Today I had a really tough day.
We are still feeling the daily consequences from both my husband and I being raised in Fundamentalist homes. We both ended up for a short time in an unaccredited “college”, and neither of us have had the support or funds to finish college at an accredited institution. We married very young, barley in our 20s. We have struggled for many years with finances, jobs, and the lack of education combined with a growing family.
Here it is, plain and simple: We were lied to as children and teenagers.
We were told that doing the “right” thing would result in a prosperous life. We were told that marrying young and having children was what was expected. God would provide for all our needs, because we were Christian and because we were good people. Staying out of trouble, out of drugs, away from alcohol and crime would show God that we were people worth being blessed.
Guess what? All those things were lies. We should have been told that making good choices is what is best for us as people but does not guarantee anything for the future. It does not guarantee any easier of a life or any protection from struggles and heartache. We should have been given a well rounded education and encouraged to seek higher education, if that is what we wanted to do. We never, ever should have been directed to waste our time at an unaccredited college. Somebody should have talked to us about the realities of marrying young, starting a family at a younger age, as well as growing a family too large and too fast for our resources. I love my husband, but I will admit that part of why I got married so young was to get away from my abusive step father. I was under the delusion that married women have more freedom. It’s okay to laugh now readers.
I fully realize that as an adult, I made the choice to believe these lies. I made the choice to trust that my husband would be able to provide for our family on a single income and with very little skills or higher education. I trusted that doing the right things would result in a better or easier or more prosperous life. I believed that God would bless us because we were good people. I know that I have accountability in my decisions. I made the choice to get married young, have a large family, and leave my education uncompleted.
I also believe that both my husband and I were misguided by our parents and other leaders. They should not have told these type of things to impressionable young people when the real world does not work this way.
Now we are finding out for ourselves what the real world is like. We are a two income home. My husband actually works as many as three jobs at time. He is so hard working but in many job fields, training and education matter, a lot. We don’t have the funds or time to do this type of thing, and he has not been able to advance as he would like. We continue to stay away from partying, because we believe that is the best choice for us. No one told us that many job atmospheres include a “good ol’ boys club” and that my husband would basically be unofficially penalized for having higher standards in his off time. He isn’t at the bars and the parties to network and butter up to the boss so he gets overlooked for many promotions. I am currently working my way through college courses. It’s exhausting to continue classes while having a full time job and four small children. Another reality of life is that I could get much of my college paid for if I divorced my husband, quit my job and got on state assistance. Married women with any income get very little help in the way of scholarships or financial aid. Again, it seems that doing the “right” thing will actually make your life harder, not easier.
Yesterday and today, life just overwhelmed me, and I sobbed with exhaustion. I am desperately trying to change things for our future. I want to raise my kids in a different way. Some days are just too hard to bear when we are still paying the price for being raised in a way that did not prepare us for adulthood. I hate having to learn everything the hard way. I hate having to find out what to do only by trial and error. I still miss the guiding hand of a mother and father who are wise and ready to help. I wish my in laws were accepting of others that while still Christian, have different views than they do. Even a kind word or some emotional support would be wonderful right about now.
I am just tired. I am way too young to be this tired.
The only thing I know to do is to learn and grow and hope that I can do for my children what my parents did not do for me.
I am really tired though.