I've seen first hand how life can change at a moments notice. When my wife and I decided to have children, I was going to be the bread winner and she would maintain a part time job within her field of study, in order to keep up her hard earned certifications. That way, later on we would be able to help pay for our kids education. Then, 9-17-04 hurricane Ivan hit us. In one night, our house and my job, along with our well thought out future economic plan, were gone.
I'm amazed at the fact that I still can not find a comparable paying job within my field of study or experience without relocating. Well, due to the added debt of making a second home from the first, it just isn't possible. We are now paying 2 1/2 times for a house that is only worth 2/3 what we purchased it for 10 years ago.
So, I was forced to face the challenge of roll reversal, swallowing my pride and being the MAN of the house to get the job done, no matter what it meant. I'm now the one with the part time job and she is the main bread winner. PRIOR PROPER PLANNING PREVENTS PIS POOR PERFORMANCE? Well, it didn't work, even with insurance coverage.
But, on the upside, I've seen a greater mental development and physical coordination with my children because of my being home more often to interact with them. Men think and react differently than women with issues and it has taught me to stop and think out my response to situations, regarding the daily situations with my kids. That is not to say that my wife couldn't have done an equally or better job, it is just different when dad is the one doing most of the upbringing.
So, even though I'm home more, dad is still the head of the household and what dad says is law! Mom still is the extremely sensitive caregiver God had intended, she just has to bring home the bacon for dad to cook. I've gotten very well versed in multi-tasking. I now have an all new respect for the primary caregiver of the family. Heck, I have to go to work for a lighter, more easier work load. Now I know what my dad meant by him saying he has to go to work for a vacation after watching all of us kids during the weekend.
Overall, I wouldn't change a thing, other than the eliminating the debt, then my wife could stay home more too. She resents the fact that our situation makes it necessary for her to work as much as she does, but the only other alternative is for me is to relocate, not to be at home at all, and for her to stay home all of the time, while I earn the money both of us bring home plus some. Is it worth it? I don't think so! The kids are the ones benefiting from our being there together.
So, I maintain hope and have faith that it will all get better. Can you really put a price tag on the time parents spend with their children? The best upbringing you can give a child is that their loving parents are working together as one family unit, as God had designed. No amount of money can buy that or buy that time lost back. Even if their isn't any money, the kids are taking it all in with how you react and deal with the situation that life has set at hand. All the while, the kids are storing the precious moments of the time they spend with their parents to hold on to and share with their kids, all of their lives.
So make it the time spent with your kids the best time they ever had, and it doesn't take any money to do it.