Things were good, I was home; the house was running relatively smoothly; the kids were happy. Relatively smoothly, is such an odd term, really it means some days are better than others and the important things get done.
Then MrTB4M gets word that the company may be eliminating jobs within his department. UGH! A family of 10 and the possibility of no income. As luck would have it, my old boss (as in former, not aged) contacted my husband to see if I was by chance ready to come back to work after a 3 year hiatus. Maybe even a little divine intervention came into play. A series of phone calls, an updated resume, an email or two, a background check and I had a job.
Then, about two weeks before my start date, MrTB4M finds out he was not without a job. So many conversations were had – along the lines of “what are we doing?” “How will this work?” “Do we really need this?”
Well, I can’t very well quit before I set foot in the building! AND there will be a college tuition coming soon. So, April 11, 2016 I returned to work.
MrTB4M was thrilled, I was hesitant, and the kids were down right unhappy with the idea. It seems that they had gotten used to PBJ sandwiches and free outings to the park or museums; in their minds the extra income was not such a big deal.
We SHOULD have listened to the KIDS. (But, don’t tell them that.) We arranged babysitting, hired a nanny made plan after plan. The first few months went well. Then, the nanny quit. She reportedly didn’t know it was a long term commitment?
A few tears, a few screams, and MANY prayers – in a two week period I have enrolled 4 kids in school; taken their transcripts and book lists; bought uniforms and supplies; and essentially felt like I was letting my kids down. I tried to be “excited” so that the kids could be as well. When they came home frustrated, we were prepared to tell them to give it time; assure them it would work out; and pray that some of that was true.
That worked for a while. J4 has the hardest time; girls are simply MEAN. She didn’t wear short enough skirts, she didn’t have name brand shoes, she didn’t wear makeup, and she wasn’t “cool enough”. Of course at age 11 she did not understand that cool enough really means that you are comfortable without sweating and still not in need of a jacket. But, we were getting through it. Then, I went to teacher conference. I was not prepared at all.
Teacher #1 “I am impressed how well J5 has done, she is actually able to get along with the kids in the class.” Me – “Oh, I am sorry I forgot to tell you we didn’t live in a CAVE.” Teacher #2 “Everything is fine except J4 doesn’t seem to fit in and she reads well above level so I don’t know what to do.” Me – “Really? I thought we were paying tuition for you to teach her, not tell me that she is too smart for you to teach. I mean after all she is just a homeschool student.” Teacher #3 “where are you sending J3 to high school?” Me – “considering homeschool.” Teacher #3 “Why on earth would you do that? He will never get into college that way.” Me – “Really? Could you explain how we have 3 college acceptance letters at home right now for J1? See, he was homeschooled too and he did get into college.”
I went home defeated. MrTB4M could do nothing but shake his head. Our older boys were in disbelief. That was a turning point. I was beyond offended, I was nearing the point of disgust. To think that in 2016 people still considered homeschooled children to be backwards and introverted and socially inept. All the while, it wasn’t my kid that refused to make room for new people at the lunch table, or laughed because someone made “different” drawings. No, those “special” traits were reserved for the perfectly “normal” traditionally schooled students.
Luckily, we got occupied with high school graduation and managed to finish out the school year. In the mean time we took the kids places, bought the kids things, and really never found that happiness we had.
College started for J1 and the kids were back in school. Only this time we were determined it was the last year. NO MATTER WHAT, we were going to figure out how to bring the kids back home. We needed the time with them; they needed the time with us and with each other; they didn’t need to be bullied or ridiculed because of having “extra” siblings.
The more we thought about it, the more we knew it wasn’t just the kids that needed more. It was all of us. Thus we began our search for time over money. We committed to living on one salary so that we can eventually both retire early. Week by week and paycheck by paycheck we mark things off the list (college accounts/home repair/new vehicle/ vacations).
MrTB4M started his own business. 8Js Driver Training. He likes it, and is busy. Most weeks he is limited by his “real” job. So our latest plan on the journey is that in less than 40 weeks he will be home, using the driving business to supplement the income and help with college; I will continue to work at the office 4 days per week temporarily. You see, once he is home our next stretch will be for me to join him.
Oh, and this year we sent J1 back to college for year 2; J2 off for year 1; and everyone else is being homeschooled. Back to night/weekend school and help from dad since he works at home. Best of all, the kids are happy. When they smile, their eyes light up; they laugh; they help each other out (most of the time); and we can see the difference in our family.