help supplement our income. To me there is no shame in a family who is living in righteousness and wisdom, but is having a hard time paying all the bills, to be enrolled in Medicaid or food accounts. Assistance was normal within Israel, and within the church, and now God has blessed us with such assistance within our government. Such assistance should not be taken for granted or abused though.

Some people would probably not agree with me on this, but I do believe the Bible teaches a mixture of capitalistic and socialistic principles.
 

Miss Marple

Puritan Board Junior
This is a really good question. I've thought about this as well. I think this is a good place to draw certain capitalistic and socialistic principles that are found in the Bible. In my opinion, our greatest aim is to seek the kingdom of heaven and God's righteousness. Our family is very convinced that it is vitally important for our children to be raised in our care, to be raised up in the Lord with love, protection, and oversight continually. This is our responsibility and we would not choose for someone else to do this for the majority of the day. Therefore I believe my wife being at home with the children is the Lord's will for us.

If someone is doing all they can to provide for their family in the way they believe God would desire for them to live, and they are still not able to fully provide, I think God has blessed us with different types of aid within our country to help supplement our income. To me there is no shame in a family who is living in righteousness and wisdom, but is having a hard time paying all the bills, to be enrolled in Medicaid or food accounts. Assistance was normal within Israel, and within the church, and now God has blessed us with such assistance within our government. Such assistance should not be taken for granted or abused though.

Some people would probably not agree with me on this, but I do believe the Bible teaches a mixture of capitalistic and socialistic principles.
I prefer to see deacons coming in if warranted. Better testimony. Yet if you live in a soft socialist country and qualify for this or that, I could not say it is wrong to take a benefit.
 

PaulCLawton

Puritan Board Freshman
How do you do it?

I am seeing a close friend of mine and her husband struggle financially, and it is breaking my heart for them.

They have two children and another on the way, and are struggling to stay afloat due to their desire to keep her home with the children and only living off one income.

I feel helpless in this situation as I do not have children or a partner, and find myself only saying “I’m so sorry, I will pray for you” when she is confiding in me and we are praying together over the situation. I want to give her advice and wisdom, but I am lost. I can’t understand why they would have another child, if they are struggling… but, it is not my decision nor my life.

To be honest, even being a single woman on my own- there are times when something will come up (car breaks down, something in my apartment breaks, etc) and it does make a dent in my bank account… I can’t even what it would be like adding children to the mix.

So, my question is… for those of you that have children- do you struggle financially and if you could pass on some advice for me to share with her - what would it be?

(Her husband is in school right now as well which is why he is only able to work so many hours during the week.)
I will mention for context that I have eight children, and their mother has not worked outside of the home since we have been married. The following has probably occurred to your friends already, but the fact that the mother stays home with her children (as she ought to do) does not neccesarily mean the family has to rely on a "single" income. In 15 years of marriage I have more often than not had 2-3 jobs at a time - 1 career role (such as it is) and 1-2 part-time jobs on the side. Depending on skill (I have little) and more importantly whether a man is willing to pick up work that some might think beneath them, there are often opportunities for the taking.
 

Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
How do you do it?
As a new father—my son is almost three months old, I ask myself this question constantly. My wife and I are wrestling with this at the moment. She has a great job and has a senior position. Our desire is for her to stay at home with our son, but student loans make that desire seem like a distant reality. The plus side is that she works exclusively from home, but it is not sustainable while taking care of a newborn. Oh, and we do not live near any family, which is also tough.

Prayers are appreciated as we wrestle through this matter. The above posts have been helpful and very timely.
 
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jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
If your friend's husband is in school, I'm going to guess they are looking forward to brighter days ahead. In the meantime, practical help may mean more than advice. Given the work and school schedule, your friend is likely pretty isolated. Offering to watch the kids as a respite or getting together for fellowship (like at a playground or drop by if that's the kind of relationship you have) could be much appreciated. You might also tell her: "I just made up a huge batch of cookies (lasagna, etc.) that I can't possibly eat on my own. Would you like me to drop off some for you?"
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
They have two children and another on the way, and are struggling to stay afloat
I'll be the contrarian here. If one is struggling financially with two children, the solution is NOT to go out and create more. We aren't papists.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
As challenging as living on one income while supporting a family can be, what can't be left out is the socio-psychological angle. Sacrificing a higher standard of living often comes with pressures from friends and family. Gracefully handling their advice, solicited or not, isn't easy.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
How do you do it?

