Friday, July 10, 2009

Thoughts: "stay at home" mom

I thrive on productivity. Just ask my husband. As soon as I/we start cleaning or organizing, my energy levels soar! So, I have been struggling lately with feeling like the life is sometimes sucked out of me as a "stay at home" mom. I put that in quotations, because in reality I do work part-time (still at the Acts 2 Ministry, for those that are curious, going in one day a week and doing some work at home). As a SAHM, you'd think I'd get tons done during the day. But the reality is, I just get bare minimum done, and that's on a good day! So, when I get to the end of a day, and realize that "nothing" was accomplished, I am zapped. Not because I am necessarily physically tired (which I am), but because mentally, there was nothing to pick me up. I don't see anything checked off a list, I don't see any previously undone projects accomplished. Instead, I see a house with toys strewn about, dishes in the sink, laundry sitting in piles, mail stacked up, and wonder what I did with my whole day, anyway.

As I was walking with the kids this morning, I saw a woman heading out to her car with coffee mug and tote bag in hand, dressed nicely, obviously off to work. And I envied her. And then I felt immediately guilty. But for a moment, I remembered what it felt like to have somewhere to be, to have people who were counting on you, to have adults to speak with, to have challenges before you to master, to get to the end of the day and feel like you then had a chance to go home and relax or change your environment at least and ready yourself to face a new day.

But then, I decided I would choose to view the positive. After all, I was walking in the cool morning air with my kids. I didn't have anywhere I needed to be, and could decide my own schedule for the day. Even though I don't get much accomplished, I am making a long-term investment in my children, in my family, in my community, and in the world. (No, I am not blowing that out of proportion; I truly believe that.) I often have to remind myself that playing with my children is an accomplishment, not one that I can physically "see", but one that is felt. I am so blessed to be able to pour my time and energy into training them, to teaching them, to loving them, to running our home the best it can be (mess and all!). And for that, I am thankful.


mom2boys said...

Hey- I think ALL moms feel that twinge of guilt. Weather, tt's the SAHMs that think the grass is greener on the other side or the "working moms" who would love to stay home with their babies for a while. I worked the first year I had Noah and I felt SO guilty. I felt that I was leaving him in the care of another woman (whom I loved dearly) to raise. And that was not okay with me.

And I totally agree with you that you/me/we are impacting the world by raising loving Christian kids.

Mark'sMeg said...

I appreciated your post because today was definitely "one of those days" where I got nothing checked off my list and my house is a complete wreck! Thanks for your honesty :)
Meagan DeLong

The Riggalls said...

Wonderfully well put, Cristen! I am proud of you for looking at it from that viewpoint, but I completely understand where you're coming from. As a "STAHM" things often don't physically look like they got done, but putting time and energy into our children is better than having a clean house. I loved hearing your thoughts about this. I'd love to talk to you soon!

Cindy Perdue said...

All women feel this way, whether they have children or not, SAHM or not. Just because you are a SAHM, do not feel that everything should be done on your "to do" list. Spend time with your husband & your children. That is more important than a clean house.

Kristie said...

great post! I've certainly felt sad about my messy hair and tshirts and, let's be honest here, sweat pants. Not to mention the deflating feeling when my main "goal" for the day was to take a shower, and even that didn't happen. Sigh. Then again, I wouldn't trade it for the world! I fully agree with your impacting the world line. Here, here!