Why this working mother is in hell and loving it

by | January 13, 2014

We’ve discussed conceptually “leaping off the cliff” and “picking your hell.”

I want to show you in concrete detail what they look like in real life, with hard choices and serious consequences, by sharing an email I received recently from my dear friend, Marie Arnold (unedited, shared with her permission).

Marie has a passion for discovering, preserving, and sharing family history. While also homeschooling her children, she started a part-time home-based business digitizing family history for clients, among other family history services.

But when her husband was unable to work, she was forced to make a tough choice…


Dear Stephen,

Here is a not a quick update…

I tried to walk the road that everyone told me is best (family, friends, church leader, etc)…i.e. put the kids back in school, get a full-time job, etc. Everyone has been telling me this for almost five years now. I reached a desperate point and decided to give it a try.

Everyone was thrilled. I was finally doing what made sense and what was best for my family. “You need security.”

And of course those many who were opposed to my homeschooling breathed a collective sigh of relief that I will not be damaging my children’s future prospects any longer.

“You are doing the right thing,” was the broken record pounding in my ears.

And I was. I did feel inspired to walk a different path. But the lessons I learned were not what my supporters intended.

In just a few weeks I learned about how much my ideals mean to me and how much I am willing to fight and sacrifice for them.

I think God just wanted me to have the knowledge, not just the belief, that another path is the one my family is meant to walk. I learned there are not two roads, the path well known and the one less taken. I am blazing a new trail.

Certainly there are people who have followed a similar path. However, I believe sometimes we have to blaze a trail, not just take the road less traveled. We have to hack at bushes and cut down trees, and our hands not used to such work blister and bleed in the process. We have to build bridges and scale mountains.

So, to the chagrin of family others, I left the job search. I am working on my business. I made over $430 in the last 6 weeks. That really isn’t “enough,” but it has been enough to get us through.

As soon as I can save up for a mini DV recorder, I have another 7 jobs waiting for me to do as well. In the meantime, God keeps sending me one more job, and then one more job just in time for the next bill to be paid. In fact, this morning I got an e-mail to digitize some slides. Most of my work has been through flyers I have passed out and word of mouth. But I have had 2 jobs come from my website now!

The contrast is amazing. When I choose the road most people take…I felt like a great burden had been placed upon my back. It was too much to carry…but I knew I had to do it…so I stuck out my chin and grinned and said…ok…I’ll do it. And I did it.

Then, just for a moment, weeks into this hard road, I let myself ponder about the even more difficult road, the one with less support and security. I let my mind wander, imagine and dream…and suddenly the burden was gone. And I couldn’t turn back.

The awesome thing is now that I am choosing this hard, non-secure way, I feel energized, inspired and downright happy and giddy about the whole thing!

So, I work from home. I work early in the morning and late at night. I work with kids throwing up, screaming toddlers, and while making dinner and doing laundry. I made $160 the week I was sicker than I have been in years with the flu!

I don’t have to pay for daycare (which would cut full-time pay in half anyway). The best part is, I have pulled one of my children out of school already, I can homeschool him and work from home. I am so glad because public school and him are not a good combination at all.

Being a mom is so important to me. And digitizing family history at home allows me to be able to be a mom. My mother is a saint and is allowing us to move in with her while I get my business going.

It has been an uphill battle. I have run into tons of technical glitches and issues. But, God has helped me every step. And it is thrilling to do work that makes people smile, that is meaningful and lasting. And I love it.

I am going to make a living, living my purpose. Thank you for all you taught me. It works. I will be patient. I will work my tail off and I am going to create something wonderful.

How could I not with all your posters covering my walls screaming at me to Create, Leave a Legacy, and give my children an Education to Match their Missions and to Live Extraordinary?

Thank you!


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