When the kids are little it is obvious they need you. They need us to look up from our phones, computers, laundry, bill paying and be present. At that age, you are their whole world.
However, I usually was exhausted and felt unappreciated. So I looked for things to fill the void. It is much, much easier to choose other things. It can be easier to be at work. Or at sports. Or at a PTA meeting or a Bible study. It's nice to have people appreciate your efforts. It's great to not feel like a maid. And a chef. And a peacemaker. And a chauffeur.
It's much more fun to go out with a friend. Or go shopping. Or workout or take a class. There are a million things that can be more fun that being home with my family.
It is not a glamorous choice. People might wonder what is wrong with you. A friend of mine opted out of participating in a women's bible study this year so she could spend more time at home. There are people that could not recognize the valor in the decision to choose home.
Now that I work part-time and all my kids are in school, things are different in some ways. But it is still a struggle to choose home.
I love being at home. But at the same time, being home is hard. It's messy. It's loud. It's stinky. Everyone wants food. And clean clothes. Everyone leaves their stuff laying around. So even though I long for home, home is not always an easy choice. It is not glamorous. No one really cares about the things I do to make home, well... Home.
Choosing home is creating an environment. I want our home to be a desirable place to be. It's nice if it's clean and there are meals. We are renting a house that has a really small kitchen right now. It makes cooking and eating our meals together difficult. But I'm still trying because it's important to me that we all sit around the table together and eat good food. I want to welcome people into our home. I want to be kind of organized so we can find things. In order to do that, I have to choose to spend time working at it. Laundry, cleaning, meal planning and grocery shopping.
If those things don't happen, I get really crabby. It doesn't contribute to the warm homey life I want to live. When I get too busy and let all those other things take up my time the house suffers. You can see it. The more I choose home, the more home is put together. And everyone is happier.
Choosing home is just plain being around. Don't let the lure of what's out there deter you from doing the most important work: being there. When they've had a rough day or a good day. When they're happy or sad. When they are lonely. When they are buried in homework and stressed. When they won the game or when they lost. Even the most independent kid or stand offish teenager still needs their mom. They may not admit it, but they do.
My kids seem to decide to pour their hearts out at the strangest times and I want to be there. After school. Late at night. In the car. You can't be part of their lives if you aren't there.
Sometimes it seems ridiculous because they don't seem to care. They are in their rooms. On their phones. And I wonder why I am even wasting my time. But then all of a sudden when I am folding laundry it happens. They open up or break down.
It's hard to find the balance. I don't want to be uninvolved in other areas, but my main priority right now has to be home. We've been parenting for 17 years. We have 10 more years with kids in the house. Grant is 1 1/2 years from graduating with Jenna and Abby following quickly behind. The older I get, the more I realize I must choose home. And I want to.
There is certainly rooms for dates, workouts, classes and volunteerism. I don't plan on becoming too big of a hermit, but home is my first priority.
Choosing home is courageous. It isn't easy. It might be messy and stinky. But it's still the most important place to be.