My View As a Stay-At-Home Mom

I read Being a Stay-At-Home Parent Is a Luxury…for Your Spouse, and I could relate to a few of Chaunie Brusie’s thoughts.

I’ve felt I had to bake pies so that the world would know I’m not a worthless member of society.

Apple Pie By Len Rizzi (photographer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Realm and I chuckled over this one. Occasionally, he requests homemade goodies to take to work. His top pick is apple pie. I gather his coworkers like it, too. I love the compliments, but I never thought of it as my means of giving to society. I just like to cook, and I know what it’s like to get a treat amidst the monotony of the workday.

Well, of course, it would be a luxury to the spouse who works out of the home to have a partner who stays at home with the children. Someone who is always there to take care of the inevitable days of sickness, arrange the doctor’s appointments, make sure the cupboards are stocked, and [hey], to ensure that no one steals the FedEx package off of the porch.

At my house, the kids are like security guards with their checkpoints, investigating the mailbox and the front porch throughout the day. They take the letters and packages somewhere and promptly forget about them. It’s a wonder we find our bills and get our packages at all!

I realized, in a rush of amazement, that I had spent all of our marriage feeling just a tad bit guilty for being the one who “gets” to stay home…I realized, for the first time ever, that I didn’t have anything to prove.

The Petrie family of the Dick Van Dyke Show By CBS Television [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As a keeper at home, have I felt like I had to prove something? Definitely. Logically, I know there is nothing more important than nourishing my family’s mind, heart, and spirit. Emotionally, though, this society has made its jabs at me, and I’ve been brought low for what I do. The pressure is real. The pressure is toxic. It helped me that I realized the negativity is not inherent in me. It also helped me to make a conscious decision to refuse the notion that it is good for any society to be condescending to a wife and mother for choosing to stay at home to be…a wife and mother. I hold, instead, to the godly belief that my most noble and praiseworthy service is to my family (Titus 2:3-5). On the Last Day as I face my Creator, this is one thing over which I will have no regrets or guilt.

There are many things we sacrifice to live on one income. We don’t do family Disney World vacations. In fact, my son went to DW for the first time last year through the generosity of good friends. (The girls haven’t been there at all. It’s amazing how happy they are anyway.) My kids don’t wear what’s trendy, and I don’t, either. Eating out is a treat, not a habit.

That being said, we are so, so blessed by God that I don’t have to work for a paycheck to help provide a roof, food, and clothing for our family. We have all these things and many, many other luxuries. Yet, I think the greatest luxury is the time we have to be together.

When Realm Calls

I am not a phone person. If I’m on the phone, I want to be relaying information. Realm, on the other hand, used to call like this:

from stock exchange member Otjep.
from Stock Exchange member Otjep

“Heeeeeyyyy, it’s me……… What’s going on?”

It took about three minutes, give or take a few seconds, for him to say it. It was approximately three minutes of my life put on hold. It drove me crazy. I couldn’t understand why anyone would call just to ask what’s going on…and talk soooo sloooowly. I mean, doesn’t everyone call because there’s something going on, and that something needs to be told to the other person? You know, things like,

“I’ve lost my wallet.”
“I’m stuck in traffic, and I’ll be late getting home.”
“You haven’t forgotten about the people coming over for dinner tonight, have you?”

But who is this—this “what’s going on” person?

I answered him in that vein. “What’s going on? What’s going on?! I’m being driven crazy by your children; that’s what’s going on! I’ve been trying to give the same spelling test to your daughter for 30 minutes, and there are only fifteen words! Your son made ten careless math mistakes because he won’t show his work! I just refereed a fight in the kitchen about whose turn it is to load the dishwasher because everyone is positive it’s not theirs—and we can’t remember who unloaded last. I need a chart. I’d like one that says: ‘Your mother is on strike. Pretend you are an adult for ten minutes and get your own lunch!’ I have clumps of bread dough sitting all over the kitchen because I’m trying to find a warm spot; I think the yeast is a dud. And there is yet another oil stain on the front of your polo that refuses to come out. No joke, it vaguely resembles the Mickey Mouse logo. Oh, and don’t get me started on what to do about supper tonight!”

Later, we sat down and talked about the frustration I felt when he called like that. That’s when I realized what “what’s going on” really means. It means, “I miss you. I miss the kids. I’m not there with you, and I know I’m missing out on everything. I want to be home. I want to be part of what’s going on there. So tell me. Tell me what I’m missing while I trade my time and my skills for a paycheck that keeps our family fed, clothed, and warmly protected.”

That’s when I got it. That’s when I realized I don’t need to be a phone person to say, “Let me tell you about the discussion we had after our Bible reading this morning,” or “Your daughter is hilarious! You should have heard what she said at lunch…” or just, “Sweetheart, this day is out of control, and this is why…”

It doesn’t mean I’ve figured out what to make for supper, or that Realm won’t be sporting Mickey Mouse ears across his abdomen. It means he’s part of the fiasco.