"Do you have a job?"
I always answer this with a no. "No, I don't have a job for now. I stay home with my kids".
The truth is motherhood is a 'job'. A big one. I work very hard. I am not just talking about the laundry (oh my goodness gracious the laundry), cleaning up, buying food, and keeping the house from burning down - every responsible grown up does that.
If you go to work everyday just to collect a paycheck and go home then you have simply a job. We've all been there. It is nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes that job is a time filler - waiting to do something that you love. Sometimes it is just a way to pay the bills.
When you go to work everyday and love what you do - you want to make a difference - then you have more than a job. You have a calling. Some teachers, doctors and nurses, preachers, police officers, etc have a job. They go to work and go through the motions. They come home with a paycheck. Done. Mark one more day off the calendar. Some of these special people have callings: that teacher that you will always remember, the doctor or nurse that hugged you when you were crying, the police officer that was a welcome sight when you were afraid, the preacher that knows the right words to give comfort and encouragement. Those people have a calling.
You see, you can be a mom but be disconnected from motherhood. I am guilty of this often. I go through the motions. I clean up all day. I piddle with a project. I hand the kids an activity to do. I check my email a hundred times because it is a distraction. I am there but not really.
You can choose what your life will be.
I don't want my occupation as stay-at-home-mom to be a job. I want it to by my calling. I want to work everyday to be present- to live a life with my kids fully, not just go through the motions.
Some moms go to work outside of the home everyday and then come home and make the moments together count. Some moms have all day with their kids and fritter every moment away doing menial tasks.
I can always go and get a job. I can go and collect a paycheck. I have only a limited amount of time to use my calling to produce two fabulous and productive human beings. Human beings that right now, as kids, are the masters at living in the moment. I don't want to influence that out of them by my poor example.
That isn't always easy and most days I fail, but on the good days...well, they feel really good.
Here are a few of the ways to choose to be more present: (Don't worry I am studying my own notes)
1: Just say no: Do not over-commit. I am so guilty of this. I have an inability to say no when someone asks for a volunteer. That has to change. I will commit to the activities that I really want to do. I will not be afraid to say no to the rest.
2: Turn off the tv and computer. The TV is not a big deal. The computer?? Well...blogging has become a quiet time hobby for me. It is a sweet bonus that there are a few of you out there that actually read it (thank you). I enjoy it. The internet is a lifeline for homeschool planning. But the notifications and emails pinging away all day, those can go. Maybe only checking them in the morning before school and in the evening before bed.
3: Turn off the cell phone: Really all you need a cell phone for is in case your car breaks down or you need to call 911 after running from a burning building. Other than that you can temporally turn it off (with <gasp> the power button) without the world coming to an end. I promise that you can. (Yes, I am talking about you, mom at the park, whose kid I had to help on and off the slide because you are busy texting in the shade)
4: Learn the zen of coloring pictures or whatever it is that rocks your socks: Sit with your kids and do a project that you don't mind doing. Finger paint, build a model, sew a dress, catch some bugs, go fishing, or color in a coloring book. I would rather pull out my own teeth rather than sit down and play hot wheels but it is a painless compromise to sit down with my son and color cars in a coloring book instead. He likes it, I like it, and we are both happy together.
5: Read, Read, Read to your kids. It is so very good for them. It is good for you as well. I can't think of a better way to spend quiet time together cuddled up in your living room or on a blanket in the backyard. You have a shared experience of reading the book and something to talk about together afterwards.