I spotted this post by a total stranger on Sunday, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind:
It really has made me wonder if this is how working women or men view mothers who stay at home with their kids. What is the picture in people’s minds of what this life is like? Does it seem that we lie around all day? Or that we sleep late or watch TV all day? I wonder what it is about staying home with kids that looks like laziness?
I have held some jobs. I taught school. I worked at a shoe company as a customer service rep. I taught college classes. I worked at Dillard’s. I worked in a convenience store. I did background checks. I worked in a Mexican restaurant. I worked at a day care. I worked at a bank. All jobs that regular people work every day. None were manual labor, just desk jobs or hanging up clothes or dealing with irate customers. I never dug ditches or roofed houses or built roads. Those jobs are tough.
But, of all the jobs that I’ve had, none has challenged me or frustrated me or caused me more work that staying home with children. Staying home is my heart. It’s what I know I am called to do by God. But, make no mistake about it. Staying home with children is a sacrifice. It is difficult work. It is lonely. Is it hard manual labor? No. Is it tiring? Does it require hard work and endurance and more patience that you ever thought you could possibly possess? Yes.
I will be the first to tell you that I admire and am in awe of working women. I don’t know how they get it all done. I can only imagine how exhausted they are. I have many, many friends who are working mothers. Yet, they would have no problem telling you that someone is doing all the work of taking care of their children while they are at their paying job. They have trusted daycare workers or family members who are doing the feeding. changing, playing, nap battles, and everything else while they are at work.
The truth is that there are days when stay-at-home mothers long for a nice, clean office to go to. There are times when we see our husbands leave for work and we feel jealous that they are going to a place where they have adult work friends. Where they will eat lunch in peace. Where they will be able to check Facebook without interruption. Where they will receive feedback on their work, have goals to work toward, and receive rewards and pats on the back.
Don’t get me wrong: stay-at-home mothers have all kinds of goals and rewards. But, they are internal. No one gets all that excited when you get your child to give up the paci. No one is just terribly impressed when you get one potty trained. We have to have learn to get satisfaction from seeing that our children are playing well together. From understanding that playing Candyland (again) matters.
We have to make the conscious choice to give up our huge income potential. If I were working, I could shop a lot more. I could drive a new car. I could go on more trips, get the kids all those cute clothes I would like to buy them. But, I know I am called to be here. So, I drive my old van (which I actually love) and I shop resale and I use coupons. I get creative to find fun things to do on a budget. Dance lessons for Adelade are truly a stretch for us. But, God provides. And, I love this life. I wouldn’t trade my time at home with these children for any amount of money.
But, this is not a lazy life.
Hard work, sacrifice, loneliness, frustration, and boredom often characterize the stay-at-home existence.
But, fun, lots of laughing, important conversations, hugs and kisses, and loving service are part of this life as well. And, I love the fact that God has put this path before me, and He has put the desire in my heart to be here with my kids. There is no lying around. In fact, there is very little sitting down.
All mothers are amazing. I admire my working mom friends. I admire my stay-at-home mom friends. We are all doing the best we can with what we have. No mother who is doing her job could ever be classified as lazy.