good life by vanessa laurnoff
Part of cultivating a good life is not letting society or other people’s beliefs determine the right path for you and your family.
I tend to go with the grain instead of against the grain. I have gradually been shown during my adult life that it’s ok to take the path that’s not necessarily the popular choice or one that maybe people think is the wrong path for you.
After graduating from college and dating my would be husband for a bit, we got married. Then we shifted our focus to buying our house because that’s what you do after you get married and before you have kids, right? At least that was what our friends were doing and what seemed acceptable to society. Next, we had our babies. We wanted them planned — two years apart — and I was not going to be a stay-at-home mom because I worked so hard for my degree and that’s just not feasible for one parent to stay home anymore. Right?!?
Wrong!! After my kids were born, I began to see things in a new light and realize that I didn’t want to live like “everyone else.” I wanted to do what was right in our family. I went back to work for three months after our oldest was born and hated every single minute of being away from her. I know it was probably more traumatic for me than it was for her; however, I hated it. I couldn’t even talk about her for the first few days at work without tearing up. I loved my job, but I loved my baby more, so my husband and I made our first big decision to go against what we “thought” we were supposed to do. I quit my full-time job to be a stay-at-home mom. It was scary. We were losing an income and all of my friends who were becoming mothers at the same time continued to work either out of necessity or because they chose to. For me, it also felt amazing to be able to be home with our daughter all of the time and to finally make a decision that was made for just our family and what was best for the three (eventually five) of us.
The amount of decisions we make daily is enough to overwhelm you — it does me! But knowing I’m trying to do the best I can with what I’m given for MY FAMILY only brings me peace. Many of my decisions now revolve around the kids, as that’s the stage of life we are in currently, but there are so many choices these days with how you raise your kids. There is also so much judgment.
Many families are preparing to send their kids to multiple summer camps and activities — that are most certainly not cheap — because they want more structure to their days and want them to learn. My children will not be attending summer camps for two reasons. I want to spend the summers with them, making memories and, honestly, with only one parent working full time, we just can’t justify the expense. And that’s ok. It’s ok to not follow the crowd or do what you “think” should be done. Instead, do what your heart tells you is the right decision for you and your family.
I have made some decisions in my life where I really wish I would have gone against the grain. Instead it ended up not being a great decision for me or my family, but I’m quickly learning how much better my life is when I make decisions based on our needs and what we desire instead of what society’s beliefs are.
Just a disclaimer. I’m not looking to start a debate on summer camps or working vs. stay-at-home moms. These were just some recent examples of going against what seems to be the norm for families in our area. What we do as a family is obviously and should be different from the way each family operates and the decisions you make based on your values and beliefs.
Vanessa is a part of our 2015 Creative Team. She and her husband Rob currently live in Maryland with their three children, Savannah, Camden, and Sawyer.
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