Tim and I had a meeting to go to on Tuesday evening. It was mandatory meeting, we really had to go. I have to admit though, after a long day of home schooling, running the kids to extracurricular activities, and doing laundry it was really a treat to leave the children in the capable hands of our trusted babysitter and drive away-- just Tim and I. The ride offered a wonderful opportunity to talk without interruptions or little ears listening nearby. It was nice to arrive at our meeting and walk into a room full of other adults, no children in sight, and discuss grown up subjects among mature, intellectual people. When we got home we first saw the face of our oldest son pressed against the window awaiting our arrival and then spied the huge grin spreading across the baby’s face as she saw us walk through the door. The welcoming hugs, after only being gone for a few hours, made the evening out that much more enjoyable and, feeling renewed by my little break, it was comforting to be home again with my beloved children.
Wednesday night my home school group was having its monthly support meeting. I was one of the group members who had most encouraged the meetings citing the incredible need for regular support in home schooling. I missed September’s meeting because it was held on my daughter’s birthday. This month, I really wanted to attend. Unfortunately, Wednesday evenings Tim has his high school youth group meetings. If I really wanted to go to the meeting I would have to find a sitter to keep the kids for me. Friday night, Tim is taking his youth group on a Halloween hay ride and he asked me to go along as a chaperone. I went a few years ago and it was an opportunity to meet Tim’s “kids” and participate in the fun of the hay ride. I really want to go again this year. Again, it would mean leaving the kids with a sitter though. I looked at the calendar feeling torn. What should I do? Should I start calling around and find someone to watch my children so I could attend all the events I wanted to, after all I am with the kids all day long, don’t I deserve a break? Or, should I sacrifice a little fun out of the house for a few more hours of supervising the monotony of life at home? Though I knew what was right, it was not an easy decision. It can be tempting, at times, to continually delegate my parenting duties to others, but deep down I know that is not the best way to parent. I am needed at home. Last night I stayed with my children while my home schooling friends gathered together in support to discuss the month’s topic of prayer and to visit with each other for a few hours. Tomorrow as Tim sets off for a night of scary Halloween fun with his youth group I will again be at home, spending time with my children and probably folding laundry.
Sometimes caring for my children means I miss out on things out in the world. But, in the end, this really is right where I most want to be. If I have to make a sacrifice, and of course life is full of sacrifice, I would rather miss out on a few meetings or events than miss out on the joys and challenges of being with my children. I would rather be here with them, saying bedtime prayers around the coffee table and tucking them safely into their beds at night than anywhere else in the world. Being a stay at home mother is not always exciting, it is not always fun, it does not always feel rewarding but I really and truly would never want to do anything else. Babysitters are wonderful and I am grateful to have a few I really trust, but as I tell my children all the time, no one will ever love them like their mommy, and I have found, it is a lot easier to show them that when I am right here with them.