Monday, February 6, 2017

Let Your Light Shine


If I even say that phrase I start singing the hymn that we sang every week at Mass while attending my beautiful grade school.

The homily this last Sunday was on exactly this-letting our light shine, the talents and gifts that we ALL have, each one of us, to make the world a better place. I love that our priest mentioned "in the home" also.  I've heard some stay-at-home moms mention to me over the years that they have been questioned about letting their gifts and talents and education "go to waste" caring for their children.  I think there is NO better place to channel those gifts and talents, and that education! There is NO place that those gifts and talents and education will make more of an impact for eternity than in the home!  "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world"-it's absolutely true.  I've known doctors, lawyers, MBA's, very skilled women, make the choice to stay at home and shine their "light" upon their families full-time, while the needs of their children are so great.  That light is a gift!  The days our children our home are so short, such a small percentage of our lives.

Our priest also mentioned that it is a responsibility to not squander this God-given gift.  The purpose is to share.  It is false humility to think that we don't have anything special to offer our families.  I often think of a mom who once said to me, after she asked me what I "do"-"I could never stay at home, I don't know how you do it."  I always wish I would have engaged her further in that statement-it makes me sad to think of what sort of warped view she had of what it "takes" to be a mom. I know every and all sort of stay-at-home moms, there is no "right" sort of personality type, no "right" sort of skills needed.  There is also no training-the first day of the job is when that baby arrives in our arms. We go from there and learn hands-on. It's a journey-a journey that takes decades.  I can only think someone must have told her, in some way, shape, or form, that she wasn't "good enough" for this job-as if she had to be some Barney (does anyone even remember Barney?) type of character every day, know what she was doing right off the bat, and be totally happy and satisfied-never get impatient, or unsettled, or stressed and if she does, well she's not cut out for it and her children are better off with hired help every day as her fill-in.  That train of thought leaves no room for the journey-no room for personal growth.

When I look back on twenty-two years of parenting, I can't imagine any other work teaching me as many skills as I have learned (and I'm still learning). I can't imagine any other work that has pushed me physically or emotionally into tremendous growth, any work forcing me to learn new things, things I couldn't have imagined being part of the job description, than that of stay-at-home mother.  It has stretched me in ways I could never have fathomed as a new scared-to-death, twenty-four year old mother.  I think we should be encouraging mothers to be home with their children-that they are enough for their babies, THEY are what their babies need more than any one else-they are more than enough, no one is worthy of taking their place, they are the ONLY one who can be mother! They are worth that tiny blink of an eye of time that it takes to raise a baby up, and no other job will reward them more than letting their light shine through their daily motherly presence.

13 comments :

  1. I've found myself saying that it's enough for me to be 'just a mom,' and not in a diminutive sense, but in an exclusive sense. That 'mom' is enough for me. I don't want other titles or responsibilities (even though life presents opportunities that ebb and flow and I'm okay with that). I'm good with mom.

    ReplyDelete
  2. As always, your words are so spot on! Thank you for mentioning journey...I have been in the " I wish I had known this, that and the other when my first was born," etc feeling lately. My how I have grown as a mother in seven years. I want to be the best I am able to and can be so hard on myself. Thankfully our Lord gives me the grace (and my kids too) I need to keep at it. Funny story...the other day I received a new mothering book in the mail. As I scanned the table of contents, I chose a chapter that particularly resonated with me and cheated and read it first. I was connecting so much with what the author was saying, the style it was written...and then was shocked when I read about an almost exact Daisy Scouts lessons I had read from your blog... Low and behold you were the author of that chapter! What a fun surprise. Thanks for all your wisdom. You are a mother mentor to me!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you, Sarah-for being a voice where voices have been quieted. Thank you for staying the course, and allowing us to follow you on your journey. Thank you for consistently taking our eyes off the superficial flashy lights and bells and whistles that distract us as we tread this path of motherhood and relentlessly encouraging us to actually see the path we are on. Truly, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, for sharing your wisdom with us.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you, Sarah. This was beautiful. The picture and the words are just what I need on this dreary, gray day staying at home with my toddler while the big kids are at school. I am very interested in hearing your thoughts (hint hint new blog post :)) on the importance of staying home once your youngest is in school full time. Too often I hear or feel pressure (from other mothers, not my husband) to think about going back to work when the youngest is in school all day. Truthfully, I feel it is even more important to be home and present as the children grow older, but I don't have experience with that yet as a mother.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure Sarah has much more wisdom that I do about this, as I'm still very much in the trenches of small children at home right now, but I will say that I wish my mom had been home and available when I was navigating junior high and high school. She was home until I was 8, but then started teaching and I feel like she was so busy and distracted, trying to juggle all her responsibilities, after that, that I didn't feel like I could go to her with my questions, and I think I would have been much more confident as a teenager if I had had a mother who was involved with my life and had time to ask what was going on and help me figure out what to do in the different situations I was faced with. She did the best she could under the circumstances, and I am so grateful for all she did for me, but because of the experiences I had, I am determined to be available for my kids in those crazy years when they are figuring out how to grow up and all that goes with that. I feel like it is so important for them to be connected with their parents in those years. And I'm not saying working moms can't be there in that way, I know they can, but it is harder when there are so many roles to juggle. Good luck! :-)

