by Liz Beller
As a new stay-at-home mom, I’ve been going through a lot of adjusting. Since when did staying at home all day leave me with less time than I had before?
One little person requires more attention and energy than I ever thought possible! Getting dressed for the day is a challenge, let alone going to daily Mass…
I wonder why it is that I feel so much less productive than I did at my 9-5 job. When Hubby gets home and asks how my day was, it just sounds so silly to say, “Fed the baby, changed the baby and held the baby… Oh, and we are having frozen pizza for dinner.” (And I get a major slice of humble pie for dessert.) I mean, it is somewhat humbling to feel non-productive. It’s the same feeling I get when someone asks me, “What, you mean you’re at home all day? But what do you do?”
Not Doing it Alone
What do I do? As I look at my two month old son, Micah Anthony, I realize God is asking something very important of me. He has entrusted me with a tiny soul, expecting me to return it to Him in as pristine condition as on the day of Micah’s Baptism. That thought can be daunting. I have to constantly remind myself that I can’t, and I’m not, doing it alone. Without the daily grace of the sacrament of Matrimony, there is no way I could survive another day. And I can only try to do my best.
I’m definitely still in the learning process. I learned a brand-new lesson at Sunday Mass last week. Rushing back to my husband from the cry room to get a burp cloth, Micah spat up all over the elderly gentleman at the end of the pew. Wow, was that humiliating! The problem was, I didn’t even realize what had happened until we were back in our seats, and he was wiping it off. By that time it was a little late to apologize.
While trying to avoid eye contact for the rest of the Mass, I realized, “So begins self-abnegation. There will be plenty of these opportunities for the next twenty years or so.” (Next time, we’re sitting at the end of the pew, ushers or no ushers!)
Needless to say, it was comforting to hear from some other moms of big families that experiences like this are normal occurrences, and not strictly the fault of my bad parenting. According to them, things like this are “a great way to meet new people” which I don’t know if I quite agree with, but then again I’m not sure. If the gentleman hadn’t left right away after Mass, I might have had a chance to find out. Either way, God certainly provides plenty of opportunities to again practice humility!
Never Been Busier!
Day to day life with the baby is giving me lots of time for thinking about the tasks that lie ahead! Besides giving him the fundamentals for life, my husband and I will need to equip him with the tools to be a light in the world. Do I even have those tools myself? I’m realizing that I need to daily mortify myself before I can begin to teach these concepts to our son. I need to work at my own faults and bad habits before I can form good habits in our child. We need to watch everything we say and do, because now there is a little one who will soon be imitating us in everything. What a humbling realization this is! There is so much work to do. No wonder I’ve never felt busier!
I’m sure some things will get easier. I’ll be back to getting up at a reasonable hour (when the baby finally can sleep through the night), and we’ll settle into a schedule. However, in other ways, my work load will only grow. I need to remind myself that at the end of the day, even if I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted, God is in control. I need to continue to hand over the controls to Him, and be content with going along for the ride. But it’s definitely worth buying the ticket for!
There is nothing in the world more precious than a newborn baby, and caring for that child is the most wonderful and challenging thing I have ever done.
So next time someone stops to ask me what I’m doing with my life, I’ve got the answer. It might not be the one they are looking for, but at least I’ll be confident in my response. I’ll tell them, “Why, I’m raising a future saint for the Kingdom of Heaven. It’s actually a full-time job, and I love it.”