This by far was one of the best weekends we have had as a family. Even in our time of reflection of those who have served and lost their lives for the freedom we are able to enjoy is a blessing in itself. The weeks have been difficult with the increasing traffic and the majority of my day being consumed in travel…not to mention the actual hours I need to work then devote the rest to family and ministry. Around Thursday afternoon, I pretty much couldn’t take another day of two hours to get home and literally missing everything but bedtime so I took Friday off to start our weekend off right. It was worth every moment. Aside from the dreaded traffic that has become Northern Virginia, I had an interesting conversation with my sister a few days before.
I’m incredibly close to my sister Stephanie, we probably talk at least three times a day and usually one of those is Face Time or something that involves video chatting. We are about five years a part and I’ve always admired her, though we don’t always see eye-to-eye (but who doesn’t argue with their sister?). Stephanie is the mother of those three beautiful boys in the above photo whom Kai absolutely adores and the feeling is beyond mutual (can you tell). My nephews are night and day from one another and I am continuously amazed at the little men they are becoming. Each of them are so unique and comfortable in their own skin, I love that they encourage and teach Kai to be the same. About five years ago, after a difficult decision Stephanie went to stay at home after my second oldest nephew was almost two years old. Transitioning from full-time work to working full-time in her home was quite the adjustment, which I know many women can relate to… and this was one of those really tough days.
So as I was driving home I was listening to Stephanie vent about feeling overwhelmed and frustrated and just overall “done” with staying home, because you just don’t get a break. Though I stayed quiet, I couldn’t help but think to myself what great things have come out of even her worst days of feeling discouraged by this time in her life. I look at my nephews and see such an indescribable gift that they cherish in having her home with them. So of course I did what any good sister would do and told her to pull it together…well in not so many harsh words, but you get the point. After mulling this over in my mind of wanting to tell her so much of what she has done, I figured I would just write it down (because I’m better at expressing myself that way). So here it is to you Stephanie and to you stay at home mom. I hope you read this and re-read it on those days you feel discouraged and completely done.
I’m pretty sure this wasn’t your best day and the next person who asks you for another snack may just end up being sold on the corner of the street (yes it’s still illegal, so don’t do it)…but even today is still the best day of their lives. You’re here, and 99% of the time that’s all that really matters. Whether you see it or not, this was the best and worst decision of your life. Because at this moment you’ve accepted that it’s not about you anymore. No more going to the bathroom in peace or sleeping in late type of luxury friend… Motherhood sucks like that sometimes, but I know you were made for it. You were made for the crayon drawings on the wall, someone getting into the sharpies, the 100th time of stepping on legos, or finding the toilet jammed with them. These moments are so fleeting that every second of them count. Sure some moments involve yelling or repeating yourself until you’re blue in the face, but you’re shaping character and personalities that will one day change this world…so not all is lost!
Each good and seemingly bad moment helps them grow and you. Who you are today is most certainly not the same woman you were a year or two ago. I promise when you look into the mirror a much more beautiful version of yourself is staring back. A much more sleep deprived version, but nonetheless beautiful. You maybe wearing your husband’s t-shirt or sweats, but that heart of yours is now clothed in endurance, love, humility, and is far larger than your chest cavity can contain… and those hands of yours may be stained with wiping tears from days like today, but they carry the hearts of your children and their hands as you guide them daily.
This time is not lost mom as you stay at home… not by any means. You’re gaining back time every day; time that makes an impact far beyond your years. This time is well spent. So spend it mistakes and all, because they need you. Even other moms like myself who have split their time for a season need women just like you. You give hope, you give strength, and you give guidance whether it’s said or not. So please give your baby an extra hug for someone who can’t and share how patience is lived and experienced as you watch the best years of their lives unfold. This time is so precious, thank you for staying and living it out with them.