For the longest time I wondered if the work that I had chosen was good enough. I seesawed within myself between staying home or going back to work after the birth of our first child and our great migration to Maryland. And I have come back to this wondering and doubting and second guessing multiple times on this road of mothering five children. I wondered if in pressing into motherhood by being home all of the time if I was stunting growth in parts of myself, or if I was going to regret in the long run not having pursued that career I was intentionally laying aside.
I had wanted to go on and get my Master’s degree – and pursue work as a Marriage and Family Therapist, but I could not physically or financially do it all. So I chose the steady sacred often confined rhythms of a stay at home mother.
Unbeknownst to me I had chosen the best work I will ever do…
It is in this process I have uncovered a woman I might never have known if I had chosen differently for myself
As I have stayed and mothered well – I have shifted.
Inside I have uncovered a happiness and joy that I had never known working those 60 hour work weeks and driving all those miles. Yes, there was a ton of variety and there was a lot of “grownup” time, but there was never for me the contentment and fullness I have found in serving and loving and intentionally leaning into the heart of our family.
Mothers who choose work in addition to being a mom, or women who have no children will roll their eyes or perhaps feel threatened and weird right now – but seriously my beautiful Darlings – there is not one thing about my choice that is about you. God bless you. I have heard all the arguments and discussions and defensiveness – this isn’t about that. Find what you love, mother your kids, build good work, do the best that you can. What I have chosen is completely about me and our family. I had to learn how to be OK with what I thought I was giving up and embrace what I have chosen as my own.
This isn’t about one way over another way – it is about the woman I am becoming.
Whether we work or stay – we all have to work that out for our own selves. No one can tell us or do it for us.
This choice is about me…and only me.
My job – my highest calling – at this moment in my life is the work I pursue in our home among my husband and children.
I have learned to embrace it and enjoy it and cherish every single piece of it.
Because I only get to do childhood with them once.
I have had the privilege of nursing this little one every single day for almost 12 months now – even if that means we don’t get out much, even if that means she is attached to me most of the day. We sleep together. We eat together. We bathe together. We play together. We rest together.
I have an amazing opportunity to be their mom – every single day.
- Even when they annoy the crap out of me.
- Even when I rub them raw.
- Even when we do not like each other very much.
- Even though my house is in chaos, the dishes are never ending and don’t get me started on the laundry piles – they are off mating somewhere when I am not looking.
And on top of all that mom sauce awesomeness… I get to teach them too.
I get to show them the beauty and ugly of the world. I am their first glimpse into a world gone mad.
We can talk about why some people find President Obama repulsive and why others are proud to have him. I can open their eyes to seeing the “God Image” in all people by showing them what it looks like to live with a receptive, compassionate heart and mind.
I can encourage them to find the imprint He has given every single one of us.
I want them to always see Him in themselves and those around them.
Because seeing that image of God in others is essential:
- to leaning in to one another instead of pulling and pushing away.
- It will remind them to remember that they are never better – they are the same.
- We are all the same.
That image will remind them of how to live – seeing and loving, and choosing to be FOR others.
And I pray it will teach them to never choose cruelty to get what they want.
Because our world has cruelty in abundance.
I want them to never be afraid to place their hands on others in love and compassion – and to not be afraid of receiving touch in return. That getting your hands dirty on behalf of another – being uncomfortable has rewards you can never repay – it opens up your soul to a love you can’t find any other way.
I don’t want to raise babies who need to be right.
You need to breathe – you don’t need to be right.
Being Right all the time won’t add one thing to your life actually it has a really good chance of subtracting good people and good things.
A Life Lived Always having to have the final say – is not a life LIVED. That is life just spent doing a whole bunch of shouting loudly.
Raising kind, gentle, wise, and loving children – in a world bent on having and keeping, a world where everyone is refusing to share, where others resort to bullying and cruelty, in a world of too many hours spent apart and alone, a world of isolation and independence, a world of being connected through devices – raising deep kids in a shallow world is the hardest work.
It is easy to raise a disconnected, lonely generation with parents who overcompensate by signing their kids up for every activity they can find.
Wise grownups have convinced themselves that others things can make up for hour spent all alone.
When everything a child could ever need is found in the heart of the home… in the presence of their family.
What our kids really want and need – is more and more and more of mom and dad and home and peaceful, unhurried places. More couch cuddles and soul lingering, and quiet listening, and no words or noise, but silence. An afternoon spent in the yard – yards hardly used. Like the square footage we had to have, but never enjoy. Hours spent pouring over books and learning new things and discover – unearthing the amazingness in everything and everyone around us.
I am leaning in and spending time and digging deep into them. Which is the wisest choice I could have made for us.
Leaning in and spending time and digging deep, cherishing this is HOW I want to live. This is what I want to be known for doing too much of and too often.