Friday, October 9, 2009

Staying Home - Still Learning

Every mom (or dad) has a different story of the choices she's made.

Some of you stay at home with your children. Some of you work outside the home. Some of you balance home responsibilities and part-time work. Each choice comes with it's own blessings and its own challenges.

Our story of why I stay home is an amalgam of many different needs and almost all of the possibilities. I had written a wordy lengthy post, which included the details of how we got to this stage of me staying home. And then I realized something: I've been through most of the possibilities. Full-time work with a child in day care? Yep, that's how we started. Part-time work with a child in day care? Yes, for three years. Staying in a job in order to provide health insurance? That's why I worked part-time for three years. Working full-time with children in (less-expensive) day care so we could pay off debt? Yes. We did that for a year too.

Until finally, it was clear - Working outside the home and being a good wife and mother were simply not a workable combination for me. The year that I taught school full-time while my two children were in day care 3 days a week was the worst year of our marriage. And so, one day we looked at each other and realized, it wasn't worth it.

At the same time, my husband was pursuing a job relocation. It was God's timing. I turned in my resignation. We sold our home and moved to a new one in a new town. God gave us an income sufficient to make the payments as well as the cost of health insurance.

That first year there was much to do and much to keep me busy. I had to learn my way around a new town. Although we'd only moved about 30 miles away, there were times it felt like 500. We had to find new doctors, dentists, banks, mechanics. We had to organize our new home. We had to settle into a new church and build new friendships. And we had to figure out how to maintain the relationships with family and old friends that were so important to us. All of this took time and energy. I was never so grateful to have more of these precious commodities.

Honestly, for many years I resisted being a full-time SAHM because I thought I would get bored and I was afraid I would become lazy. The truth is I haven't been bored at all. Instead, I am grateful for the extra time and energy being at home has afforded me because there is so much I have learned in the 3+ years since I came home.

I've learned to make yogurt. I've learned that my son builds awesome space ships out of Legos. I've learned that if left alone to play by herself, my daughter will invent amazing stories with her dolls. I've learned to be a better help-meet for my husband. I've learned to listen more. I've learned to simplify by not filling every waking moment with a task (and that's okay). I've learned to save money on groceries by matching coupons to sales. I've learned to keep a price book. I've learned that life continues just fine if you borrow videos from the library instead of Blockbuster. I've learned (again) that television is way over rated and that children can survive just fine without it. I've learned to menu plan. I've learned that helping my son with his homework brings me great joy (and occasionally frustration too!). I've learned to blog!

This list could go on and become far longer than anyone wants to read.  But it boils down to this: I'm still learning. And I'm enjoying the learning.

If you are afraid that you will be bored or your last child is in school and you don't know what to do with your time, I encourage you to go seek new skills. Seek new ways care for your family. Let your creativity loose. You might just surprise yourself.

Be sure to check out the other stories of Moms who stay home at Amys Finer Things.


Amy @ Finer Things said...

There is so much to fill our days and so much to learn as MOM, huh? So fulfilling! Thanks for sharing your story!

Jenn @ Beautiful Calling said...

I've been an official stay at home mom for just over a year. When I read, "I've learned to simplify by not filling every waking moment with a task (and that's okay)", I realized that is something I am still working on learning!
Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed it!

Amy Rainey said...

Great post, Sharon. Thanks for sharing your story! I would like to share a book that has greatly impacted me and my view of what it is to be a mom...stay at home or otherwise. "My Heart's at Home" by Jill Savage. I think every mom should read it, and have decided that it will go along with every baby gift I give in the future, for as long as it is in print.


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