Sunday, July 17, 2011

The problem with how we view children

I can't even begin to explain how many times I've had the same conversation with women. I tell them I am a stay at home mom. They tell me that they could "never do that" because they would "get bored" and they "need something to fulfill them intellectually/socially, etc". I usually leave these conversations feeling amazed, confused, and disheartened.

Let me start off by saying that I understand not everyone is called to be a stay at home mother. Some women need to work. There are bills to pay, student loans, and about a million other reasons why mothers cannot leave their jobs.

Take me for example. For the first six months of Madeleine's life I was a working mom. I was a youth minister and (Praise God!) that allowed my the flexibility to be working and still be with my baby all the time. She came with me to Life Teen and to meetings, I often had baby sitters at the church with me, but she was always around. Instead of feeling fulfilled as a mother and as a working woman with the job I had always dreamed of I was depressed and stressed, stretched too thin in every sense of the word. Things began to fall apart. I wasn't the wife I wanted to be, I wasn't the mother I wanted to be, and I wasn't the youth minister I wanted to be. To me, everyone deserved way more than I could give.

There are some women that can do it all and to be honest, I really and truly envy those women. I wish I was the type of woman who could cook dinner, clean the house, intellectually stimulate my brood of babies, earn a living, and still have energy for sex. I don't this post to seem like I am looking down on the women who do it all because, in fact, I greatly admire them and hope to be like them someday. My mom is the greatest example I know of a mother who could do it all and no one ever felt like she gave them less than her everything all the time. She's amazing. The women who confuse me are the ones who are bored by their children.

I always swore up and down and sideways that I wouldn't be that mom that talked non stop about how awesome my kids are. (Sidebar- according to my wonderful grandparents-in-law, my husband is perfect. I'm pretty sure he believes it too. I'm still not totally convinced he could have been a baseball great if he had JUST gotten glasses earlier but clearly I never saw him play. I do think he is pretty amazing. Love you Maw-Maw and Grandpa Verne!) I am definitely that mom. Madeleine is incredible and Juliette is wonderful and there have NEVER been cuter or sweeter babies except for Jesus. I stay home with them all day every day and while sometimes I get bored (really because I am not creative enough to figure out something new and exciting to do and I feel like I should) I am NEVER EVER bored by them.

Each minute I spend with them is a miracle. How much they know and love me is a miracle. I can't get enough of feeding them, changing their diapers, giving them their toys, moderating their "fights", and watching them learn and explore and change and grow. I am intellectually stimulated by coming up with new ways to be a better wife and mom. I am socially stimulated by my fellow moms. I am spiritually stimulated by the intense knowledge of how much more God loves me than even I love them. There is nothing boring about being a mom.

When I lost my job it was devastating in a sense because our household salary was cut in half. Suddenly, however, I felt whole. I could give my whole heart to my family. Someday I'll get the swing of things, I'll find a balance, and I'll go back into ministry. I'd love to get my master's degree in theology and teach at a college level. For now, I'm happy teaching Madeleine what sound a cow makes and what the color red looks like. I'm fulfilled watching Juliette try to call. I wasn't born to make a pay check. I was born to bring eternal souls into this world. I want to bask in how blessed I am to be a mom and how blessed I am to be able to stay home with my kids. On the days when I just want to get out by myself just for an hour I have to remind myself that the sacrifice of my independence is nothing compared to the rewards I reap. We all have our struggles as moms. Whether we stay home or work none of us have an easy path. What we share is the unbelievable blessing that motherhood is and hopefully we can all appreciate it.

Kids are never boring.

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