Being a stay at home mom

I never dreamed how much I would enjoy watching my kids play

I always wanted kids.  Just not as quickly as some of the girls I was friends with in college and after graduation.  Being a mom was something I looked forward to.  But being a stay at home mom intimidated me.

I went through several years in this insecurity.   I remember taking care of my nephew when he was a few months old.  I loved the cuddle time, taking him on a walk, and laying on the floor among a sea of musical toys.  But it did not come naturally.  I remember thinking, “I could not do this all day.”  The morning and afternoon went by slow and I was looking forward to returning to the refuge of my office the next morning.

A few years later I was working at an after school care program in a Christian school.  There was this sweet little blonde headed girl whose hair was nearly white.  Her face lit up a room and I loved the days she was schedule to be in “after school care.”  One afternoon I arrived out on the playground rounding up my school kids.  She came racing toward me with excitement in her voice, “Mrs. T!  Mrs T!  Guess what?” she yelled.

“What?” I answered.

“I’m not coming to After School Care anymore!  My mom quit her job and decided to stay home with me!” she declared.

I was sad to see her go, but excited for the afternoons gained with her mom.  I did not have kids at the time, but that incident always stayed on my mind.

My oldest turned six in September

My oldest turned six in September

I have been a stay at home mom now for six years.  God has molded me into someone less selfish and more selfless.  Someone less prideful and more humble.  Someone less self-centered and more

My three munchkins

sacrificial.  Someone less restless and discontent and more peaceful.  God used all three of my children, my husband, and several mentors and mom friends on “my stay at home mom” journey.  I know not everyone can be a stay at home.  I realize it is not possible due to many different circumstances. For myself, I relish the new things I gained and not focus on what I left behind.

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Yes, you can have too many friends

The following was written by Jana Dykstra, regular contributor to Everyday Mom

Is Facebook for real?

Two weeks ago I was randomly checking out the happenings on Facebook one evening and saw that one of my friends changed her  life status from married to single.  This is a friend of mine that was married to a good friend of mine from school (Which would her slightly more than an acquaintance, I guess) and they live in my hometown.  Neither of the individuals in this couple were very active Facebook people-they rarely posted anything, but occasionally there would be vacation pictures or pictures of their children. We would see them every once in a while when we were visiting my family, but we didn’t keep in touch very often.

When I saw her change of status and the comments that were made below it, I knew this was not just a glitch in the system or a poor attempt at humor.  This was real–they were either getting a divorce or were officially divorced. A sad situation for sure.

One of my initial reactions to reading this change was “What? How did I not know this? How could this happen – they seem so good, so happy!?”

Really?
Really? Did I think those things? Absolutely I did! And how ridiculous am I?

I spent a lot of time thinking about this situation and my reaction to it. I mean, really, how would I have known that they were having issues? Or that they were not together? We don’t keep in touch. But it feels like we’re friends and it feels like we keep in touch – because we’re on Facebook.

So I started to think about Facebook and my use of it. And I became more and more
disgusted by the whole thing. I’ve joked in the last few weeks that Facebook is taking over the world – it seems that way to me. Nearly every webpage you visit has a button that you can click on to share the page with your Facebook friends. Facebook is not only a thing any more – its is also a verb. It is a rare thing when I meet someone who is not on Facebook… yes some people are more active than others, but in general, most people are on Facebook.

And then I started thinking about the conversation that would happen if I ran into
someone from high school or college that I was friends with on Facebook. The
“catching up” that would take place would involve a lot of “I saw on Facebook that…” And it made me sad. These are not true, authentic relationships. These are people that we somehow know… in fact, once I had a lady request my friendship because I sold her something off of eBay. Is that a friend? Is there a reason for this “friendship”? Yet, it feels like we have a relationship with them because we can keep up with the general happenings of their lives (the happenings they want their Facebook friends to know about, anyway).

