I struggle daily with my worth as a stay at home mother and wife. It’s hard on your mind when you’re healthy and even more so when you’re sick.
During months of not feeling well, I would burst into tears every day. I could feel the weight of my responsibilities pouring down on me and I wasn’t able to tackle them. Dishes weren’t being done. Kids weren’t being played with. Husband wasn’t getting my full attention. Our home was a mess.
My three year old began to ask me, “Why are you sad all the time?” and if I wasn’t already on edge, that would set me off into a puddle of tears and I just worried her more.
I quickly started comparing myself to other moms, specifically the ones I saw on social media. How is it their house is always clean? Food is prepared well, baby naps when they’re supposed to… I was wracking my brain with these questions. I began believing lies that I needed to be that mom. That wife. All of my dreams of the mom and wife I wanted to be were slipping away because I was just so sick.
It’s hard to get out of your own head sometimes.
Especially when you’re in your home all day with toddlers. No adults around, just toddler talk. I absolutely adore my children and their conversations but sometimes I need an adult to talk to. My kids shouldn’t be worrying about the hard parts of my life, I don’t want to place a burden of that on them, especially at such a young age. Kids know. They know when their parent isn’t feeling well. Isn’t OK. They’ve known since they were in the womb. They sense it the moment you flip that switch.
But needing someone to talk to and actually talking to someone is a different story. I’m not a social person. I don’t go looking for people to converse with. I’ll avoid conversation as much as I can. But sometimes, I get stopped in my tracks. A stranger asks me what I do for a living. It happens almost every time I’m out of the safety of my home.
Sometimes, they respond well. Their spouse does the same thing, they know how important that role is. But sometimes, I can feel their judgement. I hold my breath and don’t explain anything further. I’m a stay at home mom, and that is all.
I was often times left feeling guilty. I wasn’t doing my job to the full potential it held. I was sometimes angry that my dishes wouldn’t stop pilling up. My dog wouldn’t stop shedding. My brain wouldn’t function enough to play or teach my children. I didn’t want to share what I did.
It’s hard enough when strangers are judge mental. But when family is? It goes straight to my chest and chokes me a little. I’ve had a sibling look down on me when I had an opinion about life and finances. I guess as a stay at home mother, my opinions don’t matter. I’m an idiot who couldn’t get a “real job” and I stay home with kids all day. Sure.
I went to college. For two years, I had A’s. and I chose to be the person who raises my children because God allowed me to do so. Right now, I don’t want to work outside my home.
Meanwhile, another sibling has a hard time explaining to her friends what exactly I do in the home. So its disregarded altogether and my work is told as random online business jobs I occasionally work on.
I don’t quite understand what people (who don’t know what it’s like to stay at home with children) think we do? Maybe it’s a breeze to be in the home? Kids play nicely together, food magically appears, the house cleans its self. I get to watch televison and read while I’m cozy in my pajamas. I go to the bathroom alone. Kids don’t need diaper changes or need to be watched… accidents don’t happen. Everything is boring yet, perfect.
Whether your job is solely in the home, outside of the home, or indeed both… This book is for you. Teenager or adult… living alone, with your parents, with your family, spouse, etc. etc. YOUR WORK IN THE HOME MATTERS. YOUR WORK OUTSIDE THE HOME MATTERS. Bringing order out of chaos MATTERS. A job is a job, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. In the long run, it is necessary.
I have a MASSIVE puppy and a tiny dog, two toddlers, a husband, a house.. can you visualize the work? I cook. I clean. I teach. I pray. Give baths, diaper changes, potty breaks, kiss scrapes and bruises, counsel, love, discipline, mess up all of the above, the list is endless! Sometimes my life is pretty and sweet and sometimes it’s not. But I have the gift of life. I have the gift of children. The gift of a husband and dogs and a home to care for. I have gifts. I love serving my family and helping them grow. I may not love cleaning everyday but I do love order. My family loves order. My kids can think clearly when they have a new imaginative story to play out. When they have schoolwork to finish. When they need to pick out pajamas and books for the night. My husband doesn’t have to worry about vacuuming or mopping the floors. Washing the dishes or laundry. He can enjoy the few hours he has left in his day with his babies.
Though I’m not fully healed, and may not be for a couple of years. I’m excited to say that I’m recovering from whatever sickness my body has been attacked with. I have a new set of eyes and a refreshed heart. God is showing me more and more dark areas in me each week. Sometimes I’m trying my hardest, and sometimes I’m not. But I’m learning, again, about grace and mercy. I’m learning that we have to be kind to one another, no matter what our jobs entail. I’m learning that my siblings, family, strangers, etc. don’t understand what I’m going through because they have not been in my shoes. It’s not okay for me to be angry with them for not understanding. I have learned that I can’t hold on to others opinions or views of myself and see Jesus’ view of me instead. Humans are not perfect and I can’t stay mad at them when I’m misunderstood. It’s a part of growing, it’s a part of showing the world who you are and slowly sharing your story.
Thank you God for work. Thank you for bringing order out of chaos in our world and in our lives. Sometimes it’s hard for us to stop and soak it in, so I pray that you would help us to encourage one another with the jobs you have given us. To see the order you have brought, or have yet to bring. Help us to SPEAK out and PRAY about our difficulties. Help us to love one another more and give us the desire to understand each other more. Thank you for all of our lessons.
In Jesus’ name, amen.