August 24, 2011

Kitchen Evolution-The American Dream

I was going to post another chapter to our love story, but instead I wanted to go a different direction today.

Terence and I were married really young.  We were barely 20.  I mean we couldn't even rent a hotel room alone or drink an alcoholic beverage when we got married! ha!  We've been through some tough times over the years and things have not always been easy. 

I know a lot of people who don't own a home and still live in a one bedroom apartment.  And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that at all.  Our generation is so eager to live the American dream.  What is the American Dream?  Is it worth putting yourself under so much financial stress you don't have the ability to do anything else in life? 

Terence and I have always been goal setters.  We set goals and do the best we can to reach them.  In our early years of marriage we had friends who had really nice homes and I was jealous.  I wanted that too....I wanted the American dream.  It seemed like some had it handed to them with a silver spoon.  Life is not always going to be fair, but if you set reasonable goals then you can attain the things your heart desires. 

It's hard for me to read blogs sometimes because I still have that jealousy.  I don't know why???  I have a wonderful life and I'm proud of our accomplishments.  But it's still there. 

When I desired a child I was jealous of all the Mom bloggers out there.  Now that I am a Mom I am jealous of all the stay at home Moms who spend their days getting pedis, having play dates, staying in their jammies all day, and meal planning.  (Yes, I know that's not all you do!) But some blogs out there portray that lifestyle.  I don't have time for these things & I constantly feel like I'm missing out on moments with my son.  (cue Mom guilt here) 

I think dang...wonder what their husbands do for a living because they can afford to stay at home in their fancy house and carry a Louis Vuitton purse???  Must be nice. Sigh. 

I'm just trying to be real here.  That is what I feel...and I am not ashamed of what I have, I just feel so much competitiveness...not only in my life, but in the blog world too.  I'm tired of it effecting me or make me feel  less sufficient as a wife, mom, or woman. 

If you feel like you don't have it all right now it's okay.  You can get there with goals and hard work & I keep reminding myself that! 

I thought I would share how Terence and I started out 10 years ago.....

This is our very first kitchen.  We lived in a duplex on the Air Force Base.  I remember thinking this is so OLD.  How am I going to live here?  It was definitely a kitchen from the 70's and it had been well lived in from prior tenants.  I was not thrilled about moving into this house at first.....

But you know what?  I made that kitchen my own and it was great for 5 years and served us well :-)
Then we moved into a tiny one bedroom apartment in Arkansas after Terence got out of the service.  I then thought "A one bedroom" ???  How are we going to live here??? 

Again, we made it work and it was a wonderful home for about two years while Terence finished school and I worked 2 jobs.  Truth be told we were so busy we just slept there anyway! 

Fast forward to 2007

We moved to Texas and lived with my in-laws for what was supposed to be a few months....and actually turned into two years!  It saved us a ton of money because he was in an accelerated MBA program where he couldn't work for a year.  We are forever grateful for that time they let us live with them.

When Terence graduated and got a job we moved into another 1 bdrm apartment, again not my ideal home....I thought at this point in life we would already have a home, but it was a step up from previous residences!  It was the nicest kitchen I'd had so far and I was beyond excited about having an extra pantry cabinet in particular  :-)

July 2009 - SURPRISE!  We have a baby on the way!!!  We looked at bigger apartments, but ultimately started looking at homes closer to where Terence's family lives & my job is.  Terence would always be happy living in an apartment and it really is a much more economical decision...but I finally convinced him to start looking at homes!  I was so excited!  We had never owned a home before and after several searches we found our house.....
This is not my dream kitchen, but it is my DREAM kitchen for now & I am beyond thrilled we have it!
It's better than anything we've had before....and I feel like after all our hard work we have a home of our own and a place to raise our son.  God is good.  Life is good.  Goals are good.

I wanted to show you that not everyone starts out like you think they do...if you work hard and keep at it then you can fulfill your dreams.  Life may throw you a few curve balls & someone else will always have something better than you....but the point is you are happy and content with what you have.  As Americans we have way more than most people in the world do ya know!

The kitchen pictures are just a metaphor...as the years go by and life moves forward things can get better!  Not everything is how you "think" it is on a computer screen...and you don't know the background of someone else's life.  All you know is what they choose to show you.  So don't be so quick to judge.  Trust me...their life is not perfect either!

