Do you often feel like all you do is clean up bodily fluids and deal with crying kids? That may be, but your job is an important one. Here’s how you can honor it.
Or purposeful avoidance of time out.
It’s not really high order stuff. It’s so basic and un-glamorous and down-to-earth. In the moment, it feels so unimportant, repetitive and banal. There are few thank yous, lots of unnoticed effort, and a lack of intellectually stimulating conversation. Basically, it’s a hard season.
C.S. Lewis said….
“The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career.”
I don’t know if it’s all that simple, but in a basic way I guess it is. Companies exist to create products or services we use at home. Doctors, dentists, and nurses have jobs to keep families functioning and healthy. Construction workers and builders work to house us. Restaurants operate to feed us. On and on. The family is the most basic unit of society and its importance cannot be understated.
Mother Theresa said….
“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”
While the day in and day out might not feel like anything special, it is. It is to your kids, it is to your character, and it is to society. I think that it’s a bit fun and lighthearted to make fun of SAHMs and we’ve all shared virtual group hugs over cute videos, quotes, and posts on the craziness of it all. And that’s fine because tired moms need a laugh. But really, I think each of us could honor our role a little more. I know I could.
1. We should watch our mouths.
We’re not “just” stay at home moms and we don’t “just” take care of the kids. Look, I know being a mom isn’t rocket science, okay, but we should definitely not be embarrassed about our “job.” Besides, stay at home moms have very extensive resumes. Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers need constant attention, time, and training and who better to do it than the mother?
If someone asks what you do (and if you live in the US they will, although this is considered a rude question in other countries) don’t talk yourself down in your answer. And in fact, the next time you take your kids to the store look at the faces of the other shoppers, particularly the retired ones. Why? They are all smiles! Cute kids! Such a precious time! How sweet! Why? Because raising young children is important.
2. We should not equate money with importance.
The fact that being a stay at home mom does not pay does not make it less important. In fact, many important jobs pay very little comparatively. The President of the United States of America only earns $400,000 (source). Considering how many hours he works, the fact that he makes life or death decisions daily, and is (arguably) the most powerful man in the world, that’s pretty crappy pay.
“Motherhood… unpaid, but not unrewarded.”
I studied criminology theory in college and a common thread among various crime experts is the importance of a child’s early years. Most experts agree that the first few year of a child’s life can determine their entire life trajectory. Now if you’re reading this it’s not likely you’re raising a serial killer, but it’s the day to day heart training, character training, and discipline (which means teaching not punishment, people) that make a huge difference in a child’s life. What you are doing is important. It will have effects that last a lifetime. Both for your children and their children.
3. We should re-frame our perspective.
This next point might seem dramatic to you. And I know my husband would give me the look since yesterday (twice) he spent quite a while cleaning poop off the crib, walls, and my son who is not quite (or maybe he is) absorbing our personal hygiene lessons. I’ve long stopped thinking about changing dirty diapers as gross. Nurses and hospice carers who care for the ill and elderly are actually performing acts that bring their patients dignity. In my mind, it’s an act of respect care for a person’s hygiene who is unable to do it themselves.
So when you change diapers, give baths, and teach kids how to brush their hair and teeth, think of it as a way to help them respect and take care of themselves. There are many places in the world with ailments directly related to lack of hygiene, whether by lack of education or simply because there’s no water, for example. Think of taking care of your kids as a way you are honoring them.
4. We should embrace what we can.
Look, I know it’s the cool thing to do now to admit that we don’t want to “carpe diem” or “enjoy every moment.” It’s okay to just say it’s hard and we’re ready for them to grow up and go to school. I know it’s cool, but I’ll risk having to sit at the loser table by saying this: I actually do enjoy most moments with the kids.
If possible, I try to purposefully enjoy the little moments. If you were a fly on the wall in my home or had a baby monitor receiver and could spy on me throughout the day you’d hear these phrases on repeat.
“I just wanna squeeze you so tight!” as I cuddle them by force and they giggle and try to run away.
“You are the most perfect baby in the entire world and nobody can tell me that you aren’t because it isn’t true and I won’t believe them.”
“I love you so much I’m going to eat your nose.” Then I insert every other body part because my son loves this game.
“I am so sorry for every other mother in the world that they don’t have babies as wonderful as you guys. But really I’m not because I’m so happy you’re mine.”
Sometimes (I kid you not, gag you with a spoon I’m sure) I close my eyes when I hear the pitter patter of feet because I love it so. I try to delight in my children. This makes days at home much more enjoyable, it gives you a lot more patience, and gives the days purpose. You’re taking care of those you love.
Not that there aren’t hard times. Hard days. Days when I’m SO OVER IT. But all in all… I try to redirect the hardness into appreciation.
So instead of acting like we’ve paused life to take care of the kids, let’s know that we are giving life to our kids.
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