Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Moses and the Stay at Home Mom - Part 1

When I was a kid in school, sometime around 6th grade they started this program called "I'm Okay, You're Okay". And yes, it was as hokey as it sounded. It was all about the importance of self-esteem. My parents were less than thrilled, yet it was hard to put a finger on exactly what was wrong with the program when all we did was go on field trips and do 'team work' exercises and sit around talking about how we felt.

Now we have books about how detrimental the "self-esteem" movement has been on our society. As one author, Jill Rigby, so aptly put it in her book, Raising Respectful Children in a Disrespectful World, "We replaced Self-Respect with Self-Esteem".

What's the difference? According to Abraham J. Heschel, "Self-Respect is the fruit of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself."

In today's world, our generation has traded self-respect for the fleeting impostor of self-esteem and seems oblivious to the way this effects their feelings of contentment and well-being. Instead of a sense of self that reflects their place in God's family or even their carrying out of responsibilities and how they conduct themselves in the world and within their significant relationships, they base it on the praise of others or worse yet, their level of popularity.

And why not? We PAY the people who win the popularity contests. We pay them millions of dollars to entertain us with their popularity.

So where, in this world of popularity contests and screaming for recognition and attention, does the stay at home mom fit?

It's like a square peg in a round hole, let me tell you.

There is no paycheck at the end of the week. No overtime accrued. No bonus at the end of the year for what you've contributed to the company. No medals awarded for going "above and beyond".

There is no boss to give quarterly reviews, raises, or awards in front of a clapping audience of colleagues.

The moments that strike you as measurable progress in your job are so few and far between it's nearly impossible NOT to get discouraged at times.

Instead, there is monotony. And for most, that quickly turns to drudgery.

The dishes that must be done, and done again, and again, and again. The same goes for the endless laundry, the toilets that get amazingly dirty in incredibly short amounts of time. There is breakfast, lunch, and dinner EVERY day of the week.

There are no vacations. EVER.

There is no one to say, "Good Job!" When you don't run screaming from the room when you child smears poop all over the walls.

There is just... this deafening silence in the place of all that praise, recognition, and feedback you've learned to expect.

So very many women can't handle the silence. I can't blame them. If it weren't for an incredibly supportive spouse that is as committed to my job here at home as I am, I'd be crazy by now.

It is so very lonely. Much more lonely than I every imagined such a busy life could be.

I'm always looking for ways to learn, grow, content myself with where I am now, but always remember that it is fleeting, these days here with the monotony. My kids will be taking care of themselves before I know it, gone will be the baby days, the cutting up of the food, and the round-and-around struggles with potty training.

They'll need me in a totally different way, and will I be ready for that? Probably no more ready for that stage than I was for this - but I have to try!

And how does this relate at all to Moses?


Rachel said...

Well put Lisa. I never knew how lonely stay at motherhood could be either. Do you have any friends to do things with? Or are they all long distance ones? said...

wow this is very deep :-) Very nice blog too!


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