Is it that toy they having been dying to get? No. Is it the latest gaming system? No. Is it a healthy breakfast? No. Is it a good education? No. Is it a safe environment? No. All these things are important (well, the toy and gaming system isn’t that important) but they don’t outrank the absolutely most important thing that you could ever give your child. This can’t be bought.
There is only one in the galaxy.
This thing is irreplaceable.
It is incomparable to anything else in the entire world.
It’s you, Mom.
Why are you so important?
There are two camps that moms are separated into, the working moms and the stay-at-home moms. About a decade or two ago, working moms were heavily criticized for leaving their kids in a daycare while pursuing their own careers. Other moms felt that the mothers were neglecting their children. It is much more acceptable in this difficult economy for both parents to go out and work. One thing is certain: home life is extremely important in both cases. Moms ultimately affect whether childcare will help or hinder their child’s development.
Staying-at-home vs. Working
I always knew being a “stay-at-homie” *patent pending* was the path for me. Let’s time travel back a couple years. Imagine that classic 1950’s mom; you know, the one who always looked really nice but wore an apron and baked all day? Yeah, that was pretty much my mom. She was a preschool teacher but was always home by the time I got home from school. So I always saw her as a stay-at-home mom. I saw my mom as the ultimate role model, the person I wanted to be just like. I’m sure most people, especially daughters, feel that way about their mothers.
Still, I gave college a try. I planned on being an animator. Maybe I could work for Disney or something? When I got married and moved to “SoCal” something inside be lit on fire. The passion to have a family of my own could be a reality. I was able to earn my Associate in Arts before giving birth to my first born.
After that, I quit. I wanted nothing more than to spend every minute taking care of my boy. I would trade all the money that my mother would have made to have her at home. Lucky for me, I married a man who wanted me to be a “stay-at-homie” while he would hold the status of breadwinner. Having this arrangement works for us and works for our Bubba, but I realize it isn’t for everyone. Some mommas need to get out of the house and have adult conversation to hold onto their sanity!
As it turns out, it doesn’t matter whether you decided to stay at home with your babies or go out and find a job. It is all dependent on you as a mother. Both cases can be beneficial depending upon how a mom responds and adjusts. It is also dependent on who the mother is as a person. Like I said before, some moms would go crazy if they didn’t have a job. It wouldn’t make them happy to stay at home. Both routes have pros and cons, but what is most imperative is that you as the momma are performing your duties as “mom” the best way you can. But how can we do that?
Don’t Forget About Yourself
Performing your “motherly duties” all starts with taking care of yourself first. I know it is super difficult to withstand putting your kids first but I will not put this lightly. You have a TON of weight on your shoulders as a mother. There is a lot of stress to be the perfect mother. I could write a whole post on the best parenting style, how to discipline most effectively, and other ways to improve your parenting, but none of that matters if you aren’t taking care of yourself. So don’t EVER feel badly about taking time for yourself. Think about it, a car can only run with the amount of gas it has in it. That is much like yourself; you can’t run on nothing. You have to refill your tank, or (more commonly phrased) recharge your batteries.
My husband and I play the ever-popular roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons every Wednesday night (yes, we are intense nerds). This is our favorite pastime and it is something we get to do together, along with other awesome people. During this time, Kenai gets to spend time with his grandparents at their house. Not only does this give him time with his grandparents at least once a week, but it gives us some time to get away from the chaos of life and into the fantasy chaos of D&D. Monday nights are reserved for our church small group time, during which Kenai is spending time with his other set of grandparents at their house. All four grandparents have reported how much they loving having this time set aside for one-on-one play with our boy.
I also kick box with a group of moms every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning. I am able to bring my son with me and workout while he plays with the other babies there. Exercise is a wonderful way to get energized in the morning and stay energized all day long! And let’s face it, losing those extra pounds is pretty great too. When my life is so consumed by my son, there is no reason to feel guilty for taking 45 minutes out of my day to get a good workout in.
Taking Care of Mom = Taking Care of Kids
I bring this up because when I have shared this weekly routine with older family members, they have enlightened me with how lucky I am that I get that much time to myself. That made me disappointed, because it really isn’t that much time at all. When there is something in the world as important as you, you take care of it.
At the risk of overusing the car analogies, you are much like a car in this way as well. If you don’t take care of your car (i.e. change fluids, make sure everything is working, yada yada yada…) it will break. If you want to keep your car going, you have to do maintenance. You have to do maintenance on yourself, otherwise you will burn out. So go to that movie with your girlfriends, find a workout you like to do, get your nails and hair done, or find an activity you and your hubby like to do! Set some time aside every week for yourself. And NEVER feel guilty for it!
Peace be with you,