Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Confessions of Stay-At-Home Motherhood

I was looking at my blog the other day, and started feeling a little guilty.

Countdowns to school and the 31 days of Halloween and reading time and learning time, are all over this blog. I've heard more than once someone tell me, "You are such a fun mom!"

I always feel a little guilty when they do, because (in reality) it's not all rainbows and chocolate here. And I have my selfish reasons for being (or trying to be, anyways) fun.

When I was in high school, I was boy-crazy. No lie. However, I never really pictured myself getting married. I figured it would happen, and I figured we would probably have kids, and I figured I would do the typical Mormon-girl thing and stay home with them, but it wasn't something that I really thought about or necessarily wanted.

I wanted to be a journalist.

Well, originally I wanted to be in the FBI. But, I thought that being an investigative reporter would be a good second choice.

Just as I was beginning college, though, I fell in head-over-heels in love with the first boy that I seriously dated. 9 months later I married that boy. That boy wanted babies right off, and I loved him enough to do just that. A few pregnancy problems and miscarriages, and we had our first baby boy just a few weeks after our 2nd anniversary.

Over the next 4 years, I continued to work to pay off bills, moved away so that we could finish college, worked part-time, had a baby girl, and attended school full-time.

When we moved to Las Vegas after graduation, I had my first taste at being a full-time stay-at-home mom and homemaker.

I always knew that it would eventually happen.

I had no idea that I would hate it so much.

Reality hit hard and fast. The dreams of life being grand once we had a "real job" quickly faded. Finances were so tight in the beginning of post-college life that we had a $25 a week food budget. Being in a new city and state made me feel lonely. Mike needing the car to work 45 minutes from our home made me feel isolated.

It was a really hard time.

I broke down to Mike one night, and told him my deepest, darkest secret:

That I hated it. Really, really hated it.

He was really struggling, too, at the time with supporting our family and adjusting to a new job. He told me something along the lines of, "Fake it 'til you make it."

Which isn't bad, considering.

One day I told family (some) of what I was feeling. My sister-in-law gave me the best advice ever. She told me that the more she put into being a mother, the better it was for her.

I'm an all-or-nothing person. And before I gave up on doing the homemaker thing (which, after a lot of prayer and fasting, is what I knew I should be doing), I threw myself into it.

I made my #1 goal to show my children how much Heavenly Father loved them through my actions and to be able to have the Spirit in our home.

And went to work.

We had learning time, reading time, craft time, and coloring time. We did countdown chains and themed days. We celebrated every holiday and cooked together. We read scriptures and acted out scripture stories. Prayed and sang Primary songs. I (tried) to keep our home in order and make it as nice as I could on our budget.

And as time went on, I realized how much I began to love motherhood and being a homemaker. I loved being able to be with my kids every day. To watch them grow and learn. To see their sweet testimonies blossom. That I could so positively influence my family... that through my actions, we could have the Spirit in our home.

I can honestly say now that I love being able to be with my kids daily. I adore them (and all of their craziness). I love being able to make our little apartment a home. It's made me happier than I ever imagined.

I wouldn't trade it for all of the investigative reporting in the world.

That's not to say that I don't have hard days, where everything comes crashing down, and I cry and want to give up.

Because that does happen.

But, the more that I forget myself and get to work, serving my family, the more I love and cherish it. The more I appreciate being a woman, and the unique role I have as a mother.

I don't want to ever, ever go back to the way it first was.

And if it takes me doing Halloween crafts for 31 days to keep it that way, then that's how I'm going to roll.

* I hope I haven't offended anyone with this post. I believe that Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us. Sometimes that plan means staying home with our children, and sometimes that means providing for our families. This is just my story. ;)


Kathy said...

And this is why we love you so much....! You are amazing! Thanks for sharing your feelings.

Tiffin said...

I just have to tell you that I think you are amazing! Even more so now that I know the extra effort you put into all that you do! Motherhood defintely has it's challenges and is certainly a sacrifice. But you are right, the rewards are huge.

Nicole and Justin said...

I love your story! Thanks so much for sharing it.

stacey said...

I relate with so much of this. It had me crying butthey were tears of relief that I'm not alone. I've gone back and forth between staying home and working and mostly I go back to work because I'm overwhelmed to stay at home and I feel like a failure. I honestly feel that motherhood is one of my trials in life. Not that I don't enjoy it (sometimes) or that I don't love Scarlett, but it hard work for me. It does not come naturally. I really appreciate your honesty. I've been thinking a lot about the "Fake it 'til you make it!" comment since I read this last week. It made me realize how much of my attitude toward motherhood is based on my attitude. This was a great post.