Growing up I never wanted children, never, my brothers and I fought a lot and well being a mom just didn’t seem like a good thing to me so, instead after reading John Grisham novels, I focused on a career. Yes, I would be a career minded woman – I wanted to be a high profile attorney and take some pro-bono work on the side to make it all look good. Maybe I’d get married to a man who also had high ambitions for his career too – but children? Nope, no way. I still felt this way when I met my husband in 2000 but since he wanted children I told him I’d have 1. Laughable! After being pregnant and losing that baby, we aimed to try again – on the day I graduated college with what I thought would be my first of many degrees, I found out we were pregnant again!
About two months into my pregnancy we discussed what we would do as far as me working. I now had considerable student debt and wanted to still pursue law school so I began online courses to become a paralegal. Then as I started to realize I didn’t want to leave this little one in the care of someone else, who we didn’t know – I told my husband after the baby was born I’d be staying home. He was fine with that, I was working full time as a house manager for a MR/DD facility and that was proving stressful and I ended up resigning about a month before I was due with what we now knew would be our first daughter. About the same time the decision was made for me to stay home we also decided we would be homeschooling. BIG decisions in a short amount of time.
With that said, after I had our first daughter – I knew something was missing – the Lord. I re-dedicated myself to Him and we began to establish our marriage and our family built on God and His Word. He changed my mind and I’ve since had two more children and am praying for more. I read a sad blog post from a woman who regretted staying home with her children, and that made me sad and with that said I have 9 reasons why I’ll never regret being a homemaker or as is more PC today, stay at home mom:
1. I know the women before me are happy. Why? I still remember when my Grandma told me I didn’t need to go into the military and instead get married and have children. I looked at her like she had three heads – and saw disappointment in her eyes. I regret that. I basically told her the life she’d chosen and lived with my Grandpa, where she raised my dad and my aunts and uncle sometimes single handily because of my Grandpa’s job – wasn’t worth anything, that she had wasted her life. Now, knowing what is involved with being a mom, one who is there all the time I know it’s not a waste that there isn’t anything more rewarding than being home with my children, whom the Lord blessed my husband and I with. I grew up with a feminist mind set that told me I could do anything I wanted, anything that is, except be a wife and mother. The feminists wanted me, all women, to believe that we couldn’t reach our full potential unless we entered the workforce, if we had children put them in daycare and schools, and our husbands still had to come home and do the dishes! Now, I know the lies that the feminists want women to believe, you can be anything, as long it’s what they want you to be. If that includes being a mother and a wife – then forget it, you must not want to reach your full potential, you must want to be lazy, stupid and uneducated – because anything to them doesn’t mean raising your children and being a helpmeet to your husband.
2. At one point I thought, wait a minute I will never use the education I have if I stay home – how wrong I was. For me my degree is in social work – believe me I use that in my role as mother. I know engineers who are at home moms. I know nurses who are at home moms. Educators who are at home moms. The skills I learned in college gave me skills to be a great mom – including some of the early childhood education classes I had to take. Now, I don’t use it every day and some of things I was taught I’ve thrown out the door because they don’t align with my faith and are completely ridiculous but I do use my degree to a degree. I also now caution my daughters, if they want to go to college and that is what the Lord wants for them, that is great but by all means apply for any grants and scholarships and don’t rely on student loans, which one day must be paid back and can be a hardship to their future husband (the same goes for my son in regards to his future wife).
3. I have the love and respect of my children and husband. When I put a great meal or even just a frozen pizza on the table for dinner – I get told “thank you”, or “mom that was great, thank you for making dinner”. I get hugs and kisses from little people and husband alike! While they may not thank me for washing their laundry (unless I let it go and they have no undies) they do see me working. Traveling to field trips. Running back and forth to dance or martial arts. Reading to them. Sweeping. Yes, my children recognize that what I do day in and day out is work and they respect that and are thankful for what I do.
4. When I worked, the only people I saw were those I worked with – whether it was the line at Dole, coring lettuce to pay for college or talking to those who worked in the homes I managed, that was it. Unless I went to the bars on the weekend, and we can all attest to how well conversations go between drunk people – not great for socializing or long term friendships. When I became a mom and a homeschool mom – my world expanded – I got to meet other moms, at home moms, working moms, adoptive moms, and more! I got to meet other parents who were homeschooling and helped me out in our first years when I had questions or issues. As some assume, just because you’re a at home mom doesn’t mean you’re at home all the time. My children and I have met and have a wide range of experiences that I never got when I was working or even going to school!
5. I get to serve others, through my time as a 4-H adviser I got to serve my community through 4-H and help children in learning new skill sets and as my children outgrew what 4-H could provide I get to serve through being an American Heritage Girl leader and my girls and I and even sometimes my son help out in serving the larger community around us (see #4). The Lord told us to be His hands and feet, what better way to do that than to get the children involved and teaching them as a family how to serve others – it’s not just about them. Yes, there is a time to say no. When I was approached one year to do VBS I had to say no as there were other commitments I had to attend to first. As my girls enter into their dance company this year, we’ll get to serve others by spreading the love and Gospel of Christ through their ability to dance. I hope I’ll get to either become a volunteer with the Boy Scouts or Trail Life (if a troop ever comes near our city) and I’ll be serving with my husband and son. Serving and volunteering is not a bad thing.
