Motherhood, specifically stay at home Moms, have been much debated in the media the past few days.
As many of you already know, being a stay at home Mom is an under appreciated job. You work hard to clean and pick up stuff just to get the house back to a neutral state, to say nothing of actually getting it clean. You feed kids who are constantly hungry, clean clothes that are constantly getting dirty, and picking up stuff that is constantly getting dropped. You seem to be the only one who knows where things are supposed to be when they're "put away" and you are capable of remembering where your child left a random beloved toy that you happened to see him drop but if someone asks you have to scramble to remember your own age.
I am a stay at home Mom because I chose to be. I wasn't one of those children who thought of nothing but being a Mother. I wasn't a newlywed who thought of nothing else but babies. (Not that I was career minded either.) But I knew when children did come I wanted to be at home with them.
Staying home is a sacrifice in many ways. Since I don't work we obviously have less income than families with two incomes. That's tricky in an economy that is priced around two income families.
I see the adults who act like children because no one ever taught them there was a different way to act. I see the people who don't realize they can choose their feelings because no one ever talked to them about how they felt. I see the people who turn to strange and destructive things for comfort because they haven't learned how to support one another.
I'm not a particularly fantastic mother or housewife. As far as stay at home Mom's go, I'm pretty much like the rest. I love my kids. I want to be there for them.
Ezra Taft Benson, a beloved prophet of our church, gave us 10 suggestions for mothers:
1. Take time to always be at the crossroads in the lives of your children, whether they be six or sixteen.
2. Take time to be a real friend to your children.
3. Take time to read to your children. Remember what the poet wrote:
You may have tangible wealth untold;Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be—
I had a mother who read to me.
I had a mother who read to me.
4. Take time to pray with your children.
5. Take time to have a meaningful weekly home evening. Make this one of your great family traditions.
6. Take time to be together at mealtimes as often as possible.
7. Take time daily to read the scriptures together as a family.
8. Take time to do things together as a family.
9. Take time to teach your children.
10. Take time to truly love your children. A mother’s unqualified love approaches Christlike love.
The first suggestion is, to me, one of the most important things I can do as a mother. How can I know, and help them, with their struggles if I don't know what they are? How can I guide them in things they don't recognize as dangerous if I'm gone?
I wish I could say I was the perfect mother, my kids deserve a perfect mother. But they're stuck with me. Being a mother is hard work. It never ends. You don't get vacation days. There is no retirement age. Once a mother, you are always a mother.
To say to a mother that she has never worked a day in her life is ridiculous. There is no other job out there that requires command of so many different aspects of life with no formal training. Take care of a kid with the stomach flu. Take care of feeding the family healthy cost effective meals.
The life of a stay at home Mom is constantly busy with things that are difficult to report and can't be put on a resume. But those same women are the ones who are shaping the future in their children.
(A shout out to all the husbands and Dad's out there who work hard to make stay at home mom's possible!)
(Also, a special note to those mothers who would love to stay at home but for various reasons can't. You are pillars of strength!)