Saturday, February 18, 2012

Contentment

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I went grocery shopping yesterday and ran into a woman I worked with last year. We chatted and enjoyed pleasantries and then she asked me, "So, what are you doing now?" My mind went blank and I stammered something about taking Nathan back and forth to school. "Oh." Then we moved on to the next topic.

After I left her I wanted to kick myself for freezing up. For feeling embarrassed that I was home. For feeling that I was not contributing to society for deliberately choosing not to work.

Ever since I was little I played house. I would carry my baby dolls around and feed them bottles and pretend I was cooking dinner. I dreamed of the day when I would have a husband, children and my own home.

Then I went off to college and entered the work force. After college, it was on to seminary where I met and married Dan and we went into full-time ministry. Over the years I've done many worthwhile things. I was the director of an adult literacy program. I've taught English as a Second Language. I was the assistant director of an early learning center and was responsible for the care of 80 infants and preschoolers of poor, working mothers. I've tutored children who struggle with reading. I've worked as a Kindergarten aide.

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But those worthwhile things never took the place of my desire to care for my own home, my own husband and my own children. Perhaps a lot of my desire comes from the lack of a complete family growing up. I love my mother and she did a wonderful job with the hand that was dealt her, but being a single mother is hard. It's hard to be both father and mother and have to work long, hard hours just to put food on the table. There was no time or energy for some of the little touches that can mean a lot. Again, my mother did a fantastic job and I don't want her to feel badly about our upbringing.

It's just that I wanted more for my children. I want to be the mother who was home and greeting them when they came through the door at the end of the day. I want to be the mother who can volunteer for a field trip. I want to be the mother who can make a special snack for them or sit and chat with my kids about their day.

And there is no shame in that. I'm not sitting around and watching soap operas and eating bon-bons all day. I'm not less intelligent than my working friends. I'm not throwing my life away. I'm not lazy. I'm not unambitious.

I am nurturing. I am productive. I am making a difference.

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In the past 5 days, I've done the following...

* Made and sold craft items
* Done 10 loads of laundry
* Made 8 bag lunches
* Cooked 5 dinners, including a special Valentine's dinner
* Wrote 5 online devotionals for countless women to read on a website I'm a member of
* Wrote 5 blog posts that also encourage and reach countless women
* Offered counsel to a couple of teens in our church
* Written an email devotional for the ladies in our church
* Cleaned my house
* Driven Nathan back and forth to school 4 times
* Put together a devotional for a ladies craft night at our church
* Gone to worship practice
* Put together figures for my husband so we can get our taxes done
* Worked on church powerpoint for the next two weeks
* Put together the church bulletin
* Grocery shopped
* Organized and sorted through bags of clothing
* Updated the church website and facebook page
* Cleaned a rabbit cage 5 times - blech!
* Made 2 pies for the ladies dessert & craft night
* Baked bread
* Went to a meeting at the town hall for our town's community days in June (I'm on the committee)
* Fielded about 10 phone calls from church people
* Offered counsel on the phone
* Fielded a few phone calls regarding Nathan's needs
* Went to the chiropractor
* Got my haircut
* Worked on a craft & lesson for 3D Girls
* Led 3D Girls
* Went out for coffee with my husband
* Made a couple of business calls for our church
* I helped my son fill out a few job applications
* Counseled all three of my children about various issues

And this was a slow and quiet week!!

So, I'm going to work on not feeling less when someone asks me what I do for a living. I'm not going to feel embarrassed or guilty when I tell people I'm a homemaker. I'm not going to put a qualifier on my response such as, "I don't work, but my husband is a pastor so I do a lot of work for the church." or "I don't work, but I have a child with special needs who needs a lot of my attention."

They are both true statements but I know that I'm putting that "but" there because I worry what people think. Who cares what they think!

I am a homemaker. I'm content and happy. My husband and children are happy. That is all that matters!

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I may keep that list in my purse though so next time I'm prepared!! LOL!!!!