I have always been a bit ruthless in my maintenance of my friend list. It all started when I realized that my Facebook friendship with someone made me very self-conscious. So I fired her. And I felt free. So I started firing a few more people. And then every time my list of friends was more than 200 I would fire people again – I simply can’t keep up with more than that. So I’ve always culled my list (and  oftentimes wanted to include a note to the person that said: Dear X, it was nice checking out your profile for 10 minutes, that’s really all that I wanted – or all you wanted. Have a good life!)

This time, however, I had certain parameters that a “friend” had to meet in order to be safe from my firing spree. Did this person fall into one of these categories:

  1. Family
  2. Close Friend
  3.  Involved with our family in some way – parents of my girls’ friends, piano
    teacher, babysitter, etc.
  4.  An employee or spouse of an employee at my husband’s firm
  5.  A co-worker of mine
  6.  Regularly interact with on Facebook already
  7.  Requested my friendship within the last 3 months (I can’t be THAT ruthless 🙂

If a person did not meet one of those parameters he/she was fired. I went from 220
friends to 154 friends (and there are still a few people who are on the fence). That is nearly 70 people who were not “real” friends of mine, but with whom I felt like I had some sort of relationship!

I’ve decided that I would like to use Facebook as a communication tool rather than a way to feel like I have a relationship with a person. Facebook is definitely an easy way to communicate with people rather than trying to collect their email addresses, but is it really necessary for me to be a peeping tom in the lives of people who I just met or knew at some point in my life? And do I really want to let those people be a peeping tom on my life? My conclusion was: No.

My challenge for you today is to look through your list of friends on Facebook and
think about why they are your friends. Are there some that you need to fire?

I’m a Mom and…I’m single

I'm a mom and...

It is 4:52 PM.  For my friend Jodi and Beth, the fact it is only eight minutes to 5 PM is insignificant. As for myself, I am trying to slice carrots for a chicken stir fry with chaos all around me anxiously waiting for 5:00 PM when Mr. Wonderful will rescue me.  But for my mom friends flying solo, 5:00 PM is just that—another hour in the marathon days of being a mom to toddlers and preschoolers.

My friend Jodi is a single mom to two girls. She faces everyday challenges that come in the form of balance.  “I literally go to bed some nights and am in disbelief that I actually have to do it all over again the following day.  Like some days I feel like I just ran a marathon.  And then right before I finally go to sleep someone tells me ‘Oh, yeah, by the way, you’re running another marathon again tomorrow.’”  Jodi shared how she could achieve balance by taking the “easy way out” such as allowing the TV to babysit her daughters or making frozen dinners every night for supper.  “But that is lowering my standards and I can’t,” Jodi explains.

For single moms like my friend Beth, it is rare to be without her two children except when she is working.  Beth adopted her children from Ethiopia. As moms we complain about feeling smothered or we plea for a break. Both Jodi and Beth work full time and rely on family members to watch their children.  Running errands and socializing with friends are all activities they do with their little ones in tow.

Beth and her two children

When we meet a single mom, how often does our mind revert to judgmental thoughts? Why is she single?  What mistakes did she make? When we look deeper we realize we all struggle with similar things.  Jodi shares, “I want them [my children] to learn from my mistakes.  My goal is to be better than my parents were.” Most of us want that regardless if we are single or married.

Have you ever referred to yourself as “a single” mom when your husband goes away on a business trip or takes a weekend away with the guys?  Jodi says this is one thing that bothers her the most. “And while I do not try to judge people when they say things like that, that doesn’t compare to what single mothers go through and do.  Hardly compares at all,” Jodi explains.

Beth mentions that while people are intrigued by her life as a single mom to Ethiopian children, she is not always sure that other moms know how to support her.   Beth draws much of her support from a single adoptive mom group and a summer Ethiopian Adoption Club.  So do not be offended if your single mom friend is not interested in going to your mom’s groups if they are dominated by married women.  She mayfeel uncomfortable or unable to draw support from such a group

The best way we can begin to understand it is by reaching outside of ourselves and stepping into their world. “It would mean the world to a single mom if you would take her child(ren) for a day/afternoon/couple hours, so she could have a break,” Beth
shares.  Remember that this might be the only “break” she gets in a week…or perhaps even longer.