Life At Home

The other night my husband asked me an innocent enough question: “Do you like your life at home?”  I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for four years now, and it has certainly been a dramatic change in lifestyle from my pre-motherhood days.  I’m a social person by nature, a middle child who is always most comfortable surrounded by lots of people, the more the merrier.  And for the majority of my life, that’s the way I’ve lived.  From lots of extra-curricular activities in school, to dorm life in college, to working in a cubicle, I’ve spent most of my life surrounded by lots of people.

But ever since I could remember, I’ve known that I was meant to be a stay-at-home mom.  And through a crazy string of events, God made that happen.  Not only did He give me this desire and lay the path to make it happen, but He knew all the reasons why I needed to be a stay-at-home mom, too.  He had some important lessons to teach me at home.

Lesson #1:  Being home a lot can actually be a GOOD thing.

“We stay so busy that the truth of our lives can’t catch up.” – Brene Brown

Our modern society puts a lot of value in being busy.  We are constantly pressured to go and do and sign up for this activity and this sport and this class.  I’m dangerously susceptible to the allure of being busy.  But it is thanks to my children and my life at home as their mother that I’m learning that a slower, less busy life is actually good for me.

Being home and attempting to raise my children — by far THE hardest job I’ve ever had — without the distraction of activities and lots of people forces me to continually face the truth of my life: my failings and weaknesses; my strengths and gifts; and my endless, undeserved blessings.  The quiet of home allows for introspection.  My life at home forces me to be still and know that He is God — and I am not.

I’ve learned to see home as a source of rest, comfort, routine, safety, and love, and not merely a pitstop in the midst of a chaotic life.  I pray that giving this foundation to my children during their early years will help them to grow up and see home as a place of value, a safe harbor in what can be a crazy world.

Lesson #2:  Community is worth working for.

“Like iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17

For all of our talk of it taking a village to raise our kids, if you are a stay-at-home mom that title can very easily become quite literal.  Local community is not what it was even a few decades ago.  Most of us don’t know our neighbors, and our kids don’t all play outside together like they used to.  On top of this, social media tricks us into thinking that connection is only a few clicks away — that physical distance doesn’t matter.  But I can tell you from experience that when your smartphone is your main window to the outside world, no matter how “social” your media is, you are only going to feel one thing — ALONE.

Before I had kids, I never appreciated how easy it was to go places.  Who knew it could be so hard to get shoes and coats on, bags packed, and car seats buckled?  With kids, you learn to give yourself a lot more time to get out of the house than you think you need, and it often still isn’t enough.  There are days where I just don’t have it in me.  But, a few times a week I force myself — whether I feel like it or not — to do the hard work of getting out of the house and surrounding myself with other people.  I might show up late, exhausted, and frazzled, but I still do the work to get to that playdate or mom’s group, because I NEED to.  And a few times a month I make a point to get some “grown-ups only” time when my kids are in bed.  It might be a date with my husband, or a book club meeting, or dinner with my sister, or an evening practicing worship music with friends at church.  Whatever it is, I always come away refreshed and energized.

Doing the work to create community has shown me how much we all truly need other people.  It can be so much easier to fall into routines of isolation, but God uses people in our lives to bring energy, inspiration, and encouragement.  Simply put, we need each other.

Lesson #3:  My energy and ability is limited.  God’s is infinite and sufficient.

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears
much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” 
– John 15:5

My years spent as a mom have brought lots of joy —  and lots of exhaustion.  Parenting really is a 24/7 job, and so much of your day is spent catering to the needs of tiny humans.  It is exhausting physically, mentally, and emotionally.  I never knew it was possible to be so tired, so often.

Don’t get me wrong.  There are occasional days when I’ve had good sleep, and the coffee is flowing, and I feel like supermom.  The kids are fed healthy food, and the house is clean, with time to spare for running errands and a playdate.  On those days it is easy to trick myself into thinking I’m self-sufficient and I’ve got this mom thing down.  But on the days of sheer exhaustion, when I feel thoroughly depleted, I can more clearly see how much I am lacking.  I can see that on my own, my best will never be enough.  My lack of patience, knowledge, skill, and wisdom mean that I can never be the perfect mom, no matter how hard I try.  I’m not sure how I could live with that knowledge, were it not for my trust that God truly IS the perfect father.  He is capable of filling in the gaps and giving my kids what they need.  And He is also capable of giving me what I need — and am lacking — to become a better mother than I am on my own.

Exhaustion, while a nuisance, is the path that has led me to rely more fully on God.  It is on those days when I am at my lowest and feel like I have nothing left to give that I’m forced to rely on God’s Spirit and ask for the fruit that He brings: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  All the things that I need in order to be an effective mother, no matter how much sleep I’ve had.

So, do I like my life at home?  Some days, yes.  Some days, not so much.  But do I NEED my life at home? Absolutely.

Meet Jessica Pelton

Jessica Pelton is a Kitsap county native who lives in Kingston, WA along with her husband Casey and two young daughters, Amelia and Lucy. She is a full-time stay-at-home mom and part-time freelance writer. In her rare moments of free time Jessica enjoys playing music and singing, or getting lost in a good book… usually while sitting next to a giant pile of unfolded laundry.

No Comments