First off, I have to say THANK YOU. My last blog post, Letter to the War-Weary Wife was read over 4500 times, and you guys just stun me. STUN ME. To everyone who read it, shared it, thought about it, thank you, and I hope it brought you the same peace it brought me.
Now onto today’s little rambling:
Yesterday, my oldest son turned ten years old. TEN! When did that happen? I feel like one of those people sitting around looking at baby pictures saying, “it feels like yesterday.” Well, there’s a reason for that… it does.
And it frightens me because I haven’t built enough rocket ships.
It’s not these last ten years, which have flown by, that scare me, but the thought of how fast these next ten years will go too. He’s such a great boy, but these next ten years will really shape the type of man he will be. I can only pray he will be strong, courageous, moral, compassionate, tender, ambitious and humble. I want him to grow to the kind of man his father is.
With these goals in mind, 6 years ago, when we moved to Germany, I made the move to being a stay-at-home mom. After all, it wasn’t like I could go on working in Title in a foreign country. It made sense. We wanted a third baby, we were in between deployments, and I could actually take the time to be with our kids. Being a stay-at-home-mom is more wonderful, and more challenging than I ever thought it would be. I had this crazy thought that when I stayed home, I’d have tons of time to scrapbook their moments, to quilt up their baby clothes. I’d spend my time pushing them on a swing-set and hunting for bugs in the grass as I cultivated a garden my grandfather would be proud of. Fast forward six years, and with four boys, the scrapbook box is… wait, I think I have like three of those now and they’re scattered… where did I leave them? The box of baby clothes to quilt is covered in dust, and so are parts of my house. Older boys mean older-boy fighting and I’m pretty sure “I said ‘get OFF your brother!'” is the most commonly-echoed phrase in this house. As amazing as this has been, let’s just say it’s not what I had in mind. Ah, how reality gets in the way, and the truth is that staying home with your kids doesn’t automatically make you a better mom.
While stationed at Fort Rucker, I was blessed to be called in our church as a Young Women’s leader, and one of the lessons I was able to teach was on motherhood. I told the girls the stark truth, there are times I feel I was a better mother when I was working full-time. Why? Because I might have only had them for a few hours a day during weeknights, but those hours were about THEM. I halted everything in my world and listened to them, talked to them, got on my hands and knees in my work clothes and played with them. From the time I picked them up, through baths and bed, I was one hundred percent focused on them. As a stay-at-home Mom, sometimes I feel like my attention is being pulled in every which way, and it’s not always in the boys’ direction.
I’m realizing that while I’ve increased the quantity of time, I need to increase the quality of time. When I’m with them all day, it’s easy to say “hold on, I’m doing laundry, dishes, taking out the trash, *insert mundane chore here*…” After all, I spend all day with them, and things have to get done. Every day chores of running a house seem to grow exponentially when you’re home all day, because .. well, the house is getting dirty all day. If these boys would consider not eating for a few days and going naked, I might be able to actually keep it clean. 😉
Some days you just have to slow down, put down the vacuum and build a rocket ship.
The smallest things that mean the most to our kids take such little time! This week it took me an hour, one hour of my time to hack apart a cardboard box, paint it up with a very handsy three-year-old, and giggle. Now if I could just get him to stop ordering his lunch in it like this house is a perpetual drive-through. But seriously, an hour and a box rocked Brody’s world and became his “favorite part of the day” when it was his turn to monopolize the dinner conversation.
|No mocking my awesome rocket-ship, even NASA’s funding got cut. 😉|
Point is, perfectly maintained houses and schedules are wonderful (and always feel unattainable in this house), but happy kids are priceless. Not to get all poetic, but the poem by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton pops into my head every time I’m in the middle of something and I get pulled away by a munchkin:
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.
So slow down, build the rocket ships, rock the babies, giggle, laugh and learn along with them, because so soon they’re turning ten, and fifteen, and eighteen…
Besides, we stayed home to be with them, right? It’s never “I’m staying home because man, that kitchen needs to be scrubbed EVERY day!” or “I’m staying home because I have to get that laundry under control!” No. Stay-at-home-mom’s are staying home to be with our kids. So go put down the computer and be with them for a wee bit.
Speaking of which, someone is pretty proud of this puzzle he’s been doing next to me, and I think I’ll go check that out and join in on this verse of Yellow Submarine. 😉