Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Alive and Kicking

It's been awhile. A long while. But I'm still alive. And this baby is kicking now! I began feeling the faintest of movements last Monday night. I was laying on the sofa, the lights were out, it was totally quiet except for the crickets and frogs singing their songs in the night. I was talking to Seth on the phone. And that little baby was just a moving.

At 16 weeks I'm still braving waves of nausea and waiting on that burst of energy that accompanies the second trimester. Still braving. Still waiting. But, as my doctor reminded me today, I'm almost halfway there! I'm not sure if that made me want to laugh or cry. I just know I'm ready for July to be here. But I'm sure I've already mentioned that more than once. At least I didn't lose anymore weight since my last appointment. I gained a little back, but I still technically haven't gained any weight during this pregnancy. And, considering that I'm starting to "show" now, that seems nearly unreal to me. The heart rate was 152 today. And the sonogram is scheduled for February 28. No, we haven't changed our minds. You'll still have to wait until July!

I've had much on my mind lately and began several blog posts but never posted them. I started this blog shortly after Mason was born as a way to easily post pictures and stories of Mason for my parents to read. It then evolved into my own personal digital scrapbook of saving memories of my children and our family. And, at times, it has been an outlet for just mothering. I do not intend to stray from the original purpose of my blog, but I find lately the Lord really burdening my heart to put words to some of the things He has placed in my heart. And this is one of those times.

Last week someone commented that there's no way she could be a stay-at-home mom. She further clarified her statement by saying, "This is the most unproductive I've ever felt in my life. Everything's done, and I'm just sitting here watching talk shows." This comment was made by a working mom who was taking the day off to care for her sick toddler. Now. I'll be honest. I was so grieved when I heard this. No. I'll be even more honest. My feathers were ruffled! And then I felt grieved. I also have to say that I know this mom. I know she's a great mother, and I know she loves her children with all that's in her! I also have a feeling that she probably didn't mean this comment in the way it came across. But I just can't help but give a shout-out to moms everywhere, stay-at-home moms in particular.

I've had the privilege of being a stay-home-mom for nearly seven years now. And there's nothing in the world I'd trade for it! There's nothing I'd change. There's no where else I'd rather be right now. Has it always been easy? No. Is it glamorous? Well, depending on your definition of glamour, probably not! Are there days when I just want to pull my hair out (and maybe a little of theirs, too)? Absolutely! Have I ever complained about being a stay-at-home mom or wished I was a working mom instead? Unfortunately, yes. And that's when the Lord has ever so gentle changed my heart.

I have a college degree and completed several graduate level courses before Mason was born. I worked a full-time job in corporate America before Mason was born. Life at home is a lot different than life at work. But here's what I will tell you.

My life as a stay-at-home mom is ANYTHING but unproductive. Sure, I'm not writing any strategic management plans or inventing a cure for horrible diseases. I'm not solving any of the world's harshest problems or performing life saving surgery. Instead, here are just a few of the things I've done this week (and I emphasize FEW):

I sat on the sofa with Hannah Kate and rubbed her head. She'd thrown up three times already between the hours of midnight and 3am. She was exhausted. We were not saying anything, not watching anything. But I was praying over that girl, asking the Lord to bring healing to her body. Unproductive? Petitioning the heavenly Father on behalf of my children (as I do at many spontaneous times during the day) is perhaps the most productive thing I can do for them!

I watched Mason's "tricks" on the trampoline. Unproductive? Giving that sweet boy my undivided attention and affirmation made him feel like the most important thing in the world. More children need to feel that important. Because they are.

I played tea party with Hannah Kate. Unproductive? Those tea parties are a wonderful opportunity to teach manners, poise and etiquette, something that we could use a lot more of in our society today.

I helped Mason with his homework and have listened to him read numerous stories and books. Unproductive? That boy wants to be a dentist when he grows up. And one day he'll thank me for helping him get there.

This afternoon Hannah Kate wanted to listen to one of her CDs so I popped it in for her while I was cooking supper. Unproductive? It was a kids' praise music CD, and there is nothing like hearing your 4-year old singing, We fall down, we lay our crowns at the feet of Jesus . . . And then she just belts out the chorus . . . We cry holy, holy, holy . . . Now that's pure, genuine, untainted, authentic WORSHIP. My heart swelled straight to the throne room of the heavenly Father. I can't wait to go back there tomorrow! Some folks say you can't worship anywhere else like you can worship at church. But I beg to differ. They haven't been to my house!

