Friday, 26 September 2008


Some women are blessed with the gift of being 'stay at home mothers'. They have the choice of staying at home, have been given the Divine token of patience, and have chosen to be at home with their little ones.

It's usually when I consider these women, and the women who want to stay home but can't financially afford it, that I begin to feel a little inadequate in my mothering. I could stay home. There is no "rule" that says I have to go into the office, I could fulfill the majority of my 'requirements' from the computer at home. Though I have learned that the days I do stay home with the boys, it is nearly, strike that, it is impossible for me to get anything done beyond playing with the boys and making sure they don't destroy themselves or our belongings. Throw in the time it requires to change diapers, wipe noses, make snacks, and you've got a full day. (I'm very sure there are some women reading this and saying "And, your point is??")

The boys have been in day care all week this week, and I have been feeling a mixture of relief and guilt over the whole situation. They are struggling a bit with the language/culture issue. (Jonas won't respond to the Spanish pronounciation of his name. And Bram tells me every day "I don't speak Spanish.") I feel guilty for putting them in a place where only one girl speaks a few phrases in English. But I feel relieved in the sense that I have a chance to get involved in the daily operations of the church.

I have felt like a more patient mommy and a more attentive mommy this week. But I continue to rationalize the guilt: They only go from 8:30 to 1:30 (typical Spanish work hours), so they're not even in there the whole day. Bram needs to learn Spanish in order to start school next year. Jonas has been cutting teeth so that's why he's been cranky with the day care ladies....etc, etc, etc.

I don't presume that I'm the only one capable of taking care of my boys during the day. And I think it's good for them to be around other children, something of which there is not a lot of in our church (yet). I know that this transition phase for them shall pass, and they'll probably grow to love it, but it's still hard not to feel like a terrible parent when you leave a crying 2 year old behind in the care of another....


Jeff and Valerie Carr said...

From Dads point of view... it has been hard, the crying good byes tear me apart emotionally, however; the boys get to play (& socialize) with other kids, Bram is actually in school (which starts at 3 in the Spanish system), & Mom gets sanity, which is great for me.

Chatty Kelly said...

I agree with your hubby. My littlest (age 4) is in preschool 3 days a week. I LOVE IT. By the end of the summer this year I was so overwhelmed by being with my kids 100% of the time. Having "me" time gives me a chance to renew myself so I can be a BETTER mommy for my kids.

I'm going to post separately something I received today in a "mom newsletter" that I think might help you.

Chatty Kelly said...

Here is the newsletter by Rebecca Ingram Powell, at

Take Time for You, Mom

Every flight includes an explanation of emergency procedures, in which flight attendants instruct parents to put on their own oxygen masks first, before tending to their children's needs. This advice appears to be somewhat selfish. But the reality is that if you, the parent, put the oxygen mask on your child first, you risk passing out from lack of oxygen. You would be rendered helpless with a frightened child by your side. However, if you put the mask on yourself first, you are enabled to not only help your child, but also other people. By doing this for yourself first, you are, in effect, putting others first. Make sense?

This same rationale applies when it comes to us mothers taking time for ourselves. Time seems to be in short supply when it comes to a mother's life. Yet if we don't steal away for a few moments to ourselves, we may wind up passing out! Focus on three areas of your life when you take time for yourself.

Spiritually. Spending time in prayer and Bible study is essential in parenting. Carve out time for what really matters--time with the Lord! Even if you just have five minutes to spend with the Lord, do it! Give that little bit of time to Him and watch how He will multiply it.

Physically. Are you eating right? Are you exercising? Taking time for yourself means you care enough about your family to see to your own physical needs. When was the last time you went to your obstetrician for a yearly exam? Your family is counting on you. Also, allowing time for proper grooming each day helps you feel good about yourself. Those good feelings will transfer in the way you relate to your family.

Mentally. What can you do to stimulate your creative juices and intellectual capabilities? Is there a hobby you've forsaken lately? A Bible study you've always wanted to take? Something you've always wanted to learn to do? Your children need to see Mom doing something besides taking care of them. It will inspire them to pursue their own goals.

Parenting depletes us of our time, energy, and strength. Taking time for yourself enables you to refill your mothering tank. Where do you go to refuel? It takes more than a good night's rest to adequately energize a busy mom. You need time for a hobby, a good read, or a long walk. You need time to communicate with God. You need time to sort out your responsibilities and your relationships. It is not selfish to take time for yourself. It is an absolute necessity in order to continue being the mother you need to be for your children.

This is important! Take time for you!

marcie said...

All moms have moments of guilt, stay-at-home or not. And I think it can be exasperated when you are an officer...we can stay home, but we are called, but we had kids and are called to that, too...But what is best for your kids? What is best for your family? You are a good mom, and you know what's best for Jonas and Bram. Some good advice I heard's great to leave your kids on a regular basis, because it teaches them that people leave, and then they come back. Praying for you....miss you, Valeria.

Edie said...

As moms we always second guess ourselves. If you are confident that you are leaving your kids in loving and capable hands then this is probably good for them. Bram may not speak Spanish now but soon enough he will be and that will be a benefit he would not get by staying home.

I like what Marci said. When you leave them you are teaching them you will come back and so instilling confidence in them. From what I've read it sounds like you're making good decisions.

My ADHD Me said...

There probably isn't anything I can say that hasn't been said here.I do think that some time away, whether you are working or relaxing, makes you actually a better mom. And you are right, except for those few exceptional women, working at home with 2 toddlers is just about impossible.
It really IS better for the boys too. That's easy for me to say now with a 12 year old and a 17 year old but I remember those first few days of preschool when I had to leave them for the first time. I was a basket case....was?

Sue J. said...

I was fortunate to visit my sister who was living in London with her working husband and not yet 2-year-old son--they remind me of you in a general sense of raising kids in a different country. Anyhow, I left my two behind with my husband for the 3 days I was gone. I never cried so hard on the drive to the airport! Could they all learn to get along for that long!?!

Well, of course, they did very well, and I got to see London, AND I learned to juggle! I honestly think that being away from the kids and in an environment in which I could completely focus on something totally new was what made it possible. The best part is, I can still do it! Even with the kids here!!!

It is not easy, Valerie. I don't think letting go of your kids at any time is really easy. Sometimes, it's more for our benefit than it is for theirs. And that's OK!

Keep reaching out to moms and sharing your stories. As you can see, we can all relate on some level.