Monday, December 19, 2005

Being At Home

I was a working mom for many years. It was not until my second child was born, eight years after my first, that I felt a sudden yearning for my home. I think it was because I had already done the "daycare" thing and I was not enthused about going through that again. At the same time I had concerns about staying at home and being a mom. The same concerns I hear from other mom who work. What would I do all day? How can we live without my income? I did not know any other stay at home parents. Would I be isolated and lonely? All these questions and more seemed so real and scary at the time. Now looking back at them I can laugh.

What would I do all day? I would for the first time in my life, experience freedom of time. Yes, there was cleaning and cooking, laundry, and caring for my children. But there was also the development of myself as a person that never would have taken place if I had continued to work. I discovered that I had gifts and talents and was able to develop interests in areas that I would never have had time to explore. I did struggle when my husband would come home and ask the question, "what did you do today." It felt boring and repetitious to say the same thing every day to the same question. I finally learned not to answer with the tasks that I did but instead the thoughts that I had had. My husband knew I cleaned the house and took care of the children but he wanted to know what I had learned, what were the funny and cute things that happened with the children. It took a long time to focus less on tasks and more on the people and thoughts in my life. My husband loves it when I talk to him but he also loves it when I listen. There are some days when I am starved for adult conversation and I don't want to listen. I just want to talk. I have to remember to inquire about his day and I have to be willing to let him go first.

Living on one income can be a scary thing in today's world, but only if we are focused on what everyone else has and not on what is important to us. We don't have a lot of the toys or drive the newest vehicles, but when I sit on the couch with my kids and read in the afternoon I am not thinking about those material things. The hours spent developing relationships and sharing with one another can not be purchased. Sometimes down sizing will be necessary to make the transisiton but even if that is necessary you will be surprised at how much you don't miss what you gave up.

There were times when the kids were very small and I did feel isolated. Even now I can feel that way. But there are so many organizations out there that you can plug into. More importantly than those people outside of the family are the people in the family. They are your primary relationships. Whenever we leave the home we need to exercise caution in what we get involved in. You don't want to be the mom with the bumper sticker that reads "if I am a stay at home mom, why am I always in the car?" Being involved in to many outside activities is harmful to your family. Why you are still spending a lot of time with the children your husband is away at work all day. The only time he has to bond with the kids and to be part of the family unit including spending time with you is in the evenings and on weekends. If you fill those hours with activities you are short changing your husband. I have had a hard time stopping my work in the house in the evenings. The truth is the work at home is never done but when my husband comes home he wants my attention and time. He does not want me to still be vacuuming and dusting. Those things need to be done when he is at work.