St. Joseph News-Press
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Julie Casey home shools her children Todd and Jack in the kitchen of their rural Union Star home.
For the first two years of her oldest son’s life, Julie Casey was a working mom. And she was miserable.
“I was always exhausted, always stressed out, never had enough time to spend with Andrew (or) do the things that I wanted to do with him,” she says.
Many moms thrive balancing their professional and personal lives. Julie, though, decided it wasn’t for her. She left her job as a computer programmer and started a home day care center to continue bringing in an income.
Just shy of 10 years ago, after the family moved from St. Joseph to outside of Union Star, Mo., Julie gave up her day care, and the Caseys became somewhat of a rarity: a one-income family.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 60 percent of children live in a home where both parents work. The Caseys, however, say they’re glad to have chosen to buck the trend.
As Jonn and Julie see it, their arrangement has more intrinsic value than any amount of money Julie could earn in the work force — even if Jonn, a self-professed die-hard Royals fan, doesn’t get to go to as many baseball games as he’d like.
“At the end of the day, it’s worth it,” Jonn, a science teacher at South Holt High School and adjunct professor of biology at Missouri Western State University, says. “We have a good family, and we’re close. I could see us being close for a long time.”
(Jonn also has taught in King City and at Lafayette High School in St. Joseph. He’s held his position at Missouri Western for about five years.)
Those close family bonds, Julie says, were her biggest motivation to find a way to get by on one income.
“I just think we have such a close relationship because I was always with them and there for them,” she says. “And we know each other; we understand each other.”
Being home also allowed Julie, who has degrees in computer science and elementary education, to play a key role in her children’s education. She home-schools her boys and stays involved with a group called Northwest Missouri Home Educators.
The Caseys’ arrangement, though, isn’t without its sacrifices.
More than the baseball games Jonn passes on attending in person, Julie says they also do without many modern conveniences. They don’t use expensive smart phones and just recently added texting to their basic cell phone plans. They don’t drive new vehicles or buy brand-name clothing, and they prepare almost all of their meals at home — which is a healthier option, anyway, she adds.
It’s also harder to prepare for unexpected expenses, such as a broken well pump that recently came with a hefty replacement cost.
Though they don’t go on expensive family outings or vacations, the Caseys still find numerous activities to do as a family.
“We go hiking or maybe fishing. We do a lot of camping and fun stuff,” Jonn says.
Some families just can’t make it work financially, and others might not be as willing to do without. But when it comes down to it, the Caseys say they have everything they need and, truly, everything they want.
“We live quite well on half the income, because of the little things we do without,” Julie says.
Kevin Krauskopf can be reached at email@example.com.Content © 2012. NPG Newspapers Inc, St. Joseph News-Press & News-Press 3 NOW. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
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Read more here: Family Finds Greatest Value Lies in Each Other