Every family sacrifices. Some more so than others. But the fact remains that in some way sacrifices are made. Though in our family, and I hope in yours too, the sacrifices we make don’t feel like sacrifices for the simple reason that the things we give up aren’t important to us.
In a previous post I mentioned that if I cleaned my house, my children would be neglected. I’m willing to have the messy (not dirty, just messy) house in order to have time for all the other things. For me, in order to have a clean house I’d need to give up something else. Time sitting with Ryan, reading, soaking in the tub, sewing, baking, surfing the net, writing posts, or any other number of things that I do regularly. I’ve given it up, and I’m okay with that. I wouldn’t be okay if I had to give up something else in order to have the clean house.
I don’t necessarily believe that parents with clean homes don’t spend time with their children, but I do believe they give something else up. For one person I know she spends huge chunks of time with her child – more so than I spend with mine (but I’ll talk about that some other time) – however she rarely makes her own meals. It would be a lot easier for me to keep up with the rest of the house if I didn’t spend so much time in the kitchen. Just ask Ryan, when I cook, I make a mess. I use every available counter space, and every pot or pan we own (and that’s just for scrambled eggs :p). That’s not far from the truth.
The sacrifices people make might not be in relation to the cleanliness of their home, or time spent with children, but something else. Maybe someone who used to read for pleasure no longer does, but has time with the family and a clean home. Maybe there’s something else.
It doesn’t matter what a family chooses to give up. After all, like snowflakes, no two people are alike and therefore no two families are alike. What does matter is that the decision was easy to make and your particular family doesn’t feel like it’s missing out.
Of course I’m not talking about sacrifices that are beyond our control due to life or financial situation. A family with a new baby sacrifices sleep, a family without a large sum of disposable income will sacrifice the live-in housekeeper and chef. There are certain things we can’t change, but others we can.
When our first baby was born we were told, “You won’t be traveling anymore.” Before her first birthday she’d been to three different countries (including home). When our second baby was born, we were told, “You really won’t be traveling now.” She took her first steps in England. Strangely enough no one’s told us we won’t be traveling now that baby number three has arrived. We like to travel and as such we do give up other things in order to do that. Others may not travel as much as we do, but use their money and vacations in different ways.
Life is full of sacrifices, decisions made, determining what is most important to us as individuals and families. We don’t miss having ATVs or a boat, or a pool, or three TVs or cable or a dozen other things, because other things are more important to us.
I believe that in day to day life the sacrifices should be so subtle as to be barely noticed. If you find yourself constantly wishing you had time for X,Y, or Z, maybe look at what you do spend time doing and see if your time has been spent on things that shouldn’t be placed so high on the priority list.
Some people might think we’ve got our priorities wrong, but that’s okay, they’re our priorities for a reason. Do you realize what you give up day after day? Are you even aware that a sacrifice has been made, or was it so natural that you can say “I don’t give anything up”?