Tuesday, March 29, 2011

confession #5: i never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom

it's true. i always imagined i'd get a couple of degrees so that i could get a good money-making job so that our family could enjoy the material comfort that i thought desirable. i did not picture myself squeezing every last penny out of a tightly budgeted, way below poverty-level income so that we could barely pay all of our bills and maybe splurge on micky d's dollar menu as a treat once in a bazillion years. however, after i had nate, it just made more sense for me to stay at home with the boys. i found myself beginning to feel worthless and aimless as a stay-at-home mom. i thought that surely God created me for more than doing house chores and changing poopy diapers. i'm a pretty smart girl. i could get a few more degrees and contribute to society in a pretty significant way, right? my friends have cool degrees then got cool jobs that came with really cool salaries. why shouldn't i?!

despite my initial self-pitying, whiner baby mood, i have thankfully, through different books, speakers, and seminary classes, learned the importance of mommyhood and homemaking. through these different means, i learned that being a wife and a mother is a very high calling indeed. making sure the home is a place of refuge where everyone feels loved, encouraged, and comfortable is a tough job, but it produces wonderful, life lasting results for husband, wife, and children. this article, entitled "Motherhood" by Dale Hanson Bourke, pretty much sums it up:
Time is running out for my friend.

We are sitting at lunch when she casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of "starting a family." What she means is that her biological clock has begun its countdown and she is considering the prospect of motherhood.
"We're taking a survey," she says, half jokingly. "Do you think I should have a baby?"
"It will change your life," I say carefully.
"I know," she says. "No more sleeping in on Saturdays, no more spontaneous vacations..."
But that is not what I mean at all.
I look at my friend, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes. I want to tell her that the physical wounds of childbirth heal, but that becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will be forever vulnerable.
I consider warning her that she will never read a newspaper again without asking "What if that had been my child?" That every plane crash, every fire will haunt her. That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will look at the mothers and wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.
I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think she should know that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will immediately reduce her to the primitive level. That a slightly urgent call of "Mom!" will cause her to drop her best crystal without a moment's hesitation.
I feel I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might successfully arrange for child care, but one day she will be waiting to go into an important business meeting, and she will think about her baby's sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure he is all right.
I want my friend to know that everyday routine decisions will no longer be routine. That a visit to Mc Donald's and a five year old boy's desire to go to the men's room rather than the women's room will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that danger may be lurking in the rest room.
I want her to know that however decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother. Looking at my attractive friend, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but will never feel the same about herself. That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give it up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years, not so much to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish his.
I want her to know that a cesarean scar or stretch marks will become badges of honor.
My friend's relationship with her husband will change, but not in the ways she thinks. I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is always careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his son. I think she should know that she will fall in love with her husband again for reasons she would never have imagined.
I wish my modern friend could sense the bond she will feel with other women throughout history who have tried desperately to stop war and prejudice and drunk driving.
I want to describe to my friend the exhilaration of seeing your son learn to hit a baseball. I want to capture for her the laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog for the first time. I want her to taste the joy that is so real that it hurts.
My friend's quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes.
"You'll never regret it," I say finally.

for all of the luxuries and financial security that a career could bring, i will never regret being a full time mommy.


  1. beautiful. beautiful. I'm so happy that God has given you joy and contentment in the high calling that He has put on your life to mommy your adorable little boys :o) And the article was, well, alright yes, I teared up for sure - evidence I guess of the truth of the message of the article!

  2. the first time i read this, i cried too! :)