I knew the cuddles would be awesome! I was also ready to have sticky little fingerprints to wipe off because it would be oh so fulfilling. I was right in some regards but there are so many more benefits to being a stay at home mom that were never mentioned before! And they were not attained simply by birthing these creatures.
When we had our first baby I had NO clue what I was getting myself into. I spent hours researching how to train up respectable little people. I was sure I was going to do this the right way because I had read all the books on child rearing I knew of at that point.
I knew how to sleep train, how to discipline and how to feed this baby of ours. I mean I had a bunch of nieces and nephews and I’d watched them grow up. I had surely learned from my sisters mistakes and would avoid those! Right?
Make a plan and watch God laugh! Surprise surprise! I’d forgotten to read up on personalities and grace! Our little, adventure loving boy was born with no regards to the fact that his momma knew what she was doing. He had his own ideas of what this world should look like. And it was a trail lit by fires instead of flowers.
Seeing Your Plans Go Up In Flames
I felt like I was loosing myself those first two years. I was terrified of that feeling. Here was a child unlike any other I’d ever had the pleasure of spending time with. I’d heard of little hellions who needed the fear of God put into them. I’d sure as certain never dealt with one to this degree though.
I spent so much time blaming myself. I hadn’t behaved right while he was in utero. I should have been calm and smiling all day every day. Maybe I should have invested in some relaxation therapy. We hadn’t been able to bond correctly because of the NICU stay. Maybe I was getting payback for being such a brat in my childhood years. I blamed myself for everything.
I asked around for advice and no one had any answers. All this did was fuel my belief that I was right and it was all my fault. I started to feel like a failure overall. I’d failed at my job, I was failing as a parent and definitely failing at being a friend to the people around me. The only thing going mostly right was our marriage. Thank God for small miracles
How Can You See The Gold While The Fire Is Raging
Time. This parenting thing is a journey. That fire our child lit in me and, well, in the entire family was a fire of refinement. This fire made me desperate. Desperate for answers. Desperate for hope.
This may seem unrelated but bear with me. Our finances were a MESS! Our oldest was right around 2 when I was presented the opportunity to start my own home-based business with a Direct Marketing Company. I jumped in head first and failed miserably for the 6 months I was in the business. After failing, I got frustrated. Determined to not give up, I went to a business seminar with my team. I was blown away by this seminar.
I’d gone to be taught how to make money in my home-based business. But instead I came home with the knowledge that our son was NORMAL!(The other thing I vividly remember is that to increase our income, all I had to do was bake cookies for my husband to take with to work, lol) Our son wasn’t weird. He was living life the way God knitted him in my womb. I simply lacked the skill of connecting with his personality. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses after that. But I finally had the freedom to release myself from all that blame and move forward into healing the relationship between us.
So how do you see the gold in the middle of the fire? You choose faith. Faith in knowing that with time you will see the golden fruit of your hard times. The fires are merely there to prepare you for the next step you need to take. It may be uncomfortable but have you ever wanted to get off a comfy couch? I haven’t, what gets me off a comfy couch is discomfort. Needing to pee is a definite discomfort that can make most anyone move. The same with a fire in your life. You can choose faith and use that fire to find an answer and grow, or you can pee your pants on that comfortable couch and be miserable, wet AND stinky.
What Happens After The Fire of Refinement
A fire burns and consumes. After the fire is spent, a desert of ugliness spans before you and it all seems hopeless. But give it some time and life begins to grow again. It comes back more lush and green than before.
After our eldest was born, I was done. I never wanted another child because I still hadn’t completely forgiven myself. But common sense argued that if we only had one he’d be spoiled rotten. And we’d always said if we had one, we’d at least have two. I took a pregnancy test on our eldest sons birthday and it was positive.
The birth with our second was the start of true healing in our family. It was the point of restoration in my self-confidence. She was the child you always see in commercials. Smiling, sweet and loved to be rocked to sleep. Cuddling was her favorite thing to do! It confirmed in me that I was not broken and her addition to the family also taught me more about loving as a mother.
