Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Heart-To-Heart with Stay-At-Home Moms

Myriah Grubbs Photography
Homemaker is the ultimate career.  All other careers exist for one purpose only: to support the ultimate career.   ~C.S. Lewis

Mountains of laundry, dirty diapers, never-ending dishes to wash, school with the children, housecleaning, sleepless nights, early mornings, conflict resolution between siblings...  So often this is the landscape of our days.  How is it that the house can look this messy when I've never stopped once today?  It's a stealthy lie that creeps in and makes us believe this is our only existence.  It frequently seems there is no light at the end of the laundry tunnel.  I know I've hit rock-bottom when I find myself feeling like an invisible creature with little meaning and not much to show for my existence; especially when the children can't seem to get along, the house is a wreck, and there is no energy to cook dinner.  Lack of sleep leaves me feeling dumb and empty.  It's always at these low moments when I look up and see the workforce moms, smartly-dressed, hair and make up always done, taking the world on by storm. Then I wonder, did I make the right choice?  Is this what my life is supposed to be about?

To be a mother is a woman's greatest vocation in life.  She is a partner with God.  No being has a position of such power and influence.  She holds in her hands the destiny of nations, for to her comes the responsibility and opportunity of molding the nation's citizens.  ~Spencer W. Kimball

So many opportunities are presented to women these days.  It's endless, really.  Long gone are the days of women being expected to keep the home fires burning and only being aloud to help in children's ministry, and this is a wonderful thing.  I love that the sky is the limit for my daughters.  Both the world and the church opens wide the doors of endless possibility, and applauds mothers working/serving outside the home.  This is not a post that bashes workforce moms one bit.  I have a dear friend who manages her business and relationship with her husband two children beautifully, and I deeply respect her for it.  This post is simply to encourage mothers who have made the choice to embrace the artistic lifestyle that is sometimes called SAHM (Stay At Home Mom).  It seems our western culture, both secular and sacred, has taken a pendulum swing when it comes to women and work, and I have noticed a dire need for us to find balance and truly respect and honor mothers who choose to stay at home.

All that I am or hope to be I owe to my angel mother.  I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me.  They have clung to me all my life.  ~Abraham Lincoln

Constantly, I must remind myself what a privilege it is to be a keeper of this home.  It's easy to remember during the sweet moments.  The trick is bringing the current moment into a place of sweetness, especially when they are ugly to begin with.  I am learning to protect my connection with the Father, to take time to enjoy what I love, to gaze in awe of His creation, and to refuse to get swept away in the day-to-day drudgeries of cleaning and cleaning and cleaning and cleaning.  When I'm in good spirits, it changes the atmosphere of the home and I bring my family with me to a place of peace and joy.  It's a miraculous thing to realize the power that we have over our home life.  When I forget to do any of the things that centers and brings life, I find myself with no resource to help siblings solve a conflict, to defeat the piles of laundry and dishes with a heart of worship, or to make it through a day victoriously without much sleep.  It's those day-to-day moments that shape the lives of our children.  Each interaction with them is a sacred learning experience.  Being Jesus in these exchanges takes everything I have, and then I need to pull on Him because I just don't have enough on my own.  Nothing fills my heart more with reward than going to bed exhausted, knowing that my energy was spent where it counted: pouring into our children and protecting an environment that encouages the fruits of the Spirit.

Before you count the profit, count the cost of a working mother. ~A. Theodore Tuttle

The vocation of a mother steadfast at home varies from each valiant mother.  The unending differences of personalities, circumstances, family size, and location makes each homemaker as different as the snowflakes.  As a member of this elite, creative, artistic guild of mothers at home, it is imperative that we all hold a deep respect and honor for one another, and for each mother: full-time in home or out.  We each do our best with what we've been given to steward.  We each have shining moments and horrible ones.  We can be so hard on ourselves and in turn so critical of each other.  As members of this guild, and truly for the sake of mankind, it is crucial that we encourage and build each other up; to extend grace to one another and to ourselves.  Sometimes we feel invisible, but ladies, we are on the front lines and we must link arms and stay indivisible.  We are a crucial part of the Body of Christ and we must stay united.

I looked on child-rearing not only as a work of love and duty but as a profession that was fully as interesting and challenging as any honorable profession in the world and one that demanded the best that I would bring it.
~Rose Kennedy
Mothers who choose to stay home: you are a hero.  You have chosen a ministry that is one of the most hidden.  You are imparting what has been imparted to you, linking the generational chains and giving your children opportunities to grow farther than you could have ever imagined.  You are shaping the world for the better, raising up world-changers, and deeply imprinting the mark of unconditional love into the hearts of the next generation.  When push comes to shove, it's the day-to-day interactions that shape grown-ups of the future, and you are choosing to be the one who imparts morality and virtue to them. What a noble thing you have chosen to give your life to.   Never forget how important you are.  Never forget that the One we long to delight sees you, even when no one else does.

