There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year’s course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.

I am going through a truly conflicting time in my life right now. Because the economy has slowed down so much, we have had to learn to live on less of a paycheck while prices for everything continue to reach all-time highs. Feeding our family has become a conflict in relation to paying off debt. Every penny seems to count lately, and our debts and savings are taking a back seat. There are three solutions that I can see, but none of them are ideal.

The first: I could get a job outside of the home. This would mean that our children would go into daycare with a total stranger, which we would pay at least $7 an hour for. I would most likely have to commute, which means more to pay in terms of gas money and car maintenance. Even if I found a “good” job that paid $10 an hour, we would probably lose money in the long run. And I would lose my motherhood: the one thing in my life that I am truly proud of, the one thing that I feel successful at.

The second: My husband could get a second job. This would mean that he would be working nights and weekends, and neither I nor the kids would ever get to see him. I know for a fact that our marriage would suffer, and that I would feel horribly guilty that my kids were missing out on playing with him and learning from him.

The third: We could just suffer through this and hope that it passes. I think we are relatively happy when we aren’t concerned about financial issues. Yes, we won’t be able to pay off our debts and save up for land and a house this way, but we will stay strong as a family. I know we’ll pull through.

As you can probably tell, I’m all for the third option. I realize it will take just that much longer to accomplish our goals, but I’d much rather put that off than endanger my marriage, children, and self-worth. It’s frustrating, yes, having to wait even longer. I can live with a little waiting though. After all, I’ve waited this long.