Thursday, July 31, 2008

The problem that has no name....




On a different forum I was posting on today, I brought up that I'm having serious stay-at-home-mom blues right now. I have this deep, stirring need to feel like I'm working daily and routinely on meaningful things. I want to show God's love to people in need, I want to be mentally and physically challenged in what feels like meaningful work...in short: I don't want to be bored.


I'm in a lucky but unfortunate spot for my personality.


My husband makes enough money that I don't have to go get a second job and I can stay home with my kids. That is a huge blessing right there and I know it. I could be having to pinch and save and be careful every day when I buy grocery items in order to afford to be a stay-at-home mom, but I don't. I realize that life could be MUCH harder for me than my life is.


I also know that staying home with your kids, teaching them important things, helping them work through their problems and teaching them how to be good people are ALL important and meaningful things.


The problem lies with the execution. Training my children in the way they should go is my number one priority, but often that entails me arguing with a three year old about why he can't swing a baseball bat by his sister's head, or breaking up yet another fight about who gets to climb into the car first, or talking to my daughter about why she can't wear wool tights in the summer under her skirt. I'm homeschooling and there are cool times as well, where I get to teach my daughter about Mesopotamia or read both of my kids a Bible story or teach them a game they've never thought of before (like how to play "crocodile", which entails jumping from pillow to pillow trying to escape from the crocodiles on the floor).


But there are days when I feel like my college education is starting to ooze out one of my ears, never to return again. And I could even get over THAT if I could at least feel like I was busy all the time with stuff I felt was important, but the truth is that staying at home sometimes means that you are DONE with your work for the day (or at least with the work you HAVE to do for the day), but still stuck at home because the littlest member of the family is napping. Sometimes I feel like I could solve the world's problems if I could just bring the struggling people of the world (wait...I'm definitely one of the struggles) into my living room during nap time! I feel like I have time outside of my responsibilities in which I could do more, but haven't really figured out what that should be or how to fanagle it around raising little people.


Being a sahm in the city makes it even harder because you drive around seeing people hustling here and there and wishing you felt like you had somewhere to hustle to....somewhere besides the grocery store.


It also means that you see the needs of the world right in your face all the time: the panhandler begging me for change every time I walk into the store, the child whose teenage mom is yelling obscenities at him at the park, the poor education all the neighborhood kids are getting at the local schools, and you WANT TO HELP! But you can't help all the time. Because you also have to make meatloaf and help your daughter train her pet parakeet. And you have to figure out how to burn ALL of the daily energy out of a three-year old boy which is friggin' hard! The above picture is what we came up with today...(big sister is in the carrier...3 y/o brother is the one on the bike!).


And I know that this is important, but it doesn't mean I don't ask myself all the time if I could do more....

1 comment:

Ellen said...

I miss you and all of our talks in your dorm room, Susan! You're still the same wonderful girl, it sounds like.

It's so easy to see the good in another person's situation and the bad in your own, isn't it? I want nothing more than to be a stay-at-home-mom; I want it desperately. And yet I am sure that if I am blessed with that opportunity someday, I will feel things similar to what you're feeling.

For whatever it's worth (and I know you know this), I think you're doing the most important work in the world, and you are serving God with every little mundane, mindless task you do as you raise your kids to love Him. I hope you find some tactics to execute your meaningful work in ways that are less frustrating and mind-numbing. :)