BEFORE: I used to buy gymboree, carters, gap and old navy. New, in the box, never opened.
TODAY: I buy resale, thrift store and garage sale clothing. The kids sport hand me downs. I don't think they look much different though, since I have scored some great finds and brand names on the bargain shopping trips. And we have been blessed with some great hand me downs too!
BEFORE: We would go out together as a family and people would smile and comment about our beautiful family, or our well behaved children.
TODAY: We go out and people say "Are all these kids yours? You sure have your hands full!"
Or they just stare.
BEFORE: We would enjoy going on fun outings like the movie theater or the science museum.
TODAY: We stay around home a lot more or split up the family. It's just a lot of chaos and work to chase around the young ones and some of us have very short attention spans.
BEFORE: I would go get my hair cut and colored at a professional salon every six weeks or so.
TODAY: It's been over a year since I colored my hair and six months since my last hair cut (which is a long time for someone with a short style!) I also cut J's hair and the kids. I recently botched C's haircut and she was treated to a salon cut, so much better!
BEFORE: We would all go to church and everyone was well behaved and quiet.
TODAY: I miss most of worship having to sit in the hallway with a loud, wiggly, or disobedient child.
BEFORE: I did not like confrontation.
TODAY: I have learned to speak up for myself and my children. Their rights are important to me, no matter what.
BEFORE: The house was somewhat peaceful and calm, most of the time.
TODAY: There is never a dull moment and it's only quiet on a rare occasion.
BEFORE: The kids had more room in the mini-van.
TODAY: The van is full, and if a family trip to Costco, Walmart or hardware store is planned, we have to consider every purchase, just to be sure it can make it home!
BEFORE: I would let little things annoy me.
TODAY: I let the little things go. I try to think "Is this really worth the effort to make a deal over this?" Sometimes they still annoy me. I pray more. I bite my tongue. I count to ten A LOT.
BEFORE: I had a social life.
TODAY: We rarely get invited to dinner. Our first dinner invitation in many months resulted in:
one broken window curtain rod, a spilled root beer, and a p*op accident on the bedroom carpet. We will see if we get invited over again!
BEFORE: I knew nothing of how the special education system worked. I didn't know how to care for many special needs.
TODAY: I know a lot, and am learning more everyday.
BEFORE: We could go grocery shopping and spend $100 on four days of groceries.
TODAY: We go grocery shopping and spend just under $200 on four days of groceries.
BEFORE: It bothered me to have people stare or make comments, especially regarding my sons' ethnicity.
TODAY: I find humor in little things. During our dinner out, S. was referred to by our friend's son as "that black kid who p*oped in my bedroom".
I found it endearing!
BEFORE: Our house was clean, with no stains on the carpet or couch, and it smelled nice. I had time to cook and bake. We had time to play more, read more, and work on projects.
TODAY: Our house is not clean, there are stains on the carpet and couch, and it smells a bit off. (with a scented candle burning to mask the odor!) I don't bake, and the meals I cook are simpler. I don't find as much time to play, read and work on projects, although I have a lot of desire and ambition to do so.
BEFORE: I had a self centered, "it's all about me" lifestyle and mindset.
TODAY: I rarely have time to even think about myself. I live for others, God and my family. And I am happier because of it.