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div class=”MsoNormal”When I found out I was pregnant with our first child, the question I got asked often was, “iAre you going to be a stay-at-home mom?/i”o:p/o:p/divdiv class=”MsoNormal”br //divdiv class=”MsoNormal”In all honesty, that was a VERY hard question to answer. o:p/o:p/divdiv class=”MsoNormal”br //divdiv class=”MsoNormal”When I found out I was pregnant, I was in complete shock.nbsp; Nothing rocks your world like finding out you are going to be responsible for another human being in less than a year. It was such a surreal time for me. So when people asked me that question…which was often…my eyes would glaze over and I would respond with, “I don’t know…I’ll have to see once the baby comes out.”o:p/o:p/divdiv class=”MsoNormal”br //divdiv class=”MsoNormal”When I found out I was pregnant, my husband was enlisted in the military and I was working as a customer service agent for a major airlines. i style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal;”{Before we started moving with the military, I taught middle school.nbsp; Working for an airline was not so much different than teaching middle school kids.nbsp; Unfortunately many adults acted the same way my students used to.}/i/divdiv class=”MsoNormal”br //divdiv class=”MsoNormal”Six weeks before our major transition into parenthood, we moved back to Chicago so my husband could go back to school.nbsp; Good times. nbsp;Hubby had entered a program where the Army paid for him to finish his nursing degree while paying his salary.nbsp; He was officially a professional student.o:p/o:p/divdiv class=”MsoNormal”br //divdiv class=”MsoNormal”Our bundle of joy arrived in January 1999.nbsp; We had planned a little for my time off of work.nbsp; We had $2000 in savings and since we lived a frugal lifestyle we could sbarely/s pay our bills with my hubby’s enlisted salary of $1500 a month. nbsp;Rent was $800, our car payment was $150 and that left a whopping $550 for utilities/groceries/car insurance/gas/school loans. We never went out. We didn’t buy anything new. b style=”mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;”i style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal;”And we never borrowed money from anyone./i/b We made it work. Then tax time came…o:p/o:p/divdiv class=”MsoNormal”br //divdiv class=”MsoNormal”When my husband entered the military at the ripe old age of 24, he made a deal to join as long as the Army would pay off his student loans.nbsp; He had approximately $30-$35K worth of school loan debt. They agreed to the deal and he signed the papers with the caveat that we would pay the taxes because it was considered an “income”./divdiv class=”MsoNormal”nbsp; nbsp;o:p/o:p/divdiv class=”MsoNormal”Tax time arrived and we owed…$1500.nbsp; Goodbye savings… i style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal;”{That law has changed since then and now military personnel do not get taxed for the military paying off student loans.}o:p/o:p/i/divdiv class=”MsoNormal”i style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal;”br //i/divdiv class=”MsoNormal”bLife. Was. Hard./bnbsp; I was trying to figure out the mommy thing with a colicky baby who never slept, while hubby was in school full time.nbsp; He was not allowed to get a part time job otherwise he would be kicked out of the program. We were stuck.nbsp; I had just had a baby and couldn’t work.nbsp; Hubby was required to be a full time student ONLY. i style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal;”{We were not going to test that option because they had just ejected a student for working outside of the program.} /iFinances were so tight that there was one month I remember eating whatever we had left in our cabinets because we had no grocery money and payday was 3 days away.o:p/o:p/divdiv class=”MsoNormal”br //divdiv class=”MsoNormal”bWe were B.R.O.K.E./bo:p/o:p/divdiv class=”MsoNormal”br //divdiv class=”MsoNormal”I had to go back to work.nbsp; I had been a stay-at-home mom for 4 months and I had to figure out a way to transfer into a position that would pay a little more than the $7/hr I was getting as a customer service agent.o:p/o:p/divdiv class=”MsoNormal”br //divdiv class=”MsoNormal”br //divtable cellpadding=”0″ cellspacing=”0″ class=”tr-caption-container” style=”float: right; text-align: left;”tbodytrtd style=”text-align: center;”a href=”” imageanchor=”1″ style=”margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;”img border=”0″ height=”106″ src=”” width=”320″ //a/td/trtrtd class=”tr-caption” style=”text-align: center;”My Flight Attendant Wings/td/tr/tbody/tablediv class=”MsoNormal”I decided to become a flight attendant.nbsp; It was something I always wanted to do when I was in college.nbsp; Fortunately the 8 week b style=”mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;”i style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal;”unpaid/i/b training course was in Chicago and was 45 minutes from where we lived. nbsp;I started in the summer while my hubby was on summer break and then my mom flew in every week from Monday-Friday for 4 weeks when he had to go back to school. i style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal;”{Since I worked for the airlines, she got to fly for free.}/io:p/o:p/divdiv class=”MsoNormal”i style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal;”/ibr /i style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal;”/i/divdiv class=”MsoNormal”Once I finished training, our biggest obstacle was childcare. We could not afford a daycare. nbsp;As a flight attendant, I ended up taking a Friday-Monday schedule i style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal;”{4 day trip}/i so that my husband could take care of her on weekends and I would be home Tuesday-Thursday nbsp;while he was in school.nbsp; That left me with Mondays and Fridays to figure out childcare.nbsp; We were very blessed to have an older cousin, who had 4 girls of her own, offer to take our daughter on Mondays and Fridays…for b style=”mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;”FREE!i style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal;”nbsp;/i/b/divdiv class=”MsoNormal”b style=”mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;”i style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal;”br //i/b/divdiv class=”MsoNormal”b style=”mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;”i style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal;”I don’t think that family will ever know how much their generosity impacted our lives. We are so grateful to them to this day!/i/bo:p/o:p/divdiv class=”MsoNormal”b style=”mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;”i style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal;”br //i/b/divdiv class=”MsoNormal”When my daughter was six months old, I became a working mom. Every Thursday night for a year, I would leave her for four days.nbsp; I would have to leave on Thursday night because my base was in Denver and my trips had to begin there on Friday mornings.o:p/o:p/divdiv class=”MsoNormal”br //divdiv class=”MsoNormal”It was one of the hardest things I had to do in my mothering career.nbsp; Leaving your child and missing important milestones because your family needs the financial support is tough. It wasn’t until after I started working again that I finally realized that I wanted to stay home full-time.nbsp; I knew deep in my soul I wanted to be a mom who was home for her kids. I didn’t want someone else to raise them.nbsp; I wanted to raise them.nbsp; I knew that I had to sacrifice myself for at least a year until my husband was promoted to an officer. nbsp;We both wanted me to be home with our children and were going to do whatever it took to make that happen.nbsp;/divdiv class=”MsoNormal”i style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal;”a href=”” target=”_blank”(To be continued…)/a/io:p/o:p/divbr /br /a href=”” target=”_blank”img alt=”Anna” border=”0″ src=”” //a