I feel like I have to write this. It’s been written, well, kind of written, before. Yes, it’s another one of those, “I’m a stay at home mom so that means I work all day,” posts. Well, like I said, kind of.
It’s complicated. It’s different in my house from probably anything else you’ve ever seen and that’s ok. I am a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom), yes. All that means is that I don’t have full-time (or even what I’d consider to be part-time) childcare. Yay! I’m raising my child — influencing him and his growth and decisions — not missing any firsts! It’s amazing and I’m so lucky.
We were blessed and lucky, back in July, to score a spot in Dyersburg First United Methodist Church’s Mother’s Day Out program. Yay!! Happy dance! You won’t believe the happy dancing I did over getting into this 6-hour-a-week program. Yes, you read that right. I have childcare (for sure) Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m during the school year and not around holidays…… It’s a 30 minute drive to and from twice a day for that 6 hours which means we’re (one of us) on the road for 2 hours for 6 hours of childcare one day a week.
Now, back to it….I’m a SAHM. My house is a complete mess. I clean it. Craig helps. I cook in it. Craig, well, offers meal suggestions. I cater to the cutest and sweetest little needy face all the live-long day just about every day and I’m blessed to be able to do it. It’s work! It’s hard work from the second I hear him babbling over the monitor around 8:00 in the morning until that blessed 3-hour (yep!) nap he takes in the afternoon like clock-work and then again until he goes to bed at 8:30 that night. Meals. Baths. Books. Diapers. Yep. That’s me. Well……that’s us.
Craig is a SAHD (Stay At Home Dad) but he’s also a student 2 days a week in Memphis (over-night), runs most of the errands, oh, and, he’s also a rock-star pastor of 3 churches. Now, here’s where it gets confusing….
I’m a SAHM and I do all the work that goes into being a parent who spends 80% of my time with my son. In that respect to the moon and back I can praise the heck out of SAHM’s. They’re constantly covered in something wet and gooey related to their children and still greet the mailman (er…person) with a smile. Yep That’s what we do. They deal with the terrible-two’s in all the best ways (hiding in the closet eating a chocolate bar and crying a little). They are AWESOME.
But I also have a full-time job. It’s crazy really. In the midst of the nuttiness, I get next door to keep office hours. I change out of the gooey clothes in the afternoons to make visits during that nap (no, that’s NOT when the laundry gets done or the house gets cleaned). I write a full 4-5 page paper a week just like I was in school but I do it after hours of exegesis and prayer — it’s called a sermon. I have meetings usually in the evenings when everyone else is off work. I take phone-calls in the laundry room where it’s the tiniest bit quiet from the little dude. I race to get paperwork done in the down moments. We grab groceries in passing as we’re running to and from one place or another. I’m a full-time SAHM and a full-time pastor of two churches. Yep, like Jesus, I am fully one thing and fully another ALL THE TIME.
It’s not a complaint! It’s this awesome thing but just thinking about it is overwhelming! How and when and where and with what resources do we EVER get it all done? I get that question at least once a week and, no, I don’t ever feel like I get it all done. I don’t begin to know. Only by God’s grace.
So, as much as I’d love to, I’m not that SAHM who has time to watch the cartoons in the morning (but he does and he’s happy). Generally the clothes get washed and not put away. I don’t get to squeeze in all the visits I wish I could make or write my own beautiful liturgies for worship — the skill and desire is there but the time and, more importantly, the energy isn’t. I’m a SAHM and a full-time pastor. I care for the souls and lives of about 100 people and their entire community. I pray for them, stay with them, and come running to them when they need me — sometimes, with Cooper on my hip.
So I praise God for SAHM’s. I also praise God for those mommas who work. I praise God for those mommas who answer God’s call for their lives no matter what that looks like. And to those mommas who do it all — who juggle all those things and probably more — know you’re not alone. You have my praise, admiration, and always, my prayers, because I know it is filled with sore backs, feelings of inadequacy, and tears.
It is so hard. It is not perfect. God is with you. God is with us.