Few things spur resentment in the heart of a stay-at-home mother more than waving goodbye to a husband every morning. This was true of me. On my best days, I felt so blessed to have my man provide so that I could stay home. On my worst days, I felt trapped and jealous that he got to engage in the adult world. My days spent occupying babies and toddlers, homeschooling, cooking, and cleaning were often very hard days. It seemed unfair.
But let’s talk honestly about what husbands “get to” do at work. When Joe was a construction worker:
- He got to fight traffic each day
- He got to work outside in sub-freezing weather
- He got to use a porta john throughout the day
- He got to listen to potty mouths and music he hated throughout the day
- He got to work two jobs and 15-hour days in order to provide for us
Now that he works in a white-collar world
- He gets to work seven days a week
- He gets to listen to people complain about his decisions
- He gets to feel the pressure of managing arguments between teens and adults
- He gets to be accountable to demanding bosses, board members, and parents
- He gets to to feel the pressure of putting seven kids through college
Let me summarize where I’m going: Work is work. It’s really that simple.
We have to remember that in Genesis 3, God told Eve her sorrow would be multiplied through childbirth and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that includes childrearing. God also said Adam’s life would consist of sweaty work. The curse of living in a fallen world includes thorns and thistles for everybody. So we have to get free from the idea that husbands have it easier than wives who stay at home. I was there for twenty-two years, through 8 pregnancies, and 13 years of homeschooling, so I’m not denying that being a stay-at-home mother is hard at times. I’m just saying every job is hard at times. And since there are a million variations of hard work, we make ourselves miserable by assuming our husband’s lives are easier. And we certainly make our husbands miserable by accusing them of going out to easy street every morning.
Of course, it may be that husbands don’t have a clue about what happens in a home full of little children. But now that I work full time, I realize that I had no clue what Joe’s hard days were like either. Working outside the home is hard. The same pressure I once felt to stretch our dollars is the same pressure I now feel earning them. Now I know how Joe felt all along. Now I know the last thing he needed was to come home to an unhappy wife with a chip on her shoulder.
As I said in my previous post, God has given each of us a field to tend. And every field has weeds, annoyances and burdens. A grateful heart focuses on the many blessings and joys of the work that we do. And on my best days, I would remind myself:
- I get to wear whatever clothes I want
- I get to avoid traffic, gossip, and pressure to perform for pay
- I get to set my own schedule and flex it, depending on the needs of my family
- I get to spend the day with people I love
- I get to influence my children’s hearts, train them to work, and show them how to love God and each other
What awesome days I spent with my children, reading aloud, playing games, and doing crafts. I have NOT A SINGLE REGRET for being home all those years now that I am enjoying the fruit of my labor. I just wish I could relive those days and apply what I now understand: Being a stay-at-home mom is a priceless privilege.
View from the top: When I look at this photo of all seven children as youngsters, and the more recent one below it, I am reminded that children grow up fast and every moment spent with them is a blessing.