Dear Stay-At-Home Mom

posted in: on being a mom, the Dahls | 3

This week my days have felt aimless.  I wake up, wonder, “What are we going to do today?” and then it’s like I blink and the day is over with little to show for it.

That’s part of the problem – I want tasks.  Accomplishments.  Some sort of mission for the day.  Like when I worked a “normal” job.  I would go to work and there were clear cut objectives every single day.  And at the end of the day, I would fall into bed exhausted and accomplished, because I had done something productive.

Nevermind that I dropped Hadley off at daycare when it opened at 7:30, picked her up when it closed at 6, went through the Taco Bell drive thru and put her in bed by 7 because I had nothing left to offer her.

I had done something.

I’m sure every stay-at-home Mom has been asked (with a bit of accusation or perhaps genuine (albeit frustrating) curiosity), “What do you do all day?”

What do I do?  I mean, I do…things.  I’m really busy.  At least I feel busy.  And every night I’m exhausted, so I must be busy, right?  I’m not just sitting around eating chocolates and watching TV.

But after a week like this, I actually want to ask the question myself.

I have plenty of tasks.  And it’s easy to set Hadley up with something to do, let Adrienne nap in the swing, embark on my to-do list, and at the end of the day, feel rather accomplished.  In fact I often wonder if some of the old homemaker tasks and hobbies have resurfaced because it’s easier to spend an hour kneading bread than it is to be on your knees playing house.

(Actually, I find both rather difficult.  Praise the Lord for bread machines.)

But the thing is, I don’t think my job as a homemaker is just to, you know, keep my home.  At least not tangibly – to cook and clean and do laundry – is that what this job is all about?  As my husband so wisely reminded me yesterday, tomorrow, that shirt will be dirty again.  There will be another meal to make, the toys will be out, and the floors will have dinner’s crumbs back in their place.

I like to think a homemaker is a keeper of hearts.  The problem is, that’s not so tangible.  It doesn’t create a to-do list for me.  It doesn’t get crossed off because it’s never done.  And so it’s frustrating and exhausting but not in the same “I-am-so-awesome-look-at-all-I-did-today” way.  So I inevitably search for tasks.  I think, if I buy this curriculum or start this unit or something then I will have a list and it will be good and caring and accomplish all my Mom tasks.

But is Hadley’s heart a task that can be summed up in 14 lessons?

And if it’s not, what do I do with her all day?

And what about those meals, and the house, and the laundry?

I saw this cute little saying that totally made me cry (don’t judge).  I can’t actually read the picture to see who said it…

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow,
So quiet down, cobwebs.  Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep.

Oh Lord, make me a keeper of hearts.  Make me value these fleeting moments as far greater than any tangible task before me.

As much as that’s my prayer, I am still dying to know:

Dear Stay-At-Home-Mom,
What do you do all day??  Do you have a lesson planned?  A game to play?  An activity every single day?  Do your kids play by themselves while you do your “work”?  Do they work alongside you?  Do you get any work done?  Seriously.  Teach me, someone.  This homemaker stuff doesn’t come naturally.
Sincerely,
Me

3 Responses

  1. Well written
    I do all of the above…but I find at the end of the day sometimes I feel I could have given more to memories then to ” to do’s”. We have a school calendar. I found at target for a dollar (during the end of the summer) I wrote on it different things from; what day I wash who’s clothes. to what day we go on a field trip or have people over for dinner. I have toys that come out on different days of week to get played with. Date nights (mommyandme. Daddy and me. Mommy and daddy) I have it set up so it doesn’t feel overwhelming. I also home school our children so I try to make that quality time and fun. And its only a few hrs mon-thursday. But the key is to not lose sight of whats important. My aunt says write e dry night six things u must do thenext day and do nothing more then those six. But that’s on top of ur daily chores. But if you break it down weekly and monthly (our chores) life at home seems I little lighter..hope this helps any…and remember our duties will pay off someday…

  2. I am in complete agreement with you here. I am very task oriented, and nothing feels as good as marking something off a list. WIth home parenting, it is difficult to nail down progress and everything that gets done need done again. That part of the job has always frustrated me, but it has also been transformative. It has made me more interested in being a “keeper of hearts” as you so beautifully put it, than a doer of tasks. That has been an incredible gift, a way of walking in the kingdom.

    I was interviewed by Brian’s cousin about being a home parent, if you would like to read it: http://ellieannsoderstrom.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/what-i-want-to-be-when-i-grow-up-a-stay-at-home-parent/