A few years ago about the time I decided to stay home with my kids I was sitting on my couch chatting with a family member. My husband came up in conversation and she said, "You are very lucky to have him. He's a good man." I readily agreed and quipped, "I'd like to think he's pretty lucky, too." Without missing a beat, she asked, "What do you contribute? What do you do?" Needless to say, I was crushed. (Goes back to my love language.) This also came at a time in my life when I was struggling to define myself. Was I working mom? Was I a stay at home Mom? How can I be SuperMom? What did I do well? Did I do anything well? Was I burden on my husband since we no longer had my income? What did I contribute?
I struggled with these questions for months and years. Every now and again, it bothers me that I don't contribute financially to our family. But then I look at my three children and realize that sacrificing my income to be there full-time with my babies was the best thing I could have done for our family. My kids are well-adjusted, polite, intelligent people who will contribute their time and talent to society when the time comes.
It's been about two years since that conversation and let me tell you what I contribute to my family:
- 3 healthy children
- nourishment through breastfeeding. Yeah that's right. My babies were nourished solely by me the first 6 months of their lives.
- teachings/lessons: I teach love, kindness, obedience, how to have a relationship with our Savior, how to be a good wife, mother, and daughter. I am the first example of how to act that my children see and I want it to be a good one.
- How to laugh at oneself. We're not perfect and if we can learn from our mistakes and move on, the better.
- How to forgive.
- How to love.
- A balancing act. I keep us humming along between work schedules, play dates, doctor's appointments, school schedules, vacations, and extracurriculars.
- gifts from the heart. While I don't have money to buy fancy presents, I've learned to make things (such as my afghans) and give them as gifts. My children treasure the blankets I've made for each one of them.
- time. I can't make time stand still, but I sure can do as much as I can with the time I do have. These kids just grow up way too fast and they'll be gone and on their own before I know it.
- friendship. While I'm still the parent and they are my kids, I also want to develop a friendship. I want my kids to share their hopes, dreams, and future plans. I also want to be my husband's best friend and greatest support.
- How to be a friend. Friends extend outside the family. In order to have friends you need to be a friend. It's a give and take. I wouldn't be where I am now without the love and support of some very good friends.
- All of me. My role right now, in this moment, is to serve my family. I pray that I have the grace to do it and to do it well.
- A healthy environment so that my children are well adjusted, stable, secure, and self-confident.
It's quite the list. It's not necessarily all-inclusive. I'm sure there's more. But that's it in a nutshell. I have also decided that I will not allow someone else to define me. I will not let anyone make me feel "less than" because I am not a financial contributor to the family income. I chose this role and I'm proud of it. Cheers!Now may the God of peace---who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood--may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. (Hebrews 13:20-21)