Tuesday, February 10, 2015

it's ok to want more... kids

Have I ever mentioned that I am the 5th of 8 kids? Well I am, and as a true middle child I get fairly insecure pretty fast and have a hard time not measuring myself against what others are doing. For this reason it's been especially difficult as a stay-at-home mother, with no other job, part- or full-time, to tell people that this is all I do. The fact is that nowadays, it seems really weird to tell someone that you stay at home with your children as your full time job and do nothing on the side. I feel like up until now I have always admitted it with a sort of air that indicated I would rather be doing something else, or will be pursuing something else once the kids are in school or independent to the point where I could also work on the side.

But I have a confession to make:

This is all I want to do, and as long as we can make ends meet with me not working any job other than caring for the kids, my husband, and home, this is all I want to do and all I am going to ever do.

Does this make me lazy or unmotivated? Are Mike and kids brainwashing me and suppressing all of my other, more important and vital desires? No and NO! During manageable seasons of life I really try to limit screen-time, and with homeschooling, having all 4 at home all the time is a far cry from the bonbon-eating, soap-opera-watching image of a lazy, unmotivated house wife. Yes, I have hobbies on the side, and that is super important, but those hobbies don't make me any money and I have no intention of turning them into money-makers. I've had a couple--literally, like 2--people tell me that I should sell in an etsy shop the stuff that I sew, and while I am totally flattered that they think my sewing would be buyer-worthy (I've really fooled them), I have to admit that I have absolutely no desire to do so. I have one full time job, which encompasses my husband, home, and children, and anything else would only be a distraction for me from this job.


Maybe I'm wrong-- and I really might be-- but it feels like it is way more socially acceptable, in all circles, to be a woman with other goals, desires, and hopes than just those centering around the home. In this day and age, having children seems like the thing you for this small window of time and then you move on to more important things, the things you had a desire for the entire time you were having kids, but couldn't do.

But what if this--this having kids and being a housewife thing--is the only thing I have a desire for and the only thing I want to do with my pre-menopause life? What if, for these years, I don't want more of anything except children?

Well, the conclusion that I've come to is that that is totally ok, even good, and that I shouldn't feel shame about it, and neither should you if this applies to you. Maybe we're not beyond the point where mothers who work outside the home feel at least a little insecure about it, but that situation seems much more the norm than moms who stay-at-home and do nothing else. And from my experience, it's something the working moms feel proud of. And they should! I can't imagine juggling all my home tasks and another job of any kind. A lot of moms that I know stay at home but have other work on the side that they do as well, and that is wonderful and amazing and impressive. They are helping to provide for their families because they need to--some of them would rather not be doing those other jobs, others of them need it for their sanity and are fulfilling good, God-given desires, and again that is good.

I know that I vent about the difficulties here on the blog, and they're real, but I am so grateful for so many undeserved blessings: the husband and children I've been given, the opportunity to spend so much time with them, the gift of my fertility, and the peace I feel with my life in the home (when I'm not feeling like I'm about to lose my mind).

I pray that I have many, many years left of being able to bear children, to continue to grow my family, and to raise kids who will hopefully give glory to God and one day be with Him in heaven. I do have a desire for more--more of the most difficult and grueling job I have ever had: I want more kids. I pray that it is God's will for our family to continue to grow. Otherwise, I may just find myself out of a job ;)


40 comments :

  1. So awesome. I want to like this a thousand times. Beautiful. And you're a great mom, clearly.

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  2. I love this! and that picture is so wonderful.

    Before we had a carful (#5 is baking) and I was trying to help my husband understand why I might want an undetermined number of kids, I told him it was like getting a promotion. Gotta keep developing those skills and putting them to new use. I guess that means I should have mastered having 4 kids, though, so maybe not such a good metaphor ;)

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  3. This makes me want to cry, but mostly just smile. Good on you for putting it to paper, so to speak.

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  4. Agreed! :) I'd say raising and educating eternal souls is a pretty important job description! And we strive for 100% success rate, so yep, that's quite the productivity standards! :)

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  5. This is soooo reassuring to hear, Ana! Thanks so much for this!!!

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  6. I love this post (and that last picture is just beautiful!).

    The first part struck me so much, because for the last four years I've been running an etsy shop and have just begun to pull back now that my husband is done with school and working more, because it took so many hours away that I wanted to devote to my family. And while I tried not to admit it, even to myself, sewing for deadlines to sell things made sewing so much less fun and enjoyable. Something that I loved as a hobby definitely wasn't as wonderful when I added pressure and getting things in the mail within a certain time frame to the list.

