Sunday, August 05, 2007

Maximizing my potential

I've been "writing" this blog in my head for a couple weeks now. We'll see if it can end up on the screen as well as it sounded in my head. Over the past month or so people have said things to me that have been almost offensive. I know that none of them who spoke these words meant them with malicious intent but it got me to thinking about things.

I am a Stay-at-Home Mom (SAHM). I am proud of that title although it can give people the wrong impression of who I am. Most "SAHMs" rarely sit "at home" all day, at least I don't. But recently people have been questioning me about what I am going to do with myself now that my kids are all in school full-time. Some have said to me "oh you're not maximizing your full potential". My potential as what? Am I not still a worthwhile human being if I'm not catering to each of my child's needs for 24 hours a day. Just because my kids are not home for 6 hours a day, now I need to rush out and be and do for someone else?

This really bothered me. I CHOOSE to stay at home with my children. I CHOOSE to be here when they get home from school. I like my life. So why is it that so many people think that women who stay at home are not maximizing their potentional? Ironically enough, a few weeks ago I was asked to give a talk at my church about something along these lines. It was based on a talk out of our Church magazine and it talked about families and it mentioned that little girls are now talking about these wonderful careers they want to have when they grow up, it's almost like they are forced to have these big dreams because if they state that they want to be a wife and a mother then they are told they are not maximizing their potential. It was the same week after I gave that talk that different people said the same thing to me.

Now let me say that I used to be one of those little girls. For as long as I can remember all I ever wanted to be was a Soldier. It's what I became the summer before my senior year in high school. I loved putting on that uniform and everything it stood for. Soon I became a wife and a mother. At one point I was a Soldier, Wife, Mother and College Student. Was that maximizing my potential? Was I more of a person then because I had on 4 different hats?

Calling home to the states and talking to my 3 year old son on the phone while stationed in Korea, he begged me to run across the ocean and go home to him. At that moment, I realized it was time to hang up one of those was time to go be a mother to my kids. It was a hard transition, I will admit that I was a TERRIBLE mother. I had never spent more then 24 hours alone with my own children, I had no clue where to start. Six months after getting out of the Army, my 4 year old son told me to go back in because I was a better Soldier then I was a mom. Boy did those words hurt, even now reflecting back on that day, tears still fill my eyes. But he was right, I was a bad mom. I decided then that I was going to be a better mom. Now, I'm not going to win any mother of the year awards but I will say this...there has been no better "job" then being a mom.

I missed out on the milestones of both of my older boys because of the Army. I made that choice and I have no regrets. However, I will not miss out on anymore. I have made the choice to be a mother to my kids. I want to maximize my potential as their mommy. I want to be the one who kisses their hurt feelings away. I want to be the one who hears the jokes that make no sense. I want to pick up my 6 year old from school and smile at him and hear about the amazing things he learned at school. I want to be the overemotional mom who stands on the corner as her son gets on that Middle School bus and heads off on a new journey. I want to be the mom who lays in a hospital bed with her 9 year old son playing Nintendo for hours on end without worry of getting fired from a job or having to ask permission to attend to my family.

I know there are many women out there who work outside the home and that is great. For me, I am a SAHM, it's a title I wear with pride. For those who say that I'm "just" a SAHM, well I ask you to trade with me for one day...wake up 3 boys from sleep...cuddle with each one and feel the warmth on their cheeks and admire their sleepy smiles. Fix a breakfast but make sure you cut the banana just like he likes it and like only mom can. Don't forget to make the yummy special juice that only mom can make taste "oh so delicious". Go grocery shopping and referee the argument over who can push the cart or who can put the grapes in the bag. Make dinner with three boys underfoot arguing about helping or who's turn it is to set the table. Watch movies and listen to their nonstop giggles over the silliness of the characters on their fave show...the show I know the name of and the characters and the theme song to. Start the fight over bedtime and giggle as you hear them cross the hallway knowing they are not where they are supposed to be even though they insist they are and hear their not so quiet whispers of "how does she know we aren't in bed.". Trade me for a, don't...I don't want to miss a day of those small blessings.

No everyday is not bliss, there is anger, impatience, tears and frustration but more so there is love, laughter and memories you can't erase.

I may not be maximizing my potentional in the eyes of the world...but I am maximizing my potentional in the eyes of my children and THAT my what truly matters!

My Children who will never truly be lost with Mommy by their side!


Bringhurst Family said...

I remember one of my last college classes our teacher had us all stand up and announce our career plans. Every single one had these huge plans like PHD, United nations, CEO. Then little six month pregnant me stands up and say I plan on being a mother to my children. No Ews and ahs just kind of Okay whatever.

Just J&M (sad without our B) said...

I think anyone that has to question other peoples' decisions is really insecure in their own lives, and you shouldn't pay them any attention! Every family is different and has different needs, and you made the decision that is best for your family. I respect you for that, and I think you are a wonderful mom!

Becca said...

Thank you for this blog. You'd be surprised how many comments I hear even in Mormon County, lol

Barton 6 said...

I went searching for this after your comment on my blog. First off I may need to send Kaleb to you because we can not figure out Heely's. Off topic. AMEN SISTER!!!!!! The day I finally realized "hey! I am happy doing this! I dont want to go back to work!" was the best day of my life. I hope I can raise my little girls to know a career is great but being a career Mama is ok too! I am grateful my husband has always been supportive of me either way. Even though he thought he was getting a sugar mama when he married me!