6. I worry less because I know that I’m raising my children in the ways of the Lord and know that they will make good decisions and if they don’t they will be the ones to face the consequences. “Don’t climb so high”, then he does – he is the one who must deal with the pain of a break and the misery of a cast. I’m not saying I don’t worry. I don’t let them outside by themselves because of the rate of pedophiles in the area and the way people drive I can see someone coming up the sidewalk and hitting them. But I hover less – they go to dance classes without me sitting out in the hall, I drop off my son to his karate and go to the library for an hour, all three participate in college for kids through the local college and I don’t stay for the 2 hours classes. If you train your child in the way they should go they shall not depart from it, while it may seem like the do for awhile, usually and prayerfully they’ll come back.
7. My husband and I have traditional roles within our marriage. I am the wife and he is the husband. I am female and he is male. I used to try to fool myself into thinking I can do anything a man can do, the Navy had a way of dispelling that myth. My husband cannot birth babies. I cannot use the restroom standing up. We are different. God made each gender, male and female, with a distinct set of innate traits. We are both equal in the eyes of each other, me staying home is not less than him working 40+ hours a week at his career. We are equal in the eyes of God. Yes, I am the primary one responsible for laundry, dishes, schooling the children, etc but he also pitches in where he can and when he can – he’ll load the dishwasher and even hand wash dishes if the need arises (we did this for 14 years before moving to our new home), he’ll do laundry, he cleans the house better than I do most days. There is nothing wrong with traditional roles, it’s when those roles get distorted and warped that there becomes an issue.
8. I am still relevant in today’s world – I am up to date on technology, terminology (so much so that the children know what ‘hip’ terms aren’t allowed), social media and more. I can talk Doctor Who with my oldest and we share books. I can talk karate and Legos with my son. I can talk Barbies and fashion with my middle daughter. I know I’m not as cool as I think I am – my oldest reminds me of that sometimes 😀 but my children know they can talk to me about issues that arise whether it’s why did so and so do that to so and so to discussing the mundane. My children don’t write me off as some old fogy who doesn’t know anything but instead see me as their mom, one who they can go to when they need a shoulder to cry on or celebrate with them or just to listen.
9. My awareness is so much more alert than it used to be – I no longer think of myself – I’m no longer the selfish young woman I used to be, thankfully. I look towards the future knowing I’m raising three wonderful children who will, prayerfully, be wonderful, godly adults who will go out to serve their community, their world and spread the love of Christ whether they are a trash man, doctor or missionary to a third world country. I’m not longer focused on what I want – I see others through the eyes of my children and that often times allows me to see something in someone that I otherwise would have ignored. The image I have of myself is better, I used to be so focused on my looks, my weight, my clothing and now I see myself as a mom and wife – one who gets love and gives love. My children don’t see the overweight mom, they see a mom who loves them and cares for them. My self esteem is so much better than it was in high school when it was based on what boy thought I was cute or which girl hated me because I had a new shirt.
Granted, my children are ages 12, 9 and 8 so I’m still parenting and I hope I’ll be available when needed when and if the Lord blesses my children with children. Being at home isn’t easy, it’s not fun all the time and it’s not glamorous. Would I do anything differently? Yes. I would quit worrying so much, sooner – I worried so much over stupid, trivial things when my 1st was a baby, that I didn’t worry about when the other two came along – it didn’t kill her did it? so it’s okay. I would also not make yelling a habit – it’s one I’m still working on. I will never regret not having to say ‘oh, I wish I could go back to work’ or ‘oh, I wished I could drop my baby off at daycare’. I will never regret nursing my babies on demand, being the one to hear their first words, being the one to see their first smile, hear them read their first book, take their first steps. I will never regret being the one who there 24-7 for my children. My glory isn’t here and I know my reward isn’t here, even if I didn’t hear a thank you after a dinner or for clean clothes – that isn’t what I’m being a mom for – I don’t seek glory for myself and I hope that my children and my husband can see God’s glory through me as long as I live.
I in no way mean to disparage moms – working or no – being a mom is hard. I know those who’d love to be at home with their children but can’t. I know those who’d love to homeschool, but can’t. My post is to say that yes, we can focus on things that will get us down – that is no way to live life – regrets will weigh us down and make our lives miserable. Even the regrets of things I’ve said and done can weigh me down but I’ve learned there is nothing I can do and I have to give it to the Lord and let Him take those regrets. I’m sure I could find somethings I regret about being a homemaker – maybe, it’s hard to figure out how to pay for dance company fees without a second income – but if I start dwelling on that regret then I’ll miss out on the blessings of being home, such as being the one to take my daughters to their classes and rehearsals. I know I’m also writing from a Christian worldview so my way of looking at things are different than say someone who is not Christian – so if you’re not Christian then you likely won’t agree with me and that is fine and I’m sure there may be Christians who don’t agree with me. If you’re an at home mom but feel trapped, I urge you to seek the Lord – pray and give your feelings over to Him and ask Him to give you the peace that only He can give. Talk with your husband and discuss your feelings with him. Seek out your friends. But first, always make sure you’re seeking the Lord’s will and His Word for direction.
(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws