Thursday, August 28, 2014

How I Adjusted To Being A Full Time Stay At Home Mom

We can all pretend that a new year starts in January, but having been a teacher for eight years, and now a mom with school age children, it always feels like the "real new year" starts in September.  The day after labor day to be exact.

This year has been a hard one, and one of transition.  It started with September when I started "formally" homeschooling my oldest.  

And ironically this transition wasn't the hardest last year.  Homeschooling Kindergarten was awesome and fun.

Unfortunately the year also began with a bit of a surprise, that came by way of e-mail.  I was out of a job. Notifying me by e-mail was not cool.  The writing on the wall had been obvious, simply because enrollment was down, but it still came as a shock, 1 day before I was scheduled to teach.

I definitely had a freak out moment, mostly because we had no back up plan for my income, but blessedly just as my income got cut, my husband's income was picking up by way of extra commissions.  So money wasn't an issue. My personal identity however, was.

Ever since I had Ivy (my first) I've called myself a "mostly stay at home mom."  I worked one, maybe two days a week for 2 maybe 3 hours teaching at a local college.  I LOVED the classes that I taught, but didn't realize how much I let being a teacher define me.  I was comfortable being a "mostly stay at home mom."  I wasn't in the house the whole time, just most of the time.

This past year, I've seen myself as being "just a stay at home mom."  No career, no outside work.

Coupled with a surprise, but welcome, pregnancy that has literally zapped all my energy I've struggled with my worth this past year.

I've struggled with the fact that I feel like I haven't accomplished anything.  I struggle with the fact that even though I'm home more, the house isn't always immaculate.  I've struggled with the fact I haven't written much this past year or worked to grow my self-employment income.

And yet, at some point during this past year I realized despite the self-loathing how much I had "accomplished" even though I wasn't being paid to do any of it.

I realized at some point I would never say to a daycare worker, "Oh you just watch kids all day, that's not a real job."  

I would never say to a chef, "Oh you make breakfast, lunch, and dinner for people.  I bet that isn't mentally stimulating."

I would never say to a maid, "So you clean up other people's messes.  How degrading."

I would never say to an elementary school teacher, "Oh you teach 5 year old's, well I teach college.  My contribution to society is so much more valuable than yours."

No!  I'd never say any of these things.  Because I realize a person's value is so much more than their career, not to mention the fact that every single one of the aforementioned careers are honest, good, hard work that contributes to society in meaningful ways.

Why on earth then did I say these things in my own brain?  Why did I think I was "just" a stay at home mom rather than embracing this new exciting season in my life, where I am blessed to be there for my children for more time than I was before.

Changing my thinking has been hard.  Very hard.  But fortunately at some point in the past year it happened.  Maybe all I really needed was time to adjust.

I taught at a local Bible college for seven years because that's where God was calling me to be, at that time.  I was able to be a blessing to my students by teaching them music.

God closed that door though, and the window he opened was one of continued humble service to my family.  
I've been homeschooling through the summer with my now first grader and pre-kindergartner.  As everyone gears up to start their new school year we'll actually be taking a break, so I can survive the end of this pregnancy and then adjust to a new baby.

I'm so excited about this next year though.  I've had time to adjust to my new role, and while I know a new baby is sure to shake things up again, I know a little bit better who I am.

Ultimately though my identity doesn't even lay in being a stay a home, homeschooling mom, it lays in Christ.  I'll follow wherever he leads.  And right now he's leading me home.

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  1. I think everyone goes through their adjustment phase. Thank you for sharing your struggles. I have added this to my Pinterest Working mom vs SAHM board:

  2. Titus 2:5 and 1 Timothy 1:14 -home is where you should be. That is a mother's calling. An honorable calling. The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.

    You'll eventually come to terms with the fact that a home that has people in it 24/7 will bear the marks that it is lived in. It's a home full of love and joy not an empty house. The book Queen of the Hone is a great encouragement.

    Congrats on your new baby! Praying for a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery!

  3. I enjoyed this! Thinking of you today, and praying you are well!


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