Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A long-term vision for home

I have just found this gem of an article, which was a great comfort and inspiration for me. I hope it will do the same for you.

It's true that most of us didn't leave anything as prestigious as a career with the NASA to become a stay-at-home wife, but I'm sure everyone has had those mornings when even being someone's secretary sounds pretty tempting, because you get to wear a suit, sit in a chair for most of the day, and get a few hours off wiping noses and bottoms. 

In the neighborhood we currently live in, there is a fair number of young mothers with babies who are staying home.  With their babies - that's the key phrase here, because as soon as those babies grow a little older, or at most hit their toddler years, they are put in daycare (even if their mothers don't work). The stay-at-home period is seen as temporary, and you often hear expressions such as "I just couldn't stand being home anymore" and "it was so oppressive, I had to go out to work and do something".

Another prevalent feature of the local stay-at-home Moms is that it's always just one child who is home with their mother (unless it's twins). That is, if there's a baby and a toddler, and the mother stays home with the baby, the toddler is always in daycare - even though daycare costs money, and Mom is home anyway, and even if the family isn't very well off financially. Mothers would still rather pay for daycare than stay home with two children, which is seen as impossibly burdensome (or so I was told when I had two under two at home). I really don't see it that way. Babies, especially past a certain stage, appreciate the company of their siblings, and I personally find it's easier to entertain several children than just one.

We are different from most people in this sense. In the seven years of my marriage, I have stayed home almost consistently (sometimes working from home, sometimes working on a flexible schedule outside), even when we didn't have babies (Tehilla was 4 when Israel was born). We are home educators. Furthermore, I don't feel at all oppressed or depressed for staying home. I feel happy. Of course, seeing everybody around me working so diligently towards certain goals, I sometimes get these nagging moments of worry/panic: couldn't I do something more, too? Am I pulling my weight? Am I doing enough to contribute to our financial stability? I used to be top of my class, I have a hard-earned degree from a prestigious university. So many expectations used to be pinned on me. Am I a disappointment?

Naturally, I then look at my baby and realize that there's no chance I'd let someone else to take care of him instead of doing so myself. I feel thoroughly privileged to be able to say he has hardly been out of my sight since he was born.

Does it matter who changes the baby's diapers, who teaches the toddler to drink from a cup? I believe it does. I believe memories cannot be artificially created in little slots of time crammed here and there in an overflowing busy life. I do believe that what I am doing makes a difference - slowly, imperceptibly - in the life of our family and in those whose lives are touched by our presence. 


Laura Spilde said...

very true. I have found that I do like 'some' adult interaction. so schedule playdate with male or female friends with husband's advice and approval :) husband recognize that some adults are not 'safe friends'......

Anonymous said...

It absolutely makes a difference. You are giving your children a security and safety that they cannot get any other way and this will pervade every aspect of their lives.

in His peace,

MDiskin said...

"I believe memories cannot be artificially created in little slots of time crammed here and there in an overflowing busy life."

Yes. This is exactly it. Quality time isn't about shoehorning in excursions and fun into slivers of time with our kids. Quality is something that is distilled out of *quantity* time.... the hours and days and years we are with them, truly knowing each other and caring for each other.

Can you imagine in old age getting a visit only every once in a while from your child -- if you're lucky, perhaps once a week in an old-folks' home? To be so starved for comfort and love, and aching for your children's active presence, as so many elderly are. And yet this tiny sliver is what so many give their children now, not seeing that this is what they are teaching them to know as family life.

Motherhood can be grueling, but it has rewards beyond compare. And it humbled me to realize my own mother's sacrifices -- I only wish I'd married younger, and had more kids. I would have appreciated my own mother so much more, and earlier!

McFife said...

I'm so thankful to have re-discovered your blog. I'm a Christian woman but have explored head-coverings on and off for a few years, and am generally in skirts. Part of that exploration brought me to your blog years ago but then, well, 4 babies later... Since checking up on your blog a few days ago, I plan to follow it again as we are also home educators and seem to be "kindred spirits"! But in a different climate (Canada)... So many wonderful things here. Thank you!!

living from glory to glory said...

Hello Anna, you have a Mothers heart and everything you stated is just a reflection of the self centered way of thinking. But children of all ages need their Mother and Father! Being home is a wonderful life for us and them!
So glad you are doing what is best for your little ones!
Blessings, Roxy

Otter Mom said...

We always thought we'd have more than one, but it didn't happen. We are thrilled with our daughter and have been from the moment we found out she was on the way. I don't feel like she is a disappointment nor do I feel like she's spoiled just because she is the only one. She is who she is supposed to be and she is a true blessing. I would have loved to be able to stay home with her, we managed it until she was 2 and I am thankful for that much time but I would have liked to stay home until she went into school. I did manage to cut my work day to school hours so I was at least able to get her after school and be home with her then. I never have understood the attitude of getting them out of the house into daycare if it wasn't a necessity.

Anonymous said...

I so agree! I can't imagine doing anything other than staying home with my kiddos. And it always makes me scratch my head when parents send the older ones off to school, whether at 2 for preschool or, even mores so, 5 for kindergarten. Just when they are getting old enough to be a big help you send them away?! doesn't make sense to me :-)

Cate said...

Thank you. I'm at home with 3 girls 3 and under. It's hard, but we're finally starting to get to the point where the babies and the toddler will play together. It's worth it and I wouldn't trade it though!