Find happiness in your situation and others will see that shining within you! 

(I hope you don't all think I am crazy...this is something that has been on my mind for a bit & my thoughts come out jumbled sometimes...but thanks for listening to my rambles)

xoxo Becky

28 comments:

Kim H. said...

I think this is a great post! I completely agree - and we were WAY older by the time we bought a house of our own - I think I was almost 30. Still a great time, but we were a little wiser about our decisions and ultimately - I think that worked out for the best.

I completely understand you feeling a bit jealous - honestly - I think it goes both ways at different times. Some days - I'm so grateful to be home with the boys... others - I wish I could go work for a bit and get some adult interaction. The grass is always greener, right?

I firmly believe that you can work toward the goal of being home... and PRAY PRAY PRAY that God will provide you the way to do it. I don't know what your financial situation is - but maybe a Dave Ramsey plan could help you get there? Or maybe T will get one of those new jobs... who knows, but it can happen. Just keep setting goals and praying. If there is anything I can do to help - just let me know. <3 you!

Niki said...

This is a fantastic post and just what I needed today! Love you!

MrsV said...

I love this post! And I am on the flip side of this coin. I stay at home b/c putting 3 kids in daycare is insane. I often get jealous of other 2 income families who have bigger houses, go on fancy trips, and spend to their little hearts content. We keep 5 people + a dog alive on 1 income. We sacrifice so much, but it is our choice to do so. Also, some peoples lives are not always as grand as they seem on paper (or blog). You have a beautiful baby boy, and so much to cherish! Enjoy every single moment! Don't let what you don't have over shadow what you already have.

Jamie @ The Yellow Brick Road

Anonymous said...

I think this is wonderful!!! I too work outside the home and think, if I just didn't have the stress of work, full time mommy to 3 kids, wife, cleaning etc etc, and then stay at home moms say " its the hardest job ever" I'm like do what, I do my coporate job all day and then come home to be a full time mom at night, try to do both!!!! Soo I get what you are saying, I say the same exact things, they only show you what they want. Notice every pic is picture perfect, clean house, cute clothes, etc etc. Your desicions you have made to stay working will and mine too will benefit us in the future too, we can retire and still live happily with $$$, while others will just live off 1 income. I commend you for this post!!!

Trina said...

Great post my friend! I love this:
"but the point is you are happy and content with what you have. As Americans we have way more than most people in the world do ya know!"

So true! We don't have the fanciest house or the best furniture and there are days I want to scrap everything and get new things. BUT that isn't very smart and I kinda like having some emergency money in the bank. I sleep better at night knowing that and that beats new furniture anyday! :D

Aly said...

Gosh, I couldn't agree more with this post. I look at you and think you you are so lucky to have a man who loves you, an adorable son and a beautiful home! It's so hard to read blogs and not get jealous of other people. I have to try to remind myself that not everyone shares the tough times they are going through- so their life always looks perfect. Great post!

Kodi said...

Becky-

I totally understand where you're coming from. I'm a SAHM, but for us it's probably only temporary while we wait to move. Once we move I might have to work. I also find myself feeling jealous and comparing myself to others. Blogging can be great in so many ways, but it definitely causes me to have some envy too. Even though I stay home, I have guilt because of the sacrifices we make. I can't afford to do a lot of fun stuff with my boys so a lot of days we just stay home. I think no matter where you are it's easy to be jealous. Lately I've been really thankful Nate & I only bought a small, modest home because we are faced with the reality that we might have to leave before we sell it. It's a lot more bearable to think about a $600 house pmt than a $1500 house pmt on a house we aren't living in. Anyway- not sure if this all makes sense- but just know it's not all sunshine and rainbows as a SAHM and the bloggers who portray that it is are either liars or very fortunate.

Kristin said...

I loved this post!! I get so annoyed at myself when I think I "need" more! I have my family, a roof over my head, food on the table, and our health.

Thanks so much for the reminder!

Lauren said...

Oh, I so love this!!! I think everyone needs to read this!!!! Love you, friend!!! :)

Alex and Jill said...

