Q: “Don’t you get tired of working all the time? You don’t even watch TV or talk on the phone. Don’t you ever do anything fun?”
A: This question amuses me. This person assumes that for me, sitting parked in front of the TV, or engaging in idle telephone chitchat is fun, presumably because it’s fun for her. Truthfully, I despise talking on the phone, not because I hate talking to people, but because I think the telephone is a huge time waster. I would much rather talk to people in person, at a time when I can actually focus on them. I simply am not a good conversationalist when I’m running around like a scalded flea, trying to complete my daily work, while coping with the constant interruptions of two young children.
Television is also a time waster. It’s very easy to squander hours in front of the television, and frankly, there are few programs on TV that I think are worth watching. Most television programming is just garbage, and there is very little that fits with our values. We eliminated all cable channels, and subscribe only to our local network package for $11 a month. Our children watch PBS Kids, and they have a wide variety of videos and DVDs to watch. We do subscribe to NetFlix, and about twice a week, my husband and I enjoy a movie together after the kids are in bed. Sometimes, I give him a coupon, which he can redeem for a movie and dessert. I pick up some sparkling grape juice, strawberries, and his favorite cookies, and we have a little at-home date night:
I think that some stay-at-home moms feel that they should be able to watch TV, or chat on the phone for hours, because it helps alleviate the boredom and isolation of being home all day with young children. Believe me, I understand. I’ve been there. It’s very normal to feel bored and frustrated at times, but there are constructive ways to cope with those feelings. The most important thing to remember is this:
You stay home to take care of your children.
Not to have an immaculate house or a perfectly manicured lawn, or to join lots of volunteer organizations, or to have more time for shopping and socializing. There are many parents who would give anything to be able to stay home with their kids, but their financial situation won’t allow it. You’re blessed! It’s a privilege to be with your children all day, not a prison sentence.
When I feel that I need contact with the outside world, I don’t call up a friend, and ignore my children while I chat for an hour. Instead, I take my kids to story hour at the library, or to the children’s museum, or we arrange a play date. I also belong to a MOPS group, which offers childcare during meetings, so moms can relax and enjoy coffee, a devotional, a fun activity, or just fellowship with other moms. These little breaks in routine renew the spirit, and make it easier to do your job as a wife and mother.
Yes, I said “job.” In this season of your life, caring for your home and children is your job, and you must treat it like one. If you worked in an office, would you be able to wile away the hours chatting with co-workers or surfing the internet? No, because you’re expected to work. In our culture today, many people go out of their way to avoid work at all costs, but personally, I enjoy working. I take pride in my home and family, and I like the sense of accomplishment that I feel after a hard day’s work. If I’m overwhelmed by my endless to-do list, idleness doesn’t make me feel better. It actually makes me feel worse, because I know that I’m being lazy, and I’m not being a help meet for my husband. I always remember what Dale Carnegie said in his excellent book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, “It is not the things we do that make us tired. It is the things we don’t do.”
I will be honest. I do get tired. Sometimes I feel totally exhausted, or sick, or my kids are being little stinkweeds and I can’t accomplish anything. On those days, I just try to complete my daily tasks only (see sidebar). I may not always succeed, but at the end of the day, I will know that I did my best, given the circumstances. I’ll feel much better about myself than I would if I just slobbed around all day and did nothing.
In this season of your life, your work is in the home, and you should do it to the best of your ability. You may not have a boss telling you what to do, but you can think of the Lord as your boss! God tells us in Proverbs 31:27-29, “She watches carefully all that goes on throughout her household, and is never lazy. Her children stand and bless her; so does her husband. He praises her with these words: ‘There are many fine women in the world, but you are the best of them all!”
I don’t know about you, but I want my husband and children to stand and bless me. I want to be the kind of woman who is pleasing to God, so I work as if I’m working for the Lord.[print-me/]