Mother's Day is this Sunday (set that reminder to call your mom right now!) and this year I am feeling doubly grateful for it. It is my first with TWO daughters to celebrate with, and my first as a full-time stay-at-home mom. This isn't to say that I was any less of a mom last year than this year, but I will admit that it means a bit more to get some free time and be appreciated since I don't have the time away as often as I did last year when I was still working outside the home.
It is very (very) easy to complain about being a stay-at-home mom. I do it, I hear it, I see it and live it every day. I write about it, I talk about it, I even make up songs about it just to help make it through the day. The truth is, misery loves company, and it is fun to compare notes and brag about how little of sleep we are living on and how we are loathing another poopy diaper or swapping stories about the latest tantrum in public. It's funny and honest and if we moms didn't have-it-out now and again with each other than I think there is a good chance we would all go crazy or die trying.
That being said...I LOVE MY LIFE. It's true. I love it. I know it might not be as popular to say as "Help! I can't stand another episode of Sesame Street!" or "If I step on one more lego I'm going to punch a hole in the wall!" But, it's the truth. And I don't just mean "I love it because I have to and because they are my children whom I willingly chose to bring into the world and if I don't say I love it than I'm admitting that I actually made an enormous mistake that I can't take back but I will instead go on living and just resent my kids and hope they feel guilty the rest of their life for ruining mine." Nope. And let's face it - even if that's not you...you probably know a long-suffering mom in your local playgroup that does feel that way...so, let's say a prayer for her and hand her another cup of coffee with a side hug of hope, shall we?
I love being a mom. It is my dream come true. I love staying home and taking care of my girls. My crazy, chaotic, completely unpredictable, totally messy and sometimes despicable girls. I know it feels more cute and funny and popular to sit and complain about how hard this job is...and it is...but, I also know that sometimes I can feel bad for how much I love it and want to shout it from the roof tops that this is actually what I really want to be doing right now...so, here I go!
There is this weird perception in the world that stay-at-home-moms should do more. I feel this myself as I introduce myself to new people and sense a tension between the question "And what do you do?" and my answer "I stay home with our girls." I will be honest and say that sometimes I am quick to add "And I write...and I cook...and I'm working on this or that..." as if my answer wasn't complete or enough. But, who am I kidding? Taking care of two little girls is MORE than enough, and some days it is too much! Why do I sense this ridiculous need for justifying my choice of vocation?
That being said, I'm over it. I love being a mom.
Now, I think there are a LOT of moms out there that actually completely and whole-heartedly love being a stay-at-home worker. I think that oftentimes, though, we can feel belittled into thinking (usually via media or misunderstandings from those around us) that we are just suffering through these hard days, doing "what's best" for our family, putting our own dreams on hold or buy into the thought that "If I actually admit to loving such-n-such, than I will look/sound/seem not as motivated/academic/current as I truly want to be". False.
We've heard it time and again - "Motherhood is the hardest job on the planet". We've grown up hearing how it is rewarding and painful and difficult and that it pays off, but not without sacrifice and great steps of courage. We've been brought up to respect mothers, but not without a glance of sympathy or a prayer of encouragement...of pity. Yes, I know that when you read my blogs and millions others and you hear/share how crazy and exhausting this day-to-day life as a mom is that it can sound like a discouragement towards a job that we're all just "getting through"...but, it's not. I hope no one reads what I write and ever walks away thinking I am less than incredibly grateful to be where I am (albeit, tired at times).
And I get to shift and grow and slowly be shaped into a more and more selfless person with every hour I know my children. I get glimpses of Jesus through their bias-free eyes and through the grace I give them that I know is not by my own strength. I learn more about myself and who I should be just by showing them the things of life they are noticing for the first time. I get to witness incredible amounts of beauty through the perspective of young minds. They see people as "fun" or "super fun"...no race, no prejudice, no money or manipulation of any kind. When my children look at the faces of others, they only see smiles. And it's my job (my job) to witness that (learn from it) and encourage it. And I hope my girls grow up knowing that they helped me to live the life that I wanted to live...that I am choosing to live...dustpans and sippy cups and burp rags and all.
This Mother's Day, I'm the one who is grateful. I'm the one who is feeling the need to hand out the candy and cards and flowers to those who support me. I'm the one who is so blessed to be able to say THANK YOU JESUS for letting me take part in this planet as a helper and bringer-upper of the next generation. I love being a mother - a stay-at-home mother - and I'm not ashamed to say it!
Maybe it is the hardest job on the planet. Challenge, accepted. This is one mother who is willing and ready and excited to remember each year that it is also the absolutely best job a gal could ever ask for.
Happy Mother's Day, indeed.