The Insecure Housewife: Part II

In my last post about the insecure housewife, I mentioned that I don’t always feel particularly competent as a house manager.  I also see how hard my husband works at his job and wonder if I should help bring in income too, especially since I think I would be fairly capable as an attorney (even part time), and I could pay someone to do the things I’m not so good at at home.

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Last night, I had a dream that I walked through my old law school library, and there at one desk, I saw a bunch of my classmates from Carbon High.   They were all first year law students, studying their brains out, and I thought, “What have I been doing with my degree?  Has it just been a waste?”

What is especially tempting is that I would be in a place where I could see my success measured again.  I see my husband’s success measured all the time.  He gets bonuses, raises, promotions, encouragement from his boss, but it’s harder for a mom who stays at home with her kids to see this.

In fact, I have to watch this because it’s easy too see where I’m failing. Maybe I just finished helping my son with his Beethoven sonata or feeding my other son hundreds of tennis balls, but when I walk into the kitchen and see a hundred things that need to be put away, I can’t help but feel that I’m not quite up to par.

Yes, I admit there seems to be quite a shortage around my house when it comes to odes to mother.  Instead, I hear things like, “You don’t know anything,” or “Nobody’s mom makes them do that,” or “Yeah, that’s how they used to do it in the eighties.”  So not only am I clueless, but I am totally outdated.

I get only groans when I get creative and make a salmon kale salad.

I get a lot of whining when I tell my son that it’s time for us to practice piano.

And when I suggest a ½ hour of reading a day, two of my boys stage a complete revolt.

So why am I here?  Why don’t I get maybe even part time job helping immigrants or drafting wills?  A long long time ago, I received the highest grade in my advanced estate planning class at law school.  I forgot about that.  Maybe I should go to work.  And maybe I will in a few years when my youngest starts first grade.

But for now, I’m here.  Why?  Because I have to remind myself that not everything is about money and praise and efficiency.

And anyway how could I possibly quantify what I do?  How do you value a hug?  A healthy meal?  A talk with a counselor about your child’s grades?  A trip back to the store to return something your child has stolen?  A pep talk with your son, telling him he’s not going to give up just because he’s missed his last twenty serves?

I’m not saying that working mothers don’t have these experiences as well, but every family is different, and I know that for right now, I need to be here.

Throughout the day there is a quiet assurance that comes at times that makes me feel good about what I am doing.

It comes when I hug my little girl after she’s taken a spill.

It comes when I bundle my children up and take them to the park even in January because it’s warmed up to 35 degrees.

It comes when I seem them so happy, sliding down the slide, their feet crunching on snow when they reach the bottom.

It comes when my two little ones fight over who can sit on my lap.

It comes when I’ve read Hound of the Baskervilles with my son, explaining the difficult parts and seeing that he’s actually get interested in the book.

It comes when Davy exclaims, “This is the best dinner ever!” even if it just is sweet potato fries from Costco.

It comes when my tired husband comes home and the table is set and dinner is waiting for him.

It comes when my son and I have worked over and over again on a difficult musical passage and he finally can play it.

Maybe I’m not being honored at awards ceremonies or actually asked for my opinion on anything, and in the grand scheme of things, maybe I don’t even feel the relevant, but there’s that quiet voice inside of me, telling me I’m doing better than I think I am.

What things make it hard for you to be a mother?

Where have you seen your greatest payoffs?

I would love to hear from you! 

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2 comments

  1. I don’t really feel insecure about being a stay-at-home-mom, but I often feel ANNOYED. Like when you go to so much work to do something nice for your kids and they don’t appreciate it at all. Like when we drove two hours to go see Frozen and then went out to a yummy dinner and then the whole way home they were whining about this, that, and the other, and it didn’t even dawn on them that they should appreciate what we just did for them. It definitely is a thankless job… but that’s when it’s so nice to have a great partner in parenting because Ben recognizes and compliments my efforts. But just be patient because you’ll reap the rewards some day. Look at the heritage Mom and Dad have left us. I’m sure they look at all of us and feel very satisfied with the outcome of their sacrifices and hard work on behalf of us. And I also feel bad because the only time I really have for myself is the evenings, after the kids have gone to bed and I have so many things I want to do… read, plan trips (especially here), work on my blog, etc. and instead I find myself in a comatose state. I have no energy left for anything productive. As far as the greatest payoffs go, I love to see my kids be good at something that I taught them. Like hearing Emily read out loud… I taught her how to read! Again, I was annoyed though because Ben asked her, “Where did you learn to read so well?!” and she replied “Kindergarten.” Oh bother.

  2. Perspective is so important to stay at home moms. All my children flew the coop just a few months ago and I miss them! I’m not going to say to soak it all up now because they will be gone someday (even though we do hope they will move out someday). What a mom of young and not as young children does day in and out is hard and exhausting and comes without lots of immediate rewards. But raising honorable, honest, hardworking, disciplined humans is hard work. It’s down and dirty and in the trenches work. It’s the kind of work Christ did when he was on the Earth. I think it’s important to remember that we don’t have to be perfect in this process. It’s good for our children to see that we have weaknesses and that we are working to overcome them. It’s good for them to see us struggle and turn to the Lord, that’s how they learn to do the same. I used to tell my children that I loved them with all my heart but my love is imperfect. God loves them more than I can understand but He loves them with a perfect love – and He can help them over come my mistakes and weaknesses. I think you hit the nail on the head in our post about doing the will of the Lord. That is really where our greatest joy and rewards are found. It’s also very comforting to know we are being guided by one who knows all and has our best interests at heart.

    Just keep swimming!

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