Bring Your Best to Mothering

“I looked on childrearing not only as a work of love and duty but as a profession that was fully interesting and challenging as any honourable profession in the world and one that demanded the best that I could bring to it.”
– Rose Kennedy

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I haven’t always felt like Rose Kennedy. Early on I assumed it was my role, my duty, as a strong woman, to pursue a career. But by the time I got engaged, my heart had changed a lot. But God wasn’t finished yet…

When we became pregnant for the first time, it was both of our heart’s desires to have me home with our child full-time. Financially, that wasn’t possible. So I spoke to my boss, and they were willing to employ me half-time, working two 10-hr days each week. We found a daycare that would take Anja 1 1/2 days per week, and Husband kept her home with him one morning each week and worked four full days and one half-day. It was a wonderful arrangement that we kept until Anja was just over two. At that time my photography business had experienced a very successful first full year, my income was matching that of my half-time job, and so I quit three months shy of Markus’s birth.

So even though I was home with my kids, I was also working a LOT of hours in mid-spring through late fall, shooting on weekends, editing every night after we put the kids to bed. I got a lot of time with the littles, but virtually NO time with my husband. That took its toll on our marriage.

Fast forward three years, and Husband received several promotions and raises. Because I’m too stubborn (stupid?) to pare down my own schedule, God began to take away, bit by bit, some of my photography obligations. I no longer worked in the commercial sector, and I no longer felt I had to accept every engaged couple if they weren’t a good fit.

God also gave me a husband who has vastly different “down time” needs from me, and that has helped me keep more of a balance in my life. I would work non-stop until I burnt out and only then evaluate what was truly something I should be doing. See a need–fill it! was my modus operandi.

Today I am a full-time mom, home educator, and very part-time photographer. I still help out at our co-op, at church, and have many outside-the-home duties, but I am feeling more comfortable each day with saying “no” to things that will take time away from my family or be detrimental to my marriage. I definitely find mothering fulfilling, interesting, and certainly challenging, but I still struggle with the feeling that I’m not “doing my part” financially for our family. I have been wrestling with that bit for a couple years now, and I think it will just take continued prayer and trust that God really does want me here, that He really does have a plan for me even if I’m not raking in the dough, and that plan just might include spending more time with Him, more time with my kids, and more time NOT running frantically from activity to duty to event.

Every mom wants to do their best (or should want to, anyway!). We each have different scenarios…some work full-time, some work part-time, some stay home…and God has different things in store for each and every one of us. But let’s do our best to mother, in His grace, and see the joy and challenge and honor in it.

Thankful Tree 2015

We just taped the last leaves on our Thankful Tree last night. While I keep a gratitude journal year-round, it is so fun to incorporate the whole family in this yearly tradition! Here is what we are thankful for as of November 2015:

Husband:

  • “That I’m not sick”
  • Our parenting Sunday School class
  • Heat
  • My phone
  • Markus
  • That Anja likes to read so much
  • My wife
  • That it’s been warm this fall
  • Going to the raptor show with the family
  • The pleasant weather
  • Reading with the kids

Me:

  • Blob maps
  • Nice neighbors
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds
  • Anja’s dance studio and watching her dance
  • Jesus’ death for my sins
  • Sunday School discussion
  • Reading to the kids in the playhouse
  • Valley Natural Foods
  • The kids’ love for music
  • God’s creativity in designing nature
  • Cat videos
  • Catching up with a friend
  • The kids’ creativity
  • L. M. Montgomery
  • Markus’s cheeks
  • Smoothies
  • The sound of chirping birds in the back yard…blue jays and robins!
  • Time spent with friends
  • Time at the zoo with Husband
  • Rabbit ears (as in an antenna so I can watch the Vikings)
  • Seriphos
  • The Vikings
  • Cough drops
  • Cute kittens
  • Traditions
  • MPR
  • Gorgeous weather for November
  • Amazon Prime…shop from home!

Anja:

  • Dad and Markus
  • Operation Christmas Child
  • Duplos
  • Doodle Dolls
  • Nature
  • American Girl Mystery Books
  • Jesus
  • Going to a fun craft show and picking out cute mice
  • “The Sound of Music”
  • MOM!
  • Snow
  • Vibrant leaves, beautiful day, good weather
  • “Homeward Bound”
  • Pizza Ranch
  • Teddy Roosevelt, because he saved nature (LOL!)
  • Setting up Christmas decorations
  • Food
  • Pretty mornings because they’re one of the beautifulest things in nature I’ve ever seen
  • Birds and other animals
  • Family and friends
  • Jesus’ love, mercy, and grace
  • Watching movies
  • Books
  • Fun times with Grandpa and Grandma
  • Dad’s work

Markus:

  • Thanksgiving
  • Pizza
  • Bike riding
  • Beautiful fall
  • Mazes
  • Special time with Daddy
  • Our house
  • T.V.
  • Snakes
  • Church and Jesus
  • Townhouse crackers and soup
  • Babies
  • Winter
  • Watching videos
  • Grandpa and Grandma
  • Thanksgiving (again)
  • Birthday
  • Small Group
  • Reading in the playhouse
  • Brownies
  • Good Times Park
  • The Zoo
  • Christmas
  • A home
  • Coloring in Avengers
  • My family
  • Cat videos
  • Duplo Avengers
  • The book “A Bear’s Year”
  • Lego sets
  • Christmas (again)

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