I must say, as often as I’ve heard it, I’m still taken aback when other mom’s question their ability to be an at-home parent. Heck, even dads are guilty of the “how do you do it”, and “I could never…” lines. And though I still don’t have any good, off the cuff comebacks I have had plenty of time to construct a logical, and heartfelt response.
Being a SAHM isn’t easy. It’s an ever constant, intense mix of superlatives; it’s the most rewarding, humbling, challenging, revealing, spiritual, exhausting, exciting, terrifying, rejuvenating, important endeavor one can perform but NEVER perfect. Without a doubt, you get out of it what you put in. And although I’m firm in my resolve to raise my own child, and guide him into adulthood, I still, on occasion, doubt myself. You see, no at-home parent is perfect. We all have strengths and weaknesses, but above all else at-home parents have one thing in common: Selflessness.
Although I write (a lot) my primary job is to care for our tot. He is, after all, our biggest priority. Admittedly I have bad days. But I’ll let you in on a little secret- IT’S MY FAULT! Yes, those days when I want to pull my hair out, scream from the top of the tallest building, and send my tot to the neighbors house are ALL MY FAULT. Because, as hard as it is to admit, those are the days I’m not giving my son 100%. Those are the days I have 100 things to do, and he can’t help but get in the way. Those are the days I feel a little down, and just wish I could have a moment of silence. Those are the days I, I, I….get it?
At-home parenting isn’t a job for the selfish. It won’t work, and you’ll end up resenting your decision and your child. But if you can swallow your pre-tot ambitions, and focus instead on the JOB of raising a human being you CAN succeed. Plan your days, as if you were working at a preschool…because you kind of are. Remember to engage your little one, stimulate their brains, sing to them, teach them, humor them, and indulge them. And plan YOUR time. Give yourself time to do the things you love. For me it’s writing, and planning (OCD!). I’m able to spend 30+ minutes each night glued to my laptop writing for various outlets. And each morning I devote 20 minutes (usually while my tot’s eating breakfast) to plan out my day, make grocery lists, etc. It’s me time, and I treasure it!
For myself and my husband at-home parenting is part of a higher calling. It’s the role God intended me to have. Perhaps not forever, but most definitely for the time being. We’re a Titus 2 kind of family, and we take complementarianism seriously. The question of whether a wife should work outside the home cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. It can only be addressed in the context of a clear understanding of God’s priorities for women. A fundamental priority for every Christian woman is to live sensibly. At its most basic level a sensible woman is one who understands God’s priorities for her life and lives a self-controlled and an orderly life consistent with those priorities.
It’s not about having it all together. It’s not about perfection. And, (this is hard for me) it’s not about living up to the Pinterest ideal of at-home parenting. It’s about doing your best everyday, with your God given talents and education, to train up and support your child so they successfully, and securely grow into a happy, healthy human being. Everything else is trivial. I am, after all, just a so-so housewife. But I know, above all else, that I’m living, and succeeding at the life God intended me to live.