Some days, all I see is failure. The kids are fighting, with me and with each other. I need to vacuum and mop, because the baby is crawling all over the dirty floor all day, and her onesie is smudged grey on the front from her tummy dragging across the grime. I lose my temper with the children, repeatedly, while I try to make dinner, which nobody will eat anyway. Every time I turn around there is another diaper to be changed, including directly after I tell my oldest that I will finally sit down to read her a story. Oops, I’m sorry, just five more minutes, sweetheart. Really. Why am I doing this?
You really shouldn’t be doing this. You’re obviously not very good at it. You’re unhappy, the kids are unhappy, and you bet your husband will be unhappy to come home after a long day of work to three cranky kids and an unhappy wife and a messy house. You’re a failure.
Other days it’s all sunshine. The chores are done, at least to a decent degree. I take a leisurely stroll through the zoo with my kiddos, and then after a healthy lunch together on the back porch, they all take naps and I take one too. We visit with friends in the afternoon, and then come home and read stories until Dada gets home. I cuddle with the toddler and enjoy a glass of wine while I read. Life is so good. This is why I’m a stay at home mom, right?
Right, because you’re lazy. Of course you’d rather take walks and naps and visit your friends and drink wine, rather than work like a real adult. You don’t want to have a real job because you are frivolous.
This has the enemy written all over it, doesn’t it? Attacking me when I’m happy and when I’m unhappy. Constantly telling me I shouldn’t be doing what I’m doing. If he is working so hard to tell me I shouldn’t be doing this … shouldn’t that tell me something? Like, this is exactly what I should be doing?
The truth, on my “failure” days, is that I am not a failure. The truth is that any job has bad days. The truth is that my kids are fighting because kids fight sometimes and the house is dirty because three kids under five are really messy and also it’s not actually all that dirty, and I’ve only lost my temper because I am a human being. And also, tomorrow will probably be better.
The truth, on my “frivolous” days, is that I am actually still working really hard. I am still changing two children’s diapers, and nursing the baby, and making breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, and cleaning up after all of those, and packing the diaper bag for outings, and strapping three children into carseats, and heading off fights before they erupt. The truth is, childcare is an actual job, and I am actually pretty good at it. I can only enjoy it this much because I have worked hard to get this good at it.
The truth is, staying at home is difficult, and it is rewarding, and it is molding me in ways that no other job could. It is helping me become the woman God has called me to be, so of course the enemy will continue to lie to me about it. I will not listen to him, and I will not beat myself up. I am not a failure, and I am not frivolous; I am simply a mom, doing the best I can.