I could go on and on . . . waiting at the end of the driveway each day for Mason to get off the bus, playing board games, painting fingernails and toenails, pinning coloring pages and works of art onto the refrigerator, grabbing the goldfish off the top shelf in the pantry, throwing the ball so Mason can get in some batting practice . . . it may not seem like much to anyone else, but there are at least two children (and really three because I think Connor thinks I'm pretty cool, too!) who think I'm a rock star. And that's what it's all about.

As for watching talk shows and TV . . . I honestly didn't know talk shows even still exist! I have no time during the day to watch TV, and I couldn't even tell you what's on TV at any given time (except for Dora, which comes on at 9:00 and happens to be Hannah Kate's favorite cartoon and Olivia, which comes on at 2:00 and happens to be what Hannah Kate will watch if Connor is napping so I can have a few minutes to work on my Sunday School lesson or monogramming orders). Besides, I am not here to watch TV. I am here for my children, my family. For me, and for me alone, if "everything is done," and I'm just "watching TV," I have not done my job!

Believe me, my days are full of activity, and I really cannot remember the last time I went to bed with everything on my to-do list accomplished. I can tell you right now that my floors need mopping, and the kids' bathroom needs cleaning. I just haven't had time to get to that this week. I won't finish laundry before going to bed tonight either. Again, today was anything but unproductive, even with all the things that went unfinished. And I haven't even listed the major projects on my list that I just haven't had time to get to . . . like the brand new serger that I got for Christmas that's still in the box, the craft closet that needs to be organized, the mudroom cabinets that need to be purged . . .

So many times people are shocked to hear me, someone who is at home all day, list so many "undones." But, again, I'm not here for me. I'm here for these children. That's the ministry the Lord has given to me during this season in my life. And I love it!

So if you are the stay-at-home that feels unproductive, that feels like you aren't doing anything, aren't making a difference . . . the stay-at-home mom that just hates it . . . the very first thing I would encourage you to do is talk to Jesus. Tell Him all about it. And I know He'll do for you what He's done for me.

You are not alone! There have been many times that I've felt like I must be the only mom dealing with a particular problem or challenge. And then I'll talk to another mom who just so happens to share the same thing or be experiencing the same thing. It's so refreshing to know I'm not alone. And neither are you! There are other moms who are going through the same thing, who feel the same way! Reach out to other moms. We're all in this together, whether we're a stay-at-home mom or a working mom. There are also so many fantastic "mom groups." I would recommend Mothers Of PreschoolerS if you're looking for fellowship and fun. You can go to their website and find a chapter near you. Many of the larger churches have mom groups and mom Bible studies. These are often detailed on their websites, or you can just give them a call. If you're looking for an in-depth Bible study, I have to give a shout out to Bible Study Fellowship. One of the best things about these organizations is that they provide childcare, too, a lot of which doesn't cost anything. There are so many opportunities out there for you, so many things you actually couldn't do if you were not a stay-at-home mom.

It's also my opinion that all moms are pretty amazing and talented. I have many stay-at-home mom friends who have "opened up shop," so to speak, from the very comforts of home . . . photography sessions, music lessons (piano, guitar, voice), sewing cute kids' clothes, making wreaths, interior decorating, fashioning jewelry . . . and the list goes on! There are so many fun things you can do if you need to put your "mom hat" aside for a few minutes. And I would encourage you to do just that!

Mothering - whether stay-at-home or work - is important. It is imperative. It is necessary. It is priceless. Last week a mom friend called me and was just heartbroken over some decisions her teenager had recently made. Just today another mom friend called me and was torn over the decision as to whether to continue working or quit her job to be a stay-at-home mom for her three children in elementary and middle school. And there was the mom a couple of weeks ago who just poured her heart out regarding the discipline and behavior of her preschooler. So, if that's you, be encouraged! If you're struggling, if you don't know what to do, just cry out to Jesus. He loves you, dear mother, and He sees you. He knows just how important the task of raising these children is; it's near to His heart, too.

Having said all of that, how about a picture of two of the blessings I have the joy of mothering:


Mama said...

YES, that's my baby girl stroking these love thoughts. What a wonderful blessing you are to me. I am forever grateful to our Lord for the privilege and honor of parenting you.

Anonymous said...

Well said Julie. Many will benefit from your encouragement! Misty

Erin Oswalt said...

You are awesome. Well said. Love it and miss you.

Sallie Raven Brown said...


Anonymous said...

Thank you. Reminders that were much needs today....looking at toys....laundry....and taxes. Love ya!
Elaine P.