Sunday, May 13, 2007
I sometimes have people ask me how I can stand to stay at home. Don't I hate the cleaning or the diaper changes or whatever (fill in the blank with the task you find loathesome)? Well, I don't want to make it sound like I just thrll at the possibility of a dirty diaper, or the sink full of dishes, or another load of laundry, but it is part of what keeps our home running, it is part of my job, and overall I find my job fulfilling and joyful enough that I don't mind the parts I don't care for as much. When I worked outside the home, there was certainly plenty I found annoying, monotonous or distasteful. I've worked at a yarn shop (which I love!), various childcare/daycare places (part of the reason I stay at home with my children), a children's science museum (another part of why I stay at home with my children), a Mail Boxes Etc. (now the UPS store), a dance studio, an insurance office, done yard work and descriptive writing for a mail order business. There was drudgery in all of those jobs; there were parts I disliked, and things I did only because they were paying me and I might not have my job if I didn't do them. There were also parts that I loved, and found interesting. None of them, though, not even the yarn store job, are occupations which fulfill any great calling.
I know it is out of fashion to think of motherhood as a woman's great high calling, but there is no other job in which a woman, or a man for that matter, can do which can affect the life of not only her child, but the world around her and the future of that world. Being a parent, but especially a mother, shapes how the neighborhood will be, how the town will be, how the county, state, nation will be. It is the only job that you might regret not spending enough time on when you are on your death bed. The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world is not just some pithy platitude, it is a truth for which we find ample evidence these days with the way so many kids and teenagers behave and the adults who have chosen to be pals rather than their parents.
Being a mother does not always look like the noble calling it is. Rachelle wrote about that much more eloquently than I in her post yesterday. There is much trench work, and plain perserverance to get through some of the tougher or exhausting parts, but the bigger picture, the perspective I wish I always had before me, is that there is nothing more important or valuable to a child, a family, a society, than the mother at home.