On several occasions I have been asked by people who find out that I stay home with my children; “so you stay home, what exactly did you do today?” Or sometimes they simply state; “you stay home, that must be so nice, you must have so much time on your hands, I wish I could do that”. Sometimes I want to volunteer them to babysit my three children and run our household for a 10 hour time slot and see if they come up with a different response:)
At times my defenses have flared up because the tone of their voice implies that I didnt do anything at all. As if there is doubt in their minds that I did anything more than getting out of bed or sleeping through the entire day. The Lord really had to deal with my heart in this area of my life. Why was I so offended by their questions? Why do I feel like I need to prove my position? When I used to talk about my career in counseling as a therapist, I never had the need to defend my job but now as a stay-at-home mom I feel the need to defend it?
I felt like telling them everything I did in a day; …”Woke up, had a shower (if I’m lucky), got dressed, made the bed, made 3 more beds, got the kids up, changed two diapers, did toddlers hair, picked out clothes for three little people, dressed the same three little people, brushed two sets of teeth, breastfed the baby, made breakfast, unloaded the dishwasher, reloaded the dishwasher, cleaned up after breakfast, gave out vitamins, by this time changed another diaper, hopefully brushed my teeth and hair, (not gonna lie, it doesn’t often happen), took out the garbage, threw in a load of laundry, did homeschool with the two little kids while the baby napped, change another diaper, hang out laundry on the line, put in a load of cloth diapers, played pirates (the kids were the pirates and I was the monkey – go figure:), read a couple books, attempted a puzzle, got snack out, fed snack to the two little kids, cleaned up, hung diapers on the line, put in a load of towels, got on our coats, packed into the van, did up 4 sets of seatbelts, headed out to the EYC, played and talked with some other mom’s (one of the highlights of my day), packed the kids back up in the van, another 4 sets of seatbelts, stopped at the gas station and filled up, realized I needed a coffee today, stopped at Tim Hortons, also added two muffins to my order for the backseat drivers in the van:), unloaded the van, kids played, changed another diaper, unpacked diaper bag, got out lunch, made two different lunches because they don’t like the same meal, cleaned up, ate the leftovers, fed the baby, changed another diaper, put on a show for 1/2hr, put the toddler down for a nap, set up the 4yr old for a quiet time, played with the baby, cut up watermelon for snack, started getting ready for supper, took the dry clothes in, hung out the wet clothes, put in the last load of towels, swept the floor, sent the messages from the phone calls for my husbands business that I answer throughout the day, put the baby down for her nap, sat down for 15 minutes in the silence and read by Bible and journaled (another highlight of my day), was interrupted by the 4 yr old who reminded me that quiet time is now over, cleaned up his room, got toddler up from her nap, make the bed again, changed a diaper, got out snack, cleaned up split juice with a mop, played in the playroom, got everyone dressed for a walk, went to the marsh and got cat tails, carried the 4 yr old home while pushing the double stroller because he was too tired to walk, (I felt like I was going to faint:), got dinner started, fed the baby and did a puzzle with my feet, played a swords game and lost, changed baby’s diaper, hubby came home, we ate, cleaned up, loaded dishwasher, talked about the day, took clothes off the line, folded clothes, put clothes away, undressed the 3 kids, bathed the 3 kids, got three sets of PJ’s on, had a bedtime snack, brushed teeth, read stories, said prayers, sand songs and put the two littles to bed, fed the baby, put baby to bed, came downstairs, cleaned up, did dishes, took out garbage, turned on dishwasher, talked with Jim, prayed, put my head on my pillow and passed out!”… that is what I did today and you? Some of you may be able to relate all too well to the job description above.
