It’s funny, and I am often amazed by, the things God has done in my life. He has brought me so far! Just one of those things is in how I see being a stay-at-home-mom. I struggled with this for years. I SO wanted my children……that was the thing for me from the age of 12. I wanted to get married and have kids. Three, to be exact. 🙂 God’s plans are often not our plans, but He has a way of working things out, and making me believe it was what I wanted all along! Have you ever experienced that? Kind of how my mama always said you have to ‘train’ a man, make him think it was his idea, to get what you want. (hmmmm, manipulation? never worked on my husband anyway so I gave up on that! LOL) Except, with me, it works for God. He has trained me to look for Him in everything.
I began working at the age of 16…..I had to pay for my insurance, my car payment, needed some spending money. My parents provided what we needed but there was never a lot of extras, so I learned early on that I needed to work if I wanted ‘extras’. I enjoyed some of my jobs, others not so much, but I was never without one for long. Even when my husband wanted me to stay home after we had our first son, I just wasn’t sure I wanted to. I had always worked, I enjoyed my job at that time, but in the end I didn’t go back.
Over time, I began to feel that I was ‘just a mom’, like I had no value to others because ‘all’ I did was stay home with my children. Maybe it was comments by some that “Now you can go back to work” once they thought I was finished having kids. (why they thought they were the decision-maker on that one I will never know!) Quite possibly, I just had low self-esteem and knew that work made me feel valued. Or, perhaps it was because I never really learned the value I have, just being me, because God created me. He breathed life into me, chose my hair and eye color, gave me the gift of writing. There are so many things I know now that I wish I had known then…..I wish I could go back and whisper into my teenage-self’s ear, or into my young-mom ear, when I began to think I wasn’t important because I was ‘just a mom’. I worked some, stayed home some, but was never satisfied with either. When I was working I felt guilty for being away from my children, and when I was not employed I felt like I should be. It wasn’t enough.
Eventually, God finally got through to me. I had been working basically full time (two part time positions) while my oldest two children attended school then after-care, and my youngest was in daycare all day. He showed me what my desire, to chase something that was completely unnecessary to prove my worth, was doing to my family. We barely had any time together. We had terrible sleep issues with Corbin. My little Kindergarten daughter just wanted to be with her mommy, and I had to just tell her to go on to her class. It was terrible! We ended up having a family meeting, and I promised my family that I would not work past 3 p.m. the following school year……but I still had to finish out the year. It was tough. I was also taking classes (what was I thinking?) and things were really hectic. By the time summer rolled around I had a great pre-k teaching job lined up for the fall….out by noon, wahoo! But, I was going to spend the summer taking lots of classes. My classes started in May, and by June I had to drop one because I could not keep up with 5. Really? I wonder why? :} That left me with 4, and scrambling to get enough work done by mid-June so I could enjoy our upcoming vacation without having to do school work.
That week of vacation was one of the best things to ever happen to me, one of the greatest messages I have ever received from my God! That week was nice and leisurely, walks along the rive, tubing down the river, grilling out and eating on the deck amongst the beauty of the mountains. Wow! So this was what it was like to be a family, to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n.
By the time we returned to our Central Florida home, I knew more things needed to change. God had begun to impress upon me the verses from Deuteronomy 6:4-9:
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.[a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
As the summer wore on and I was trying to finish up my classes, prepare meals, spend time with my family, and prepare to go back to work and school, I truly began to realize what I had been doing and was planning to continue to do. I had been placing my children under others’ instruction, instead of teaching them myself. I was getting ready to take my 3-year-old and place him in a preschool class, while I was going to teach the other 3-year-old class. I was not going to be able to take part in his special days, for Mother’s Day, the Christmas play, any special events. And all of this was because I needed a sense of self-worth. God’s instruction, though, was clear. His word, coupled with the fact that Hailey….due to the recent discovery of her vision problems….was not reading well and probably wouldn’t if she was in a class with 20 other students, was what lead me to begin homeschooling.
Though it has been challenging and there have been days that I’ve wondered why on earth I chose to do this, I haven’t looked back. Not really. There are so many blessings I have received. I was finally able to fully embrace being a stay-at-home-mom. I love it! Though I still sometimes struggle with my worth, I know that it does not come from a job or some piece of paper that tells me I have a degree. God tells me who I am, it is He I am to believe.
Jobs and degrees have their place, but for me, that was not God’s plan. Not then, not now. He had more children for us, more moves, other work for me to do. He has brought work to me, that I can do from home and that I truly enjoy. Doors are opening because of Him. Praise God! I am living in His will and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I have the confidence now to stand firm. Others cannot move me just by their words. I may get angry, my feelings may get hurt….I am only human. But I know what God has called me to do, and I am living in His promises!