As a stay-at-home mom, I spend most of my days at home. I don’t volunteer all my time in serving others, working side jobs, or doing much of anything that doesn’t have to do with my family, our home, or myself.
Man. That looks selfish when it’s all written down like that.
But it’s true. My job is to take care of my family, myself, and our home. It’s full-time. Yesterday, I did laundry, cleaned bathrooms, made breakfast for the kids, cleaned the kitchen, motivated (read: yelled at) my children to clean their rooms and bathroom AND basement, wrote a blog post, watched a neighbor’s kids, walked a neighbor’s dog, made dinner, ate dinner, cleaned up after dinner, ran a kid to and from two different activities, paid bills, worked through a pile of mail, filled out several school forms, picked up milk, showered, answered the phone, sent texts, read and responded to emails, and went to the gym. These things fill a whole day. Most days are a version of this.
I worked outside of the home full-time for a short period after my husband and I were married. I would spend ten hours a day traveling to work and working and would come home to take care of home business. Then after we had children I worked from home full-time, and I would work that job and work as a stay-at-home mom. Back then, I needed someone like me to run the house and my life when I was working. I needed a stay-at-home mom.
I’m not sure how I did it. Granted, the kids were younger then and didn’t demand as much of me as they do now. Things were different then. Old activities are replaced by new ones. Life gets crammed with more stuff.
And I have let things go. Despite the long lists of tasks that I do and will do and should do soon, there are piles of important papers to be filed, envelopes full of receipts to be sorted and discarded, more paperwork to go through, recipes to organize, a photograph compilation project taking up residence over there in the corner.
The pile of paid bills lying over there contains documents we need to do our taxes. The spreadsheet I used to scrupulously maintain to itemize our spending has been forgotten since last November. My husband needs information that is hiding in the filing cabinet that I haven’t organized in over a year. The garbage disposal needs to be replaced; I need to make a dentist appointment for our son. I’m tired of holding everything in balance. I just want to sit down, put my feet up, and be lazy.
My favorite thing to do – EVER – is to sit down and do very little. It’s my rest, refreshment, rejuvenation. For an undetermined period of time, I want to sit and think, or read, or watch TV. The time I have for these things is at night, after the kids are in bed and I have said “no more” to myself and the house and my husband. This usually happens around nine o’clock, and within a half an hour I am asleep, the time to be lazy morphing into bedtime.
I used to spend some time with God in the morning, before everyone was up. It was my time with God. It was my rest, my refreshment, my rejuvenating period. I would sit at the kitchen table, coffee brewing, read a devotional or do Bible study homework and write in a journal and pray. These days the kids get up when I do, make their way downstairs when I do, and start talking as soon as they see me. I’m certain that the loud snapping sound of my eyelids opening is what rouses them from their sleep. If I got up at 4 am, they’d be at my side at 4:05. They are intense beings, children. To get up before them would require an act of God.
At times like this, when I complain of all I have been given to take care of and the resulting guilt I feel for being so ungrateful when there are billions of other people in the world who don’t have it nearly as easy as I do, I mean, let’s face it, my life is only as complicated as I make it, I am beyond blessed in the very best ways imaginable – God nudges me to sit. And think. And do very little.
And put my life – once again – in his hands. To stop cataloguing my accomplishments, no matter the size. He will bring me to my coveted place of refreshment, definitely and as promised. Until then, he is working in my life to give me exactly what I need to grow. That may mean more tasks, or less tasks, or simply the time to reflect on what I have.