The Joy of Gender Roles

Usually when I hear people use the phrase “gender roles” it is not in a positive light. Modern culture suggests that women and men do not have gender roles, that they are equal and capable of doing all things the same (save childbirth).

We are supposed to earn like men, lead like men and all but be men. The problem is I. AM. NOT. A. MAN.

Just thought I would get that out there. Am I as valuable and worth while as a man? Absolutely. Can I do “everything a man can do”? No, not really. More importantly I don’t want to.

I have always been a strong opponent of most of the ideals of feminism as it is popularly held. I can feel more absolutely than ever though the joy and freedom of living within those gender roles now that I am staying home.

Am I an intelligent, educated and capable woman? Yes. Have I been the bread winner in our marriage before? Yes. Do I speak my mind and have a huge role in the decisions of our family? Yes.

Do these things change that my husband is the head of our household? No.

I defer to his leadership whenever an important decision arises, more importantly I want to live in a way that makes his life better and easier.

Why? Because I love him, because he loves me and because God placed him in the position of accountability for our home.

I have been living with one foot in for a while because despite my desire to be a good wife to my husband I found that after working full time and being a mom there was little time or energy leftover to devote to my poor husband. I could not cook him meals as often as I wanted, grocery shop or do the dishes to prevent them from being a burden to him or show him the kind, gentle support he deserved. Instead I often found myself splitting the household duties and getting grumpy with him over small things simply because I was stressed out from trying to be all things to all people.

Staying home has allowed me not only to devote myself full time to being a better, less frazzled mom to my children but also to being a better less exhausted, stressed wife to my husband. I don’t think I realized how much my entire household would benefit from my being home, in fact I felt guilt over doing so, but as I see the rewards play out I recognize that I am already reaping a harvest from this decision and it is confirmed daily that I made the correct choice.

 

 

 

 

Needs vs Wants

We are turning off our cable. It’s just too expensive to justify on one income with a budget to tight for savings so we have made the choice it has to go.

Why? Why not keep it and use credit cards (which we paid off in anticipation of one income) if something unexpected comes up? Or use our emergency savings?

Because it is a want, not a need so it can not stand in the way of needs (like responsibly budgeting and saving).You should never put yourself in precarious financial situations over wants. My generation (i’m 27) seems to believe we are entitled to every comfort. That they are necessary. They aren’t.

You do not need or deserve cable or a smartphone or internet or brand name food or a gym membership. You are not owed anything from anyone.

The sooner you recognize this the sooner you can develop a healthy relationship with money.

I literally cringe when I hear someone complain about being broke while they drink starbucks, smoke a cigarette, eat in a restaurant, go to the gym or watch their cable tv. If you do not have money then you do not need to buy these things. Stop buying the lies.

Stop letting them convince you that it’s ok or normal to have credit card debt. (Or student loan debt which is another story for another post).

I’m canceling the cable and you know what, i’m not that sad. We’ll still watch some stuff online sometimes or check out movies from the library but honestly it was costing me more than money anyway. I will be glad to have the time and the money back and I will feel peace of mind knowing that our budget won’t be as tight each month.

Do you have an area of your life you probably should cut but just can’t quite commit too?
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Stay at Home Mom: What’s the point?

So I thought it would be smart for me to document some of my objectives for my season as a stay at home mom and some of the practical goals I plan to take to reach them and I thought it would be smart to publish them for accountability sake.

And yes I am totally nerdy enough that I enjoy writing goals, objectives, etc. I am working on a family mission statement but that is a family project so I will need more time and prayer but I will post it when we complete it!


Objectives as a Stay at Home Mom

  • Goals to help me accomplish thesegoals

Continue my walk with the Lord and become more missional in life. 

  • Invite people  into our home no less than once a month with a goal of 2-4 times per month.
  • Begin to build relationships with our new neighbors
  • If possible start or participate in a support program for young/teen/single moms.

