Tuesday, October 28, 2014

One Day at a Time

Being a stay at home mom is what I do and mostly what I write about in this space. Last week I posted about our daily routine and got a lot of feedback (almost entirely sweet).

Many of you are in the trenches with little kids and totally relate to my days. Some of you stay at home and some of you work outside the home. Lots of you are perfectly content. But I know a few of you who do one thing and wish you did the other.

And some of you do one thing and doubt that you could do the other.  

Because every now and then in conversation I'll hear a friend say, "I don't know how you do it. I could never stay at home with my kids, I don't have the patience." And she'll go on to tell me her kids are so loud! So needy! They bicker! They're messy! and that she's just not cut out for it.

And I usually tell her - me neither sister!!

I am not cut out for this. I don't have the patience for my kids. Like you, I'm not hardwired for self-sacrifice. My kids are loud! needy! messy! selfish! I like control. Calm. Quiet. I like manageable outcomes. I like to joke that the only part of being a mom that has come easily to me is the getting pregnant part - but that's actually pretty accurate. My guess is that we're actually wired pretty similarly. I like to think it's called, "being an adult."

I did not leave a corporate job because of my unique ability to function on lukewarm coffee and the remnants of a small child's PB&J. I do not stay at home because I realized one day I had the gift of patience and needed to put it to good use.

We chose for me to stay at home because we thought it was best for our family. And I've discovered it's actually best for me too. So I thought I'd share my secret - "how I do it" that is.

I do it one day at a time. One day, one incident, one child at a time. I AM LEARNING patience. I am much more patient now than I was 5 years ago. With five years of daily practice under my belt, I usually choose to respond calmly to my two year old's meltdowns. I have disciplined myself not to say what goes through my head (most of the time) when my five year old back talks. I am learning to manage the everyday chaos of this household of 6 and yes, actually find great JOY in it. My kids are like sandpaper - they rub my sharp edges smooth. They leave very little space for me to be the self-centered individual I would prefer to be most days.  I believe God is using this stay-at-home life to complete a work in me that no 9-5 ever could.

This life is developing character traits in me that I honestly would rather not.  The constant company of my children has revealed the deeply rooted selfishness of my heart. Staying at home forces me onto my knees most every day.  God is working in me daily, equipping me for this task I believe He has called me to.

Don't believe that you could never do what I do. I cannot do this either. I'm not wired any differently, I'm just choosing to do this in spite of not being cut out for it. One day at a time.