5 Things I Hate About Being a Stay-at-home Mom!

I have a love/hate relationship with being a stay-at-home mom and I am not ashamed to say it! Don’t get me wrong! I love love love….love my family and a fully own my decision to invest the biggest chunk of my time as a woman, into creating a beautiful, restful and life-giving space called HOME. But let’s be honest, far too often, MOST of my days at home are very far from beautiful and restful. They are more like draining, noisy and imperfect.

Being a stay-at-home mom has brought up more insecurities than any other aspect of my life. On top of all this, I am one of those “crazy” ones who willingly add homeschooling to their already loaded stack of juggling hats. Really?

Why is this stay-at-home gig such an AMAZING and ANNOYING reality all at the same time? Why do I feel on one hand, so blessed to be raising the leaders of tomorrow, but on the other feel stuck and stretched behind the four walls of laundry, meals, conflict mediation, debriefing the hurt child, folding more laundry, homeschooling, and the endless interruptions and questions, and DEMANDS from EVERYBODY…….?! Aaaah that feels better, just had to get that off my chest!

Here are my current 5 reasons, why being a stay-at-home moms sucks big time!

  1. The stay-at-home mom receives zero compensation or raises for all her hard work. I seriously think that if I was paid a hefty income for my labour of love at home, I would feel so much better. That immediate acknowledge that I am doing something important is so missing in this equation. I need to talk to my husband about this.
  2. The stay-at-home mom is always disturbed when she trying to have alone time or write a blog (LIKE WHAT HAPPENED JUST NOW!). You have to jump through so many hoops to have a me-space. Someone should start a “Mommy Me-Space” service that acts as your own personal assistant. It sends fancy formal notifications to your entire family letting them know the blocks of time you ARE NOT AVAILABLE.
  3. Most woman-of-the-year awards are not given to stay-at-home moms because we don’t exactly fit the mold of the successful woman, who can have it all. The career, the husband, the kids, the Marie Kondo home and still sexy as ever with her gym-chiseled body and kick-ass go-getter personality. I mean there is no masters degree to be acquired before taking up our position as “domestic practitioner” and no platform really celebrates the efforts from our sometimes very hidden lives. Can we start getting awards at the end of a long difficult year please?
  4. African stay-at-home mom especially amongst educated middle-class African communities are viewed as either lazy or very rich…but mostly lazy. Too lazy to work or too spoiled to work. I have heard it all. Most African families place a high value for their girls getting an education. And the best marriage partner that everyone is looking for is the professional with a high earning potential. The two become a team to be reckoned with so that their kids can have a better life and attend fab schools paid for by two working parents. Most of the time my decision to stay-at-home is not celebrated as a display of intelligent thinking, but a mere curiosity at best. The last time I met a fellow Ghanaian who homeschools as well, we became instant friends because we could relate to the lonely path that being a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom can feel like.
  5. Stay-at-home moms stare so long into the eyes of their children everyday and are with them all the time that honestly the comfort of our constant and familiar presence with our kids can easily breed contempt. You know the disregard for your sense of being and existence and the disrespect that can easily creep in. Eish! The constant setting of boundaries and gentle dismantling of the idea that our lives revolves around our kids . I totally hate this feeling and it is my prayer that although I fully embrace and celebrate my decision to be a stay-at-home mom, I hope that my daughter especially will not look down on me for it.

Did you see the picture I pinned at the beginning of this blog post? If you didn’t, go back and take a look at the serenity that I am exuding in that picture and the stillness that seems to wrap itself around me. That picture is a wonderful example of the calm before the storm for the stay-at-home mom. Because right after that wonderful photoshoot of our “perfect family” I was right back into the unglamorous life of feeding, and cleaning for the arrival of quests to our home and mediating yet another squabble between the kids about who gets to do what.

Right now, it’s late. I have been writing this blog for a while and I know that although my kids are now fast asleep, my husband is waiting upstairs for me …..:)

I will be waiting for my award in the mail…….!


His Presence At Bloomingdale Court

To be known and loved, is to be full. To be full is to be content.

