Friday, August 29, 2008

Just a Stay-at-Home Mom?

When people ask me what my career plans are now that I'm going to have a baby, I am met with a variety of responses. Basically, I'm putting my professional teaching career on hold until my children are old enough to go to school. Most of the time when others hear that I'm going to be a stay-at-home mom they are supportive and glad that I am in a position that staying at home is financially possible (although it will be tight). But then there are others who feel like I'm wasting my life or not living a life because I choose to be "just a stay-at-home mom." I've been asked if I feel like I'm wasting my degree. Absolutely not! What better place to apply what I've learned at school than at my own home. That's not to say I won't miss the academic world, but I'm moving on to a different sort of school; one where I will develop many new types of skills. Those who chide me for being "just a stay at home mom" do not realize that motherhood contains within that title many other titles. Being a mother means I get to be so many things.

As a mother I get to be a Nurse. I have never been to medical school, but I'm excited to learn about the human body and how to help heal it. When my children get sick, I am the first response team. I am responsible for determining what is wrong with them. That means I must be well-studied on the subject of health and disease. That mostly means that I will become an expert at searching for symptoms and treatments on google, but nonetheless, I will become an expert on those symptoms and treatments. I am am also the ambulance driver, in a way, when I determine my children are sick enough that I need to take them to the real doctors.

I also am going to have the privilege of being our home's Interior Decorator. I pretty much am already, but since I'll be spending at lot more time inside my house, I will be much more picky on exactly how it looks. Not to mention, I have to be doing all of this on a budget. That means I'll get to be creative on how to do this: Refinishing old funiture, using my own artwork, bargain hunting, etc. I think I will have fun developing this skill.

I've taken a few courses on this subject, but I don't know if I'm fully prepared to be a Child Psychologist, but then again, I don't really have a choice. I will be fully engulfed in the life of my child and being the best mother I can be means I must try to see the world the way he sees it. I know there are many different theories on how to raise a child. Probably as many theories as there are mothers. I will get to develop my own theory based on what I know is best for my child. It will be interesting to see if I can apply any of those Pavlovian stimulus-response training methods on my children.

I've never been too interested in becoming a chef until recently. Now I find a certain ammount of satifaction in developing a new recipe. They aren't complication by any means, but I like the fact that I made it up. My mom is the ultimate chef. Mmmm. Just thinking about her food makes my mouth water. She just throws things together into a delicious concoction. Right now I focus on making food that is healthy and try to make it yummy as well. It is a work in progress, hopefully I have my mother's throw-everything-in-the-pot-and-watch-it-turn-into-something-delicious genes.

My husband is the accountant, but since I now have significantly more time than him (he is also a full-time student) I have been given the responsibility of being our family's financial planner. Maybe our family goes a little overboard (Matt IS an accountant), but we keep track of all our expenses down to buying a snack at the gas station. Matt is teaching me to use our financial software to create and manage our budget. I don't think everybody goes to the lengths we do to stay on top of our budget, but I do know that being financially aware is an important skill that every mother should have especially since they are the ones who most often do all the shopping for the family. I'm excited for Matt to teach me how to use the quickbooks software. I'm sure this skill will be beneficial in many ways.

I can't wait for my little baby to come so I can take pictures of him. That means I get to be the family photographer. What mother doesn't like to take pictures of their bundle of joy? This will be a great opportunity for me become a better photographer not to mention historian. I am in charge of making sure that every milestone in my little boy's life is documented. I'm sure it won't be too hard for me to accomplish this. I'll probably just follow him around all day with a camera around my neck.

One part of being a stay-at-home mom that I've been dreading is become the family maid, but I do admit that this is an important role that I'll have. I'm not saying that I am going to be the only one every cleaning in my home. Nope. If you make the mess, you clean it, but I will be on full-time duty. My Grandma is the ultimate home cleaner. She is a little obsessive--ok, she is a lot obsessive, but I've noticed how she takes pride in her work. That is a quality I want to emulate. I want to take pride in having a clean home. After all, word on the street is "Cleanliness is next to Godliness." I wouln't mind having some of that in my home.

One role that I'm all too familiar with is that of Teacher. As a mother, I will become the ultimate teacher. In fact, I consider that to be the primary role of a mother. I will get to teach my child how to do basic things like tie a shoe. I get to read to him nightly and be filled with joy when he can read to me. I am excited to hear all his curious questions and to answer them with just as much excitement. I will take the responsibilty to teach him right from wrong very seriously. I am so excited to take part in helping this helpless little person to grow up to be a capable, independent, and responsible adult.

I could go on forever about the different reponsibilties that I gladly accept with choosing to be a stay-at-home mom. I will get to learn so many things and if I can become an expert at just one of those things, I will consider myself a success. I was lucky enough to have a mother who showed me what motherhood is all about. She embraced the responsiblities of motherhood with dignity and as a result I am who I am today.

I'm sure you can think of a million more things that motherhood is to you and I think the list is a little different for everyone, but that doesn't make it less important.


graham and heather said...

Congrats on being able to be a stay-at-home mom! I think that is such an important role, good luck with it all!

Kelli said...

Amen! You'll be such a great mom! Ya know mom's are missionaries too. Every child of yours that gains a testimony is a convert to the church.

By the way, Jared and I aren't training for a particular triathlon. It's just on our to do list after this bike race.