I recently saw a fb post written by a wonderful, loving, beautiful mom bemoaning her work situation. She was having an awful morning, she was overworked, underpaid and was simply venting on fb to make herself feel better, she wasn’t necessarily looking for suggestions, just good old fashioned venting. However, in the post she innocently (perhaps innocently) said, “if you are lucky enough to be a SAHM, can you just take a moment to appreciate the HELL out of it” Ooooh, she said “lucky”. Those are fighting words for Stay-At-Home moms like me for whom luck plays no part! The only reason we can crunch the numbers and come out even or slightly ahead is because we MAKE it that way.
Neither Dan nor I was born with a silver spoon. We have had absolutely zero financial, emotional and/or physical assistance. Yet, we made the decision to commit to our children and sacrifice BIG time to have me stay home and raise our own children. This was the easiest decision in my adult life, despite the huge huge sacrifices we have had to make along the way. Without a doubt, I would never change a thing, not one blessed thing. And somehow along the way we took this one step further and last year began our homeschool journey!
Now, I won’t lie and say I don’t want all the things, that I don’t want the material possessions 95% of my friends have because even today, 18 years into my parenting journey, I find it a big pill to swallow when I have to forgo even minor luxuries. It’s certainly hard when you live near Aspen – the hub of the rich and famous – where the excess and the blatantly wealthy dangle in front of my eyes on a daily basis!!
As much as it sucks to not have many luxuries, like a new car and tropical vacations, there is a romanticism about it. God could have sent his only begotten Son adorned with jewels and with an entourage fit for a … well, a king. But He chose that Jesus be born without anything. Jesus was very poor and yet He is the Son of God. Jesus was born in a stable, no comfortable bed, no decent home, none of the typical riches associated with royalty. He became a refugee as a baby because Herod wanted to kill Him. Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt, where they didn’t know the language but Joseph had to find work. When compared to Jesus’ beginning, we are wealthy beyond words. Sure it’s tough to make sacrifices, but we’re in good company.
There is so much beauty in sacrifice. It’s beautiful that I’m there to wipe all of my children’s tears, to revel in all of their happiness. It’s beautiful that I’m their everything, that I can calm them and excite them and teach them and love them. It’s beautiful that we can make cookies and puppets and play tag and read books. It’s beautiful that despite the things we don’t have, we don’t even notice we are without. For the most part, we only notice what we do have and what we do have far outweighs anything man-made. It’s amazingly beautiful that we have all day everyday together, so there is no rush … we have a lifetime. I have the time to instill and reinforce values and morals. My children have their mom and I have my children. All day, everyday, the way it was meant to be. We are learning together, growing together and enjoying life together.
The majority of SAHM’s will tell you it’s hard work, sure they love it, but it’s tough, thankless, sometimes mundane work. I can’t relate to this. Our days start with school, we race through it and then we are off. We are at the park, the pool, on the river, on the mountain, hiking, biking, snowboarding, rafting, kayaking … there is no mundane in our life.
Thankless? Perhaps the words, “Thank you mommy for not working” have never be mouthed, but thankless is NOT what my experience is. I get all the thanks I need when I nurse Elly, or make lunch or help with a tricky school problem. Thankless? Not by a longshot. My baby gets to sleep in her own bed and be rocked to sleep by her own mommy. My children get to spend all day reading, playing, plotting with their siblings. My oldest and my youngest connect daily – there is no generation gap. Thankless? Perhaps if I were blind.
Hard? Life is hard, being a mommy, a good one, is hard, but being a SAHM is simply being a good mommy. There is nothing more valuable, nothing more earth changing, nothing more life altering than being a SAHM. Period.
The toughest part of my day will no doubtedly be juggling 1st grade, 2nd grade and my little Elly, who happens to be one of our few clingy babies. The toughest part of Dan’s day will no doubtedly be much much worse. I’ll certainly be drop dead exhausted by noon, starving, holding a crying baby, teaching phonics rules and ordinal numbers. Sweat will be beading on my forehead, but lunch, nap and then fun is what the remainder of my day entails. Dan … he will be tired and he will be stressed and he will probably be going on hour number 35 without sleep. Juggling responsibilities at his first job, launching his own business and juggling the side jobs he picked up when he was hit with a 20% paycut. Yep, much much worse. But at the end of the day, when the kids are snuggled into their beds and Dan and I are winding down our days, there is no talk of regrets, no talk of “someday”, nothing but peace in the fact that we made the right decision out of pure unadulterated love.
Sure, we don’t have many luxuries and today we struggle financially, but we are in good company. The grass is always greener (metaphorically speaking, of course) on our side of the fence.