Why I Wouldn’t Call Myself Lucky to Stay-at-Home

Since becoming a mom, I do not like being told I am “lucky” to stay at home.  My desire, my choice, our decision that I stay at home with our girls has nothing to do with “luck.”

Before you think this has anything to do with the working mom vs the stay-at-home mom, it doesn’t.  So please, read this with a gentle and quiet spirit. I am simply wanting to clarify why the job of mom is just as intentional as any other vocational path.

Here is a little history as to why my being at home is not luck- based but rather a well thought out and purposeful choice.  In 2006 I met Justin.  It was love at first sight. It was also very intense from the beginning.  He was 5 years older than me and knew he wanted to get married. Fast. We had many very intentional discussions covering everything from faith, to theology, to our future marriage and family.  We both agreed we wanted a traditional family.  He would work and I would stay at home.  After past relationships where this had been an area of dispute, he was thrilled to find that we were on the same page.  Justin once told me he had given up thinking there was a woman in the world who wanted to stay at home.

We were married in 2007.  I still had not finished school.  I moved from Tennessee to Justin’s home in Georgia.  I started the admission process at a local school.  Through a lot of really hard and emotional conversations we decided I would not continue to pursue my Social Work major.  Reality was that I wanted to be a mom.  I could have my degree ( a very expensive one, if I continued on) but I would not even use it.  So I did a very taboo thing, something I was so ashamed of for a long time.  I quit school.  A 21st century woman, without a degree.

In 2008 I got pregnant with Cora, and gave birth to her in 2009.  So began my long-awaited vocation as a stay-at-home mom.  And let me tell you something:  I was really silly enough to think it was going to be the dreamy, romantic, fictional job it’s made up to be.  I thought I would have wonderful days of pink dresses and bonnets, long walks in the sunshine, my perfect baby on my somewhat larger hips.  Instead I spent day-after-day, night-after-night, hour-after-hour with a screaming baby, a hungry baby, a baby that never slept.  I cried.  I cried a lot. I was so lonely and I became very depressed.  Suddenly the life I had chosen seemed to be the very worst choice I could have made.  The constant, the loud, the relentless, the never-can-have-enough-patience career called being a full-time mom.  My only means of survival was the ever-present help of our good and gracious God.

It was during this first year of being a mom that He began to break, to mold, to chisel, to refine me in ways I did not think possible.  If I was going to be a mom, a good mom, I had to change.  I had to learn to live day-by-day and hour-by-hour with never ending neediness and no one to lift or relieve me of that need. I needed to learn to meet needs with kindness, with love, with patience.  I needed to choose to be joyful when all I felt was failure.  Learn to press on as I faced situations of total humiliation…The stay-at-home mom with the child who was rolling around, limbs flailing, face red…pitching the world’s biggest fit.

So as I began mothering two girls I faced the next big hurdle.  Humility.  The reality that staying-at-home does not guarantee a good or perfect child.  Actually, it also does not guarantee that I am a good mom.  Just like any other job it takes hours of intentional time and planning.  It takes constant hard work-both mental and physical.  I recently had a talk with a dear friend.  She was facing the reality of going back to work…having to leave her two boys.  She is an amazing mom and I reminded her of how blessed her boys are to have her as their mommy.  She is so intentional and loving. They know that they are her priority. I can be at home all day long but if I don’t pour into my children, then what use is my being with them?  I don’t have someone looking over my shoulder asking me, “Is it done yet?  Have you finished it? Is it done right?”  I have to be my own accountability.  That is not easy.

As Justin left for work yesterday, Cora was crying, Elinor was going three places at once, and the house was already in total disorder.  He cracked the door and he said, “You have the harder job.”   Do I really have the harder job?  No, not every day, but maybe yesterday my day was harder and maybe today his job will be harder.  It really doesn’t matter.  We don’t live life to prove we have it harder, that we do more than the other person…we live to glorify Him.

At the fall of man God did not curse man and woman without intention when he said to the woman,

“I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

And to the man,

“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground. since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

-Genesis 3:16-19

The pain only begins in labor.  As we raise our children we face greater pain and hardship.  We toil, we labor, and to dust we return.

 

So would I say I am blessed to stay at home?  Absolutely.  Am I thankful to stay-at-home?  Yes.  Do I love being at home?  Most of the time.  Would I say I am lucky to stay at home?  No, because the definition of luck is: success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions. And I give thanks to God for his sovereign will to put me in our home, in our town, as wife to Justin and full-time mom to Cora and Elinor.  A job I pray I carry out in grace, in gentleness, in patience, in humility, and intentionality, that I might glorify Him.

And a little side note…my mom began a blog.  Please take a look at it.  You will be blessed by her words of wisdom.  I promise.

28 Responses to Why I Wouldn’t Call Myself Lucky to Stay-at-Home

  1. Amen! well written Grace. I like how you pointed out that as stay at home moms we need to be intentional about our time, being at home is no easy task. I believe that we are accountable for what we do in our homes, with the time that we have been given. I enjoyed this post! Hope your weekend goes well without any arms and feet flailing in public places :)

  2. LeAnna says:

    Good word, friend. I’m finding myself thinking a lot about this lately…even though my kids are with me 24/7 I know there are plenty of moments when I’m not “present” with them. But we press on, and yes, strive to do so for the glory of God. Sweet pics of your baby girls. I’m off to check out your Mama’s blog!

