Tuesday, September 2, 2014

adjusting

Things have been so very busy as Brad and I adjust to our new roles and schedules. It's a good sort of busy, but one that often leaves us scratching our heads and asking, "Where did that week go?" Only, for August, it was, "Where did that month go?"

I'm not saying we are as busy as we were last fall. We are not, and for that I am extremely grateful and happy (and, thankfully, our house is cleaner, too). I see the kids all day long now, for Pete's sake, as opposed to the (maybe) one-hour-a-day schedule we had going last fall.

We are still learning plenty about this new life. For me, I am learning what it means to be a stay-at-home mom who is totally at peace with the absence of a role outside of the home. I would be lying if I said I didn't miss the fact that I could say something besides "I'm a stay-at-home-mom," when people asked what I did. I can't even talk myself into saying "domestic engineer" or "atmosphere director." That sort of answer just feels too generous, since I'm anything but "domestic" and the atmosphere in this household is often complete chaos. Who wants to be responsible for that?

The "stay-at-home-mom" label, however noble and awesome it may be, often leaves me with a marmish feeling about myself, like I should be driving a minivan with too-bright lipstick and mom-jeans. (The English teacher in me already loves cardigans, people...this is the first step toward marmish, I believe.)

As a stay-at-home mom, I think I should be cooking five-star meals, shining the toilets hourly, and making arts and crafts out of used paper towel tube cardboards. And to be honest, while the first two on this above list don't happen, that last one should truly be a reality, as it fits more succinctly with our one-income--pastor's income, at that--budget. Lucky for Brecken--boy genius--he has figured out how to turn poop into paint. (Yes, that did in fact happen this morning. I would show you the picture but I fear that would ruin your appetite or breathing patterns or carpet.)

Speaking of the budget, we went "a smidge" over our forecasted budget last month and I have been beating myself up over it/wallowing in self-pity every hour on the hour for the past three days. It's not that we don't have money saved up, it's just that the trend of going over budget bothers me to no end, and I'd like to not go through our saved money within two months.

((Request for advice...The thing is, much of the money we spent in our "extras" budget category was on gifts. This is so annoying to me, possibly because I will literally have to put others first in our budget instead of spending first on me/us, then on others. :o) Also, because gifts are fun to give, especially when people don't expect them, this is not something I want to give up. (Don't think we are huge gift-givers when you read this. We are not, but we wish we were.) How do people afford this gift-giving stuff on one income? And how do we hang out with friends without being lame and saying, "No thanks, we don't want sushi tonight. We had PB&J before we came. Can we have water with lemons, please?")

But I digress. I seriously love being home with these two active, poo-obsessed little boys and would not have it any other way, but it has been a serious (and good) adjustment. My pride has taken a major hit, and that's okay, because I know it needed it. (And, unfortunately, Brecken takes after me in this area, because he cannot say sorry for anything. He would rather be spanked than say sorry; Oh, our two little cold hearts need more prayer and humility.)

Sure, I'd like to be labeled in a more meaningful way, to be categorized as someone who is making a difference in the world, but that is truly and simply the wrong attitude. Two little boys may change the world (or even one person) one day, and they need their mom to lead them in that direction.

And don't be surprised if I'm leading them in a minivan. My pride might just need to be knocked that low.

(If you drive a minivan, do not take my opinions personally. I just have a weird, flawed, sinful aversion to owning them. Which probably means that will be the next vehicle in my garage.)