Yesterday marked my 6 month anniversary as a stay at home mom (SAHM). Yes, Hudson's only 5 months old, but you may remember how my awesome coworkers showed me the kindness of Christ by volunteering their personal days to me so I could start maternity leave about 3 weeks before school finished.
Here are some things I've learned:
1) I'm not nearly as productive as I had hoped. I had visions of a perfectly kept home, gourmet dinners, and crafts galore. But alas, it's more like a constant battle against laundry and dirty dishes. When you cook 3 meals a day, you make a lot of dirty dishes. It's also a battle against my idleness - I like being lazy. I've found that "to-do" lists/setting daily goals help me stay on task.
2) I miss work sometimes. Well, I don't miss the "work" part - but I do miss the social aspect. I miss the comraderie I had with my fellow teachers. Poor James, when he gets home from work I talk 90-miles-a-minute non-stop for probably an hour. Thankfully he tolerates it and though he's tired of talking/listening all day long - he puts up with me. Plus the Lord has opened up friendships with other SAHMs or friends who are available in the daytime and that has been such an encouragement to my soul.
3) Hudson can't always hang with a busy schedule. When Hudson was really little, I tried to do too much outside the home. I'd meet this friend for lunch, go over to this friend's house for the afternoon, etc... poor little guy would get so terribly fussy. While he LOVES people (you should see how he eats up the attention at church) I think he's more of a homebody. He rests so much better at home. This was especially hard for me because I am so stinkin' social. The Lord reminded me that it isn't about me - it's about serving my family. I gotta do what's best for them.
4) Trusting the Lord with our finances has been both exciting and completely terrifying. James and I pretty much made the same salary. So take away half and you get the picture. It's been a struggle to try to figure out where to make cuts. Honestly, we live very simply and there isn't much excess to cut away. We only have internet because he needs it for work, we have the basic of basic cell phones, no landline phone, only one car note (PTL!), minimum car insurance, etc... Fortunately the Lord continues to provide and we're OK, despite being poor. James constantly says, "It's OK to have a zero bank balance. Hey, we're still in the black at zero!"
5) It's been good for our marriage. I appreciate James so much more. That sounds bad on my part and it is. I think when we were both working, I didn't always appreciate the work he did because well, I was working too - I was pulling my weight - and somehow in my mind that made his contribution less worthy of respect. (Geez, I am so very sinful.) But now that he's the sole bread-winner and we're totally dependent on him to meet our financial needs, there's a renewed sense of appreciation and respect on my part. Should have always been there, of course. I'm also thankful that James is content with our simple life - no fancy TVs, no fancy cars, no vacations, etc... because he is content and willing to sacrifice many pleasures, I am able to stay at home.
6) I am so very selfish. There are days when I wonder if working (outside the home) would be easier. On days when Hudson refuses to take a nap, is fussy beyond fussy, I am tired, etc... I sinfully and selfishly think it would be easier to let a daycare or nanny take care of him during the day and put up with all this. Thankfully these thoughts are fleeting as the Lord is always faithful to convict me of my selfish spirit. Though the days are often long, I have to believe that Hudson is better off (and me too) with me being home to care for him.
7) Hudson is a complete and utter joy! I know I'm biased, but seriously there couldn't be a sweet baby. There are times that he looks at me and I swear it's the look of love. I love watching him learn something new every single day. Love being the one who is able to pick him up when he cries. Love how he snuggles on my shoulder and whines when he's tired. He makes my days at home so much fun.
8) Most of all, I've learned (again) just how good God is. He is faithful, kind, and gentle to me every day. Isaiah 40:11 has become a favorite recently: "He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those who are with young." What an ecouragement to know that as a mother of a young child, the Lord is specifically leading me! Oh that I would follow without hesitation.
Overall, I have so enjoyed the past 6 months at home. It's been good for our marriage, our family, and my sanctification. Financially, I may have to start working again (preferrably in the home), but we'll cross that bridge when we get there. Until then, I'm resolved to try to take joy in every single minute.