I am sitting here in my bed on a snowy day. I feel cocooned and wrapped in tight like a baby swaddled in a blanket. I feel a sense of joy, the deep quiet kind of joy that cannot be tagged with a particular event, moment, or selfie, but rather the kind that has a steady flow like a still brook gathering its waters into a mighty waterfall. I am learning to let go and receive the love of my Heavenly Father, and I am soaking it all in. This has been my journey since we arrived here on Valentine’s Day, three years ago.

Sometimes God takes us away to far away places, away from the familiar, away from comfort and away from the safety and security of people we are known by and submerges us into the unknown, just so He can show up all by Himself and win us all over again back to Himself, back to the place where we find contentment with only Him. Three years of living in the US, has been three years of just that.

”Come Away with me, my beautiful one”.

All the memories we are making here, all the people we are meeting, all the experiences and perspectives we are being enriched by, does not compare to the absolute joy of discovering more of the depth of the love of God and just how close He is to us and the daily overflow of His grace to us.

I remember three years ago, stepping into our new home on Bloomingdale Court, and feeling overwhelmed and pulled apart, excited but stripped, with a hope in our hearts but with uncertainties on every side. Stepping into this new atmosphere, the air felt different and unfamiliar. The home we left in South Africa held many fortified victories and well- cultivated memories of God’s faithfulness. Every room and every corner was a reminder of the renovating work of the Holy Spirit in our family. As a woman, who is a stay-at-home mom, restfulhomemaker, my new domain felt unfamiliar, empty, and cold. It needed new life and new deep breaths and I knew I could not provide for the new demands that our new life required. Cultivating life at home is only possible when the LifeGiver steps into the room. I knew that God had promised never to leave nor forsake us, but to be honest, I had lost my bearings in the stress of the transition and I was desperate to find my feet on solid ground again.

One night in my empty living room, I stood within the echoes of the four strange walls and I reached for the only tool I knew well. I steadied my heart to worship. I prayed and sang, and prayed and sang. Each spoken word, a sound and a desperate cry for the promise of His Presence to come close. I sought the peace that surpasses all understanding. I sought the breath that I knew would free my heavy-burdened heart. I yearned to connect with the Father’s heart. I wanted the one thing that I knew would change everything: His Presence in my new world. His Presence with us at Bloomingdale Court.

All of a sudden in that dark, still, empty space…..LIGHT CAME!

You don’t give yourself in pieces You don’t hide yourself to tease us (Pieces by Amanda Cook)

He came. Jesus walked into that space in Bloomingdale Court, and I took a good deep breath again.

He stepped into my new world, my new space, my new home, and He filled my heart…… with Himself.

Aaaah….deep, deep, deep breathing again. I found my breath again. And I knew that everything was going to be more than okay. I knew that He would give us fullness of life inte emptiest of places. I knew that life had come to Bloomingdale Court.

This was exactly three years ago, and since then I have enjoyed discovering that He answered that prayer that night, not only because it was the cry of my heart; no, He answered because that prayer was exactly what was burning on His heart as well. The one thing He desired was to simply be with me. To be known and loved by Him.

And today, here I am, sitting with showers of snow falling all around me, thinking about how much He has pursued me, how much he catches and holds all our memories in His hands, how much He sees more in us than what my social media profile can reveal, and how much value and worth He has restored in me, simply by choosing to be with me, Every. Single. Day.

I’m content with You, my heart is filled by You.

The Gift That Came to Stay

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The moment when peace walks into a room and love completely wraps around you, steadying your world and bringing fullness into all those cold and empty spaces. That is the moment when the divine steps into the futility of your best attempt at doing this thing called life; and although you may unravel, the surrender of the old into freedom of the new, ignites the core of your being and makes you come alive. This has been my story and my journey of knowing and loving the Savior, the Christ who was born in Bethlehem.

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And there was light!

There have been many great and memorable moments in my life. The day I married the love of my life and my best friend and the day each of my three children lay for the first time in my arms. But I have to be honest and say that the day I decided to give my heart completely to the Savior Jesus did not come in the form of a single remarkable moment.

