When I decided to quit my job to stay home with my kids for a while, I felt like I was committing vocational suicide. My inner voice raged, "what have I done, and will that part of life ever come back?" To be completely honest, I had never really enjoyed babies before I had my own. I liked kids from 5 years on up, when they could communicate and hike without whining. When my friends would have babies, I would visit them, hold them, coo accordingly and then be very glad to return them to their parents. So when my husband and I found out we were pregnant for the first time, I was uncertain as to how I would be as a mom in general, let alone one who stays home with them full-time. Good thing there are 9 months to get used to the idea.
Fast forward to child number one. I adored him, and found that of all the little people in the world, he was one I could stand to be around and even change his diapers. Though, at this point in time I was not ready to give up my work just yet. Randy and I shared the care-taking, and it was not until (equally adored) child number two came along that I decided it made sense economically for me to stay home full time. Logically it made sense, but emotionally this was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. For me, it was a very humbling time where I had to let go of my own identity and give myself to these selfish, needy creatures God had entrusted to me. Good-bye adult conversation, good-bye time alone, good-bye my skill set as I had known it, hello house, hello mess, hello multi-tasking, hello mommy groups, hello play dates. Good God - what have I entered into?
I will tell you now, in hindsight, I entered into a deeper understanding of love. In Matthew 10:39 we are told, "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Christ also tells us in John 10:10, "I have come that you may have life and have it to the full." There is a sense of loss in motherhood. There is a relinquishment of your identity and control, which for me took some prying loose of my proverbial fingers. What I didn't realize was that in the process of self-surrender I would find new life, and new fullness. In the giving up of my whole self: passion, energy, sweat, creativity, tears, love and joy, I found a more true version of who I was made to be. This the the paradox of the stay at home mom.