Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bon Bons and Other Myths of the SAHM

I have been decluttering my house and desk, both of which are in dire need of it. I have stumbled across some writings of mine from the last five years, so I will be posting these in the next few days. Here is one from Fall, 2006. For those of you who know me, you will find an allusion to a pregnancy that was never fulfilled. I miscarried shortly after writing this. Yet, the conclusion still holds true, and God has blessed me since with another beautiful child.

One day last spring I was at the mall with my two boys, ages 5 and 3. We were there for their annual haircuts (to clean up the previous six I gave them) and to do a little shopping. When we were done, I decided to get my eyebrows waxed, the one luxury I afford myself in order to tame the ever-encroaching uni-brow. The nice woman at the salon took me to the back room. I sat in a reclining chair with my head back while my boys waited in chairs along the wall, probably wondering why their mother would subject herself to hot wax and cloth being ripped from her face. Actually, they were engrossed in the daytime drama I was hoping they wouldn’t notice on the salon TV. The technician made a comment about how well behaved they were, which, of course, immediately endeared her to me. Since she was clearly pregnant, I asked her if this was her first baby. She said it was, and she wondered if I stay home with my kids. I happily replied that I did, as she continued the 5 minute deforestation project on my brow. “Well, I’m going to have to work when the baby comes,” she said. “I just can’t see myself staying home and watching movies all day.”

The loud, deep belly laugh the bounded from me surprised us all and could not have been contrived (had I tried), nor softened to a dainty cough. Did I just hear her right? Is that what she thinks moms like me do all day? I wasn’t feeling quite as endeared now. “Oh, I don’t really watch much TV,” I laughed. No, in between getting dished washed, clothes laundered, toys organized and picked up, floors cleaned, play dates arranged and attended, meals prepared (3x/day), groceries purchased, hurt feelings soothed, scrapes bandaged, play-doh set up and put away, library books picked out and returned, errands run, manners taught, bathrooms cleaned, beds made, garbage out, phone calls returned, menus planned, porches swept, stories read, and shirts ironed…all the while trying to take full advantage of the countless teachable moments every day… I just didn’t seem to find much time for movies. And I didn’t even have an infant anymore. I remember when feeding alone became my full time job—an hour to feed, every 3 hours, round the clock, equals 56 hours of breastfeeding per week! As this mommy-to-be leaned over my face, all I could think was, “This woman’s world is about to get rocked.”

For my baby shower, my sister had all the ladies, veteran moms in my opinion, write their mothering advice in a pretty little book that was presented to me. One of my dear friends wrote, “Welcome to the toughest job you will ever love.” I don’t think I fully appreciated those words until after my son was born. How could I? How could I know the wonder and awe I would feel as I held him for the first time? How could I know the utter delight I would find in watching and helping him grow? How could I know the depth of love I was capable of having for another human being? I would die for this little boy. And how could I possibly know how challenged, stretched and vulnerable I would feel when lack of sleep, hormones, and a screaming baby made me feel like I was dying for this little boy? How could I know how profoundly my life would change?

As I now wear maternity clothes again and contemplate going back to baby-land with our baby due next year, I am comforted by these words:

He shall feed His flock like a shepherd. He shall gather the lambs in his arms and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those who are with young. (Isaiah 40:11)

Although parenting is the toughest job I know, I also know that He will feed me and my family. He will provide for me, in every way. He gives us the wisdom we beg Him for, the love to carry us through, and the privilege of passing His truth and love to the next generation. He will gently lead those of us with young. He knows it’s a tough job. But it’s a job I wouldn’t trade for anything, not even a chance to watch all the movies in the world.