….to stay at home with my children.”
I was standing in the line of a grocery store in Kansas. I had just spent almost two hours shopping with my three little children, because I had a pile of coupons, a week of meals to make and $35 to spend. It was the early 90’s. Even with lower grocery prices, it wasn’t a lot of money.
I STARED in disbelief. I couldn’t believe her guilt would cause her to speak with such sarcastic false humility without knowing my circumstances.
In a glance I noticed her heavily jeweled, manicured fingers, her expensive, matching (AND minus baby throw-up) clothing, her unscuffed high heels, nylons, her makeup, her purse. I took it all in. She might “need” to work, but I knew she spent a lot of money, if that one heavily accessorized outfit was any indication of her spending habits. She looked beautiful, but she wasn’t happy.
I didn’t want to blab my husband’s salary out, but he was a teacher in a private Christian school and we were paying 1/4 of our salary to student loans. I was pretty sure our monthly salary was easily what they made in a week.
I polished my own fingernails.
My husband trimmed my hair and I had only 1 perm in 10 years. (for the fashion of this decade, this was a sacrifice.)
I wore only hand-me downs and thrift store items.
I had never purchased anything new for my kids to wear at this point in my life.
I bought nylons once a year and washed them by hand to make them last.
I used the cheapest make-up and hair products I could find.
I sewed some of my kids’ clothes from $1 a yard fabric.
I don’t remember my exact words, but after processing the absurdity of her speculation, I let her know it was a spiritual decision to stay at home, not a financial one. I let her know we were choosing to raise our kids according to the Bible.
The cashier was a little more honest as she entered the conversation about my SAHM status.
“I don’t stay at home with my kids, cuz I couldn’t stand to. I mean, I love my kids, but they drive me crazy. When they’re home at the holidays, I can hardly wait until they go back to school. But, you’re a much more patient person, that’s good that you stay at home with your kids. You’re such a good mom.”
I didn’t stay at home because I was patient, either, although I appreciated her kind comment.
I have always been a Stay At Home Mom because I believe the Bible teaches it.
As a new believer, 18 and in college, I was searching for all those big answers in life. I remember rejoicing to discover that the Bible covered topics such as marriage, parenting, worrying, working and church structure. I diligently searched for answers, and the Lord graciously had already supplied them. It gave me guidance for decisions concerning my future.
“The aged women … teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
As much as that woman’s comment went deep into my soul, I wasn’t angered, I was offended, I wasn’t defensive. I was sad for her.
I also stay at home because I love my kids and want to be with them.
All those sacrifices were, and continue to be, worth it. I NEVER look back and think about what I couldn’t buy, the plain food we ate, or the inexpensive clothing we wore. The Lord provided sufficiently and we were joyously happy in the Lord’s work and content with what He had provided.
I look back and cherish holding those babies. I remember staring in their precious little faces, trying to imprint it on my mind and heart, knowing that each day they changed and grew.
I cherish being the one to see every first in their life.
I cherish the sweet memoring of playing with them, sleeping in tents with them, and teaching them them to craft, to cook, to sew, to paint, to create, to read, to garden, to ride a bike, jump rope, do a cartwheel, play games, cut with scissors…
I hugged and kissed them every day. I looked into their eyes. I talked to them about the Savior. I read the Bible to them. I read books to them.
I cherished them.
Now, I cherish the memories when they were young and sometimes weep that those busy years are now fleeting memories. When I see a young mom with all her little ones filling up her grocery cart, I am a little wistfully jealous. I miss those years, because I loved being with all my children.
Today, I wonder about that jeweled woman, who spoke with bitter jealousy, and what memories she revisits.
Somehow, I think she also looks back on her life and weeps.
But, my heart tells me, her tears are tears of regret.
“Lord, I just pray for this dear woman who impacted my life and heart so many years ago. I long for her to have peace and joy and slavation. I ask you to comfort her, to hear her cries and answer her prayers. Bless her, Lord. Amen.”
