I still remember the sweetness of those unrushed and unscheduled mornings. Not that there weren’t a dozen things on my list I wanted to accomplish, but I had no one breathing down my neck to get them done, no firm schedule to abide by, and no doubt that the plans would inevitably change any how.
Those were the mornings of being a stay-at-home-mommy to a couple of sweet little preschoolers.
Sure, there were mornings when I lay in bed and silently wished I could don a sophisticated pencil skirt and silky blouse, slip into my heels and head off to an office job where I’d sip coffee with adults and then turn to a computer screen and actually accomplish something. Those mornings usually followed closely on the heels of a day filled with temper tantrums, diaper blowouts, failed craft ideas, sibling squabbles, and dinner time disasters. But most mornings I was honestly happy to be home with two needy, imperfect, temperamental, and messy little tikes.
Why would I exchange the opportunity to progress in my career as a technical writer to stay home and do extremely untechnical things? Why would I stop hobnobbing with computer programmers and accountants in order to teach children to eat with their utensils and flush the toilet? And why would I turn down the promotion and pay raise I had just been offered in order to scrimp and save so I could occasionally take my little charges to McDonald’s for a playdate?
On those mornings when I questioned my decision to stay home with my children, I reminded myself that I had the daily privilege of drawing a beautiful picture on a blank slate. I got to set the stage each day for a play yet unwritten. And I got to witness, up close and personal, the miraculous blooming of a new variety of flower.
My children were like little sponges just waiting to soak up whatever I poured into them. I had the opportunity to fan their enthusiasm, feed their inquisitive minds, answer their bizarre questions, open their eyes to possibilities, and point them in the right direction. There couldn’t possibly be anything of more significance for me to do. In fact, now that my children are soon to be 17 and 20, I know those were possibly my most significant years–those years when I was able to pour so much into such eager and wide open spaces. I love the work I do now and feel that investing in other women is certainly a significant calling, but I will never again have the opportunity to influence a life quite to the extent I did in those early mommy years. (And quite honestly, I don’t think I have the energy to do so any how!)
I realize that not every mom gets to stay home with their kiddos in those early years, much less throughout their growing years the way I have. But every parent still has the opportunity to see those years of fast and steady formation as years of great importance. Every parent has moments when they can choose to wish the time away or make every minute count. Every parent has days when they can choose to run and hide or to dig in, engage, and invest. And every parent has days when they may question the validity of reading The Poky Little Puppy one more time, getting the finger paints out, making another trip to the pumpkin patch, building a tower of blocks just to watch it fall down, or cleaning the high chair…again. And on those days, every parent has the opportunity to see the big picture and hope and pray that they are somehow making steady progress toward the ultimate goal.
So today if you are home with little ones, enjoy. And if you are tempted to feel insignificant and like your life is somehow on hold while you babysit little munchkins, dismiss those ideas. You have important work to do today. Granted, that work can seem unappreciated, slow, and messy at times, but at least you can wear jeans, sit on the floor, and skip the make-up if you’d like. Besides being extremely significant, there are perks to the job.
Stay-at-home mom, work-from-home-mom, working mom, single mom. Whether you have all day with your child and you find yourself longing for adult conversation or you come home weary from work and could use a little peace and quiet, seriously consider the significance of the precious moments you have with your child. Make them count. And enjoy.