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  7. I'm the mother of nine children - 24 to 12. I fully agreed with what you've said. It's the best job in the world. I have a good relationship with all my kids, we have our ups and downs but they all talk to me when they need advise.

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  8. This is beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

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  9. I love this. My husband and I were discussing this at dinner tonight. Mostly, my desire is that all women are able to do what fulfills them - working full time, stay at home mom full time, or a mix of the two - and not feel judged or pressured from any other side. Heck, let's not forget stay at home dads. Now I'm a full time at-home mama and I love it. Really and truly. But I'd love to go back and finish my degree and get a job in something I also love. It's a strong personal goal of mine that I'd love to see fulfilled some time. And maybe I work on it while at home, maybe it's something that won't get accomplished until my kid (and future kids) are well-settled in school. I'm in no rush and I'm not dissatisfied with my current occupation! I hope your family continues to grow and that you're able to stay in your favorite job. :D Job satisfaction for everyone, no matter what that may be!

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  10. I was up for an obscene amount of time last night 'worrying' about this (three cheers for early-pregnancy insomnia and weird mental spaces!). Thanks for helping me to reaffirm my commitment to family and home - THIS is the work God has called me to.

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  11. Ah love this! Literally days after my sister and I opened our etsy shop we both found out we were pregnant with our 5th! Needless to say etsy shop closed. But so much more peace! Sometimes it really does feel like everyone else does something on the side, and that's great for them, but it's nice to hear others feel the same as I do. Absolutely adorable picture.

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  12. This is what I want to show people when I am having a terrible go and complaining my face off (often lately), and their response is, "Why don't you go to work instead?"

    Well, because I don't want to. Like, ever. I like being home. I just need to complain right now, okay??

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    1. Oh my gosh, YES! Yes, yes, yes. I don't think people realize how mentally straining this job can be sometimes. But, worth it? YES!

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  13. Awesome post and something that really needed to be said.. I must admit you are my inspiration in this area!

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  14. The funny thing is that as a working mom many people question me as to why I don't stay home. For our family its not an option right now (I'm the one with benefits), but it is something that I feel incredibly guilty about ALL the time. After my son was born I actually had a lactaction consultant chastise me for planning to go back to work only 6 weeks later (I didn't have a choice for many reasons). I left the appointment in tears. We all need to stop questioning the decisions others make and instead be supportive. Mothering is hard, no matter how you do it!

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  15. This is absolutely beautiful Anna!! I feel the exact same way! I cannot imagine my life any other way. Thanks for putting it so eloquently!

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  16. And, I added an extra "n" - so sorry!

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  17. So beautifully written, Ana! Thank you for being so eloquent. I've been thinking about this a lot lately - I am a professional who has been cutting back more and more with my work schedule. I'm down to working two days a week, and stay home with my 3 kids the other days. And I really, really love staying home. Financially, I need to keep working at least some. But I would quit in a heartbeat to be home full time. I actually do love my job, and feel I am doing work that really helps people. But it's nothing - nothing - compared to raising my beautiful souls. Everybody at work assumes I am so eager to "get out of the house" and have some "adult conversation". They are shocked to hear I actually love staying home. Admitting to that is *not* what a professional "should" do. But there is great peace in honesty - and honestly, I have no desire to continue to be a professional. I want to be a wife and mom. And that's it. I could walk away from my advanced degree and job without blinking. That's the power of this beautiful vocation called motherhood.

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  18. Yes, yes, and yes!! This is perfect. I feel the same :) I had a hard time with this when I first left my career, but now I know that there is nothing else I'd rather do. Thank you for writing this so beautifully!

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  19. Great post, Ana! And yes, I totally agree. When my kids were younger, that was my primary focus and I had no desire for anything outside the home. Now, one is grown, one in college, one in high school and two left at home, homeschooling. So at this point, I do have some small work projects that I do for people on a case-by-case basis for extra income, because we can use it with all the college and high school expenses. However, even with that, I still view my primary vocation as my kids, my husband, and my family, and were those small projects to interfere in that, both my husband and I would agree that those should go.

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  20. This is great. I live in a big city where most moms work and those that don't must be some sort of real housewives of whatever... I am at home with my kiddos, but would love to go back to work some day. But I am very at peace with my decision to be home now, at peace until I have to answer the dreaded question: "Do you work?" Your confidence is awesome and you should reread this post whenever you are having a bad day! :)

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  21. Fantastic post! I completely agree. This - at home with 4 kids and 5th on the way - is exactly where I want to be at this point in my life. My attitude has always been that I have plenty of time to have job outside the home later....I can physically only have kids for so long. Someday when my fertility wanes I hope to feel like I lived out this season to its fullest and that I am ready to move on to the next phase.