Her birth got us feeling a little too good and baby number 3 was on his way 8 months later. Little did I know this was major fire number two. I lost all feelings of control after his birth. Our second was acting up all the time, our eldest felt left out and it was so hard to connect with him again. We had moved one week after # 3’s birth so nothing was normal or stable.
It took us a full year to find balance in our lives to some degree. It’s now been 1-1/2 years since our third was born and I’m finally starting to see the slight shimmer of golden light in the distance.
This fire brought us so much closer as a family. It sent me on a path of emotional healing. That path led to feeling free. Freedom has led to a better relationship with our oldest. Having 3 instead of 2 has taught me the importance of teaching them how to honor the people in this household. Which I pray will translate to honoring people around them when they are grown.
The Actual Benefits of Being a Stay at Home Mom
Definitely the cuddles. Is there anything sweeter than little arms clinging to your neck?(preferably syrup free of course!)Or a baby peacefully sleeping in your arms?
I almost forgot the food. What other job has the ability to have 5 star food on the table whenever your heart desires?? Not to mention the secret nap-time desserts that all veteran moms keep hidden! I mean silence is necessary when it comes to whatever luxurious piece we have hidden.
You have constant access to unreasonable people. Thus, your people skills are bound to improve! That annoying neighbor? Guaranteed that you will find some hidden gem to use on them that will work wonders! Trying to find a way to approach your boss with something? Observe your child! They are GENIUSES at getting what they want from you. Take notes!
You have team-mates! Cleaning the house? It becomes a game. When you have toddlers, true, it’s a game of “Sweep Before You See a Foot” and “How Fast Can You Mop?” But then they grow up a little and it is now a game of driving a tractor (aka a cloth) across the floor. Grocery shopping? No one notices if your clothes are lop-sided anymore. The babies steal the show! And if you play your cards right at movie time, you have a blanket of cute little people warming up your lap!
Date nights will once again be special. Dressing up becomes even more fun as I now have 3 people admiring my “pretties”. Plus I treasure the time I get to spend with just my husband even more now. I know it won’t happen whenever I want so when I have the time, it is all the more precious.
Our marriage has gotten even hotter over this period. We have had many trials. Some I wasn’t sure we’d recover from. All I can say to that is, thank God that I serve a God of healing and restoration! We’ve both put a lot of effort into keeping our marriage hot and alive and it has paid off for sure!
One of my favorite benefits as a stay at home mom and wife to a farmer is that I get to go with him whenever I start going crazy at the house! It’s a great time of family bonding. Er.. Well it’s a great time of learning how to get along in tight spaces at the very least! At least I have my hubby helping me with keeping the peace there!
How to Add Some Water to the Flames Sooner
My first round with the fire was all-consuming. It was my entire focus. I didn’t know that this was simply a test for me and an opportunity to learn something and grow.
On my journey to find healing and hope, I lost some of my selfishness. I learned to serve others once again. This was my personal test. Yours will be yours. I hope by sharing this you can find some faith in the middle of the storm and cling to the shimmer of hope. Look for opportunities to grow. Embrace these moments and instead of refusing to move off the couch, find something that propels you forward, and know that at the end of this journey you will be stronger.
You will be a better you. Losing yourself is not a bad thing. It is an opportunity to find a better version of you. It feels awful, unless you know what you are experiencing. A fire experienced with anger at the circumstances, and a focus solely on what you are experiencing, is a million times harder than choosing to look for good.
Looking for an opportunity to learn changes your focus. I love to find podcasts or videos on YouTube that challenge my response to a bad situation. In my experience changing my focus has often shortened the fire. And made the outcome sweeter. I still have a lot left to learn and I hope I never stop. Hopefully I can learn some things before having to get spanked by another major life lesson! I’m learning to prefer to be pro-active when it comes to personal growth and not let it wait until I’m in a major fire once again. This has even prevented a few fires from starting! Much better to avoid them than to be burned! 😉
What are your favorite benefits of being a stay at home mom? Or what do you most look forward to if you are just starting on this journey?