Thursday, May 7, 2015

A SAHM Reality Check

I read this article yesterday. Why I Won't Let My Wife Quit Her Job. I thought it was pretty interesting in and of itself. But, the best part of articles like this is the comment section. Scintillating. Comments ran the gamut from a controlling jerk to live and let live to spiritually depraved.

Half the people took umbrage at the idea that he won't let his wife do something. The other half took umbrage at the fact that he won't let his wife stay home. Feminists and virtuous women unite!

Poor guy! I bet he wishes he never opened his computer screen.

The thought that came to me while reading the comments is that our ideologies and our realities don't always mesh. And also, that SAHMs complain far too much about the realities, and lose sight of the ideologies, in the daily grind.

We bludgeon people with our realities and then are preachy (judgmental, defensive) spouting how children are worth the sacrifice and you'll never regret it. But, we'd have a hard time defending the position that we aren't regretting our decision right then and there.

Which might be why this author thinks there is no way his wife will be fulfilled as a SAHM. It might be why he thinks she will look back and regret the sacrifice.

What SAHM hasn't had days (weeks, months, years?) when we wondered if there wasn't more to life than changing disgusting diapers, and wiping snotty noses, and umpiring fights, and scrubbing finger prints off windows and walls?

The reality is that there are many days we wonder if we are wasting our time, if we are accomplishing anything good at all. We get discouraged in the moment. In the here and now. There are days that are hellish (potty-training, teething nights, fevers, bickering) and that we would willingly trade in our SAHM badge for any other badge if given the opportunity. We complain on FB and any other platform we are given.!!! 

You know exactly what I mean.

The reality is that there are days when we have a glimpse of the future and that glimpse gives us hope. These are the good days that our ideology in raising godly children actually seems like a reality. These days are euphoric in their sweetness and light (obedient, cooperative, kind children) and we can't picture there ever being anything we'd rather do.

It's the hours of labor and delivery juxtaposed against those minutes immediately after giving birth. The intense pain, the intense relief. The hard work, the sigh of being done. The painful anticipation and the contentment of holding your baby.

The days crawl. The years fly.

The reality is that most days are neither hellish nor euphoric. They are simply normal days. The every days. They are neither here nor there. They are just the days that we both persevere and are content.

The reality is we need to remember why we are doing what we are doing. Bottom line, it's about far more than our own personal fulfillment. And there is a lot more tied up in it than our pride.

The reality is that the training and process is awfully hard (I'm looking at you, potty-training, and you-chore training, and you-teaching how to read), but the end result is worth it. We need to remember to choose joy in the moment, instead of complaining.

Mothering is a high call. It is one of the highest calls (besides being a follower of Christ bringing glory to God, and being a spouse and being a picture of Christ and the church). It is the privilege and opportunity to impact and direct, train and raise, our own children to love and serve God, be productive citizens and love and serve others.

Mothering is a sacrifice. But, let's stop acting like martyrs. If we are SAHMs because we feel it is what God wants us to do, who is the sacrifice (time, career, hobbies, whatever) for? It is for God, not our kids. If we lose that perspective, we will come to resent our families for all they made us give up.

Mother's Day is Sunday, and it is a celebration of all the mothers. Points aren't added or subtracted if you are a working mom. Points aren't added or subtracted if you are a SAHM. Points aren't added or subtracted if you birthed your children or if someone else did. We are all mothers and that fact is worth celebrating.

Let's embrace our own decisions confidently and leave it at that. Let's be each other's biggest cheerleaders on this ideological and realistic journey. Let's extend grace and think the best of each other.

Let's celebrate the fact that each and everyone of us moms are just that...Moms.