Nurture and grow my Children spiritually, emotionally, socially and academically. 

  • Continue participation in church & Sunday school.
  • Join Awana ministry in fall with Joel
  • Participate in VBS
  • Enroll Joel in 1-2 sports per year
  • Home preschool or if God provides financially part time preschool during the school year.
  • Regular family “field trips”, storytimes, devotions.
  • Special parent child/dates once a month

Support my husband and continue to grow our relationship.

  • Have devotions together as a couple on all nights he is home. (We are so inconsistent!)
  • Monthly date night/day
  • Take over preparation of bulk of the weekly meals
  • Maintain a clean home
  • Manage garden & assist with yard

Be good stewards of the resources God has given us

  • Money
    • Make  a workable budget that does NOT sacrifice our giving to missions/the church
    • Utilize the envelope system App to help track our money well and stay on budget (since we stink at the cash version)!
    • Be open to part time freelance positions God may provide me to help support our family
    • Accumulate no new debt
    • Work to pay down student loans/ mortgage
  • Time
    • Give time to the Lord, His word and His work.
    • Limit time used for fruitless pursuits such as television.
    • Plan for exercise, time to recharge and time with friends
    • Place priority on keeping our schedule from becoming needlessly “busy”

 

 

 

Giving Up Good for Best

Today was my last day. As is my nature I joked and laughed off any hint of seriousness because I like to make people feel comfortable, I don’t want them fretting over me.

I cleaned my room for a few hours after our staff meeting then went to pick up my children from daycare. As I got them buckled in all the emotion of the day hit me and I found myself crying like a baby in the driver’s seat. After the initial surge died down I pulled away from the building.

I was emotional about my kids leaving a place they are loved and growing. I was worried my son will miss out and be upset when he doesn’t see his best friend everyday. I was scared I would fail them and not be all the mom they need but now I wouldn’t have the excuse of work to make me feel better about my shortcomings.

I realized thought as I sifted through my emotions letting the superficial, the fear driven and the irrational fall that the source of the sudden tears was not my kids needs but my own.

Three years ago when I started working at a christian classical school I had no idea the amazing, inspiring people I would be working alongside everyday. I had no idea how much they would teach me, challenge me or encourage me. I could never have fathomed the number of laughs we would fit into each day.

Many of the women have kids my age and the ones that don’t I am closer in age to their children than I am to them. Yet it was here with this hilarious group of intelligent, christ loving women that I entered into sisterhood. For the first time in my adult life I had friends I could talk to about anything knowing their advice would be sound, their prayers faithful and their hearts loving. I have always felt out of step with women, especially women my own age, often finding it difficult to relate to them. I had truly begun to believe I wasn’t good at making friends, that some essential element of female relationship building was missing from my personality. It wasn’t. I became true friends with every single woman (and man) that I work with, sharing secrets, inside jokes and advice.

I am so thankful God has called me to be at home right now but I will miss those special women and the unique work environment I have been privileged to experience. Sometimes it is hard to give up a good thing even knowing it is for the best.

I am going to miss these amazing women but I know the Lord will keep us close 🙂

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You’re Replaceable

This is easy to say but in reality it seems to be difficult to grasp.

You may be an amazing worker, doing your job with exceptional creativity, efficiency and talent but you are completely replaceable.

Sure, it make take them a while and they may say you are irreplaceable but come back in a year and you will find someone else in your chair, hanging out with your coworkers, rocking your job.

 

You may be a hilarious, thoughtful friend who offers the most sage of advice and is always ready to help but you are still replaceable.

It would be hard to lose you but give it time and your friend will move on, they will surely think of you fondly on occasion but they will make a new best friend and you will be a rare memory.

 

(If you are in one of today’s “modern” relationships even your husband may find it easy enough to replace you).

 

But your kids will never have another mother. You are not replaceable to them.

