Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Blessings of "Not Working"

In the past few weeks, several people have made comments along the lines of "Jen doesn't work, so...." Every single time, DH became indignant and defensive. Every single time, I laughed.

Now, I don't want to start some sort of working-mom vs at-home-mom debate. We all do what is best for our families (or, what we need to do for our families, as the case may be). But the frequency of these comments this summer (after seven years of "not working") got DH and me talking about this topic in some depth.

I know that the people who made these comments don't, in any way, mean that I lay around all day, watching "Oprah" and eating bon-bons. (Though, maybe, judging from the ever-messy state of my house, they do think I do that). And I certainly don't need to list off all the things I do every day to keep our family running, to educate the kids, to keep the health department at bay. You all know what that list looks like (at least, most of it).

Which is why I laughed, why I was never insulted, never took the comments seriously. Besides, as I pointed out to DH (and keep reminding myself on a daily basis): it's not about me. I wasn't given the gift of this life to glorify myself; I am here to glorify God, and to do the work He's given me to do.

I don't need to justify the choices DH and I are making for our family. I don't need to show off my to-do list or enumerate our sacrifices. I just need to pause and be thankful. Because my life is so deeply blessed. Because we have such an abundance (even as we often have to "make do" until payday). Because I get to stay home. I get to homeschool. I get to be the one who sees the little lightbulbs go off, who hears Princess whoop with glee as she masters something new, who knows my children so well that I know when to push, when to step back, and when to change gears.

It's the beginning of another school year. It's a good time to pause and take stock. To count my blessings. To offer up praise and thanksgiving: for all that we have, for these three incredible children, for early readers and science books, for fresh playdough and fingerpaints, for spelling lists and poem-of-the-week and saint-of-the-day and co-op classes and chess club starting and for the most amazing thing of all... this life I live. This life of loving husband and active children and clutter and mess and never-ending laundry and friends so dear that they speak their minds and hearts, and ....


  1. I hope I was never one of the ones that made such a silly comment, though I don't doubt it is entirely possible. Thank God (literally) I know that you know how I feel about what you do!!!!


  2. sorry, I gotta add to that. GOD BLESS YOU FOR NOT TAKING THAT STUFF PERSONAL! j

  3. Jane, my dear, if you made a comment like that, know that I would simply laugh. Truly. There are no hard feelings about these comments... the plain fact is that I AM lucky to get to stay home with my kids, and what I've gotten from the exchanges this summer (and what I HOPED to express above) was the reminder that I AM ever so blessed, and I need to remember that.

    Besides, you know that I have no problem disagreeing with you. :)

  4. Me again.

    Actually, your post expressed very well that you did NOT take offense at such comments, AND, how much you appreciate how blessed your life truly is.

    But it was also a reminder that we (human beings in general, and me in particular) often are not truly mindful of the things we say.

    So I just had to put in my two cents (as usual) as an apology for all dumb things I have said or will ever say (can a person do that?) and to acknowledge the INCREDIBILITY of what you do, and admire that you have the spirit to Praise God for all the gifts he has given you (even the hard ones.)