Has anybody ever asked you, “So, what do you do?” Have you responded like me, with, “I stay at home with the kids.” And then, has that person given you the blank, uncomfortable, awkward look? It’s almost as if that person was waiting for you to say something like, “I work at Dr. So-and-so’s office as a nurse,” or “I teach a 3rd grade class at Such-and-such school.” “Oh, how wonderful!” they would have then remarked. But if you’re just a stay-at-home mom, what can they say? Right?
My response has been kinda weak and needs a little work. Stay-at-home mom? Let’s change that to Manager of the Home. Or, Full-time wife and mother. Or, Career in Home and Child Development. I think I like that last one the best.
Isn’t it bothersome when people talk to you like you don’t really DO anything, if you’re JUST at home with the kids? I become aggravated when I get the message from other people that staying at home isn’t a REAL job. That it doesn’t CONTRIBUTE. That I’m LAZY and IRRESPONSIBLE. That I don’t care if my POOR HUSBAND is driven down into his grave from all the hard work that he’s shouldering ALL BY HIS LONESOME SELF to put food on our table, pay the bills, and clothe our many children. Good grief! Where’s the recognition for what I’m actually accomplishing here? I’ll enumerate, because I like lists.
- I’m rolling up my sleeves, and taking charge of my children’s education MYSELF. My children are homeschooled. We purchase their materials ourselves. I organize their schedule, and then I make sure that it’s followed. I explain math problems, expound on the principles of good writing, cheer my youngest son on as he’s learning the ABCs … and change diapers in between.
- I’m training my children to be responsible citizens. Yes, that’s right. I expect them to clean up their toys, make their beds, flush the toilet, and pick up their dirty clothes. They’re also learning how to keep the kitchen clean and tidy, wash/dry/fold their own clothes, take out the trash, sweep and mop the floor, and keep their hair combed.
- I’m rehearsing my children for the day they’ll live out the role of being a spouse, and preparing them to be good-will ambassadors in their community. I’ve a tiring and (seemingly) thankless job of breaking up battles, and initiating peace talks among siblings. Instructing my children in the fine art of getting along takes an IMMENSE amount of patience (which I don’t always have, but I’m working on it). One day, they’re gonna need to know how to deal with other people, and not just those their same age (I’m referring to the age-segregation in public schools). At that time, all this “practice” will prove worthwhile.
- I’m monitoring my children’s nutrition, assuring that they’re eating well. I’m taking the responsibility to make family meal time happen. I don’t send my kids off with a lunch box every day, nor do I trust that other people are giving them a good meal (who knows how much of that well-rounded lunch from school kids actually eat). I prepare all meals myself. Three meals a day. Of course, sometimes my children help out, too. After all, they need to learn how to cook for themselves; one day, it will be very useful to them. I know what goes into every dish. We don’t eat junk food, and we don’t pig out on pizzas (at least not usually).Because we aren’t rushing around from place to place, we have the time to sit around the dining room table together, for EVERY meal, and share not only our food, but our lives with each other.
- I’m nurturing my babies with the care that only a mother can give. Daycares and babysitters can’t give my babies what I can give them. I AM THEIR MOTHER! I AM THE ONE WHO IS MEANT TO CARE FOR THEM! I have breastfed all of my children. I have changed all their diapers myself (though sometimes my husband helps — I don’t want to forget to thank him for that!). I dress them, I bathe them, I feed them, I wipe their noses, I clean the food from their chins, I watch after them when they play outside, I rock them to sleep, I sing them lullabies, I read them stories, I tickle their tummies, I make funny faces with them, I hold them close to my chest where they can hear my heart beating. Even the nicest babysitter doesn’t even come close.
If I were to continue, you’d get bored; but there are so many, very important tasks that I, as a “Stay-at-home mom,” am in charge of! And the wonder of it all, is that I get paid absolutely nothing for it! It’s a 24-hour-a-day, every-day-of-the-week job, that I do for free! Who else would do this? Would a nurse offer to work in a hospital for free? Would a secretary offer to work in an office for free? Why is it that those folks are given recognition for their contributions to society — by their friends, by their families, by complete strangers –but “stay-at-home moms” are not? It doesn’t seem fair. Yet, if I think about it, I DO get paid, though not monetarily.
I am paid in: “Mommy I love you’s,” from adoring, uplifted faces, and “Thank you sweetheart’s,” from my smiling, appreciative husband; in tight hugs and slobbery kisses; in dreams spun together, and hopes come true celebrated; in every moment spent in each other’s presence; in every experience shared which gleams like a jewel in our memories forever.
God made women to be home builders and nesters; nurturers and tear driers. We were meant to complement our husbands by helping them at home, not compete with them by going out into the work force. Having a career in “Home and Child Development” is the job that God intended for us women from the beginning! Let’s not allow our modern society to trick us into something less.
“And the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.’ … Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
And Adam said:
‘This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.’
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
Genesis 2:18, 22-23
“That they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”