Of all the jobs I have had since I was 16, I have to say being a stay at home mother is the most exciting, rewarding and even thrilling. Mind you, I have had a job before where I got to travel the world and experience other cultures and see amazing sites..but still it doesn’t compare and I will tell you why…and it won’t be just because I get to wake up to a snuggling peaceful baby or because my nights end like this.
Yes that is a HUGE part of the thrill- to quote our president “HUGE” but that’s not what I am going to be focusing on this post. I’m explaining another side of it that I don’t often hear talked about and it’s an awesome PERK!
When I was growing up, I didn’t know what I wanted to be. How could I choose? I knew I wanted to be it all and have lots of kids. I used to have 10 imaginary brothers and sisters. I was growing up in a culture that encouraged girls that they could have it all when they grew up. I read books like “The Feminine Mistake” about the horrors of taking time off work when you had children. I was obviously not saved back then and very lost.
I started working at 16 at fast food places and my first real job was selling alarms door to door at 16-17 years old. I then moved into the Hospitality industry moving up from PBX operator to a Convention Services Coordinator in busy Orlando, FL. I wore my little Old Navy blazers and thought I was doing it! But through it ALL I was bored. The thought of waking up and going to the same place day after day, same people, same routine…it was depressing. So I landed my dream job- being an international flight attendant.
My very first flight was very hard. There I was picking up the dinner trays that were a disgusting mess and having to compact the trash as much as possible, and sort through it because for some reason the plastic trays had to be separated and stacked from the trash. WHY?! I thought to myself I couldn’t believe I left a great paying 9-5 career job, to be an air waitress..what had I done?!
Even though I got to travel the world and see some pretty cool amazing places and be young and free…I was really lonely. I tried to convince myself I just needed to learn how to be more fiercely independent and enjoy my solo company. I would go for long walks around the towns in Germany but would think if something happened to me, no one would know until the next showtime for the next flight in a few days. This was when cell phones did not work overseas 🙂
The flight attendant life is filled with short term friends, friend on that crew for the duration of the trip and though they may be fun for a short season..they are shallow by nature.
Although people may think of it as a glamorous job, it just becomes a job like anything else and there are plenty of bad days. Here I am trying to take a nap on the flight stairs on a broken airplane in the middle of summer where we were stranded for a day until it was repaired. We were in Cyprus, Lebanon picking up Jewish refugees from some Hezbollah attacks who had fled. I was smiling here, not knowing I was about to have my most hardest, aggressive passenger flight all the way back to the U.S.
So was this the life? Was I doing it right?
I just wasn’t happy. I was at times but it was short lived. I was lonely and sad and building any kind of relationships was near impossible with the constant traveling. I would come visit my parents once in a few months and just sleep for 24 hours straight.
But then my life completely changed flipped upside down, when I got on a crew with this fella.
We traveled together in the job for a while and had our fun..
Then we decided to settle down and have a family. Although some people tried to balance having a family and traveling 3 weeks out of the month- we decided that was not the kind of situation we wanted at all. I was very weepy having my first baby. Suddenly just like that my life completely changed and I felt all the weight that comes with being responsible for another life in this world. Quite a change from the life I had previously.
We kind of had a moment like “Now what?”
LIFE! Moving forward to provide better things for your child. Joe went back to school and worked graveyard. Eventually after 4 months I got a very decent paying job in the morning and it killed me to leave my baby and I was only leaving her with my mother 4 houses down. Here’s the brutal reality..it’s hard and then you just get used to it. You convince yourself that it’s the best way and then you start to look forward to the break and going to work even though you hate the work. I never wanted to be a software quality assurance operator when I grew up. Blah. But it paid the bills. Thank God my parents and I got into an argument and they said they couldn’t watch her anymore. Mind you I was paying so much in child care to them that it really wasn’t that huge of a hit when I quit my job because there was no child care I felt good about during 2nd shift hours when Joe was in school.
I went through a major identity crisis. Was I really just now going to be “just” a mom. I was SO foolish like I said, but that was my thoughts. I enjoyed tremendously being at home with my baby but I felt guilty not contributing. Thank God I got pregnant shortly after because no one really wants to hire a pregnant woman so I was more solidified in being a stay at home mother.
I did do a little part time on the weekends when Joe was home at a shoe boutique but I guess thank God again, the business closed down? I got the point..stay home.
When you have 2 babies under 2, it’s all hands on deck survival mode.
It was shortly after that we got saved and decided to let God plan our family. We had our first son and Joe finally graduated from school, ending the hardest season of our lives probably..work and school years and demanding child rearing.
During the time between having Joshua and my pregnancy with our 4th Genesis, there was a huge shift. I went from “surviving” being a stay at home mother, to realizing my calling. I fully embraced my role as help mate and mother and dove head first into learning how to really cook, ferment foods, and sew. I made crafts with my kids, I started homeschooling and for the first time..I felt very fulfilled. I felt happy. I was finally doing it! I also started to apply everything I was learning in soul winning at a nursing home ministry where the residents were VERY forgiving of any first time jitters as I would go room to room or wheelchair to wheelchair and go through my presentation.
Could this get any better? It did! With each baby though, circumstances changed a little. I was back into an all hands on deck kind of stage for a while but still able to pursue my interests. Here’s the *grand* difference. This time I was able to do it and experience it WITH my children, and that is what makes it grand. To see something new through the eyes of the child is to relieve that moment yourself in an intense and crisp way.
