Everyone has their pet peeves. Things that drive them crazy. Jared can't handle if you stand over him, especially if you are eating something. I know because I do it to him all the time! I hate when people use apostrophes where they don't belong. I edit everything I read without really being conscious of the fact that I'm doing it until I run across a grievous error and realize that I am bugged. But today's soapbox is not going to be about grammar.
Something I hate more than grammatical errors are destructive attitudes about motherhood. Since there are so many of those in society today, most of us have bought into some of them, whether we realize it or not. Recently, a girlfriend came to me, troubled about what to do. Here's the situation:
She and her husband had some financial issues arise due to the current economy and housing market. They had gone round and round about how to fix the situation. She currently stays home with their three children; at times she has worked part-time, but they made the decision last year to keep her at home. One of the possible solutions to their current crisis was for her to go back to work--and she even had a job offer. They tried and tried to figure out a solution that would work for their two schedules in order to meet the needs of their kids, and in the end decided that her going back to work was going to put a lot of additional stress on the entire family; among other things, her husband was going to have to move to the graveyard shift at work. So, they decided instead to look at ways that they could reduce their spending in other areas to make up what they needed. After doing this, they determined that the sacrifice of giving some things up and spending less was a better one than the sacrifice of the mommy going back to work and the family making the necessary adjustments.
So far, so good, right? Not everyone can make that scenario work out, but they were grateful to find that they could have what they valued most. Now comes the part that makes my blood boil. Her mother-in-law finds out and reams her. Being a stay-at-home mom is a luxury, she says. You are just being lazy because you aren't willing to do what it takes when your family needs it. It is your responsibility to send those kids to day care and get a job if your family needs the money. Etc., etc. You get the picture.
My friend was left feeling confused and angry, and began to wonder if she was being selfish. Thank goodness she called me.
My dear friends, there is NOTHING lazy or selfish about being a stay at home mom. The very idea is ludicrous to me. How many of you get to sit around being lazy all day? Is it all about going to lunch with your friends, getting manicures, and catching up on your favorite shows? In my life, those things are rare. On the contrary, SAHMs have hard work to do, have hard sacrifices to make, and they do it for the good of their families.
Yes, it is a blessing to be a SAHM. I am grateful for the life that I have. I am blessed to have a husband who supports and shares my desire to have our children be raised by their mother. But it is not the selfish choice. We have had to make many sacrifices, most of them financial, in order to have me stay at home with our children, and I'm willing to venture that most of you SAHMs out there can say the same thing. And yet, I wouldn't have it any other way.
Since when is it selfish or lazy to go without some materialistic things for the sake of your family's well being? Of course, the underlying idea is that what your children need more than a mommy is the stuff that money can buy. And that is a dangerous, destructive thought.
So if you are battling with the idea that being at home to raise your children is a lazy or selfish luxury, please let the battle be over. Remember what is most important--and it isn't the things that you can buy at the mall (although those things are really pretty, I know!) It is the relationships we have, especially with our family. It is about raising children who are confident in our love, who have learned how to treat others with respect, who have learned the values that we work hard to teach them. It is about keeping our family unified and providing them with an environment that fosters love and learning. It is about showing our children that they come first.
And if you happen to be a woman who values all those things, but whose circumstances will just not allow you to be home with your children, regardless of the sacrifices that you might make, know that the Lord sees your heart and will bless you accordingly. I watched my own mother go back to work against her will when her youngest was 8 years old, because she was suddenly widowed. She was thrust into single parenthood and was forced to provide for the needs of her family by working full time. And I know that Heavenly Father blessed her family and made up the difference because circumstances would not allow her to do what her heart desired. I guess that my point is not to trash working moms but to validate those who make the choice to be at home.
You go, girls!