Alex and I married at 19 and were so excited to move into our brand new single-wide mobile home. :) I remember the longer we were there - the harder it became to be content...because I allowed myself to look at what others around me had and wanted it too. Such a joy-stealer that the enemy uses to take us down. Several times in blogging, I've had to stop and take a step back...re-evaluate why I'm blogging in the first place. For me, it's to record memories for my family. To record lessons that the Father has taught me over the years. So when it stops being about that, that's when I stop and re-evaluate. I blog for me and my family which is why I don't put the pressure on myself to blog every day. I blog every week or so. I can't imagine feeling the pressure to come up with a topic to blog every single day. I think it would cause me to keep a busy schedule of playdates, lunch dates, etc...so I would have something to blog about. HA! I have no desire for that. I do have a desire for Amelia and baby #2 to grow up with an appreciation for a more simple life...not about the brand of clothes they wear and all the other stuff. Similar to the life my parents gave me. I think it will be hard but I'm willing to fight this world and all it says is important to give it to them. :)

I think I could type all day! I'll hush now. This was a great post - gives a wonderful reminder to find contentment wherever we find ourselves. Thank you for sharing your heart. You are blessed, friend.

((HUGS))

KM said...

First off, Great Post!

I too get jealous of other people. It is not something I am comfortable with about myself. Even though I stay at home, I don’t get to do anything but stay at home and go to free play dates. My clothes are from Target or Wal*Mart and they are usually exercise clothes, since that is all I wear. I have heard some mom’s say that they dress to the 9 all the time even if they stay at home. When I heard this, no lie, I looked really hard at myself in the mirror and thought, “who am I kidding, I am not good enough to stay at home.” Really? ???

Just like you, I often wonder how these women can afford the stuff they have. My husband and I live within our means. If we want something then we save for that item and really think hard about the money we will spend on that item. The toys we get C come from consignment stores or my mom buys them. I am thinking about getting C a 3 in 1 tricycle for Christmas. I am beyond confused how they can range in price and how all the mom’s I see have the higher end tricycle. I am embarrassed that I will not be able to get C the high end but he can get the middle end one. Just today, the hubs surprised me with a gift and he said it was for all my hard work. Made me happy and realize as a stay at home mom you don’t get rewarded, noticed, mentioned, raises, office lunch dates, running errands on your lunch break, or just to breath in silence. We just have to trust that if we work outside of the house or stay at home that we are all in this together as mom’s to help each other when one falls down or needs someone to listen.

I will admit that I get burned out on Twitter and blogs pretty much all the time. I find myself rolling my eyes at some of the things I see and read. I often wonder what people did before social media to brag about their self, lol. Ok, now I am rambling, haha!

Great Post Becky, and please know that you are a great person and I have always looked up to you on Twitter and your blog! You are one that I truly admire =)

~KM

Anonymous said...

I think this post and your honesty is awesome! I feel bad for the ladies out there trying to one up each other and show off their houses, cars, well dressed children, ect. -- life is SO MUCH more than that! People should be spending time investing in their children lives and other family members and gloryfying God in the midsts of it all, not trying to show off to people on the internent, that is insane. Enjoy the blessing God has given you and bless others with them! Anyways your kitchen is beautiful but what is even more beautfiul is your attitude of gratefulness even when you didn't have your dream kicthen. Thanks for being real, it's very refreshing!

Jessica Renee said...

I LOVE this post, Becky and I'm so glad you wrote it! I often feel that way too, especially in the blog world. I always feel like I"m just "so behind" everyone else. But I'm thankful for your post, it reminds me that good things DO happen in their own time. I know we're working towards a certain goal and while it might be taking longer than I expected, I know it'll get here! Thanks for the good reminder, friend :)

Leslie said...

Right there with you, girl! I do stay at home, but that is only because I would have been spending 80% of my measly salary on childcare, and we're going to pay for it with a bit more student loan debt later. So I am definitely like the other mom up there who mentioned that she only does what is free...no pedis here! :)

What I really relate to is the comparison part. When J decided to go back to school, I really struggled with feeling like we were moving backward compared to all our friends. While they were all moving into their second, bigger homes, we were moving into the a cinder block apartment in the women's residence hall I directed in order to pay for J's school! We have a cute little rental house now, but it is still hard not to compare.