This blog is joining the list of bloggers participating in Motivate Me Monday sponsored by The Fifth Street Mama. Stop by and get motivated by other Blommies!
The Fifth Street Mama says
Oh this post makes me rejoice and so thankful that I am a SAHM with a husband who also believes that this is the very best way to raise a family. Thank you Mindy for this post. Your light shines so bright through these words.
People sometimes look at me and say, "Boy, am I glad that those days are over." I usually say, "Oh, I enjoy this. They are so fun. IT is SO neat to watch them grow and learn new things." They do not usually have a response.
Thank you for this post. It is a wonderful reminder of how truly blessed I am to stay home with my kids.
Calling all you baby lovers and haters! There is one thing that baby lovers have that others dont have and thats a big lesson called motherhood. we are blessed that the Lord has called us to do the biggest job, and thats going through the bumpy roads, going up mountians, and sometimes treading through thick muddy waters. My children are adopted. Some of us are unable to bare children. When I see moms over whelmed in public I tell them just that, to be thankful that they could have children that came from their bodies, that they were blessed with the relationship at began of the first trimester, nausea, swollen ankles, puffy noses, when the baby kicks inside for the first time to let you know I'm alive mom and doing well! Pregnant moms who say I'm so fat, I say no your'e not you look like one of God's beautiful flowers in bloom. The last ten years have been a challenge for my family but the Lord was really saying you are up to the challenge because i will be with you every tear, when you are weary I will restore your faith. When you fill like quiting, He says no I'm not going to let you quit. You see He wants our assistance raising His children in the image of His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Think about that the King of the world wants us to assist Him. We are not even worthy to wash His feet but yet He knows what He is creating in each one of His followers. He is creating soldiers for His glorious army. He can't have weak soldiers assisting Him in this war. When an athlete trains for a gold medal they press hard to the point of exhaustion. they know there is a medal of gold at the end. Looking back I would again accept those one and 2 year old little neglected, unkept children in the middle of the night as a emergency placement, who brought one grocery bag filled with their things. Little hearts just eagerly waiting for guidance and acceptance from me. (mindy do you remember) So ladies mold and shape those babies as well as your grace will see you through. When you fell down and out just look up and keep your eyes on the prize of eternal life. As momma mindy says we only get one chance with our children. Love sisters, your chocolate sister in Christ
Jaime Kubik says
My husband and I are continually blessed to have me at home. Though I think it is much harder than many working moms realize, I also think I am able to put my true work (keeping a home) as my top priority. Taking care of my kids, my husband and the home can come first because I do not have to worry about a vocation. This does not mean we don't have worries. Financially we have to be careful, but as you made perfectly clear…what is more important? What we buy or the time we are blessed with? Thank you for the post! WONDERFUL!!
~ Tandis ~ says
I've had that situation a few times as well. At the school Shawn teaches at we have a few families in which both parents are Doctors, we have heard the comment, "We have no money" but drive cars that cost more than our home mortgage and "We wish we had time for a family vacation". We are amazed by these statements. Thank you for your thoughts & encouragement. As a young Mom sometimes after a hard day I just dream of being a bagger at a grocery store and then I remember I wouldn't see my kids and I regret my sinful thought almost as fast as I thought it.
I loved your blog and it was through teary eyes that I remember those years. So quickly have they gone. I also am wistfully jealous when I see young moms with their carts full of kids and not groceries. I let them know, "These are such precious years. Enjoy them!" Our last of eleven was also born in 2002 and how I cherish those incredible hugs and "I love yous" that he showers upon me. God is good! Thanks. Jan
This is so beautifully written. Although I have always had the desire and conviction to be a SAHM, I appreciate the thoughts you wrote down. It reminds me so much of growing up and all the sacrifices my mom made as my dad had a teachers salary also. Yet I know she too cherishes the time she had, as will I.