It began when I was just five, and it culminated in high school, when the clarity and inescapable truth of having been pursued all along by Him, led me to surrender. There was nothing too spectacular about that moment. I sat on a bench under a tree, and wrote a letter to God, who although I did not see, I believed knew me and I believed came for my heart to be His. In my letter, I spoke my response to deep down, unshakeable realization that this massive and spectacular God of the universe, shaped and formed me  and was stepping into my world, if I would only answer the door.

” For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life”, John 3:16. 

As the years have rolled on by, the reality of this decision has become the essence of my beautiful life.  I wake  in the morning to find Him still here. My surprise and relief reminds me that my faith is a journey of learning to trust that He is the gift that came to stay and will never go away. I have been a tough nut to crack, because too much pain and disappointment can rob you of the innocence of simply believing that you are loved. So despite all my resistances, He has continued to relentlessly pursue my heart.  He is here, day after day, right where He said he would be. By my side and never leaving. Even on my worst days and my not so glorious and unremarkable moments., He stays. Yes! He stays! He is the gift that came to stay.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS

 

The Free Little Girl Inside

Today, I watched two adorable little kids playfully skip, jump and dance right in front of me. I was waiting for my daughter at her ballet class. The two little dancers were quite oblivious to my observations and they went about moving their bodies in any old manner, while giggling approvingly at their own attempts at dancing. They were abandoned and full of joy.

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I thought of the much older class of ballet students inside the four walls I was waiting outside of. Indeed the much more serious affair of instruction about structure, technique, posture and control, for the older blooming dancers, was equally worthwhile to observe. However, the contrast made me smile and sent my thoughts to how the two scenes both hold true for the life of an adult woman like me. I paused to remember the playful little girl dancing and leaping merrily on the edges of the woman that I am now and the one I hope to be. I paused to remember the free little girl alive and well on the inside of me.

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I love the places of playful exploration that little kids get to enjoy as they get introduced to the world of dance. The stage where there are no expectations placed on them, but only the freedom and permission to love the tripping over of their little feet and the out-of- balance-but -oh-so-sweet attempts of their three year old selves. When you are young you are allowed to try and it is quite ok not to get things right.

Grace meets you at every turn and you can fall and trip, while the fear of failure with its intimidating glares, never captures your attention.

I must confess that I live within the tension of the little carefree dancer and the woman who knows more and has learnt a great deal over many years. I would like to think I have taken some leaps of faith and I have yielded to the process of strengthening my core through replacing old lies with the brightness of truth. But, it is a strange and curious thing that while I do my best to jump, skip and dance, many times I find that all that I can master up is an awkward, out-of -balance display of my own limitations and my own clumsy feet, while trying to stay grounded in a world that I have very little control over.

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I am learning just how much I need the strength and loving embrace of my loving  Father  in heaven, who holds me steady in his arms and always smiles when I walk into the room. I prefer to spend time with Him. I breathe in deeper and better when I surrender and come into that secret place where it’s okay to be the clumsy, unpolished dancer in the making. For I am welcomed as I am. I find that the longer I stay here, the stronger I feel and yet the more like a child I become.

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To keep the fearless heart of a child, while growing and flourishing into maturity is the challenge we can all relate to. My encouragement to myself and to you, is that if we get utterly lost while meandering along the road to becoming the more striking, sophisticated and serious dancer on life’s stage, I hope that we remember: there is always grace waiting to embrace us and we can always lean back and find the free little girl inside.

I Take Myself Way Too Seriously: Staying ON! the Social Media Grid!

I think I take myself way too seriously! And sometimes I get a little OCD about small things. Seriously, going off the social media grid sounds like a really noble idea, but honestly it’s a bit much! I am already suffocating under my own self induced agony. Enter wisdom and grace please!

I am a stay at home mom of three, homeschooling 2 and managing an entire household “The Gifts of Imperfection” by day and “ The Children of Ashton Place” by night. I have enough on my plate! And in all realness I am a pretty intentional woman, who has the wisdom and grace to make different choices about what I give space for in my time.  Doing that is more realistic than my previous cut and dry approach!

So for all those who were keen to find out if I would survive being off social media, the short answer is, we all will survive without it, but what purpose do I actually want it to serve!  So that’s it! The shortest experiment I ever engaged in!