Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Mom

Whoever thinks this job is fairly easy, is borderline crazy. Have you ever tried staying home with a baby to take care of? Not for an hour, but 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Without monetary compensation, no breaks and no leaves. Is there even a work like it? Well, I don’t think so.

When I was still single, I never thought of myself to be a career woman. I felt it wasn’t my calling and because I am close to my Mom, I wanted to raise my own child, just as she did. We did have helpers around, but my mom was the one personally taking care of me. Joey grew up the same way and I think that greatly influenced our decision to get to this point.

Even before marrying Joey, we have already agreed that I won’t be working afterwards. I’ll be that domesticated housewife who would prepare his meals, do the laundry, iron his clothes, clean the house, do the grocery, take care of our children, and so on and so forth. In my head, I was excited for most of it except for the ironing part – Joey is very particular about this that even though I knew how to iron, I had to unlearn it and relearn the way he wants it done. He was just used to it that way, and I was okay with it. All these things we chose to do were also in preparation for the time when I hopefully get pregnant. After all, our goal was that I’ll be the one to take care of our child. Anything else that concerned the household, he made me the one responsible for it.

During the early months, we didn’t hire a helper. I knew I could do it, so I did it all on my own. Even did the laundry by hand because I was used to it while I was growing up. I’m not a big fan of the washing machine, by the way, except for jeans and other hard to wash stuff. It was also a way to save myself from the headache of having a helper. You all know how hard it is nowadays to get a reliable and trustworthy person to work for you. At least, I’ll be able to do things exactly the way we want it. We saved a bit this way too, and we used that money to slowly buy our furnitures. When I got pregnant with Matilda though, we had to hire one already since I won’t be able to do all those things by myself anymore. And most importantly, to keep me company when Joey is out-of-town for work. Note that we were still in Davao then, as I mentioned in my other post.

So what is it actually like to be a Stay-at-Home Mom? I prepared a short list for you and here it goes:

1. It’s fun! You get to be with your child day and night.
2. You’ll be there to witness their every single milestone.
3. You won’t have to miss them.
4. Your child will get to know you and you will get to know them. You’ll build a different level of bond for each other.
5. You will personally build their character. During the formative years, this is very important.

The list seems alright, then why did I say in the first part that whoever thinks this job is fairly easy, is borderline crazy? Here goes the Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Mom:

1. When your child starts crying, it can be a bit tricky, and sometimes frustrating to make them stop. (If you’re a parent, you’ll understand.)
2. Putting them to sleep is sometimes easy, and sometimes really difficult.
3. You’ll have to wash their bum a lot of times – daily! Until they are big enough to do this themselves. (Unless your child has a nanny to do this for you).
4. When they start exploring like crawling or walking, it can be very exhausting.
5. When they get sick, you’ll definitely shed some tears – okay, a lot, really.
6. Wait! Your work doesn’t stop there! You still have a husband!

After God, your spouse should be your next priority. – Wait, what? Why does he even have to be a priority? Isn’t he old enough to take care of himself? Let’s see the right order of priorities according to the scripture:

1. God
• Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV)

God commanded that we seek Him first, above all things.

2. Spouse
• Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:22-25 NIV)

Husbands will rule over the wife and the wife must submit to the husband. – This has been God’s design after the fall of man. (Note the verses from Genesis below).

3. Children
• Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6 NASB)

As Parents, we were commanded to raise Godly children and since the husbands were instructed to work and provide for the family, (as seen on the following verses below) this duty will mainly fall under the hands of the wife.

These verses serve as a reminder to what my purpose in life is. I’m not only a mom but a wife too – and being a wife should be a priority. I must admit, I fail Joey sometimes in those areas that concern him. Matilda’s presence in our lives can be overwhelming that I tend to forget that her father has needs as well.

Marriage takes a lot of work for both husband and wife, and until you accept the fact that God created you for a specific purpose, you will often find yourselves tested with big challenges. Having a child will change your marriage drastically – it needs to be prayed for. It will change a mother’s body physically, her mind psychologically and her heart emotionally. It will surely change the daily routine you have established alone and together, it will somehow leave your social life cold and there will be times you will forget about your own self in taking care of the new addition to your family. Most of us (wives) sometimes do not notice all of these changes, but our husbands do. The only way for you to understand each other is through open and honest communication. If and when your husband feels neglected, make it up to him. Remind him of why you love him and back it up with acts of service. As I have said, in this area, I am a little guilty, but I really try my best to be the same person I was even before we had Matilda. I am thankful and really blessed that even though I forget about my responsibilities as a wife sometimes, Joey would patiently remind me and would be very understanding about it. What we also learned to do, to keep our own sanity amidst those trying times, is to turn to God’s word and constantly remind ourselves that God crafted marriage beautifully and that if you follow His design, you will be blessed abundantly.

Since this set up is quite uncommon nowadays, wherein most mothers usually work alongside their husbands, you might ask how we make it work. Is one income ever enough for a household? Of course, YES! Scripture tells us that husbands are to provide for the family.

• And to the man he said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:17-19 NLT)

• But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8 NASB)

To make it work, first of all, we choose to live a simple life – we have to, because we could never afford to live extravagantly with only one person in the house, working. So, we rarely eat out anymore unlike we used to when we were still dating. We don’t shop unless we NEED something and most of all, I am a breastfeeding and cloth diapering mom! How much we save on that alone must be dedicated to a separate blog post.

