Saturday, May 26, 2007

As a Mother

About 11 years and 3 kids ago, I quit working to pursue my dream of being a SAHM (stay at home mom) with my 4 & 2 yo sons. I'm still amazed that I was blessed with such a gift as this when it seemed financially impossible for so long. We had married young and while we both had decent jobs making really good money, we were more than a bit financially irresponsible (boy, I'm glad I don't struggle with this anymore! *blush*) and never thought we could make it on a single income.

Eventually, the call on my heart to be home with my boys grew so strong that I just couldn't ignore it any longer. Although on paper it seemed impossible to us, with a huge step of faith we let go of my job and I assumed the role of full time Mom. Two weeks later, we found out that I was pregnant again!

Now unfortunately, this was not to be like my other one-week-of-morning-sickness pregnancies. This pregnancy, which in hindsight was surely an indication of the strong personality and spirit of my middle boy, absolutely kicked my, well, you know. I spent long dark days in my pajamas in the living room, sick as all get out, while my boys worked their way through every video in the case. (I knew something was going to have to give when I lay with my 2 yo watching Jurassic Park.) Finally, after 4 months, I began to regain some sense of life again.

However, the pregnancy aside, one of the most difficult things I faced as a SAHM was what felt to me like a lack of productivity. I had no in basket, no meetings, no financial reports to complete, no books to balance... I had nothing at all to track my progress, nothing to make me feel productive. I spent a lot of time playing with the boys... but that was hardly something to check off a list. I did the usual chores... laundry, cooking, marketing, cleaning, etc. But they were unfulfilling for me... because they were never really "done".

This, btw, is what I'm sure I love about knitting so much... the productivity, having something to show for my time. Along the same lines, this is also probably why I hate frogging so much. To me it represents wasted time. I hate wasting time (even though I'm really quite good at it).

I started to feel some purpose again when we began our homeschooling adventure. I was going to teach another human being to read. While this totally freaked me out, it also was going to be productive in a tangible way... something I desperately needed. Being quite practical and analytical myself, I sat down with the young lad and a stack of flash cards quickly introducing him to A B & C. This was going to be great. Little did I know that I would spend that entire first year of homeschooling teaching this active little guy to recognize his letters... let alone read.

I've learned a lot since then... about myself, my kids, teaching, and the faithfulness of God. I've learned that knowledge doesn't have to be forced (just like potty training, they will get it... when they're ready), that patience is necessary when waiting for the results of most parenting and teaching efforts, and... most importantly... that time with a child is never wasted. This is the one that really grabs my heart because although I know it in my head, I do a very poor job of living it out. It is so often hard for me to turn away from a productive task to give a child my time. So I'm writing this to remind myself... and to encourage others who struggle in the same way.

I call knitting, "my sanity" (although it can send to the brink of insanity as well) because it gives me a way to produce... to get the tangible results from labor which I so much desire. (And with a little more patience in the process, I may even produce more items that fit properly.)

So now I struggle to keep balance... to allow that time I need each day to turn yarn into sweaters and socks... a pastime that could easily take over my life (and some might argue it has) because, quite honestly, it can be much more (momentarily) fulfilling than the daily home life routine. But to remember, to always remember, that the results in the lives of my children from my time spent with them will be a far greater payoff one day than a sweater I knit 10 years ago that has long since been out of style.

PS... It's quite possible that the real lesson here is to knit more socks since I don't think they go out of style. But since I'm not sure about that, I'm gonna try to keep the kid thing in mind too. :)

Thank you Donna for always encouraging me... and for reminding me to "encourage one another".


Charity said...

This was lovely, Tammy, a beautiful reminder to really look and appreciate what's right in front of us. Yeah, and to knit, too. I find the same satisfaction and value in my own FOs. :0)

Donna Boucher said...

This is such a great post.
I enjoy learning more about you.
I think you are now a manager.
And in the working world that is a job with some waiting and long range thinking.
You manage your boys beautifully!
You coach them.
You mentor them.

Five boys who will grow into fathers and leaders and lovers and producers.

That is a big job!
The most important in the world.

And look at those adoring faces in the last picture!
You have their hearts, Tammy!

And their laundry :o)

I wish I could meet them.
They look like great boys!
Katie would LOVE to play with them!

Sarah said...

How beautiful! It can be so hard to be home without a paid job but it sounds like you've found the perfect balance with your boys.

knitknerd said...

Great perspective - thanks for the encouraging words.

The_Add_Knitter said...

Knitting is my sanity, too!