Even if you aren’t great this job you can not be fired, you can not be replaced and you never get to quit. Are we working as hard at mothering as we do at those other jobs?

 

Staying Home: The Struggle Begins

I will officially be a stay at home Mom June 7th. With one month remaining I am beginning to feel the weight of my decision.

Do I doubt I should be home? No. I am certain God has directed me here.

Do I wish I could keep working? No. See above.

Am I terrified on some level to stay home? Yes.

Why? I’m sure that’s what you are thinking.

  1. I grew up in an area where people just didn’t have stay at home moms (poor areas usually don’t). I didn’t know people with moms like that, I only saw them on tv. It makes it hard to wrap my head around me staying home as I associate them subconsciously with affluence.
  2. I have been gainfully employed outside of my home for over a decade, much of that time I was putting in 50 or more hours a week so it’s just a new way to work for me, setting my own schedule and priorities.
  3. I know that I am taking an already tight budget and turning it into a shoestring I must balance precariously on while fending off the likes of Sallie Mae. (If I stayed working I would have to find a new job though since I am only clearing just over $100 a month now that we have two kids in daycare)
  4. I am not naturally “domesticated”. I wasn’t taught how to cook or take care of a home growing up and although I have learned a lot since becoming an adult I am still more comfortable doing most other things than I am the activities associated with moms.  My lackluster homemaking skills have been easy to excuse thus far (Sorry the place is a bit of a mess, i’ve been slammed all week) but it will now be harder to accept for me.
  5. I am used to being very confident and competent professionally, maybe there are moms who never doubt themselves but i’m not one of them. Being a mother makes me feel so vulnerable, exposing my flaws and weaknesses and flaunting them in the attitudes and behaviors of my children. It’s obviously the job I love most but it is also the most high stakes job i’ve ever had, I take my children’s happiness, faith and futures pretty seriously.

 

So while I am crazy excited and deliriously happy to be staying home with my kids I am also balancing the fears of failure, financial difficulty and my own shortcomings.  I am more than ready to embark on this journey but I think it is helpful to be honest with myself (and others who may be feeling the same way) as I prepare. I logically know that none of the above are real issues (except maybe finances but the Lord will provide) but knowing and feeling are different things and I can not “know” my fears away so instead I face them.

The Childhood Time Warp

My own years of childhood seemed to take so long. Somehow ages 6-16 seemed like its own lifetime. Now I blink and it seems months pass. I do a load of dishes and my child looks less like a toddler, more like a tiny man. I go to work and suddenly my baby looks like a stranger, too big and vocal to really be my 3 month old. I’m not on anything, don’t worry. I’m just caught in the blur of life and my children growing constantly. Jidge turned 3 this week. It was terrific we ate cake and he opened his gift and ran around with Buzz Lightyear “flying” in his arms. But I saw something different in the happy scene. In his sweet capable hands I saw his fork, no longer unsure and in need of mommy’s hands. I heard his happy chatter, full of words from his ever growing vocabulary and tinted by a quick wit that often seems out of place in a 3 year old. I felt his impatience as I hugged just a little too long, squeezing goodbye to the two year old he would never again be. For a moment I could see him, no longer a baby or even a preschooler, I could envision that someday in that seat would be a man. These moments of childhood are slow and relaxed to my son but to me they fly at a disconcerting speed. Every moment I miss with him is irreplaceable, because he will never again be this little. Once a moment has passed it can not be regained. This is why I am leaving teaching next year to stay home for a time, as a teacher I live in a different kind of time warp, one where children never age. See to a Kindergarten teacher children are perpetually 5 to a 8th grade teacher they always stay 13 and so on and so on. When I return to teaching it will be as if I never left. Whatever grade I teach, as always, my students will progress only 1 year before I set them free and begin again. But at home time moves as steady as a heartbeat, never truly ceasing even in the moments you hear nothing. It is here, in this constant forward, motion I find myself thankful that God has allowed  for me to be home these next few years.

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