Last week, I talked about what a purposeful mom can communicate to her children by staying home to care for them herself. One of our readers commented that her mom stayed home but was resentful and negative about the experience:
It’s been very hard for me to break those thought patterns – even though I did choose to stay home six years ago, I still struggle to view it with joy every day. It also leaves me feeling very isolated, while never really getting time to myself to recharge, either.
Staying home with our young children doesn’t automatically qualify us for mom of the year. A sahm can communicate a poisonous message of resentment and dissatisfaction by complaining about the drudgery of her life, the material possessions she can’t have, and the excitement she’s giving up by staying home. All of us will have hard days; the question is how we respond to the temptation to have a bad attitude. I’ve talked in the past about how we can seek intellectual stimulation in and through the home, and here are a few more reminders that I need myself this week!
- I think we need to be careful about who we spend time with. I’ve been in groups of women that egg me on to complaining about my life, and I’ve had to choose to seek out the friends who encourage me to focus on the vision God has given me. We hope that this blog (and our facebook page) can be a place of encouragement and building each other up.
- We need to keep our end goal in mind. Carolyn Mahaney just blogged about this topic, reminding us that “Motherhood has dignity and glory because of the dignity and glory of the One for whom we mother.” I have to remind myself that I am changing diapers to the glory of God.
- We need to choose to have fun with our kids! I’m a type-A firstborn, and I can get so caught up in my List Of Things To Do (you know, the list that never gets done…) that I become frustrated when things are not going According To Plan. Instead of lashing out at my kids or myself, I have the best success when I do something totally unexpected or silly. I have a friend who initiates nerf gun fights with her kids, suddenly tosses them into the swimming pool in their clothes (they’re old enough to swim well), or breaks into song in the midst of a tense moment. Lately our family has been enjoying Kiss Attacks–you grab a family member, yell “Kiss Attack!” and start covering her with kisses. Usually even the crying kiddo joins in the fun, dissolving into giggles as the “victim” gets smooched by everyone in the house.
- We need to be intentional about telling our kids that we love them and enjoy them. I have one child who is pushing all my buttons right now, so I’ve committed to spending a couple minutes at naptime just with her, snuggling and letting her tell me whatever is on her mind (usually it’s a plot point of Frozen). Even when someone frustrates me enough that I have to address it, I always repeat, “I will always love you. No matter what you do, I could never stop loving you because I am your Mommy!” And I make sure to tell my kids (often!) how blessed I am to be able to hang out with them all day.
- Mentors can help us see the bigger picture. I’m blessed with a mom and mother-in-law who totally share and support my vision, but there are many other wise women who have encouraged me over the years. Sally Clarkson just blogged about “Surviving Desperate, Mundane Times & Flourishing in the Normal.” Go read that this week when you’re feeling your attitude falter!