      Delete
    2. I have 5 kids and my oldest is 18. This is the first year all of my kids have been in school. I agree with you that kids need you more as preteens and teens. I was fortunate enough to find a perfect part time (10 Hours a week)preschool job that allows me to be home when they are off school. I'm quite certain being at home all day without kids home would have sent me into a depression. I have been a full time SAHM for 18 years and I needed something to get me out of the house. This job doesn't affect my kids at all but it has saved my sanity. I don't know that there's a right answer, you have to do what's right for you and your family.

      Delete
    3. Sorry, didn't mean to disappear here-we had to buy a new computer and took me (my son who am I kidding) a while to set it up. I would second everything Cheryl and Anna said. I haven't been there yet-I've always had someone at home so I haven't been faced with an empty house all day. I have had quite a few friends go back to work part-time or full-time after kids were all in school. I would want personally to take it slowly and see what I could handle while still not missing a thing here-which for me would definitely not be full-time, and even part-time it wouldn't be a high-stress "think about it while not at work" job (something personally I would struggle with.) I would always want to be home when my kids were home. I feel like I know the high needs of the little years, but the high school years mimic those needs also. Like both Anna and Cheryl said, I don't think there is one right answer for every situation, but I think there has to be a lot of self-knowledge and some deep connection to the needs of our children and family life.

      Delete
  5. I too would love to hear your thoughts about being home while the children are in school.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love being a stay-at-home mom, and am thankful for your post. In my weaker, flawed & human moments, I do sometimes wonder what sort of light I am actually shining at home. I know it's still best for my family and our kids, but I am always praying that God's graces will make up for my many failures.

    ReplyDelete
  7. All these years later and I still look forward to reading your blog posts. I think our journeys are similar and I love the positive way you live out yours. Keep writing and sharing ...

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'd be interested to know your thoughts on the role of the dad in this, what about them staying home? Not snarking, genuinely interested.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh gosh Margo, I just wrote this huge, really thought-out reply to you and then hit the wrong darn button and deleted the whole thing. I will try again, darn it all!!! Stupid computers.
      So I feel like the easiest way to answer this is to answer it personally. I felt a deep maternal connection to my babies-and also I was the only one that could feed them as I always nursed and never was successful or felt comfortable with pumping/formula. I think nature has this way of developing that deep bond between mother and baby-this is what is intended. I think the role of father and the role of mother are both incredibly important-we are meant to complement each other and offer different things at different times to our children-that is essentially the partnership of marriage and this is incredibly important in a child's upbringing. It is really rooted in nature. Mother meets needs that father cannot, etc., but coming together to raise a child = all needs met. That sounds all hippy-esh and philosophical but in reality, to cut to the point, the best case scenario after me taking care of our babies, would be someone who equally adores them and has an investment in their future (and who would listen to me when I tell him how to put them down for a nap:), would be their father and my husband. I would have broken my heart to leave them all day, but if I had to for some reason, I would have felt best with him there and we would have done anything to have made that work. (In fact when I did work part-time, it was Jeff that almost always took my place.) I really feel like it was up to US to raise our children, that we would figure it out with as little outside help as possible, since we loved them the most and knew what was best for them. And we did that within our own circumstances which wasn't always easy, but always felt right.
      I don't know if that answers your question about how I feel about it at all? Let me know if I didn't and I will try again (the third time, ugh!)

      Delete
  9. Sarah, I have felt and met women whose husbands were very controlling about the money and the fact that their wives didn't work outside the home. I have heard husbands say," I want her to work" and yet she had 3 kids! Before the internet, staying at home could be isolating for some if you didn't have other mothers in the neighborhood etc. Also, a woman can find herself in a vulnerable state if she doesn't have the ability to earn an income if her husband left her and she became a sudden single mom. I have friends whose exes really made life financially difficult for them after they had sacrificed for their husband's military career etc. It is a difficult decision and I agree nobody will take care of your child as well as you will. If I had a daughter, my advice would be to become independent first and then find a like minded mate concerning family life.

    ReplyDelete