Sure motherhood is not easy and of all the jobs I have had, by far it is the hardest job. You never get a sick day or clock out. Even in your sleep time, you are still nourishing nursing babies. However, it truly is the most fulfilling job.
This is where I want to shift gears though. Aside from all of that, there is another amazing perk of being a stay at home mother. The freedom! True, I may not have the freedom to travel the world anymore but who did that profit? No one honestly.
I have many interests and things I enjoy and want to share with others and projects galore that keep my mind going at night. I have ideas, I have *so* many ideas I carry around a black notebook writting them all down so I can release them and get back to the task in front of me, but I revisit later. There are seasons in mothering where all you can do it just survive- true. However, I want to encourage moms there are other seasons of life where the dust settles a bit (come to Arizona- the dust settles every day ha!) and you have the time and freedom to pursue those interests. As long as you can maintain a balance and your husband is happy and your kids well taken care of..there is no limit really to the things a mother can do FROM home.
Out in the workplace I was easily replaceable. My baby needed me more than my boss, that’s the honest truth. At home, I am irreplaceable. I could give you so many examples from other strong and godly women around me but just to use my current situation as an example.
I love saving money, stretching a buck, and I love to share with other people how to do that. I have a goal to show women that they can make it on a one income household…to stay home. If we can do it 8 people on one income..and we live a great life, it can be done. I could in no way pull off “saving sistas” alone. That is the undertaking of 4 ladies who stay home who pull their talents together and collaborate. One lady is skilled in editing, another in writing, another in creating videos, another in finding creative ways to save..together we have built something up I hope does help other families. It would not be done if we all had 9-5 jobs that’s for sure.
I have an interest in teaching the next generation libertarian principles. I am fortunate enough to use great resources around me to start a book club and a homeschooling website with free resources so that anyone can homeschool. An added bonus is that I can link it to all kinds of church resources to reach people with the Gospel as well. I enjoy all of that so much and bonus bonus, I get to do it WITH my kids.
I have an interest in soulwinning of course so that is something I am able to pursue, and bonus bonus, I get to do it WITH my kids.
Recently I also have been doing pretty good with starting a little ebay venture. It’s the test market for an online resale website called Modest Thrift Flip with the motto “Make America Modest Again.”
The ebay sales are going well and I hope it will be enough to pay for a part of this website near and dear to my heart called a Modest Ministry. See years ago when money was super tight and I was newly saved..I had a desire to dress right but there just wasn’t money for new clothes. I found a modest ministry and a dear lady sent me a package of my first modest skirts. They were used, soft, calico, long skirts and I treasured them and I still have one to this day. It meant the world to me. I want to pay it forward and do the same and bonus be able to include church materials and bonus bonus, be able to do this WITH my children. My girls are looking forward to helping me pick the skirts at thrift stores and help with the packaging.
I have a big interest in my church and I promised God if He made a way for us out here, I would give it my all to the advancement of FWBC and I really have given it my all in my capacity and wish I could do more. I also truly enjoy helping all my friends with their interest and ventures as well. I am so fortunate that I have the time, resources and opportunity do it. This is all possible of course because I have a hard working husband who makes is possible for me to stay home.
There is one wordly quote that I will tell you , I do try to fully live by.
It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
-Harry S Truman
Boy is that ever true!
I certainly don’t want a mom that is in one of the “surviving stages” to feel like they are not doing enough. You are, trust me! I’m just in a different season and maybe as I suspect…I have this intensity because I had a stroke at 33? I got a little glimpse of what its like to loose your movement, loose your speech, and it scared me to my core. I want to use my voice while I have it because it is not promised that I will have it tomorrow. I want to type my heart out while I can, I want to leave my mark on my children, on my spouse, on my friends, on the internet while I can. We are repainting the house and I told my husband I want the living room main wall to just have a bunch of nice clocks with the scripture of “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Just to have that reminder.
This whole long rambly post to say this:
- Kids do not stop you from doing what you want to do. You will figure out a way to include them and trust me, it’s better for everyone involved. If anything they will motivate you more, encourage you, motivate you and console you on bad days. They are a blessing in more ways than you can imagine.
2. You may be in a challenging season of motherhood. It’s just like being out in the workforce and you have to train someone with no experience, sometimes it feels like a whole team at once and there is only one of you. That can be draining! Eventually those employees you trained will lighten up the workload and will brighten up your work day. Sometimes it feels like when you start a new job that you exaggerated on your resume and you are not prepared for. It’s going to take massive effort to catch up to the point you should have started off (this was me- not knowing how to cook, sew etc) buckle up for some intense training but you will get there!!
3. Sometimes your boss might get on your nerves, but he loves you and will never fire you and thinks no one could ever replace you. Put the boss first and you will be surprised how HIS boss will delegate your schedule so you can work on the things you feel can contribute to the project in a way that is safe under their supervision, and fulfilling to you..win-win!
Just because you are a stay at home mother does not mean you wasted all the skills you have learned prior to having children, au contraire. Get ready to fully utilize those skills sets in ways you never imagined. If you are aware, you will see the opportunities all around you.
Waking up knowing every day has a familiar routine but yet never the exact same as the day before is the perfect balance. Waking up knowing I get to care for my children and spend time with them while they are in such a fleeting stage of life..is so precious to me. Also, waking up knowing I get to work on my interests on my timeline, pursuing the projects that I am *truly* passionate about…is thrilling to me.
I hope you feel the same way!