Dishwasher to empty. Laundry to fold. Floor to sweep. Dishes to wash. Toilets to scrub. Laundry to wash.
This list runs like a teleprompter in my head. Being at home with my boys means, well… we’re home and thus the house gets dirtier faster. In between wrangling my toddlers, I seem to always be cleaning. I’m in a bible study with a group of other toddler moms and we were discussing how easy it is to become depressed by the situation. Usually these tasks are just done and our family doesn’t notice that someone is doing them. Being applauded and appreciated every minute of the day isn’t a common theme associated with staying home with the kids.
I listened to my friends encourage one another while addressing the dull and dreary of stay-at-home mom life and as the conversation lulled, I piped up, “I know that there are times when I am frustrated by the monotony of chores, but I don’t think I’ve ever been at a point where I thought I wasn’t supposed to be doing what I’m doing now.”
I continued, bouncing sweet Zeke on my knee, “I think once you have to rely on someone else to raise your kids completely, to run your household, you are always thankful for the time that you have with them.”
Pausing, I tried to word my thoughts. How could I explain to these women, without coming off as self-righteous, what it was like to completely miss Bubba’s 18 month to two year stage? When I deployed, he was 17-months-old, a little younger than Zeke’s age now. I relied on my little sister and a nanny to raise him during the day and my husband to handle everything in between.
I tried to explain, “I’m transitioning Zeke to one nap right now and you’d think I’d be all over it since Bubba was transitioned at this age. But I didn’t do that job, my little sister, the one in college without kids? She did it. I’ve been calling her asking her exactly what she did so that I can repeat it with Zeke. I never want to have to have someone explain to me the stages of my child again and that’s why I don’t think I will ever regret helping them through their stages now.”
I stopped as my friends continued to talk and discuss. It wasn’t until I was driving home that afternoon, I realized why I’d always be thankful with my current job. It was a hard reality to call my sister for advice or completely depend on others to raise my kids, but lots of moms call for advice and employ caretakers. I think the kicker for me was that when I deployed there was that chance that I would never come back. When I left I knew that not returning was a possibility.
As I write this post, my dishes need washed and my laundry needs folded, but I know that I came home safe three years ago to be just the woman strong enough to do those chores. They may not earn me any medals, but being here for my family, getting that chance to provide for them, that’s joy enough for me.
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