Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Fears of Being a Stay-at-Home Mom

I continue to wrestle with identity and role as a woman and mother. I am surrounded, while here in language school, by women who are homemakers and parenting small children. I am looking forwards and I see the next few years where I will be full-time at home, home schooling, cooking, cleaning, being June Cleaver (okay, not at all, but you get my drift).

I'm still pretty freaked out about that because I have no idea how homeschooling will go, I have no idea how fun or hard it will be for me to be at home full-time, and I don't know how I will come out on the other end of it. Or how my kids will come out, for that matter. But, since Isaac was an at-home Dad for three years, I figure the next three years are my turn and other possible arrangements can be considered after I take my turn. For now there is no nanny, awesome day care, grandma, or excellent school option around where we will be, so I am it. And I love them, deeply. I watch them follow each other around the house and marvel at their little souls that God has made me responsible for. 

And so... I'm going to own it. I'm going to learn to cook for this family from scratch in the third-world like a champ. I'm going to organize a homeschooling schedule and grow my kids through it. We're going to learn, we're going to have fun, and I'm going to pour out love on these precious kids because I'M THEIR PERSON. I'm going to make our house a home, both for us and for others to enter into. I'm going to do this thing.

What I'm afraid of is that as I fully throw myself into this at-home-mom thing, I will forget or lose anything outside of it. I believe, strongly, that the church and the world need women who are identifying their gifts and using them. In their families, yes, but also outside of their families (just like men). If we don't encourage that, the church and the world lose out. And in fact I want my own kids to see that lived out. So, I know for this season I'm the person on point at home and I recognize that with tiny people that is pretty all-consuming. Still I'm afraid that as I pour myself into that role I will lose the other things, the vision, passion, and gifting outside of parenting. And perhaps most of all I still absolutely resist the idea that women are meant to be and are always most fulfilled when they are at home with their kids.

I know that when we put things on hold, when there are blank years on the resume, it's much harder to grow again as we were before. I watch work friends continue to be promoted and I am SO PROUD. I wonder, as the kids get a little older and I peek around the curtain again, will it all be unfamiliar?

I read some on Lynn Hybels and her absorption at home in the shadow of her husband (Bill Hybels) and his huge ministry. Both Lynn and their daughter have now written about Lynn's process of finding her own gifting and passions and absolutely coming alive with it, and how beneficial that was for her own kids to watch. I don't want to have to go through the “finding myself” stage after the kids get older. I want to have continued to invest in whatever ways I can in those gifting and passions all along. But... when the kids are tiny and I live in a remote corner of the world, what in the world will that look like?

And that is where I have to step back and ask what I'm worried about. Am I worried about defending my rights, of not being meaningful or successful enough? Because those things shouldn't be the point. And so I am in the process of putting all of this in the hands of my God and saying, again, that I want to obey. I will obey within the walls of the home I raise my kids in, and I will strive to obey in the other contexts He brings out, and I will trust that His plan and path for me is greater than what I would claw out tooth and nail in all my self-absorption.

I'm working all of this. Masih dalam proses.  


Andrea Ward said...

I am not a stay at home mom and probably won't ever be. However, I struggle with using my gifts appropriately. Trying to serve in church, in family, at work, AND maintain who I am. Some days I feel like I have to be 3 different people. My current strategy is to take one day at a time. Don't think too far ahead or worry about many years down the road. Follow God today and let him worry about the future. Easier said than done!

Corinna Mazzotta said...

The answer lies in not thinking so far ahead and trusting God for the here and now, knowing that he already has the future planned. If you'd told me when my boys were the age of Judah & Elly that I would have retrained to do a totally different job and then had that taken away by physical issues, I would have thought that you were mad! So just keep trusting a day, a week and a month at a time, because who knows how God is going to use your gifts and talents!

If you want some advice on homeschooling, I have a friend who has been living in Moldova (serving with her hubby with OM) for the last 20 years and has / is homeschooling all 5 of her kids (they didn't have children when they moved out there!) I would be happy to put you in touch with her if you wanted?

Praying for you guys as you make the plans to start the next chapter of your Indonesian lives.

Much love xx

Lisa McKay said...

Oh, Kacie. I so get you on this. I'm grappling with many similar things in the midst of our own latest move, and facing five years on a small island in the South Pacific. Thinking of you during this time.