Going back, being a Stay at Home Mom works out for us because by God’s grace, we exert extra effort and strive to make it work. It isn’t easy, and we too struggle sometimes – mostly in our finances, but trusting God first and setting your priorities are key. Remember, the formative years will either make or break your child’s character. So setting an example at a young age will be substantial to the future of your child. This is why we chose this path. It might be difficult, but the end result will definitely be worth it.

Let me share my life verse:

• I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13 NIV)

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How about you? Are you a stay at home mom too? Or are you thinking of leaving work to personally take care of your child? Let’s talk about it!

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Leaving Home

The decision to finally get married right after I passed the board exams was easy. Joey and I got engaged on my 21st birthday. What?! Oh yes, at 21. You would all think that’s too young. Well yes, okay, I was. Joey on the other hand was 29, 8 years older than I was, and for him, it was the right time to get married.

I met Joey when I was a freshman in college. We had a common friend I knew from church, and he was the one who introduced us. Right in the beginning, we already had a serious relationship. We both believed that once you are dating someone, you ought to be thinking about marriage already. If not, what is the point in wasting your time and energy in that relationship? So, we built our dreams together, shared hopes for one another, and most of all, sought God’s approval for the fulfillment of His plans for us. To cut the story short, we were engaged for a year and we eventually got married August 25, 2011.

I was so clueless I didn't even realized he pulled the ring out!

I was so clueless I didn’t even realize he pulled the ring out!

It was just like yesterday. I still feel the happiness I felt when he proposed. :)

It was just like yesterday. I still feel the happiness I felt then, when he proposed. 🙂

As I’ve said, the decision to marry Joey was easy. He had all the qualities I prayed for… well except for the height, but that’s absolutely fine since nobody is perfect, right? Kidding aside, Joey did help me learn a lot of things when we were still dating, and that’s one of the main reasons why I fell in love with him. Falling in love was easy, although, the hard part was about to come. As much as I enjoyed his company, I wasn’t emotionally prepared to leave home.

Leaving home meant leaving my family, the comfort of my own home, the room I grew up in, and most of all the bathroom that I am used to having all to myself. (I heard a lot of horror stories about men not being able to keep the bathroom dry and I hate it! Really, really hate wet floors!). And the catch was, I had to leave town as well – I had to move to Davao to be with him.

Joey, at that time, was in charge of two major areas, Visayas and Mindanao. He traveled a lot and I knew that once I moved in with him, I’ll be left alone most weekdays, away from my family and friends, in a city foreign to me – if he needed to travel by plane. Those were the things that made it difficult but, I relied on God’s word through these verses:

1. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” (Ephesians 5:31 NIV)

2. The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18 NIV)

I held on to these verses as I left home to be with him. In the early weeks, it was so much fun exploring a new city, waking up to a husband beside you, household chores and all. It was like playing house. We felt invincible and eventually forgot to put God in the center of our relationship as husband and wife. Time passed and the romantic stage slowly turned into reality. The reality that life now is no longer about ME and everything I do must be under the authority of my husband as God commanded in these verses: Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. (Ephesians 5:22-24 NIV)

Our Civil Wedding was held in Davao.

Our Civil Wedding was held in Davao.

To submit is hard, really hard. I struggled and questioned a lot even though I know I shouldn’t. Due to this, small disagreements became problems and it affected our marriage. We realized this at some point and we felt convicted. (Actually, I, myself felt more guilty about this). We knew God was putting our marriage to a test and the only way we could fix it is to have Him at the center of our marriage, where He should have been all along. And as soon as we came back to Him, and set our priorities straight, God blessed us with a baby – our Matilda.

The pregnancy helped restore our marriage, our frustrations toward each others shortcomings turned into love and understanding. We felt so blessed there was no more room for bitterness, only forgiveness and acceptance. Sure, there were times we’d fight, we still do sometimes, but love will overcome it all.

We did a maternity shoot  when I was 8 months pregnant with Matilda.

We did a maternity shoot when I was 8 months pregnant with Matilda.

Joey, Matilda and I are happily back now in Manila since April 2013. We miss Davao everyday and we always hope to come back for a vacation. After all, Matilda was born there! A Davaoeña Baby, as our friends call her. Now that we are back, we realized a number of things why God brought us there in the first place. Here are some of the things we learned:

1. God had to take us out of our comfort zone to teach us to be independent, individually, and to depend on each other as a married couple.
2. He taught us the value of money, and that our happiness should not depend on it, but on Him, alone.
3. Marriage is about a husband and a wife – families and friends are excluded. Whatever you go through in your marriage should be dealt with privately.
4. Trust that God will provide, in everything. Don’t worry, because when you do, you sin against Him. No matter how hard life might be, especially with finances, always hold on to His promises through these verses:
•But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:33, 34 NIV)
•Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. (Joshua 21:45 NIV)

Our family life is not perfect, it will never be, but it is a work in progress. Challenges will surely come and go, but we know only one thing is certain, that we will stick with each other, with God’s grace, no matter what. Let me end with the Love Chapter from the Bible:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:4-10, 13 NIV)

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