But What Do I Know? I’m Just A Stay At Home Mom.

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I really try not to write words when I’m angry but today I’m making an exception.

Let the rant begin.

On Friday, President Obama gave a speech in Rhode Island on the need for more taxpayer dollars so we can have even more government-funded pre-schools. He said,

“Sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make.”

There are so many things wrong with that statement; I think my head might explode. This President has said and done many things that have riled me, but this one takes the homemade cake.

Did I just hear him say that moms who leave their careers are ruining their lives?  Why would he not want American women to make this choice? I thought the President supported a woman’s right to choose?

As a “mom [who left] the workplace to stay home with the kids,” I am utterly offended. But to me, his comment isn’t just offensive to SAHM’s; it’s offensive to ALL women.

Although his words were intended to “make sure that women are full and equal participants in our economy,” I see them as underhanded and demeaning. His comment doesn’t show support for our equality, it’s chauvinistic and belittling. It implies we poor mothers are helpless to make The Right Choice and are thereby forced to succumb to The Wrong Choice of staying at home, never again to earn a decent wage.

I can hear Scarlett O’Hara now…“After all, tomorrow is another day…”

Someone needs to explain to our President that not all women are forced to leave the workforce.  Some women go to work but then have what’s called A Change of Heart. Surely he’s heard somewhere that it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind…?

Our country is full of highly intelligent, successful women who view children as blessings rather than burdens.  Like Hannah (1 Samuel 1:27), they pray for the chance to become mothers and even sacrifice their professional careers to do so.

I am one such woman.  I 100% CHOSE to leave the workforce to pursue a career in Motherhood. I was not forced to quit because daycare wasn’t available or because it was too expensive. I had a great job with all the perks, yet I wanted to leave.

I have, however, lived on both sides of this fence. Even though I had an AMAZING stay-at-home-momma all my life, becoming one was never my desire.

Instead, I somehow bought whole-heartedly into the feminist philosophy of the 1980’s and 90’s. I looked up to women like Claire Huxtable, the well-spoken, dressed-to-a-tee, always-composed-mother-of-five, attorney-married-to-a-doctor. That was an attainable goal for me, right?

In second grade I planned to be the first female president, an astronaut or a Supreme Court justice. As a teenager and young woman, I decided on a more realistic career that would bring both prestige and money.

I knew I eventually wanted children but I was determined that motherhood wouldn’t interfere with my plans. I insisted on completing both undergrad and graduate school before even contemplating a baby.  And that’s exactly what I did.

Upon graduation I found a great job, worked full time and loved every minute of it. And when I finally did get pregnant I made sure to buy a diaper bag roomy enough to hold my laptop.

I believed the feminist propaganda that I could Do It All. That I should Do It All. And if I couldn’t?  Well then I was just a big fat failure.

Our daughter was born one week before our 8th wedding anniversary. Everything was going according to my plan, except I didn’t plan for how my heart would feel once she arrived.

From the day that precious child was born I cried. Every. Single. Day. It wasn’t Postpartum Depression or regret; I had begun the painful process of dying to myself.

All those plans, all that plotting, every idea I’d had about the kind of mother I would be went totally out the window when I saw her face. It’s like I didn’t know myself anymore.

I clearly had no idea how much I would love this child and how that love would drive me to do outrageous things.  I gave up small things at first, like sleep and daily showers and the ability to eat hot meals, but then the sacrifices got bigger.

As exhausting as it was, I wanted to be the one caring for her all day. I wanted to hold her and kiss her and rock her and never ever leave her side. I wanted to know her quirks and likes and dislikes. I wanted to know her routine. I wanted her to have home-cooked meals and a clean floor to crawl on. And I didn’t want to pay someone else to do those things; I wanted to provide them for her.

She was my flesh and blood; the only one who’d ever heard my heart beat from the inside. I wanted to make a home for her, not because I had to, but because of my love. Yet strangely, that desire felt selfish.

