Lately my husband, David, and I have been watching HGTV’s “House Hunters” show in the evenings after our children go to bed. Many of the commercials are various HGTV stars promoting and encouraging viewers to “change the world…start at home.” Of course they want me to do this by changing my light bulb, turning off unused appliances (or buy new, more efficient ones), or some other such “green” thing. But I change the world more by being a mother who stays home, fulfilling my role as a woman.
I’ve always wanted to be a mother. In my public high school senior ethics class, I remember that another girl asked me, “Do you really think that you can be a stay-at-home mother in today’s world? Or is that just your dream.” I replied “Yes, I believe it.” The only other one who agreed with me was the Roman Catholic girl in the class.
During a particular hard time of freshman year of college, I wrote home to my mom saying, “I wish I was barefoot and pregnant! Then everything would be better.” Mom made sure I wasn’t thinking of doing anything stupid (I wasn’t) and that I knew that there were also problems with being “barefoot and pregnant.”
My belief that a woman should stay home and raise the children was put to the test upon returning to the seminary for David’s fourth year of study after vicarage. We had our first child, a daughter who would be a year old that fall, and I was given the option of teaching full time at the same school I had taught during his second year of studies. It would be “perfect.” David’s older brother, a first year student, and his wife would be willing to baby-sit. I could use my college degree, and we would be better off financially. I was ready to say yes. But then I realized what I would miss: Hannah and all the new things she would learn and need to learn. No, David and I decided that I needed to be the one to care for her and teach her. So I declined the offer.
12 years later, I am the mother of five children and I am blessed. I am the one that has wiped their noses and bottoms, kissed their owies, bandaged their cuts, washed their clothes, cooked their food, made their beds, swept their floors, taught them to fold their hands and when to make the sign of the cross. I am the one that has said prayers with them, and for them, spanked them, hugged them, read to them, and sat with them in church every Sunday. I am the one that they have yelled at, cried for, and run to when they are afraid or sick. They trust I’ll always be there for them, and with God’s grace, I will.
It isn’t easy, there are trials, tribulations, and hurts which are different for each family. Every vocation has its cross to bear, and motherhood has its share. Children rebel and sometimes turn away from parents and the Lord. The devil, the world, and our own sinful nature work hard tempting us to do many other things. But don’t run from your calling. What God ordains is always good, even the roles of father and mother, and He will bring about good from those callings even though it isn’t clearly seen now or ever.
God has given me great goodness through motherhood: He has brought me out of selfishness and into servanthood. He has given me a greater understanding of His love and forgiveness for His children though they err and fall away again and again and again. And, of course, He places more prayers on my lips. In no way am I perfect, but often as I clean up my children’s messes, I think how God cleans up my messes and I thank and praise Him for pulling me ever closer to Him; for forgiving and loving me and therefore allowing me to forgive and love my children.
Yes, you can change the world by starting at home, by staying at home. As I tell my girls, “When God blesses you with children, stay home and raise them.” And I tell my boys, “Work to support your wife so that she may be home to raise your children.” I pray that God grant them and you the strength to do such good works as being fathers and mothers to His precious little ones.
by Glenda Mumme