Sunday, April 28, 2013

Staying Home

I realize I haven't posted anything for a long time. Not that there aren't things to write about, it just happens that at the end of the day, I would much rather spend a little time with my husband than write about "things", trying to find an appropriate picture to match the post, and in all other ways be a "blogger".
This may come as a shock. But I'm no blogger.

But something happened last night that I think is really important that I would actually LIKE to write about. So here we go.

Last night, D and I were sitting in the concert hall waiting for the Giuseppe Verdi's Requiem to begin. As the hall filled, there was a couple sitting behind D who were conversing with people next to D. So, naturally, we could hear everything being said. Not like we were eavesdropping. We weren't. It was just one of those inescapable situations.
The lady who was talking mentioned to her friend that she had enjoyed the privilege of staying at home with her children all the way through their school years.
This seems like a small statement, but I was so glad to hear it.

It IS a privilege to stay home with my children. Sometimes I feel like I need to justify my mom-status to people I meet, or people I know. That somehow, being a stay-at-home mom is not enough. That I need to be doing more "acceptable" things than being with my kids.

Hearing that woman last night was a breath of fresh air. She was not ashamed of being a stay-at-home mom. And I don't have to be either.

Sure, it's nice to be able to say: I have this and this degree, I do this and this in the community, I volunteer here and here, I I I I I. But is that what is MOST important? Really?

I'll be honest. Sometimes I have a VERY difficult time being a mom. There are really only a few things that I can actually stand to play and unfortunately, my boys are not interested in them. They want to play trains, cars, star wars, dress-up. They want to do the things that I have NO interest in. But I try to do it anyways. Why? Because it matters to them. I don't want to do laundry (it's the worst chore, no?). I don't want to clean a kitchen 3 times a day, or pick-up the legos my kids missed. But I DO want the things that doing the I-don't-want-to's bring. I DO want my kids in clean clothes, playing on a clean floor, eating good food that I can make for them. I DO want my kids to have an imagination. I DO want them to appreciate nature, listen to and learn to play good music, and know how to have fun with very little. I don't want them to become a slave to technology. I DO want them to be independent and learn to use the power of words. They should be curious, excited, engaged, and occasionally crazy. They are kids, after all. Those are things that stay-at-home moms teach kids to do. What to be. We have all the power in the world.
People who make policy, who sit at heads of state, who manage economies- they have nothing on the strength and power of a mom. Who are they? Elected or appointed. Temporary. Dispensable. Forgettable.
But who is a mom? Permanent. Included. Indispensable. Forever. Unforgettable. (for good or for ill, ask any psychiatrist)
And here's the best part: a Mom does not need to be the woman who actually gave birth to you. All adopted children know that.
A mom is the one who loves you and sticks with you and supports you and encourages you and helps you up when you fall NO MATTER WHAT.
But that comes at a price.
And sometimes that's a heavy price for a smart, educated, driven, ambitious woman to bear.

I gave up a LOT to be a stay-at-home mom and I know FOR A FACT that my cohorts in the mommy-world also have given up much of their immediate desires to raise a family. I wanted to get an advanced degree. Well, I started, and then my one-year-old baby had a seizure, stopped talking and was soon enrolled in early childhood intervention with an eventual diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome as well as struggling with echolalia. The work I have put into him ALONE has been a huge undertaking. But I felt like there were more people who needed to be a part of my family. Now, as a family of 4, we still feel there is another who needs to come. And I will stay-at-home with my children gladly.

And my advanced degree? I do not want it right now.

David O.McKay is quoted as saying, "There is no success in the world that can compensate for failure at home."

Do you believe that?

What ill of the world would not be improved except by a stay-at-home mom who cares, loves, instructs, corrects, and supports her children?

This is what weighs in the balance. A Mom makes ALL the difference. Not a PhD. Not a business. Not accolades, money, or power. The ultimate power is in being a Mother.

Someday I will look back on what I've done. What will be the most important? I think it will be the things that bring me joy. Things that give me a feeling of fulfillment. Will that be hours spent in a library or in front of a computer achieving another couple of letters after my signature at the expense of my kids? No! It will be the things I did with my kiddos. The many trips to the park, the swimming, the sidewalk chalk, the reading stories, the science projects, the piano recitals, the soccer games, the swim meets, the camping trips and everything else that a parent is BLESSED to do with their children, as well as the rough parts: scraped knees, broken hearts, bullying, homework, failed dreams, belligerent attitudes, hard work that doesn't pay off etc.  The things that brought my parents joy will be the things that bring me joy.

Now there are still things that I get to do for "me time" each day. I run alone. I do yoga. I sew. I play piano for myself. Occasionally, I cook a REALLY nice dinner for D and I, and my kids eat PBJ. I go on dates with my husband. There is plenty of "me" time built into my day- lest you understand from my thoughts here that I am a slave to my family. NOT true. But my overriding occupation is a mom!

I was so moved by this nice lady's statement of simple occupation- being a stay-at-home mom. Ecclesiastes says, "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven."
This is my time to be a stay-at-home mom.
Another time will come when I am no longer needed to raise children in my home. And that will be an exciting new chapter.
So, I will not be ashamed. I will not answer the question "so what do you do" with "I'm a piano teacher", or any other peripheral occupation.
I will answer, "I have the privilege of staying home with my children".