I had to share a funny story that another homeschooling mama shared with me. Her husband has to attend two or three hoity-toity Washington DC business networking/political functions each year. She used to loathe these until she started playing a game. She gets dressed to the nines, finds the person in the room who most likes to hear himself talk, and corners him for an hour while expressing deep enthusiasm for his work and accomplishments. Finally, the talker gets around to asking her what her line of work is, thinking he's making a hot business connection. "I'm a housewife and homeschooling mama," is her enthusiastic reply. Polite excuses and mumbling as the person realizes that they've just wasted an hour networking with a HOUSEWIFE. :)
I got a big kick out of this. She is proud and confident that the work she does as a mother (and teacher of her children) MATTERS. It matters a lot. The entire world depends on it, actually, IMHO. I find it shocking how utterly devalued this line of work, this absolutely sacred duty, has become and how parents are deemed less and less necessary. (And if I have to start paying for other people's mandatory full-day kindergarten and preschool because other parents prefer to work and demand state-funded daycare, you'll really hear me start to grumble.) People are actually *embarrassed* to say they are "just" at home with their children. What greater duty can there be? And how did we get all topsy-turvy mixed up about this???
Yes, I was an honors student. Yes, I could have done anything with my life that I desired. Yes, I'm glad I studied music. Yes, I'm glad that I had those years of teaching. But any of my accomplishments utterly pale compared to raising my four children. I have no greater value then I do as a wife and mother, though all of my hundreds of former music students were definitely a nice placeholder until I had children of my own. I adored teaching. But so did I adore serving pastries at the pâtisserie I worked in during high school and college. And so did I love the eight years I worked in resource development at a science museum. It was all good. But being a mama is mind-blowingly fantastic.
And for those who think being at home with your children is a waste of a good brain, I can only quote RP - "You're lazy!" (Thanks, RP!) An intellectual life can be found wherever you are, especially if you are living a traditional frum Jewish lifestyle. There is absolutely no end to intellectual opportunities. And if you're a homeschooling mama in addition, all of those intellectual opportunities just about dodecatuple!
At the pediatrician's office last week the nurse commented on how well-behaved the children were and asked if I was a stay-at-home mom. I said that I was and she said, "You're so lucky." I replied that it was not luck. She looked surprised. It's not luck, I repeated. It's deciding what is most important and making all of your life decisions to that end. Yes, we eat a lot of beans. No we can't eat out or buy plane tickets. Our vacations are in a tent (which we love!). Our house is medium-sized, and our next one might be smaller. Maybe we'll retire to a one-bedroom apartment. But does any of that really matter? Nope. Not compared to the shining eyes of my children, every one of them tanked up on love, hugs, attention, a big love for Hashem, and a life full of gratitude for all that we have.
Most of all, I am grateful for having found DH. Without him, none of this would be here. I often shudder to think what life without him would have been like, and I'm grateful EVERY MINUTE OF THE DAY that Hashem brought us together.
With that, good night!