Do without if you need to, but don't do without a mother. ~H. Burke Peterson
I'm sharing this at Simple Lives Thursday.

28 comments:

  1. My sentiments exactly...Beautiful!

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  2. So true indeed!

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  3. Thank you..needed to hear this today amongst the "drudgery". The Lord has used you to encourage me!

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  4. Thank you for your words! They brought me to tears and encouraged my spirit.

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  5. Needed this today.. Thanks :) I have to remind myself to choose and disagree with the lie that "I'm not cut out for this stay at home mom thing." I know I was, it's the only thing I wanted to be growing up. I remember my senior year of high school them asking us to write what we wanted to become as an adult and I put "A wife and mom." The "that's it?" didn't sway me one bit then, I just said "yup" and smiled.. :)

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  6. I needed this today, Mrs. Riddle. You're words were such a blessing to me. Thank you!

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  7. I'm actually a stay at home grandma whose daughter is a working single mom. I worked when she was small and am blessed to be able to work from home and care for my 1 1/2 year old grandson, and I know how important and brief this time with him is. But I have been feeling tremendously overwhelmed and underappreciated recently, and I want to thank you so much for writing this!

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  8. Katie don't ever feel bad for your decision. I was a stay at home mom for my first 2 but was forced back into the work force with my 3rd. It has been excruciating for me. I have felt inadequate as a mom for it. I was even bitter for a while for having to go back to work, but God has brought me to a place of comfort in the situation that I am in. The oldest 2 are teenagers now, but Rosie is still in elementary school. I try to eat with her at least once a week, and I have been blessed with a flexible boss who allows me such indulgences. I take time for each one per week to make them feel special. I try to make every moment at home count with the kids, so my home and dishes and laundry suffer for it. I have decided that one day my house will be clean, but it will be empty. Right now, my focus is on making memories with the girls and teaching them everything I can with the time I do have. I have finally come to peace with where I am at the moment . God knows what each of our children need from us as moms and whether we are working or not, He has equipped us and He supplies their needs through us. I have also learned not to compare myself with other moms who seem like everything is perfect. There is a story and struggle behind every one. I LOVE your blog and pray blessings on you and your family. You are truly an inspiration!

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  9. I, too, was a stay-at-home mom, and now that my boys are raised and out of the house, I still find that maintaining our home is a blessed thing. I have more time now to spend with God and pray for others because my life is not absorbed by other priorities. Though my family is grown, I am still available to help friends and family when they need it because I can be flexible, and can do volunteer work. I think that sometimes we are too caught up in wanting to be something or someone important. By being at home, I have had to understand that I am important to God - but not because of what I do - or don't do! It is easy to slip into the mindset that we matter because of what we do - not because of what God did for us. I think God is concerned about relationships and commitments. Whether it is relationships with Him, our children, husband, family, friends or acquaintances. And He is not so concerned about whether or not we are committed to an employer. Just my 2 cents :) Thanks for your wonderful post!

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  10. I really needed to see this today thank u. I am a stay at home mom of two boys they keep me busy. But I love them so much. I wouldn't change a thing for the world.

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  11. Thanks Katie. Beautiful and just what I needed.

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  12. Love it! Can't wait to be a stay at home mom!

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  13. what an amazing blog post! THANK YOU for writing such beautiful words!

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  14. Needed this - thank you.

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  15. Beautiful...your words ministered deeply. Thank you for so sweetly and honestly sharing your heart.

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  16. Yes, yes, yes! You have no idea how much I needed to hear this today. You just pulled the words right out of my heart and it is SO wonderful to know that when my house looks like this, and my kids behave like that, and I feel so utterly inadequate, that it's not just me. I am not a failure. I am a mother doing my very best in a culture that sometimes just doesn't understand. Thank you, thank you for understanding!!

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  17. btw, I just noticed that you posted this at 5:14AM -what! You are amazing :)

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  18. I wish I had the choice to be a stay at home mum. I am forced to miss out on so much of my children because we cannot afford to live any other way.

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  19. Thank you. This is so encouraging to me.

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  20. I love this! Thank you!

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  21. Made me cry!! That was amazing!!! Thank u!!!

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  22. Thank you for this. I needed to hear it, it was "one of those days" and I needed a little push to choose sacrificial love over selfishness.

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  23. Wonderful. Just what I needed to hear. Thank you!

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  24. What a beautiful article. Brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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  25. Jennifer PepitoMay 2, 2014 at 7:50 AM

    Beautiful! I mostly have been raising my kids in a culture where being a stay at home mom is elevated, however now that we are connecting with Bethel through conferences I see the emphasis on women having choices. I see the value in women being treated with respect and given honor in the church, but small children need a calm and safe environment to grow in, and they need good attachment with their mother. Mothering small children doesn't last forever, but the time that you take to give it your all, will be an investment in eternal souls, an investment that pays big dividends

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