8/26/08

There's a Way I can not see . . .

I’m so thankful for the peace and quiet this morning. Two older kids at school, finally! And the smallest one now taking his morning nap. The music issuing from computer speakers, paired with intermittent strokes on the keyboard -- it’s SO needed. I often think I should have been a hermit; that I was not cut out for this stay at home Mom thing and the constant, incessant, human interaction. The true me is a pilgrim at Tinker Creek. I live better in my head, and at Walden Pond. I would so rather observe and analyze and contemplate. Just let me look out the window at nature and go for long walks with my headphones on. Words flow so much better when I can use the backspace key. Sentences make sense and feelings don't get hurt.

Don’t get me wrong. I love, love my kids. They are the three most unique, gifted, beautifully intelligent children I have ever met. And I will extol their loveliness to you as long as you care to listen. But they are also tiny people, with lots of tiny needs that add up to lots of big T-I-M-E. And they are experts at draining as well as injecting the marrow that keeps my bones alive.

And I feel guilty for admitting this to you. Shouldn’t I be happy with this arrangement? There are many women without children, even those who have children but can not afford to stay home, who would surely envy this close knit life. And you’re right; I could trade my apron for an attaché, if that’s what I truly wanted.

But I do not wish to punch the clock and fill someone else’s orders. I love my freedom, love being in charge. I also value the fact that I'm the person who is there for my kids like nobody else. I believe in their need for full-time care, and would not trade my years with them for all the paychecks in the world. What I could not have known before signing on however, is the price I would pay in choosing this role. It's made me realize who I truly am: an introverted melancholy with an exuberant need for personal, physical space, as well as how much I need God to do this job well. Something this independent, self sufficient girl does not like to admit.

So, this must be my calling. No, I’m not a missionary, trading my American comforts for long, hot, work filled days. But for me, the life giving task of staying at home, caring for my three children, and constantly denying my own selfish wishes is indeed a long defeat. A burden that’s too heavy to carry, but as their Mother, impossible to leave.

7 comments:

The Muser (aka Beautiful Mama) said...

I was looking for other mothering blogs through facebook and found you. I'm glad I did. Lovely post. And I don't think you should feel guilty about what you feel. I really, really don't. I only have one child--and an easy one at that--and though I love her more than anything in my world, I also find it incredibly, incredibly hard to be at home. It's just not me. I go to school part-time and will start working when she's in school (probably as a pastor), but I just mother much better when I get some time to be with other adults and pursue my intellectual life and interests. But I'm with you...I just couldn't put her in day care and go off and work full-time. It's hard to find a balance. Anyway, I appreciate your honesty and I can relate, and I think it's totally, totally normal and that most of us would be better moms if we'd just admit to these feelings, accept them as normal, support one another, and find ways to accept and meet our own needs even as we love our little ones!

Tim, Susan, Seth and Reed said...

Hello mirror! Nice looking into you... I echo your sentiments about the inner conflict of cherishing the opportunity to be home with my kids while also feeling the weightiness of this place/role. I know, however, that this time and my place in it is something the boys cherish and is truly irreplaceable to them -- I don't know anything else I can ever give them of such value to their sweet, tender hearts. Thanks for a thoughtful and though-provoking post.

tamsaunt said...

Although my caregiving was not children, but Nene, as an introvert, with a need for privacy and personal space, I understand exactly what you are feeling. Although everything I did for Nene was from love, there were days when I would think "is this all there is to my life?" Of course, now I treasure every one of those days I had with her, as you will when your children are out of the nest. There will be life after children, just as I have life after Nene. And you will have a treasure house of memories to draw on for the rest of that, whatever it turns out to be.

Amber said...

Yes!

I'd write more, but you know...

Rachel said...

I really appreciate your honesty and vulnerability. I've missed your blogs these three weeks! :-)

Carrie Partridge said...

Just like these other ladies, I can completely empathize with you. Thanks for your honesty. This is the toughest job we'll ever love!

Rhonda said...

WOW...I love your last entry...POWERFUL. I'm loving being a stay at home mom, but I sometimes feel guilty for all the same reason you describe. For example, last night Kenly turned cranky and denied me my precious sleep and I wanted to run away, but then the beauty of today made it all worth it.
Rhonda