We’ve been homebound a lot lately with the sicknesses and the car troubles and the cold weather. (I am not a fan of leaving the house with four children in car seats in sub-zero wind chill!) Plus my husband has been working a lot of overtime. I’ve had plenty of time to wander around the house surveying the state of the family.
I’ve been thinking about how difficult it can be right now for me to maintain a level of cheer throughout the days. It seems particularly easy to slide into discouragement and I think one of the reasons is that when you are home alone with the kids all of the time, you spend your days pretty much marinating in your own weaknesses. The thing about being a mom is that you have an incredible and terrifying amount of power over your environment. When the house is a mess, who do you blame? Yourself. When the meals aren’t working, who do you blame? Yourself. When the kids aren’t receiving the level of enrichment you think they need, who do you blame? Yourself!
The kicker is — as the person in charge, you really are the one responsible! You can’t pass the buck. The house is a mess because you aren’t disciplined and you aren’t consistent with your kids. The meals aren’t working because you didn’t meal plan or you half-assed the grocery shopping trip. The kids aren’t getting the best education/etc. because you aren’t giving it to them. Yes, you have a bunch of little humans on your hands with their own tendencies toward chaos, but you are the one who teaches them to rise above their base impulses. So much of what they do is rooted in the world you provide for them. The things you allow them to do. The food you feed them. The way you order their days.
You have an overwhelming amount of control.
And an overwhelming amount of human weakness to contend with. For example, I am not a good manager. I have the management abilities of a fruit fly. Along with the discipline of said fly! I don’t struggle with being too strict, with obsessing about order and expecting too much of the kids. I struggle with an inability to set the bar high enough and it shows in every aspect of our life. I live in the ramifications of that weakness every moment of the day and that can be incredibly humbling.
Humility is good, of course. Vital. But true humility is about knowing who you are in light of who God is. Not losing sight of your value by defining yourself by your own inabilities. The latter is such a temptation when you are a stay at home mom.