If I’d learned anything from Feminism, it was that my job was to give her a life by bringing home an income. I was to be equal to her father in my education and abilities and earnings and teach her to do the same. I was making the best choice for her by leaving her with others so I could earn a better life for our family.

I resolved the tension in my spirit by saying things like, “If we’re ever going to have anything it’s going to take two incomes.” But what exactly did I think we had to have? A bigger house? A nicer car? A swimming pool? A game room full of toys? Annual family vacations to impressive places?

Yes. Those are exactly the things I thought we needed in order to be deemed a happy and successful family. Remember, if I couldn’t Do It All and follow through with my plans then I had failed. Therefore, I must carry on with My Plans. My Achievements. My Career. I must prove I’m capable of doing what all the other moms do.

Isn’t it ironic I was so worried about being selfish by staying home, considering how self-centered I already was?

Somehow we made The Plan work, but two years later I was still miserable.  I still cried Every. Single. Day. I hated leaving my daughter, even with my mom, who is the next closest thing to being with me. My heart ached in a way I cannot describe, but if you’re a mother you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I still longed to be with my baby. She was starting to learn the ABC’s and numbers and how to use the potty. Call me crazy, but I wanted more than just the weekends to teach her those things.

Again, this felt so selfish. I’m supposed to push those feelings aside and earn an income for my daughter and our family. If we’re ever going to have anything…

I remember this moment like it happened yesterday. I was standing at the bar in my kitchen, sobbing. “God, why am I so unhappy? I have everything I’ve ever hoped for …Why am I still not happy?” I said aloud.

And almost as loudly I heard Him reply, “Because you need to be home. I want you to be more important in this house than you are in the world.”

For a moment I was stunned. Or was I? Deep down in my heart, in places I dared not feel, I had shoved His voice down, down, down. Every time That Voice whispered to my heart I simply shut it up by telling myself those were selfish thoughts.

It’s selfish to want to stay home and care for your family. It’s not enough, just caring for them. You’ve got to do more. You’ve got to make a difference in the world. You’ve got to go outside your home if you’re going to be all that God wants you to be and do all He wants you to do.

In that moment God showed me those were lies. I was listening to the world—aka Satan—and not Him. He never said I had to do all those things; I did. Society did. Feminism did.

Now I hear my President saying those very same things.

Leaving my job didn’t make logical or financial sense but I’ve learned God usually chooses the path that makes the least amount of sense.

Why would I go through all that schooling just to stay at home and not use it? How do I justify all those student loans? How do I walk away from a good income? How do I tell my boss? Better yet, how do I tell my husband?

I could argue and justify all I wanted but the fact remained: God had clearly spoken to my heart and I had a choice to make. Would I shove His voice down yet again or would I surrender to His call?

Leaving my job was not an easy decision, but it was the right choice for our family because it put us in line with God.

I wanted to do those things with and for my child because God put those desires in my heart. This realization was liberating in ways I have never known.

Four years later, my husband and I still view my move as a blessing and a step up. Our family is by no means “comfortable.”  To say we “go without” would be an understatement, but God always sees to it that we have everything we need.

Each of us has sacrificed things for the sake of the cause. My husband willingly works a full-time and part-time job year round, then picks up a third during the holidays.  I seek out ways to stretch and save money and do things to earn a little extra when possible.

We are a team and we are all happy.

All those years in college I had no idea THIS would be the job of my dreams; I truly love caring for my family. I take pride in it. That’s not to say I always do it sanely or with the best of attitudes, but I am satisfied now in a way I cannot describe.

So why wouldn’t Mr. Obama want Americans to make “that choice,” the choice to be satisfied and content with their lives?

Would he actually prefer I stay miserable and burdened for the sake of the economy? That would be slavery.

Is he saying my American Dream has to look like everyone else’s? That would be communism.

And what crystal ball did Mr. Obama use to predict I will earn a lower wage for the rest of my life? Is he saying my graduate level education would no longer be of value simply because I stayed home to raise my family? If that’s the case, I’d like my tuition and fees back, please.