It bothered me for a really long time, until I began to realize that it wasn’t a question of what I did as a mom, it was my view as myself in that position. I didn’t believe that what I was doing was important and I wanted to prove to myself and others that it was an important job. The Lord began to heal my heart and show me that what I do every day really does matter and that even if no one else notices that HE see me and says that it is worth it. I felt such a relief when I began to walk in this truth everyday, I didn’t feel the need to strive or prove myself rather I began to have a heart that was thankful for the job that He assigned to me. I now see each of these daily activities as worship to the Lord and as a duty that I need to be faithful to. I am a mother and that is my full time job in this season of my life and I love it! I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, looking after anyone else. I count it a blessing and a priviledge to stay home with my babies and I pray that I will be able to raise them to be all that God created them to be, this is my highest and most important calling in life! May you be encouraged to pursue motherhood to the fullest whether you stay home or work, remember that the little ones in your care are a gift and a blessing! You are valuable and important not because of what you do but because you are loved and accepted by your Creator!
Thank you so much for this post Emma. I struggled, and still do at times, with trying to justify what I do. I decided not to go to university so that I could have my children and I have never gone back to school because I feel very strongly about being the one who raises them. I went through a time period where I worried that I threw away my intelligence, which I feel is a gift. Then I realized that there is nothing more important in this world then the three little people who look to me to be their everything. Who rely on me to protect them and guide them in life. I am very grateful for the gift that they are and the opportunity I have to be able to be here at home with them. Thank you again for reminding me that I am not alone and that I have the best job I could possibly ask for.
I loved this blog. It is real. It is true. Been there. Done that (save I had two babies, a year apart, while you are dealing with three).
The Lord said to me (and I was not born again yet), early on in life (in my teens), ”Let the children come.”. It sure made a lot of sense afterward, when I finally FULLY got the God thing. Heehee!
I was unaware HOW many ‘children’ would come to pass (so many of them – unexpectedly – adults… in their chronological age). And then….my very own kids.
Over and above taking care of my progeny, I still have the school kids (as you know, I supply teach…especially troubled youth, special ed. … and, added this year, kids at risk – grades 1 through 6). Let us not forget…the adult ‘children’ to deal with.
It is a calling. Not every mom can stay at home. Like you, sweet Emma, I love being at home, tending to my children. That’s why I supply teach (I cannot spend more time away from those who rely on me. The truth (heehee!): I can do so because God allows me to do so….without a providing husband). 😉
When people ask me what I do, I tell them (like you) …..I am a mom.
Added to this, I add … and whatever else the Lord sees me fit to do (which has no salary attached to it). Then, they nod and say, ”But what do you DO????? You’re a single mom!”. I reply, ”OH!”.
”You want to know what I do to pay the bills?” They reply, ”YES!!”
Then, of course, like you wrote, they say, ”Must be nice to…..”.
I reply, ”Yes. It is. I am blessed to be able to tend to my children.”
”You’re not bored? Missing something? What about YOUR life?”
I reply, ”Non. Pas du tout.”
I smile…….and gently walk away….to my car….heading home…..to MY children…who the Lord has blessed me to raise as my own.
There is no other way to conclude…but with your words:
”I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, looking after anyone else. I count it as a blessing and a privilege to stay home with my babies, and I pray that I will be able to raise them to be all that God has created them to be. This is my highest and most important calling in life!”
I think you summed that up pretty darn good. Heehee!
ps. Thanks for writing this. I needed that breath of fresh air.
beautifully written, and very true on every level! god bless you and yours 🙂
Emma, I really appreciate your candour. As a part time worker and a full time mom, some days I stop and try to think about what I “accomplished” in a day. It’s a great reminder that investing in our children – even if it’s just lovingly changing a diaper – is the most important job we can have.
Emma– to encourage you, and to agree with you!
I have long struggled with the choice to stay home, and I feel like I want to share with you a highlight that I have taken away from some recent counselling sessions…
Value. It’s always about knowing your worth. It doesn’t even matter what you do. (Even though you and I and all the stay at home mom’s out there know that our days are packed to overflowing!)
I’ve decided that I’m done with outward appearance and external evaluation. It’s time to get down the nitty gritty- and that’s who I am. I can chose to focus on my character (and what challenges you more than a day full of whiny toddlers?) and cultivate the relationship that Jesus sets before me.
I an choosing to stay home so that I can model character for my children. I am choosing to believe that my achievements will all amount to nothing when I die, but who I am will last forever.
I love your blog. I love your refreshing candour. May you be blessed in this season, and enjoy the hours of rest you get! 🙂 Love you!