Today my sister, Grace, writes about the word “lucky”, in regard to raising small children at home. I think you will enjoy her thoughts on this topic, as she addresses thoughts I have heard others wrestle with. Enjoy hearing from Grace today!
Since becoming a mom, I have been told that I am “lucky” to stay at home.
Our desire and our decision that I stay at home with our girls is not a luck-based decision, but rather a well thought-out and purposeful choice. Here is a little history as to why I am thankful, but not “lucky” to stay home.
In 2006 I met Justin. It was love at first sight. It was also very intense from the beginning. He was 5 years older than me, and knew he wanted to get married. Fast. We had many very intentional discussions covering everything from faith, to theology, to our future marriage and family. We both agreed we wanted a traditional family. He would work and I would stay at home. After past relationships where this had been an area of dispute, he was thrilled to find that we were on the same page.
Justin once told me he had given up thinking there was a woman in the world who wanted to stay at home.
We were married in 2007. I still had not finished school. I moved from Tennessee to Justin’s home in Georgia. I started the admission process at a local school. Through a lot of really hard and emotional conversations we decided I would not continue to pursue my Social Work major. A 21st century woman, without a degree.
The reality was that I wanted to be a mom.
In 2008 I got pregnant with Cora, and gave birth to her in 2009. So began my long-awaited vocation as a stay-at-home mom. And let me tell you: I was really silly enough to think it was going to be the dreamy, romantic, fictional job it’s made up to be. I thought I would have wonderful days of pink dresses and bonnets, long walks in the sunshine, my perfect baby on my somewhat larger hips.
Instead I spent day-after-day, night-after-night, hour-after-hour with a screaming baby, one that never slept. I cried a lot. I was so lonely and I became very depressed. Suddenly, the life I had chosen seemed to be the very worst choice I could have made. The constant,loud, relentless, never-can-have-enough-patience career called being a full-time mom.
My only means of survival was the ever-present help of our good and gracious God.
It was during this first year of being a mom that He began to break and refine me in ways I did not think possible. If I was going to be a good mom, I was going to have to change. I was going to need to learn to live day-by-day and hour-by-hour with never ending neediness and no one to lift or relieve me of that need. I was going to need to learn to meet needs with kindness, with love, with patience. I was going to need to choose joy when all I felt was failure.
So as I began mothering two girls I faced the next big hurdle. Humility.
The reality that staying-at-home does not guarantee a good or perfect child. Actually, it also does not guarantee that I am a good mom.
Just like any other job it takes hours of intentional time and planning. It takes constant hard work-both mental and physical.
I recently had a talk with a dear friend. She was facing the reality of going back to work…having to leave her two boys. She is an amazing mom and I reminded her of how blessed her boys are to have her as their mommy. She is so intentional and loving. They know that they are her priority. I can be at home all day long but if I don’t pour into my children, then what use is my being with them? I don’t have someone looking over my shoulder asking me, “Is it done yet? Have you finished it? Is it done right?” I have to be my own accountability. That is not easy.
As Justin left for work yesterday, Cora was crying. Elinor was going three places at once, and the house was already in total disorder. He cracked the door and he said, “You have the harder job.”
Do I really have the harder job? No, not every day, but maybe yesterday my day was harder and maybe today his job will be harder. It really doesn’t matter. We don’t live life to prove we have it harder, that we do more than the other person…we live to glorify Him.
Would I say I am blessed to stay at home?
Am I thankful to stay-at-home?
Would I say I am lucky to stay at home? No, because the definition of luck is: success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.
I give thanks to God for his sovereign will to put me in our home, in our town, as wife to Justin and full-time mom to Cora and Elinor.
A job I pray I carry out in grace, in gentleness, in patience, in humility, and intentionality, that I might glorify Him.