    I do have a friend who works full-time and she has experienced tremendous guilt for that even while recognizing that she is happy at her job and that she'd likely not enjoy being a SAHM. I think it's good for us to have each other. She reminds me of all the things I do for the family and household by being home and I'm able to remind her of the wonderful example she is providing for her kids and how much she truly does every single day.

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  22. Thank you for writing this! I have found that a lot of women seem to understand (especially mothers who either have worked or have stayed home.) But, just the other day when I saw an old neighbor and we caught up with each other, after hearing that I was a SAHM he said that I would eventually find something that I was interested in. It wasn't meant to be disrespectful but it was definitely surprising! I want a bunch of kids too and plan to be a SAHM as long as I can! It is truly the toughest but most rewarding job out there!

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  23. I really do think moms SHOULD be home with their kids - as long as husband can financially provide and moms want to be home, and women shouldn't be afraid to admit that!! I'm so happy for you that you get to do exactly what you want :)

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  24. So good!! I am reading this at age 36, pregnant with my fifth. Everyone keeps saying, "But THIS will be your last... Right?" (Including my sister-in-law, yesterday). And I want to just say, "I don't know! I'm fine with more! In fact, I'd love it! In fact... Even if I can't have more, I want to adopt!" Som yeah, I'm right there with you! Preach, sister!

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  25. Great post! I know this is totally not what your post is about but it really describes how I feel in relation to my fertility problems. Everyone says, "Just be grateful for the child you do have." But what is wrong with just wanting more? I always just wanted to stay home with a houseful of children and I feel like I'm constantly chastised for wanting more instead of just being satisfied with one. Or being told things like l, "Maybe (my recurrent miscarriages) are a sign that you are meant to do other things with your life. You can easily work or do other things with only one child." Yeah...but I have no desire to do something else! I am meant to stay home with my children, even if I only have one!

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  26. I loved this post, Ana! Thank you! My parents struggle with me choosing to be home with our boys and really struggle with our decision to homeschool. They often ask when I will return to my career. It's a tough question to get asked repeatedly. I know they do it out of sincere concern because it's just not something they are used to seeing and kind of see sahm as a setback. It's sad but I pray for them. I pray that they'll see the fruits and that their hearts will soften to the goodness that we've been blessed with.

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  27. Please write more of this to the world. Totally needed to read this :) thank you!

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  28. This is awesome! Thank you for making the importance of staying at home (if we can) so clear and reminding us stay at home moms to not feel guilty that we aren't doing "enough" because we stay at home. It's definitely the toughest job I've ever had!

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  29. I love this, Ana! Lately, I've been wanting nothing other than this. It is so distracting to have a couple part-time jobs away from home. It is okay to want to stay home with your kids and not have any side jobs/projects/businesses. I feel so validated right now!

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  30. Great post. I will turn 45 next week and my full time job for the last almost 20 years has been a wife and (homeschooling) mom. I have babysat a little in times where we've needed extra money and I do a tiny bit of tutoring right now, but I'm still busy and fulfilled full time at home and still not ready to get a different job yet and my youngest is 12. Good for you... keep up the good work!

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  31. Already apparent by the many previous comments, just wanted to pipe up and say you're not alone. I'm at the very beginning of my "stay at home" phase and haven't been this happy in a really really long time. It's what I spent every day up to now going to "work" for! It was all in preparation to be able to walk away from working outside the home to do the work I've always wanted most. Baby joins us next month and the dream is coming true. Thanks for saying what you've said. I'm grateful to be in your profession. :)

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  32. Amen, amen, amen. This has totally been on my mind lately. There seem to be a lot of very motivated, hungry Entrepreneur women out there. They are AMAZING but that's not me. I'm so blessed to get to stay home mom to my 1 year old. It's what I've always wanted, better (and harder) than I ever imagined but it's my work, given to me by God and it's all I want.

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  33. Ugh, YES. Motherhood is my favorite, favorite job. It took awhile to get me to that place, but now I fully embrace it. Ironically, now I feel God is calling me also toward writing and I do have a 1-hour/ day work-from-home job (but if the world had their say I should be working a LOT more, and working outside the home, and send the children to school and daycare). But every morning I remind myself that I will not strike out on a career path that is not integratable with family. The children's young years are limited and they are the priority. PRESENCE in raising my children ought to be my biggest legacy. Not just my presence, but God's, of course.

    I just found your blog, by the way, and am really loving it!

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