Monday, June 2, 2008

"Just" a Stay-at-Home Mom

Okay. Here's the deal. I broke the riding lawn mower. You might remember that in the early days of my blog, I broke the push mower. That wasn't such a bad move, because it brought about the purchase of our riding mower. Wow. What a dream. But then last weekend I broke the riding mower. So now I'm back to mowing with the broken push mower that no longer has the self-propelled mechanism. Have you ever tried mowing St. Augustine grass without the self-propelled part??

So anyway, tonight I had a lot of mowing time to think about being "just" a stay-at-home Mom. Something brought that to my attention today, and I really don't know why I felt the need to justify my stay-at-homeness. But I did. Maybe it has something to do with PMS. Maybe it just has something to do with my deep-down insecurities.

But yes, I'm a stay-at-home Mom. It's a choice Biggs and I made before Abbie ever got "started."I will stay at home as long as I need to. And you know what? I think my kids are the better for it.

I'm not discounting anyone who works and juggles laundry and kids and all that jazz. I just know that in my household my having a career would not work.

I will admit that there are days when they just get to me. When I'd give just about anything to be anywhere else. And there are days when I Google the names of old co-workers or other people and find out that they're Vice Presidents of their companies or Senior Editors of their publications.

But most of the time I realize I'm incredibly lucky to do what I'm doing.

What is that, you might ask? Well.... I can assure you I have no idea about what's going on on Days of our Lives. And I didn't see Ellen announcing her upcoming marriage (YIKES!!!) on national TV. And there's no danger of me falling into Oprah's "cult following" because I don't have time to even turn the TV on during the day. I assure you I don't sit on the couch and eat Bon-Bons.

Let's see.... From last August until about two weeks ago, I spent five days a week driving Kaitlyn to preschool. Twenty-five minutes each way. Including drop-off / pick-up time, that was two hours out of every day.

And don't think I didn't want to put a movie in the VCR and tune her out. But that wasn't an option. We spent many, many, many mornings sounding out words and reading books. Now I have a pre-kindergartner who can read my emails over my shoulder. YIKES.

I have a great deal of respect for my friends who work outside the home and are raising children. They have to cram so much into evenings and weekends that they don't get to do some of the things I do.

In the last couple of weeks I've had a blast helping at Abbie's school. Last week Kait and I read to Abbie's class. The Friday before, I helped paint pillowcases. Both things I might not have been able to do if I had a J.O.B.

I'm able to spend a lot of time at the Creek. Here's a shot of sweet Erin Venette last Memorial Day weekend.
And here are Erin and Kait checking to see if we've caught any crabs.

I'm sure having his picture taken with a bunch of GIRLS was right up Sam's alley.

Oh. Here's something I accomplished as a SAHM. Until Memorial Day, Abbie had never had a sunburn. Maybe a little pink at times, but never an all-out, peeled-like-crazy kind of sunburn. This, of course, happened while I was working on the house -- and not being the sunscreen Nazi.
If I worked outside the home, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to dedicate FIVE weekends this spring to painting the creek. If you've ever been there, you'll know what a radical change this has been.

If you've never been there -- just wait! This is the "front" guest room.
Living Room...

Front Bathroom. The handprints on the walls will eventually be fish. Oh. That reminds me of something else. I got the handprint fish idea from Emler-- the swim school in Plano Abbie & Kait went to. Because I was a SAHM, I was able to take them to weekly swimming lessons beginning before Kait was even born. Both my girls were fish by age 3. Abbie knew all four strokes by age 5. Just one more example of my children have been blessed by my being home to drive them all over creation.
This is the kids' room. Word has gotten out around here that I'm looking for good deals. We just bought both sets of bunkbeds off friends in the neighborhood. That's going to be a huge improvement. This room is lighter than the bathroom. It just doesn't look it in the pictures.

The kitchen -- kind of a medium green.

The dining room. A deeper, mossy green. The fishing poles / holders really stand out against this paint and look awesome.

Another view of the dining room / kitchen.
And now we come to today. One of those perfect days that's possible because I'm at home with the girls. I left the house right at 7:00 this morning. I got a sitter for a couple of mornings this week so I could work out.

I had my bootcamp class from 7:15 - 8:15. Ran home. No time for a shower or shaving legs. Threw on clothes. Got girls at 8:30. Drove Abbie to her DREAM -- horse camp!!!

Dropped her off. Drove to the Galleria to exchange a running shirt at New Balance. No luck. Back out 290. Stopped at Old Navy to buy Abbie some jeans -- none of hers fit. (Ones in picture were borrowed from our neighbor.) Back by Academy and then onto Sam's to stock up on groceries to feed these bottomless pits this summer. Back home for all of 10 minutes to unload the fish from my ice chest before it even thought about thawing. Picked Abbie up at 2:00. Tried to arrange afternoon playdate -- no luck. Had to go to office to get Biggs from work b/c his transmission is going out on the Honda. Came home. Dinner with family. Mowed lawn with broken push mower.

So now that I'm back to where I started this email, I don't know that I feel any better. And I don't know that I've really made sense. But if I've done anything, hopefully it's to show you that Stay-at-home Moms have a true value.

Sure. We're not out there earning an income. We chose this life, and we chose to make the sacrifices that go along with it (career, financial, etc.)

BUT just because we're at home it doesn't mean we aren't "working." I assure you, I work my tail off. If it's not with my kids and house, it's working on yearbook for school or building a fundraising team that will raise $125,000+ for breast cancer research this year.

And just because we aren't in the "working world," it doesn't mean we don't have to work with people. Ours just may be shorter.

So please.... If there's a SAHM in your world.... Please be an encouragement to her. Please offer to take her kids off her hands every once in a while this summer. Please remember that she has value and that even though it shouldn't, it hurts a bit when people make comments about her being "JUST" a stay-at-home Mom.

p.s. I could do a whole flip-side post for my dear friends who work and Mom. But you know what? I'm tired. But seriously, you've got to watch what you say about those Moms as well. They bruise, too.


Kayren said...

I'm tired just from reading this post! You have been able to give your kids such wonderful opportunities as a sahm and I am proud of you for making that choice. Anyone who says anything negative about it hasn't walked a mile in your shoes and should try it sometime. You are spoken of in Proverbs 31 and you are the jewel of your family according to David. Thanks for setting such a good example for those of us who are just learning to be sahm!

Anonymous said...

Hey D'Lyn!
You inspire me! Although my life as a SAHM in Sonora looks a little different, I am equally overwhelmed with the before-sun-up to midnight work days, 24/7 career I have chosen. I can't imagine a more challenging, stimulating and rewarding J.O.B. And there is certainly no job I could ever be so passionate about than being the best mom to my kids that I can. Keep up your mission to mold the hearts of your children. We have them for such a short time! There will always be work to do and money to make, but we won't always be able to take that little hand and lead them to the heart of God. What work could be more noble than that? And who on Earth could do a better job than their willing, loving and devoted mother? You DO have the best job ever! And your investment...eternity!
Love you!