I used to have this neighbor, we'll call her Julie, who, despite my best attempts, never became a close friend. Actually, she never really became a friend at all. We just never "hit it off".
Sister was about two months old and Julie had just had her first child, a daughter also. I had invited her over to get her out of the house a little and chat. She was wrestling with the decision to go back to work or stay home with her newborn.
Now, I'm no dummy. I know this issue is a very hot topic among women. And though I sincerely believed no good mother would ever leave her child to pursue a career, I certainly didn't say that to her.
I mean, she might be condemned to hell and her children would grow up to mindless, broken heathens if she went back to work, but who was I to say?
Anyway, Julie was voicing her concerns and kind of working it out there with me and finally said, "I don't think I can stay home. I mean, I'm just a busy person and I think I would be bored."
I wanted to kick her condescending butt right then and there, and perhaps that was the deathknell for mine and Julie's relationship. Seriously, what made her think I wasn't busy? The messy house? The zombie-like expression I was wearing? My inability to shower or wear makeup? Who wouldn't want that kind of lifestyle?
Julie did return to work, and they were able to build a brand new house in a much nicer neighborhood.
You see, I became a mom and I was consumed. I was going to be the best mom EVER, and for a little while, until reality took me down a notch or two, I believed I was. I was told that staying home with your children was absolutely best, even preferred by God, so there was never a question for me. My son was 9 months old before I ever left his side, and it was another year before I left him again. This was much the same with my girls. I was a good mom and good moms don't leave their children.
But something strange happened. I started feeling frustrated, inadequte, and unhappy. And dare I say, unfulfilled? But how could that be? I was a good mom. I loved my children more than life itself. And I loved taking care of them. What was wrong with me?
I had drowned.
All of a sudden I had to face the fact that I was one of those moms I had condemned. I wasn't completely happy just being a mom. I wanted more.
Some women have but one desire, and that is to be home all day long being domestic and nurturing. I applaud them. And there are certainly days I revel in my own mom-ness. But it's okay if I want to have some time to explore who am besides that, because I wasn't always a mom, and one day my little ones will fly free. It's perfectly fine if I take two days out of seven to nurture myself and learn new things because I want my own children to do the same. They should know education doesn't have to stop when you're 22.
Furthermore, when did God say, "Thou must stayest at home with thy child every minute of every day"? And I often wonder, did the Proverbs 31 woman - the original Supermom - stay home all the time? Sounds to me like she had other interests, and ten to one she left the house now and then to attend to them.
Stay at home. Go to work. Do whatever it is you've got to do. The truth is, no matter what we do we will raise broken heathen children, because we are broken heathens, too. It is what we do with the time we are given, be it after school, on the weekends or in the dead of night, that allows for the grace to function within that brokeness.
Here's to every mom out there who is busting her butt to be the best she can be and botching it right and left. Here's to pizza delivery and unshaven legs.
Screw perfection. Let's just shoot for clean underwear.