My Job

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I knew since I was 17 that I wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom and homeschool my children.  I received quite a lot of criticism for that in college, as many of my fellow students (male and female) thought that my scholarships should have gone to someone who was “going to actually use their education.”

I wonder if those same students know how much courage, tenacity, creativity, research, debate, language study, management, and organization I put into my vocation of motherhood.  I may not be building a resume, but I am building the future.  And I am building myself, too; mothering has made me into a much better person!

Someday, I will work or volunteer in a more career type job.  Someday, I will not have to wake up at 6 am to exercise before my day really starts, after being up 4 times during the night.  Someday, I will be able to read an entire book in one week, rather than one month (or 3 months…).

But right now, this is my life.  I chose this, and I still choose this, and it is amazing.

The tasks are tedious and repetitive and never ending.  The hours are absolutely terrible.  The results are incredibly important.  And the joy is incomparable.

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10 Books

There’s a “thing” going around Facebook right now asking people to list 10 books that have made an impact on their lives.

So, here are mine, in no particular order

1. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin (ok, maybe that is number 1!)

2. Adventures in Gentle Discipline by Hilary Flowers

3. It’s OK not to Share and other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids by Heather Schumaker

4. Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

5. Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

6. The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard

7. The Mozart Season by Virginia Wolff (probably by all-time favorite novel)

8. The Joy of Less by Francine Jay

9. Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan

10. Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes

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Don’t Abdicate

Tonight was one of those nights.  You know.  Your husband is gone.  You are convinced that you will never get enough sleep in this lifetime, ever.  The minutes drag and still you feel like nothing meaningful got accomplished.  You are too tired to even be frustrated; you are simply apathetic but somehow focused in your determination to make the 3 year old brush her own teeth for a full sixty seconds, even if you have to repeat that sixty seconds 5 times.  Meanwhile, the baby is eating carpet fuzz, refusing to nurse, and would have gone to bed 3 hours ago if circumstance had allowed it.

One of those nights.  The kind of nights that make you want to abdicate your role as mother.

And then you know what happens?

You do, eventually, convince the three year old to brush her teeth.  You do, eventually, convince the baby to nurse to sleep.  You pry your exhausted self out of the rocking chair and stagger into the kitchen.  You put on the Chris Tomlin Pandora station.  And while you listen to Casting Crown’s “Voice of Truth” you find this:

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A handful of weedy flowers picked by aforementioned three year old.  You hear again how she demanded a cup of water for them, because they were so pretty, right, Mommy?  And you hear again her plaintive protests about the neighbor boys mowing the pretty flowers: “But not the pretty flowers, Mommy!”  You live again how she peered out the window, scouting other flower picking sites, reassuring herself that it would be ok, because we can always go across the street to pick more flowers, right, Mommy?

You hold the glass of flowers, smile, and decide to keep them for one more day.  You promise yourself that you will go across the street to pick flowers tomorrow, not care how many the baby eats, and etch their laughing faces into your memory forever.

And you do, eventually, decide that Mommy is the best word in the world, and wistful thoughts of abdication are gone.  Tears come to your eyes as you beg God to remind you of that, next time, every time.  To give you creativity and patience and memory and smiles when you have nothing left to give.   To have energy to show your beloved children how beloved they are.  To treasure them, as He treasures you.