When folks ask me what I do for work, I always tell them in the same sequence…
“I’m a stay at home mom”… (pause and observe facial expression)… “And I’m a soap-maker.”
And I always seem to get the same response. Bored sounding “Oh” inserted in the long pause. Then face lights up, with a more excited and inquisitive “Oh” following the part about making soap.
I’ve observed this time after time. I’ve felt despondent over the response, time after time. It finally occurred to me that I ought to say what’s on my mind the next time I get that response (so if you think of asking me that question, be prepared that you may get this potentially probing and pointed response).
What I want to say, and plan on saying the next time is this: “What in the world would make you think that making soap is more significant than making great human-beings? I mean, seriously, why would anyone think so lowly of the sacrifice of motherhood that making money is the only thing that validates me? Honestly, my soap business would have expanded a lot more by now, if I wasn’t so intentionally keeping it small enough that raising my kids could have my priority and devotion.”
I know not all of the readers of this blog feel this way, so please don’t take my venting as directed at you… but this really bothers me about our culture. One of my biggest pet peeves, right alongside people complaining about their families, is the low view that we, culturally speaking, have of parenting. Oh, and prenuptial agreements. That’s another pet peeve. Why even get married if you are already preparing for your divorce? But that’s another rant.
And on the topic of the significance of motherhood, when did we, as a society, begin believing the lie that dads aren’t just as important as moms? Don’t we realize that our prisons are almost entirely full of folks that grew up without dads (I think it’s something like 85%)? Don’t we see how much dysfunction is usually caused simply by the vacancy of dads?
I guess, now that all my frustrations are vented, I’m just sad.
Please don’t believe, if you are a stay at home mom, that you are any less of a contributor to our society. Please feel empowered, because your job is awesome and generations to come will be blessed by your sacrifice. I know it’s hard. Some days are harder than others, like when they’re toddlers and they just seem to be tag-teaming you as to who gets to disobey at that moment, or on days when you have to go to the grocery store with toddlers that outnumber you and want everything in sight. “Look with your eyes, not with your hands” was my motto for about 6 straight years.
But the benefit of intentional, sacrificial parenting, cannot be overstated. “Her children rise up and bless her. Her husband, also, and he praises her saying: ‘Many daughters have done nobly but you excel them all.’ Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands and let her works praise her in the gates.” (Prov. 31:28-31).
If you are one of those that has looked at me or someone else with a disdainful look when we’ve told you what our greatest occupation is, please remember this next time, and thank that woman. She is making tremendous sacrifices emotionally, physically, mentally and financially (and so is her husband), to make sure that the world is a better place when she turns her kids loose to change it.