I love being a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom. It’s a great life. It’s a hard life, but it’s a great one too. There are some things that I have been struggling with lately though. Before we go further, let me get this out of the way. Yes, I chose this life. No, I’m not complaining. Yes, I do wish I had a magic wand that could give me everything I want they way I want it. 🙂
One of the biggest difficulties with staying home and allowing Mr. Fantastic to be our provider is obviously financial in nature. Could we bring in more money if I worked? Duh. Obviously. But really, the cost of me going to work outside the home is not one that my family is willing to pay…myself included. This, however, has not been one of my struggles. Mr. Fantastic and I are creative. We find ways to make it work. We always have. However, it does make my life more hectic. For instance, instead of buying a new dresser for my children I will buy an old one that is cheap and in good condition…and ugly. Then we’ll spend the extra $10-$15 to make it look nice with new paint and whatnot. There are people out there in this world that can do this type of thing in an afternoon. I am not one of those people. This kind of a project literally takes me days. But the results are worth the effort (or so I tell myself.) I also do things like clean my own carpets, sew things and mend other things, coupon, and many more things to save money. Do you know what all of those things require? Time.
Let’s not forget homeschooling. Unfortunately (or fortunately…however you look at it), homeschooling is pretty much a lifestyle. Yes, we do take summers off of intense study, but it actually never stops completely. There is still daily reading, a little bit of math, and practically daily science lessons (all courtesy of the amazing Mother Nature and curiosity). Then, of course, I have other things I need to do in order to be the best homeschooling parent I can. For instance, our Commonwealth sends those who will be mentors for training. I have meetings to attend about Commonwealth business. I have my own study I need to keep up on. Do you know what being a homeschool mom requires above else? Time.
And let us not forget normal mom/wife stuff. Lessons, time for play, social gatherings, church groups, counseling, comforting etc. Oh! And the writing/projects that I do for The Independent. What do they all ask for? Time.
Time. The most finite resource on the planet. I have the same amount of time that everyone else does. I am charged with finding a way to prioritize and make the most of my day. Choosing between good, better, and best is my responsibility. Discerning when the dishes take priority over playtime or vice versa is my job. Aside from the work I do keeping me busy, it also keeps me emotionally stretched. Have I met the needs of my husband and children? Are the little demon-angels being properly trained up? Do they know what they need to know? Have I given them too much freedom too soon or not enough? Am I focusing too much on expectations outside the home instead of what matters? It’s hard. I’m not complaining though. I really don’t want to give this up.
Let us not forget my tendencies toward control. Whenever I do a bio, I describe myself as many things including a little anal retentive. 🙂 My kids yesterday commented on how clean my house would be all the time if I wasn’t married. HAHAHA! The Mr. Fantastic does have a weakness in this area, but he makes up for it in other ways. 🙂 All of these things add up to a perfect combination, a perfect storm if you will, just waiting to happen. And happen it did.
Car troubles forced my husband to call me from a meeting I was in to take him to the doctor this week. I was so angry. I tried to calm myself, but it wasn’t working. I was tired of everything coming down to me. That is what it feels like a lot of times to moms that stay at home. I know I am not alone in this. In any point of crisis or even minor need, everyone looks to the stay-at-home mom to come to the rescue. “I need a ride.” “I don’t have any money for lunch/forgot my lunch.” “I worked late and don’t have my homework with me. Please bring it.” “I left the papers. Can you bring them?” “I need my wallet.” “Can you fix the car?” There are so many more. The attitude of, “You stay at home. Your stuff can be done later because you don’t have a boss” drives me nuts. Even worse is the attitude of, “You stay at home, and you don’t really work.” (Mr. Fantastic doesn’t think this, but I know others do.) So when I was called away from my homeschooling meeting, all these feelings just raged through me. I was sick of everyone thinking I should alter my life because they think my work is less important than theirs! To say I was furious doesn’t cover it. I was livid.
Then this morning something happened. I was reading some scriptures (well, listening to them while I walked). What I was reading had no bearing on what followed. What mattered was the Spirit that came over me, and the insight I was given. It was a Spirit of overwhelming love and gentle chastisement. I was gently reminded that this is my purpose. It is my job to help my family and friends when I can. That is part of the purpose of a stay-at-home mom. I do this work to make life better for people, particularly those I love. Is it easy? No. Being inconvenienced, changing my direction for the day, is never easy. It cuts at my pride. But the truth of it is that I have something beautiful here. People that I love know that they can count on me. People that I love have learned that I am a steady and reliable source of help for them. People that I love know that they can come to with any of their needs, and I will do my damnedest to meet them. That is a beautiful thing.
So my anger is gone now. I am content. I don’t pretend to think that I will never struggle with this again. For the foreseeable future, however, I am happy with this. I trust that God will help me find a way to meet the needs of others as well as my own. He loves me as much as He loves you and everyone else. I am confident that trusting Him and doing my best to love others no matter which hat I am wearing at the moment is all He wants me to do. Hopefully you all know this too.
Take It, and Be Thankful