Janice Eicholtz | @janjanmom
The other day as I was out and about, I overheard a snippet of conversation. It was a grown-up asking a teenager what his mom did for a living. "She doesn't work outside the home," the teen replied. "So, she just stays at home," stated, matter-of-factly, was the reply. I won't tell you the gender of the person who said it. I won't tell you how deeply it rocked my faith in people. I won't even go into great detail about how quickly I bristled and how my eyes rolled. Instead, I will relay a little bit about the years when I "just stayed home".
My parents divorced when I was three, so I did not get to experience life with my mom being a full-time homemaker. BUT, it was pretty common in those days for men to be about making a living and women to be about making a home. In fact, modern day society often chuckles at the antiquated and stereotypical magazine articles and advertisements directed at women from that era. I hate that. Feminism should include the freedom to be a full-time mom. It should be a choice that is valued, not ridiculed. The choice to be a working mom should also be valued. There is no right or wrong-both choices come with their own perks, right along with the choice to not have children (and-gasp-sometimes, still be a homemaker!). Women need to lavish support and hold the judgment towards other women! We are all in this game of life together. Hebrews 3:13 reminds us to encourage one another DAILY lest we become hardened by sin's deceit.
Early on, Hubby and I decided that when and if we had children, I would be a domestic engineer-taking care of the kids plus managing our household would be my job. When our first two blessings came along without even a year in between, the decision had already been made. Four years later, another blessing. I didn't love every minute. It was a hard and often thankless, unnoticed job. I wasn't always very good at juggling it all. And I wouldn't change a thing. If I could go back and be offered a million dollar corporate salary at a dream job, I'd still choose being chronically low on cash and being home with my three girls. And I am not glossing over the hard stuff: lack of friends, lack of personal time and space, lack of date nights, lack of new stuff, and lack of quality conversations with other grown-ups.
I was able to volunteer at church, be a girl scout leader, and home school for seven years. I made (and maintain!) some of the best friendships ever while involved in the home school world. I learned what it means to give sacrificially. I got to enjoy every minute of my second, third and fourth childhoods. I learned not to judge kids and teenagers or even adults because they aren't done yet. (Brats often grow into beautiful people and vice versa!) I also was in Bible studies where I learned to be a better person and Christian. I learned there are fake and terrible people in the world. I learned to treat them well but not call them friend. I learned that I love my family more than anything in the world... even when they make me crazy.
It isn't easy to be a mom. Not just a stay at home mom, not just a working mom. As I have recently entered the workforce again, I can't imagine what working while having young kids would have been like. I admire the women who work all day and then come home to still more work. I cannot imagine being tired at the end of a long day and putting a smile on whilst making a valentine box or helping with math.
However, I think we can all agree, moms never "just stay home". The work is ongoing and never ending-but it is a good work, even fulfilling, eventually. And, although the Proverbs 31 woman has mostly made me feel inadequate, this verse has always given me hope:
Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Proverbs 31:28
Maybe not now, but some day, my husband and children will look back on our lives together and know the biggest blessing of our lives was the time when Mom "stayed home."
Janice Eicholtz is a Christ-follower that loves to laugh and thinks she is funny, so please laugh at her jokes! She and Erik, her husband of 21 years, have THREE teenage girls. She is a substitute teacher by day and a recovering supermom all the time. Her hobbies include nature walks, audio-books, writing, and Netflix. Follow her at her blog, ChefJanice.blogspot.com and contact her on Twitter via @janjanmom.