Jan 10, 2012

Pride in Being a Stay at Home Mom

I have always been very career-oriented. From a young age I wanted to be able to provide for myself and prove to myself that things would be taken care of. That I was capable of independence and a successful career.

Nothing wrong with that but at my core, I was pursuing those things without giving God the glory for providing. I wasn't giving him credit for the amazing job I had. He had provided that job and given me the ability to excel in it. He is the one who gifted me with those abilities. I was blinded by earthly accolades and possessions. He just wasn't first.

Not by your might or your power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord!

When I was in the career-world, I experienced a high like no other. My ideas were sought, I faced challenging deadlines, I learned new things every day. I felt important.

Yet in the depths of my heart, I knew that my pregnancy with Wilder would probably, eventually, lead to staying home with him. I didn't know the number he would do on my heart until he was born.And, just as I thought, once he arrived, it became very apparent that I wanted to be his primary caregiver. At the time it seemed more for myself...I knew I would miss him. Granted, it was for his well-being too...I just didn't have a peace about the day care center we had lined up. It was a distraught time for me, because our budget just wasn't showing we could survive on one income.

But we took the chance anyway.

And now, now that I've been home over three years, I realize that I do this for the babies.
And I am proud to say that I wholeheartedly want to do this for the kiddos.
I am proud of what I do. I no longer feel ashamed or embarrassed by my vocation. I am investing in two lives that will go on to do great things. Some days are really hard. The babies don't obey or I don't get to do "my stuff." The house regenerates mess--oh, that vicious cycle.

But no promotion or atta-girl from the boss even compares to Wilder kissing my forehead, or Story stroking my hair. Or seeing them look at nature with wide eyes. Or my memorizing the placement of each new freckle. To see them dance nakey in the kitchen to the Beach Boys.
So, why, the drastic change of heart attitude, you ask?

Definitely the Lord refining my heart over the past year. Helping me to nail down selfishness.
And a book.

It arrived on my doorstep, with sweets, at Christmastime.

It is called In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms by Dr. Laura Schlessinger (award-winning talk show host and therapist). I had never heard of the lady. I don't normally read books like that. I breezed through it in a couple of days. If any other friend would've given it to me, I would have probably rolled my eyes or been offended. It embarrasses me to admit, that. But, God knew. He gave that specific friend the idea; I am so glad.

I grasped that book like a koala to its momma.

Here are excerpts that benefited me:

Another newbie SAHM wrote that I was the only one in the world who supported her and helped her believe she was doing the right thing. At first, she felt like less of a person, leaving her professional life to be "just" a mom. After listening to me day after day reinforce the importance of a mom to a child, she realized that in fact she had been brainwashed to believe that motherhood was beneath the dignity of an intelligent, independent woman. She would watch people's eyes glaze over when she told them she was a SAHM, and she felt like she had to rush in with a "but, before I left I was...," as if to prove her intelligence to them. (pg 38)

Children are minors for only eighteen years--after that, every parent is free and clear to chase any dream or fantasy that the marriage can accommodate. There is no reason that parents can't work around their family's schedule and personal needs to take on hobbies, part time endeavors, schooling, and so forth. It hopefully seems reasonable that children and family should not be pushed aside for personal ambitions; however, some personal ambitions can readily be experienced in the context of family and children when the two parents work together--dividing time and involvement--and keeping up the loving bonds with the gift of time, attention and priority. (pg. 117)

I hope people look at our family and say, "Gee, they're just ALL about their kids."
That is a compliment to me.
We didn't have our kids for our sakes, we had them for their sakes.
I am enjoying this season in our lives. I don't get much done during the day. If Wilder asks to cuddle both at nap and bedtime, I always say yes. There are so many things to do instead of that. But that can wait.

Because time, well, it won't.

Lord, thank you for bringing me to a place of contentment and joy as I embrace my position as the heart of the home. Thank you for doing that work in my heart. Thank you for the bonus part-time Thursdays gig at the boutique. Were you waiting for me to be at peace, so you could reward me like that? You make me smile.


Jenalsbrg said...

Beautiful post; beautiful woman; beautiful mom.

AbsoluteMommy said...

I needed this post today. Thanks!

katieharris said...

Mindy, Mindy, Mindy. I LOVE this.
You have always been an SAHM inspiration to me, and when I was pregnant with Elise, I looked at you & your kids whenever I had any tiny thought of going back to work instead of staying home with her. You just make it look so awesomely rewarding. Thankfully, it was never a tough decision for me, as I believe that no daycare/nanny/etc. could ever love, nurture, and raise my child like I could. But I know not everyone has the financial means to do it, and I feel blessed to have the privilege to spend (almost) every minute of her life together with her, and would not have it any other way
(as I'm sure you do with W&S).
I do feel that some friends (those without kids), don't look at me as 'successful' in terms of career, and that is something I still struggle with at times. Who really wants to hear about diapers, naps, and playtime when others are making business decisions and working on exciting projects? I just have to keep reminding myself that this is where God wants me, where Elise wants me, and where I want to be. Thanks for this reminder. I need to read that book....whenever I can find some free time :)

Kaitlin Mattingly said...

okay do you have the most darling little life in the world.
i always head to your blog when i need a good smile.
you are just so darling!

xoxo katlin

Annabel said...

Thank you, Mindy. You always make me smile. You're beautiful, your two darlings are beautiful, your words are beautiful. Thank you for sharing... You're the best!

Ashley said...

what a beautiful post. i am a nurse and although i am part time i still hate being away from them 12 hours! i just switched to night shift and love it! it may be hard for me, but i am doing it for the kids. i already see a difference when they realize that i can hang out with them all day (and i'm only out of commision for a few hours the next day..not 12!). thank you again for reminding me that i am doing this for my kiddos and they are only with me a short while!

Briana@SweetCGrace said...

How did you know I needed this post? Just last night I was feeling like I needed to do something more to contribute, even though money is fine. But, immediately thought - I just can't send my 3-year old to a daycare. Man, the guilt of being a mother and then wanting to take care of everything in your home - to make sure everything is alright, when we are only one person. Thanks for being so honest.

alishamcclure said...

Beautiful!! There are definite downsides to being a SAHM, and sometimes it is easy to get caught up in them, but the benefits of being a SAHM are so much more wonderful than anything I experienced in the "working world". Thanks for the reminder of how wonderful our "jobs" are!

kaylee@life chasers said...

Your heart is beautiful. Truly. I think the Lord has some crazy things in store for you that are going to far surpass your hearts desires. Love you.

Megan said...

I love this post so much and had very similar feelings when I was contemplating motherhood. I didn't want to be "just a stay at home mom" and didn't think it was good enough. But I really feel like the Lord helped me see the good in it as well and I wouldn't have it any other way. Thank you so so much for sharing your story. It is truly so beautiful and inspiring!

Carmen said...

Mindy! Thanks for stopping by my blog (although recently neglected)! I'm so stoked for you and the other ladies who are part of The Cottage Collective! It's been a long time since we've made it to Wichita, but when we do, you can bet I'll be stopping in! I wish you all great success!

Oh, and love this post as well! :)