For the past 4 years I've been thinking, "Just wait til J is done...then we'll move into our big pretty house!" Well I didn't realize what student loan debt will do to our budget, so when he graduates in May and we look for a house we will once again be looking for something very affordable and we will still be on a tight budget.

The thing that gets me through is the motto "Stuff doesn't love you back." At the end of the day, the things of this world are fleeting. My faith and family are most important, and the benefits of those investments are eternal!

Tonya said...

This was great Becky! I am a stay at home mom and STILL try to keep myself from thinking THOSE thoughts about other stay at home mom's. You know, the ones who seem to have it all. The nice house in the country club, the designer purses, expensive cars. BUT you know, those are all just THINGS. And I think we are perfectly normal for having a little bit of jealousy. But that's when I try to snap out of it. I have really been trying to focus on being happy with what God has given me. I am trying to be more content. "The best things in life are not things." So true! God has blessed us with great men and great baby boys. Thank you for this post.

Goals are important. It seems like I need motivation to go with those goals. Ha!

{K} said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
{K} said...

Great, great post! So true that we don't know where other people have started from or how long it took them to get what they have.

So true about all the competitive-ness among moms (in real life and in bloggy world) too. It's ridiculous!

Love the sentence about Americans having more than most around the world. I try hard to remember to be grateful for what I have!!

Also, not all SAHM's have LV purses or live in fancy houses!! Some of us have to budget like crazy to be able to stay at home. :)

Sarah said...

I love this post! I get so caught up in reading other gals' blogs who, in my mind, HAVE IT ALL. Then I start the bad habit of the "why can't I have that" mentality, which is SO not healthy!

I have to remind myself that we don't know what really goes on in other people's lives, and what may appear to be perfect could really be a big ol' mess.

Learning to be content with who I am and what I have...

Megan said...

What a wonderful post! I too struggle with feeling like I have to keep up with the jones :) Sometimes I unfollow certain blogs who just seem to be too perfect. My life is what it is and yes I'm 30 and still in college, I just try to live my life the way I should and not worry about everyone else {somedays is harder than others!}

Katie said...

Such a great post, Becky. I loved seeing the pictures of your past kitchens & the way you used them as a metaphor was so great! It is hard to not let discontentment sneak into our lives - Satan loves to think he can steal our joy. Being intentional about counting my blessings is something thats helps me from getting down & your post is a great example of that! Loved it, lady! Thanks so much for sharing!

Nicole said...

Great post! I think a lot of people feel this way...I know I do. It's hard to see "the best" of blogging all the time. Most people don't blog about the downs in life...just usually the ups. You have a beautiful home! I am sure you are very proud of it. You should be and yes goals are good :)

The Gava Family said...

Thank you for sharing. I feel the same way you do and I am sure a lot of others do too... where just not as brave to share our feelings.

Classy Fab Sarah said...

I so love this post!! I've actually been talking about this with my new man... since he's actually still in school but we're thinking about (gulp!) marriage in the not-sooo-distant future, it all seems relevant now. Oh life, why you gotta be so complicated? Stupid jealousy.

Leah said...

Such an amazing post Becky! Love your honesty and it's true, goals, God and faith will take you places!

Laura @ My Thoughts-Uninterrupted said...

I love this post. I think we all feel this jealousy from time to time and that we all are guilty of making things seem better than they really are as well. It's complicated. I've definitely been jealous of other bloggers lives, but like you have pointed out...we all take different paths and need to focus on our own goals.

Shoshanah said...

I love this post, and definitely think you're crazy for posting it. I think anyone who says they're not jealous would be lying, and completely understand where you're coming from!

Kelli said...

Thank you for writing this post. I am dealing with this after our move back "home" and we're trying to start over fresh. I started a new blog and I'm going to try to tell our story about life after college and adapting to life where we are now. Blogging isn't always easy like it should be.

I know I don't comment very much, but I have kept up with your blog throughout my entire blog absence and I think you are a great mom. Keep up the good work! :)

Beth said...

I love this post! So true and you are brave enough to be honest and transparent... many are not.Perspective is a great thing.I totally relate to this post. P.S- your son just gets more & more handsome. I am 36, my son is 16 & he is the best!! Moms & sons have a special bond I think. I have always worked (for the most part). It goes sooo fast. Take care Becky, God always has a plan.

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