  3. Betty says:

    I forgot to mention today how much I am enjoying your mom’s blog, especially that post she did about raising children. And again, thank you for this post, I really needed to hear it after this week. I especially love what you said about it’s not a competition for who has the harder day, you or Justin, but you are both working to glorify God. I hope you have a great time with Andrew this weekend and that Justin has “fun” hunting… We’ll talk soon!

  4. bchallies says:

    You express women’s struggles very well, Hon. A great post.

  5. Fantastic post! I am happy to have found your blog through Visionary Womanhood!

  6. admin says:

    Thank you. Glad you found my blog too:)

  7. maryanne helms says:

    Agree! Fortunate and lucky are different, entirely!” And generally, when someone works really hard..
    we do no call them lucky, but industrious, dedicated, etc. Luck suggests ease..

    And ease is not motherhood!

  8. I LOVE this post, I’m mentioning it on my blog today. You’ve truly blessed me. I tried to pick just a sentence or two to use as a teaser quote to get people to click over. It was hard to pick.

    Blessings!
    http://www.lessonsfromivy.com/2012/09/i-remember-not-to-many-years-ago-when.html

  9. Christi Streuter says:

    Don’t forget ladies, Salary.com valued a stay-home- moms worth at $112,962.00 per year! We do have monetary worth even if some fail to see it. Most importanly it is the priceless love we infuse into our children that matters most!!!

  10. admin says:

    Well thank you so much. I really appreciate you saying that:)

  11. KShay says:

    So well said. I quit university after a year, and I made a decision to quit my job after a month of trying the working mom thing. I’ve never looked back. Yes, it’s hard, but it was worth it. Bless you in your efforts to mother your children and care for your family.

  12. Kendra B. says:

    So, so good. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  13. Faith says:

    Well said. Beautifully written. Thank you..

  14. Kate G says:

    Said with just the right doses of grace and truth. Thank you! I’ll be passing this along to some moms I know

  15. admin says:

    Thank you.

  16. admin says:

    Thanks! Something I’ve definitely thought about a lot…as have most moms, I think:)

  17. admin says:

    Thanks so much.

  18. Danelle says:

    Grace, you really are such a beautiful godly woman. (and you’re outward beauty equals the inner!) I love your heart for your children. Luck is a very unfair word to use, I agree. Thankful hits it on the head! Thanks for sharing your heart! Praying you feel His grace for today!! Love you!!

  19. Linda LaFleur says:

    A very moving, personal piece. Thank you.

  20. Jen says:

    Hello. My husband sent this to me, I suppose to edify me. It truly did. We have three daughters, 13, 11 and 9 mo’s. (quite a jump in age differences, i know! Realizing we were being in control of how many kids we had, we were convicted to allow God be sovereign in the area of children for us and Lydia Faith was soon conceived!-Praise God!) Anyway, I started homeschooling the older girls this week, something I said would NEVER be for me. I am amazed where God has brought us. I quit working my 1/2 a day, once a week job before Lydia was born and have now given up my license to practice dental hygiene to stay home and raise our daughters, another something i thought I would never do-more sanctification. To get to spend this time with them, really getting to know them is amazing! I can’t imagine being anywhere else and like you said, it isn’t done perfectly but I do get the opportunity, each day to glorify Him, by loving my Savior, by loving my husband and my children. Praise God that you see the gifts He has so graciously given you. Thanks for the encouragement and the joy it brought to me.

  21. admin says:

    Thanks Jennifer. Glad this post could be encouraging to you. I am glad to know that I am not alone in all of these thoughts:)

  22. sherene says:

    oh my god this is so great post. i really really need this.
    im a stay at home mom too:))

  23. Zina says:

    I couldn’t agree more with you about this post. I find myself more and more thinking…what kind of degree do my girls need? I have my teaching degree and taught 2 years before our first child was born. My girls are 14 and 11…what would you say to young girls now…do they need a degree?
    Thanks for any input!

  24. Love this post and I completely agree! As a fellow SAHM, this is one of the most frustrating comments I receive. Being a SAHM is not about “luck” it requires an intentional decision, and in our case, a lot of sacrifices.

  25. admin says:

    I think I will tell my girls to still pursue one because they may end up single or remain unmarried for a long time. I also want them to understand the importance and calling of being at home. That being a mom is every bit as important as any job they could have outside the home:)

  26. admin says:

    Thanks Crystal:)

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  28. Karen Butler says:

    Your post of living well as a mother by centering all on Christ reminded me of Ray Ortlund’s tribute to his father in his blog today, as he remembers how his father died well: He wrote,

    “In a way, that humble revering of Christ seems simple. What is Christianity, if not that? But moment-by-moment adjusting to Christ is humble, radically humble, and very costly to our natural sense of how our lives are supposed to go.
    The moment of death is not the best time to choose the path of humility before the living Christ. We do not easily find our way to that deep place. The time to start is now. Even this instant.”

    You are on your way to finishing well — you have the right focus. .. How I wish I had been able to remember it was not “all about me” back in the day when my first little one was on the floor in another mystifying paroxysm of rage.

    So thank you for this edifying and well written post. Nice pictures of the babies, too!

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