I am seeing a close friend of mine and her husband struggle financially, and it is breaking my heart for them.

They have two children and another on the way, and are struggling to stay afloat due to their desire to keep her home with the children and only living off one income.

I feel helpless in this situation as I do not have children or a partner, and find myself only saying “I’m so sorry, I will pray for you” when she is confiding in me and we are praying together over the situation. I want to give her advice and wisdom, but I am lost. I can’t understand why they would have another child, if they are struggling… but, it is not my decision nor my life.

To be honest, even being a single woman on my own- there are times when something will come up (car breaks down, something in my apartment breaks, etc) and it does make a dent in my bank account… I can’t even what it would be like adding children to the mix.

So, my question is… for those of you that have children- do you struggle financially and if you could pass on some advice for me to share with her - what would it be?

(Her husband is in school right now as well which is why he is only able to work so many hours during the week.)
Anna, are they able to pay their bills and have food on the table? That’s one important factor in their story.
 

Smeagol

Puritan Board Senior
As challenging as living on one income while supporting a family can be, what can't be left out is the socio-psychological angle. Sacrificing a higher standard of living often comes with pressures from friends and family. Gracefully handling their advice, solicited or not, isn't easy.
I agree 100%. To further, for those of use who are able to homeschool, I think it is also good to be on guard against “we are better than the non-homeschool families” mindset that can be a temptation leading to sinful attitudes and resentment. Many choose to do private schools as well, that can be a great alternative many times. Sadly, single mothers often do not have as many options/flexibility and should often be one of the top priorities of care for their local church & Christian neighbors.
 
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Miss Marple

Puritan Board Junior
I agree 100%. To further, for those of use who are able to homeschool, I think it is also good to be on guard against “we are better than the non-homeschool families” mindset that can be a temptation leading to sinful attitudes and resentment. Many choose to do private schools as well, that can be a great alternative many times. Sadly, single mothers often do not have as many options/flexibility and should often be one of the top priorities of care for their local church & Christian neighbors.
I would love to see the church, in its diaconal role, step in and help these covenant children with Christian education assistance.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Care for covenant children is not, I think, a "burden."
If a family can't support their children, the luxury of a private school education isn't the issue. And telling the church to pony up private school tuition for those that want one may not be good stewardship. Maybe help the family find jobs in a lower cost of living area with better schools.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
I have a question I have often wondered about. If a family, like the one mentioned in the OP, finds themselves in a situation where it is years of reliance “government financial aid” vs. “the mother deciding to get a paying job and kids go to public school” what is the right answer?

Being on government aid while being free to homeschool children without the mother having to work is the lesser of two goods. It would be better if they could do it all without government assistance, but that is not always realistic nor possible. I would basically concur with Ryan's point above that both nature and the Bible allow for a mixture of capitalism with a small "c" and socialism with a small "s" (not the beasts of Woke Capitalism and Communistic Socialism).
 

Morgan

Puritan Board Freshman
My wife and I only had one child, we were unable to have more. Both my wife and I were redeemed when my daughter was about 11 and shortly after that decided to home school her. We had one vehicle for a long time, never took vacations and lived simply yet were still able to pay off our house in our 40's and live without debt. The main thing is not to look at others and use them as the example of what we "need". I grew up very poor as did my wife so we knew what it was like to do without.

I know a family with 9 children with the father working as a school teacher (i.e. limited income). He does extra work to bring in more money but they moved to an area where it was less expensive, raised chickens for a food source, had a garden, drove old vehicles, made their own clothes etc. You live as frugal as possible.

I would also say to not have children you can neither support financially or raise properly. If the father has to work 2-3 jobs, when does he have time to lead his family in worship, train them up, teach them scripture etc.? You cannot rely on the church to do all of that for you. A father needs to also be there to lead his family.
 
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