Every day, I ask myself if I’m doing the right thing.
Being a stay-at-home mom AND writer.
Not working full time.
Last week, my dad called me to ask if I had been watching the news. I told him I hadn’t – I am knee-deep in final revisions on two books, and the day he called happened to be one of my two work days a week. I was swamped.
Of course I assumed the worst. An earthquake? A bomb exploding in a school?
No. He was calling to tell me about Hilary Rosen, the Democratic strategist who attacked Ann Romney’s integrity by questioning her decision to stay at home to raise five boys.
Rosen’s by now well-known comment that Romney “actually never worked a day in her life” set off a pinging fire inside me. But what got me more than that was her assertion that because she stays at home, Romney – and thereby all stay-at-home moms – is clueless about the deep economic issues that ripple through our country.
If anyone knows better than a mom how to put food on the family table each night, show me. If anyone is more familiar with the rise and fall of milk prices at the grocery store, show me. If anyone in the family is more conscious of the family budget, show me.
Isn’t that what these economic issues boil down to?
I get that Rosen is probably not out to attack stay-at-home moms, that questioning the integrity of a woman’s decision to stay home with her kids is not a key focus of her agenda. For the most part, I cast Rosen off as a talking head who for just a moment got herself in hot water on national television, being expected to, well, say something. Attacking a political candidate’s wife for her “work” choice is akin to attacking a player on an opposing baseball team for his color of underwear. The attack has nothing to do with the competition at hand.
But I still can’t let Rosen’s comments slide without taking a stand for the hard work I and other at-home parents do every day.
Being a mom is the hardest work of my life. Throw writing into the mix – because I can’t not do it – and that work becomes a delicate balancing act, focusing on two fierce loves at once. All the time.
The million-and-one decisions that come and go, the moment-by-moment living that being around a two-year-old requires, no matter how organized or structured a person you are, the absolute crucial importance of maintaining confidence day in and day out. Why?
To always have your family’s best interests at heart.
In his book Spirituality of the Cross, Gene Edward Veith, Jr., refers to the family as the most fundamental aspect of our vocation. Martin Luther calls us to a life of service, saying, “Each one ought to live, speak, act, hear, suffer and die in love and service for another.”
My husband the other day referred to stay-at-home moms as one of the most selfless jobs. Not the most glamorous, he says, but the most important. I am grateful to him for saying that.
President Obama called mothering the toughest job. I am grateful for his acknowledgment.
I strive to serve my family every day. Whether it’s taking time to feed my son a scrambled egg, read just one more book to him at his request, let him play by himself while I wash the dishes or muster up the energy to run errands and still have time to squeeze in a trip to the library before a certain 2-year-old’s nap time, I am working.
I strive to tend to my writing every day. Whether it’s brainstorming topics for blog posts, capturing memories from the life of a 2-year-old, reading a literary magazine or making final edits on a book, I am working.
I can’t not be a mom. “Mom” is the highest calling that has ever been placed on me.
I can’t not be a writer. Writing is the indisputable gift God has given me, to serve others outside my family.
Give up one for the other, and I am no longer a whole person. I am a better mom because I still make time to write and feed that fire. I am a better writer because I am living the daily challenges of motherhood.
Two loves. One life.
I work. Every day. Full time.