As I sit here in my tattered and stained apron, socked and sore feet propped up on the coffee table, baby just placed down for the night, floor mopped and dinner dishes done, I let out a sigh of exhaustion.
Moving to Alabama last month brought with it a large change that I am still adjusting to: being a full-time, stay-at-home Mama.
And a pregnant one at that.
I've been thinking about parenting a lot these past few weeks, as I adjust to life with a new schedule and demands – and above every other emotion, I feel such thankfulness. When Georgia was first born almost two years ago, the Lord blessed me by allowing me to take her to work with me for the first seven months. This allowed me to not have an emotional breakdown by having to leave her with someone and also allowed me to continue nursing. After that period of time, Stuart was able to watch her while I went into the office part-time and by the time he had to go to school, I was home to take over baby duty. I am grateful for the time past that taught me faith, patience, and trust (and, as we all do, I still had my teary moments in the car on the way into work). But now, I am very grateful that I no longer have to play the part of an ambitious, young professional when the reality is (and always has been) this: I just want to be a Mama.
And I ain't gunna fight it.
I want to be there every morning to make breakfast. I want to fold clean laundry and sweep the floors. I want to clean the refrigerator and scrub the toilets. I want to be the marker-and-crayon-monitor for an ambitious and creative little girl. I want to support my husband in his work and encourage him in his calling. I want to read ‘Pat The Bunny' twenty-five times in an hour. I want to fluff the pillows on the couches and clean the spilled milk off the floor.
I want to fulfill this beautiful calling the Lord has given me to the best of my ability.
And that ain't easy.
It's not easy to be patient with a two-year old. As a matter of a fact, it'll put you on your knees more times in a day than you can count, seeking an extra measure of God's grace to see you through. It's also not easy to be living off of one income, which makes paying bills, balancing budgets, and being responsible with the money all the more challenging. It's not easy to be pregnant and have the energy to keep up with a constant track of sand, food bits, and dog hair that decorate the floors. It's not also easy to plan, shop for, and prepare nutritious and frugal meals, when the reality is, you'd just love someone to just come do it for you. It's not easy to feel unappreciated for what you do by society's standards.
After all, as a society, we've really sort of decided that we'd rather pay someone to do those things for us – haven't we?
It's easier to send your child to daycare than it is to be disciplining and entertaining all day. It's easier to pick up take-out than it is to prepare dinner. It's easier to buy new clothes and linens than it is to take care of the ones you've been given. It's easier to feel justified in your work when you bring home a big paycheck.
But this Mama isn't making a paycheck. My work is done for my family – and it's done for free.
You see, God has designed me to be a helper to Stuart and a Mother to my children. I may not be doing ‘work' by society standards, but I am doing great work for the kingdom of God. It is my fervent prayer that I will believe this and act accordingly.
I don't wish to be a stay-at-home Mom that ceases to exist in society, nor do I wish to be a stay-at-home Mom that constantly boasts of how she has ‘the hardest job in the world…'.
I wish to be a Mom that boasts about how she has the best job in the world, sacrificing other desires so that she can raise her children, to the best of her ability, for the glory and purpose of God.
It's messy. It's frustrating. It's exhausting. It's challenging. And it's wonderful.
I am so grateful for this work and this gift.