December was a rough month for me. It had nothing to do with it being the holiday season, I enjoy the holidays for the most part. Rather it had more to do with Natalie attacking Natalie. Let me explain. In America, being a mom isn't awarded any great accolades, acknowledgments, or, honestly, respect. Then you decide to do this mom gig full-time and you're just short of being cast aside like a broken toy or useless appliance.
Most of the time I am okay with this - seven years of doing this 'stay at home mom' thing allows one time to adjust to the lame looks you get when you're asked 'So what do you do' and "all" you can say is, "I'm an at-home mom." Most of the time I am fully appreciative of what Babe's profession has allowed me to do: raise my kids without the use of childcare or, for me, the distraction of working full-time outside of our home. Most of the time I see the fruits of my labor in my kids' kindness, generosity, pride in self, fun personalities, and their love for me and others. Most of the time I know, without a doubt, that this is what God has for me to do because He saw fit for me to do it. Me, their mother. All of this is most of the time.
Then there are times when I let the devil get his foot in the door and run me ragged with all-things contradictory of what I know most of the time. He does this very much in the same way movies do the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other and they both have my face. I let that fool on my left shoulder tell me what I do doesn't matter. Who gets recognized for being A MOM? He'll chide. Your 'job' doesn't allow you to do things, see things, heck you don't even get out of THE HOUSE except to buy food...FOR THE HOUSE. And at Christmas and his birthday the idea of buying Babe a 'big' gift is out of the question...what, you gonna buy it with "HIS" money? You surely don't make enough! Or, Your typical uniform is jeans and a t-shirt. Really? So you'll do what when you have an actual "something" to attend? Oh, and so you say you wanna be a writer? That's cute. And you'll write about what? Grocery shopping? Jeans and tees? Wiping butts and noses day in and day out? Are.You.Serious.?
Yes. This was December in my head.
Early December I decided to start applying for writing job openings. Then I started writing my resume and boy did that start up a whole new host of attacks. So you're going to put WHAT on this resume? And what about that span of time where you didn't work in the corporate sense of the word? What if you actually get an interview, what will you say Oh I was a household engineer? YOU, applying for a JOB after all this time? Are.You.Serious.? And then the application requested a cover letter? Ah yes, this must be where the Household Engineer title comes in.
Did I mention it was an all-out attack? It was Natalie vs. Natalie all up in here. And honestly, the Natalie (the one dressed as an angel) who knows "most of the time" what she does is very much worthwhile, was taking a beating!
Fast-forward to the Sunday before Christmas when the preacher's sermon was about, in short, doing what God has called YOU to do when He has called YOU to do it. To be proud God has even called you and thankful you can take on the duties He has called you to do. This seemed to be just another tongue-lashing of sorts, but God always has a way of gently steering me back toward the right path. Not like the devil, who seems to bust in, toss me against the wall, pin me down and tell me just what a hot mess I am. I took this sermon to heart: my spirit was glad I would finally stand up for myself where the devil was concerned, and my mind was busy changing the message from 'You're wasting your life with this mom thing' to 'Your job as a mother is God's calling, not the world's, so get about doing God's business and stop letting that fool rent out space in your mind!'
But changing that negative message is not easy, here I am more than a week later and I'm still fighting that thing off. If you tell a child he is stupid for a month, convincing him he is smart and capable will require a good three months of constantly repeating the new message. I don't sit here and say, "Natalie, you're smart and gosh darnit being a mom is awesome work," but I do work at appreciating my kids, my husband, and the home we have built as a family. I may not be a best-selling author (yet!), but right here, right now, I'm a wife and mother with a very important function in my household. Lord knows, without a doubt, my husband and my children are who they are because of the committment I have made to being here for them. And I'm working toward keeping that truth in focus, not just most of the time, but all of the time. Because I'm smart and gosh darnit being a mom is the work God has for me right here, right now and that's just what I'm going to do until He has a different calling for me.