Being a TPSI family of seven definitely requires a conscious choice. At least for us it was. Now before anyone makes an assumptions, although we live in the "traditional" arrangement of a two parent single income family, it is not because of some uber conservative notion that the husband is supposed to be the one that goes out and brings home the daily bread while the wife stays home and bakes in the kitchen. (although later I will tell you how we save over $100 a month by making our own bread, which takes less than five minutes!)
Choosing to be a TPSI family is a deliberate commitment to work together in partnership in order to make things work. So what it means is that each parent commits to being a specific role in the partnership. The key thing to remember is that each person's role is equally important but not identical to the other's. Think about it this way, imagine you have two unmarked and sealed jars. One of them contains sugar and one of them contains salt. Both of the containers are equally full but they each play very different roles in a recipe. In choosing to live on a single income both partners need to accept the mutually dependant and equally important....but different roles each one is going to play in the house hold.
I think the best advice I ever got in this regard was to never confuse what you do with who you are. Who are you? In my case I am a husband FIRST. Then a father. My job comes third and anything else I do (hobbies, etc) comes after. Every decision I make gets weighed by the following questions:
How does this make me a better husband?
How does this make me a better father?
How much is it going to cost? And does that cost out weigh the time I will miss with my family?
I think it is important that I point out that in our thirteen years of marriage, both of us have been involved with several charity organizations, various parent councils and other extracurricular activities. So it is not impossible to find time to do these things with seven kids.
I am a husband first because I got married to my wife. Not my kids. I have seen too many families broken because they started to live the other way around, for the kids instead of each other. The way I think about it is do I want my daughter to settle for someone who is going to treat her as second best? If not then I need to show her how a husband is supposed to treat his wife, as the most important person in his life!
My job is simply just what I do. I can honestly say that I have never met anyone who felt that they should have spent more time at the office instead of with their kids.
Above all one of the most important things to do is put your trust in God. Not just for world peace and to take care of sick family etc, but also to trust His promises, that if we ask we shall receive (Lk 11: 9 - 10) especially if we are asking for our daily bread. I think the most important thing that couples should do is pray together. Not just with the kids, but as husband and wife. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells us that when two or more are gathered in His name, He is there (Mt: 18: 20). Praying together is one of the surest ways to invite Christ into your marriage and into your home.
For my next post I will start talking about a totally different way to look at money. The principle of Stewardship.