I've been unemployed for about 8 months now. I often pray for an answer on what is the right path to follow in the next chapter of my life. Usually, I don't get a response from above - just the instinct to keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep on keeping on.
This morning, however, I heard both on the radio and from a cashier at Trader Joes, the message that being a stay at home mom is a tremendous value for your family. On the Christian radio station I stumbled upon, the pastor related statistics about how much healthier children are with one parent staying home when children are young. He said that moms have no greater mission than to take care of their children. And if they have to work, it should be in a job that doesn't interfere at all with their kids or family roles.
Then the cashier at Trader Joes asked me out of the blue if I was a stay at home mom. I said I was "in between jobs". She told me that staying at home with your kids is the best thing you can do for them and it was very rewarding. How fast the time flies...
This is not normally a message I like to hear. I don't see myself as the 'stay at home mom' type. But I feel as though God is speaking directly to me through these people. As I mentioned, I have been praying about it for almost a year or maybe ever since I've been a mom.
The problem is my negative connotation of the term stay at home mom. It sounds like such a loser title. That sounds mean of me to say, but I grew up in a working mom household and I've worked since I was old enough. The stay at home moms I picture in my mind are lazy, overweight, plain, uneducated, unemployable, impoverished, over-religious, over-involved, crafty, domesticated, apron-wearing, husband-worshipping, minivan-driving, subservient, judgmental, weak, potluck mavens. But - I have MANY close friends who are NONE of these.
Plus, I feel families need a duel income to survive. It's definitely not cheap to live in Southern California or anywhere for that matter. The thing is, I can still be a working mom and be here for my family. I just need a job that I can do from home. I have that - I just need consistent clients and projects. Ideally, I would also love to have a mother's helper and cleaner. How much would that cost me?
Well, this morning at church, the message was about Learning Contentment. Being happy with what you have, not striving for wealth and material possessions, prestige. Also, investing in what's most important - people. Family. The legacy you leave your children - your time, attention, love and dedication. (Everything you've got is my interpretation - they are never satisfied.)
Everywhere I go lately, older people stop to admire my children and talk to them. Then they tell me to enjoy them now because they grow up so fast. They must sense or see my frazzled expression when they see me. I've only been a mom for 6 years now, and it is so exhausting and unrewarding at times. I had no idea it was going to be like this - but I AM truly happy to be home with them right now. It is helping to grow me as a person and as a mom.
But - I will still never call myself a stay at home mom.