God has given me this ‘job’ to do, and he has also given me so much love for it. Again, while the mushy, gushy feelings are not always there, and sometimes my heart will burn with frustration instead of happiness, I love it for so many reasons.
1. I create my own schedule. My boss is God and he has permitted me to have a beautiful family and called me to be home with the babies. While we’re busy most days, and I am constantly changing and adapting the schedule, no one controls my time but me. I don’t have to wake babies to go to work. I don’t have to pass off cuddling my baby because I am hurrying to get to work. If I want to take a morning to bake cookies, I CAN! If I want to take a trip to the library, I WILL! Hey, I even mowed the lawn the other day for my husband because I wanted to! This aspect of staying at home, has also opened my eyes and heart a little bit more to the possibility of homeschooling my kids! I like being at home THAT MUCH!
2. Now, before you think I can do anything I want as a stay-at-home mom – don’t want to give false impressions here – I thought I should mention that along with having the priviledge of creating my own schedule, I have the responsibility to develope the virtue of discipline. While maintaining room for flexibility, some things are just non-negotiable. When the babies wake up in the morning, I have to get up. Diapers need to be changed, children need to eat and be bathed, and despite the fact that I hate doing laundry, it needs to be done before we run out of clothes (Ryan doesn’t like the idea that when we run out of clean clothes, we just buy more…). While discipline isn’t unique to stay-at-home moms, it is a virtue that has to be developed in a particular way for me to avoid useless nonsense when there are immediate tasks that need to be done. When I was on someone elses clock, developing discipline wasn’t an issue for me. I love that being a stay-at-home mom is pushing me to develope many virtues and that is just one of them. This post would be much longer if I were to discuss what I am learning about patience!
3. Skills. I have never before juggled so many groceries in my hands along with two children in my arms. Holy man, I would dislocate my arm to get everyone and everything in the house in one trip (ya I stole that idea from a Meme somewhere). But seriously, I have never done so much math, needed so much creativity, worked out so hard and developed the need for significantly less sleep than the average non-mother human being. Again, these skills are not unique to stay-at-home moms, I just get to practice these skills 24/7.
4. Things. Can. Get. Done. Sooner. There is more ‘time’ to make my house welcoming, my yard beautiful and in general, a refuge for my family. I don’t vacuum or dust every day, and I am far from the perfect housewife, but I have hours to do these things instead of them being spent at work.
5. Thanks be to God that there is no financial strain with me being at home. I have learned (and am still learning) to be a good steward of our family income and my husband and I never fight about money! Now that I am home, we actually have been able to save more than ever before!
6. I get to contribute to society as a volunteer! I used to work full-time for the pro-life movement, but now, I can give of my time to those who need me as a volunteer!
7. I am not perfect in my prayer life, and I struggle every day to ‘find time’. But, I have found that I have slightly more time than I did when I worked outside the home and being home has definitely made for a lot of spontaneous prayer.
8. I get to watch my children grow, play and learn AND I get to do it with them. I once asked my younger sister why she likes kids so much, and she said because she loves to watch them learn. She has shown me how beautiful that gift is.
9. Being a stay-at-home mom has actually increased my desire to have more babies! I haven’t been away from my babies in almost three years and it’s exhausting. Some days I am completely overwhelmed with having two and I wonder how I can have more. It might be hard to explain, but loving my babies only makes me want to have more babies of my own to love. There can never be enough love.
10. My children are teaching me to live in the moment, because that is what they do. To not worry to much about this or that, to not be ‘connected’ to others who are not physically present, etc. They are teaching me to appreciate the today and right now.
So my ramblings have come to an end. I don’t really expect people to read these notes, but it’s a lot easier for me to type them and save them somewhere I can remember, then it is to write it all down on scrap baby that might get eaten by the 9 month old.
I admire all of my working mom friends. You ladies are amazing and I simply do not know how you do what you do!
Being a stay at home mom is hard. It comes with many difficulties, challenges and tears, but there are so many blessings, joyful times and laughter which makes it totally worth it. While I miss my work outside the home and may go back one day, I know that I am where I am called to be and wouldn’t change this part of my life for anything in the world.