Thursday, July 3, 2008

Venting My Frustrations

No matter how much those of us who stay home with children try to change our title- SAHM, domestic engineer, household engineer, home manager, etc- the bottom line is that the job doesn't change. I'm still a housewife. A wife at the house. The one who does the dishes, changes the diapers, makes the meals, chauffeurs the kids here and there, changes the sheets, wipes down the counters and cleans the same adorable hands and faces countless times in a day.

Having been home with my kids the better part of 14 1/2 years, there is very little of this job left to surprise me. The joys of the job are trumpeted by most, the day-to-day difficulties of organizing and toilet training are well-covered by both experts and moms who have become experts by trial-and-error, but the difficulties some of us find in the actual staying home aren't often talked about. I think it's because most SAHM's see it as a blessing, even when it's difficult. To vocalize that we find it hard would make us targets for working moms who want to be home and can't. And I've seen it from both sides: not only have I been home with my kids but I worked for several years and felt the sting of dropping my kids off at daycare and preschool, into the hands of people who did their jobs for a living and didn't love my kids. I heard the cries of my babies while the knowledge that I had to turn away so I wouldn't be late to work weighed heavily on me. I spent many frustrated days wanting nothing more than to shed the skirt and heels and be home in sweats with my children.

I've found myself in a place I was sure I'd never be. I saw my mom here, twenty years ago. I saw the draw of other things, things done less for kids and more for herself. I wanted to kiss the last "baby" good-bye at his wedding and feel the urge to have another baby so it wouldn't be over. (There are people like that out there!) But instead, I'm getting ready to kiss my youngest good-bye at the preschool door, and my mind is already wandering to other things- to the college classes I never took, to the book left unwritten for years, to the hobbies I never had time for.

I find myself longing for a simpler life. There are too many things cluttering my house. Two days ago I had to fight a nearly overwhelming urge to throw out half the stuff in my kitchen. As I write this I begin to wonder if fighting it was the right thing to do. The stuff weighs me down. It clutters my mind as well as my counters. And in a season where I'm feeling bogged down in too many ways, I don't need that.

I guess I need to lighten my load. I want home to be an anchor in an ever shifting world, but not a weight. Somehow, staying home has begun to feel like a weight.

In the midst of all this, I am aware that I am blessed. My kids are healthy and growing to know God. My husband works hard and loves us all. I have a roof over my head and food in the cupboard. We can afford gas. As the Rachel Lampa song "Blessed" says:

I am blessed, I am blessed
From when I rise up in the morning
Til I lay my head to rest
I feel You near me
You sooth me when I'm weary
Oh Lord, for all the worst and all the best
I am blessed

All for HIS glory, In HIS timing,

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  1. Reese ~ I can completely relate to all of this! I've worked while a mom and I've stayed home. By far, staying home is so much more rewarding! I'm so happy for you..looking forward to that tiny bit of time each day soon when your youngest is in preschool. It's such a wonderful, different and healing time to be home alone or run's just great and you are sooo refreshed and happy to see your kids again, too!

    I am a big believer in uncluttering your home! I have been a hoarder of many things and have taken the last 5 years to purge my house. I encourage you to look at the ton of websites on this subject...they are fun to read and get involved in. How exciting! :)

    Wonderful post!

  2. I'm so excited about you having some time for yourself. Even though I'm not a SAHM, when McKenna went to school, it was such a freedom for me to finally pursue some things for me. I really don't want to be selfish about it, but we had our kids so very young, that it's nice to be able to enjoy some spare time just for us! LOL! (If that sentence made any sense at all! LOL!)

    I can't believe Ian will be going to school! How did that happen so very fast!

    Love ya!

  3. I found your blog through Betsy's today...and I must say, as a new stay at home mom, this is exactly what I needed to read today. So thank you! :)