Just a Stay-at-Home Mom

Are you still able to stay home with your kids?

I remember the first time she asked me that question. I was a brand new mom, a brand new wife, in fact.

In a whirlwind of two years, seemingly everything in my life had changed. The week I moved back to the States after living abroad for a year, I met Herm. Thirteen months later, at the edge of a vineyard, with friends and family gathered, we exchanged wedding vows. Fifteen months after marriage, Carson was born.

In that span of twenty-eight months I had changed climates and cultures and churches. I found a new job - later leaving that to stay home and raise Carson, moved into a new house that didn't yet feel like home, and had to be intentional about making sure to sign my new name. Weaver, though double in length, came so much more naturally than my husbands surname. I was now a wife, a mother, an Esh.

In many ways that season was the best of times. But it was hard. Looking back I see so much good that came out of it, though I am certainly glad to move on.

Yes, I'm still a stay-at-home mom, I replied.

How blessed you are to be able to do that! I wish we could make that work for our family.

The first time she asked me that question I felt myself shrivel inside. I was just a stay-at-home mom. I felt lost in the role, without value after so long basing my worth off of obvious accomplishments. I no longer contributed financially to our family, or managed a team, or attended conferences and workplace meetings.

I had traded all of that for late night nursing sessions and endless dirty diapers and days that seemed to last forever, though time was never my own. Though still constantly needed, I no longer received compliments or praise, something that beforehand I didn't realize I so desperately thrived on.

Somehow, in the midst of laundry and cooking and nap times and storybooks, somehow, after adding another child, and realizing that I truly did have free time as a mom of one, now that I certainly didn't as a mom of two, I felt settled and okay, even welcoming this stay-at-home mom gig for a career.

In the three year time span between her questions, so much is still the same - days can feel overwhelming and never ending, diapers are being changed, late nights still occasionally interrupted. I often find myself wishing for peace and quiet and time alone... which, when that does happen, feels awkward and distant, like meeting a friend from my childhood, someone I use to know, but now, not really.

In that three year time span, it's my heart that most has changed. 

It happened slow and gradual. In the rush of life I didn't notice. But it happened.

Her response, hearing the longing in her voice, made me realize all over again that being able to be a stay-at-home mom, if that is what you choose, is truly a privilege. I often still long for more, wanting to earn a paycheck and hear affirmation in a job well done. It's in my being, that longing to create and be known. And for that, there is still time.

I've heard it said, cliche but true: The days are long but the years are short. I don't always act like it, but truly, I am grateful to be here, at home, with my kids. And I'm grateful for a husband who works doubly hard to make that possible, supporting me 110%, never undervaluing my unpaid work. (While still joking about the amount of books I read, because what else would I do at home all day? )

The days are long, and already I've realized that the years are short. I won't be a stay-at-home mom forever, so while I am, I'm going to fully enjoy it.


How are you enjoying mothering by now? a friend asked me over coffee, our kids loud voices the background music to our conversation.

I stopped to think for a moment. Sort of chuckling to myself, delighted in my honest response.

Some days it's chaotic routine, where I feel overwhelmingly underwhelmed. Some days it's tears of laughter to mask those of desperation. Some days I want to throw in the towel, but gosh, more laundry! It's all of that, yes, and so much more.

How do I feel about mothering? Honestly... It's never been better!


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