The President is manipulating and misleading us, yet again. (I’d call it lying but I’m trying to measure my words here.) He’s playing on mothers’ emotions and that’s just dirty. He’s weaved in juuuuust enough truth that his statements sound reasonable and factual, kinda like another famous Deceiver I know.

Truth be told, the women in our country have been misled for some time now and we’ve all followed merrily along.

…As a student I was told to take out all the loans I needed because they were considered “good debt.”  Besides, a degree would surely earn me more than enough money to repay them. Righhhht.

…I was told that a college degree would secure my future and allow me to be or do anything I wanted. The sky’s the limit! Guess I missed the fine print that said “Full-Time Motherhood not included.”

…Liberals have told me for years I have “the right to choose,” but apparently that’s only when it comes to the life of my unborn child. When it’s time to make the best choice for my birthed children I’m out of options.

SAHM’s have long been slighted, but I never expected to get it from my own President. Is he just one more disillusioned person who thinks SAHM’s sit around eating bonbons all day?

I will be the first to tell you I work harder as a SAHM than I ever did on the job because there’s no fudging on the deadlines. Breakfast, Lunch and Supper happen at appointed times every single day and when people are hungry, you better get to steppin’. Inevitably there are dirty clothes that need cleaning by the next morning, projects to be done and errands that simply cannot wait.

But the hard work I do to manage my home doesn’t matter. Apparently, my work must take place outside my home in order to impact our society.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  I want what happens inside my home to change the world, not the other way around.

Now I know I’m just one bad-decision-making SAHM, but let me share a few ways I think we are good for the economy.

We are grocery shoppers and consumers and recyclers. We pay ungodly prices for gas in order to drive the carpool and chauffer our kids to dance or baseball. We buy school clothes and supplies and fixings to make lunches every day. We clean out closets so homeless shelters will have clothes and shoes and blankets and fans when they’re needed. We make and take meals to shut-ins and families in need. We are social and involved. We have opinions and educations and ideas, and lest the President forget, we VOTE.

But I guess those things don’t count since we don’t earn paychecks for the government to take Social Security out of.

SAHM’s also benefit the job market, as staying home frees up more jobs for those who need them.  *This does not mean we stay at home and live off of government assistance.*

If more of us went home, fewer children would require childcare. This would create space for the families who truly do need it and it would reduce the need for more of those government-funded preschools the President was referring to.

And if more moms were home when their children were, a lot of the statistics we mourn over might even change.

For instance, did you know that most adolescent drug use and sex happens on weekdays between the hours of 3:00pm and 6:00pm? That’s the gap between the time school lets out and parents get home from work.  It is for this reason that many after-school programs exist; to give older kids a safe, supervised place to go.

Now, I’m NOT SAYING all women should stay home and never leave. That’s NOT it at all. Working a job outside the home is not wrong.

I personally know mommas who have no other choice but to work and I’m totally respectful of that. Props to the single moms and those whose husbands work abroad. I truly don’t see how you do all that you do. I’d love to cook supper for you or watch your kids while you grocery shop.

What I am saying is that God intended our homes and families to be our top priority—not our careers. So when those motherly, nesting, nurturing feelings begin to rise up in us, we shouldn’t fight them; we should embrace them.

Whether we are in the workforce or at home, we are powerful. Like Queen Esther, we have so much more influence than we realize. We have a natural ability to nurture and sway others. For better or worse.

If we as God’s girls would get this, we could change the world.

Thankfully, this rant has a happy ending.

I don’t have to worry what the President thinks of me or my decisions or my contribution to society because my calling is from the King of Kings. I answer to Him and His government that has no end.

Unlike my earthly government, The Father highly regards and values the work I do. He provides all my needs AND keeps His promises, too.  My future is secure in Him.

But what do I know? I’m just a Stay-At-Home-Mom.

Jessie

“Know therefore that The Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments.” ~ Deuteronomy 7:9

“Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

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