Being not only a stay-at-home parent, but a homeschooling parent as well, I spend LOTS of time with my children. My brood consists of only 3 children and yet I swear I can’t even think one whole complete sentence all day!
I know that being a stay-at-home parent is right for me. I remember being a teenager and knowing that what I wanted to do was get married, have children, and stay home to raise them. This act is simply a part of me. The homeschooling part came after our first child was in first grade and we were unhappy with her school experience. Even though I didn’t see the homeschooling coming, I know in my bones it is right for us. Our children are meant to be home with me.
Now you’re asking yourself, “Why is she telling us this?” I have to say all that to precursor the every day angst of it all! The toy clutter covering the floors, the millionth time I have to tell my son to put the toilet seat down, the dirty dishes stacking up in the sink and on the counter from having all meals at home with 4 us (not to mention the crumbs everywhere), the endless noise from chatter, arguing, playing or just plain random noise (my younger two seem to constantly be creating some sort of noise), and of course, none of this includes the daily grind of being their teacher!
Some days it can be tough to see the good, the happy, the it’s-worth-all-this in the every day ups and downs. Back in March of 2010 I was reflecting on this and came to the realization that there isn’t necessarily a big moment of “pay off” so to speak. Raising children is a long process, one which deserves our time and effort, but doesn’t always feel so rewarding. Thus I proposed a simpler, smaller way of seeing (feeling) the reward, the “pay off” in this task of raising our children.
We need to see, and celebrate, the little things. The moment when the noisy, antsy child stops to thank someone for “putting up” with him. The moment when your oldest child puts her thought, time, and effort into creating something for her siblings purely for their enjoyment. The moment when your children are debating amongst themselves who is going to sleep in who’s room over the next couple of nights, because each one wants to be with or have the other with them for a night! Or how about the moment last week that spurred me to write this post.
In the midst of a hectic schedule and our oldest having friends over, my five-year-old disappeared into the bathroom. When she popped herself back out, she had a piece of paper hidden behind her back and wouldn’t let me see it. She went rushing into our bedroom, and I moved on to whatever busy task was taking my attention at that moment.
After a short time she appeared and started dragging me into the bedroom to see her surprise. I walked into to find a scrap piece of paper she had written “Ava loves Mommy” on. She said the scribble on top was to make sure the pen was working, “but it looks like an arrow pointing to the words, so it’s ok.” Then she proceeded to look up and tell me, “Mommy, you can write ‘Mommy loves Ava’ under mine.”
Those are the moments you have to search for and hold on to. I urge all of you, in the busyness of your day, to look for the Little Things that make each of your children special, and that make all the stress, worry, and work of it all, worth it!