There’s a familiar pattern that happens when I meet a stranger and they start inquiring after my job. It goes something like this:
Me: I stay at home. My husband and I have five children.
Person: Oh wow, five! You have your hands full! (if I’m lucky, here’s where they might say “you don’t look old enough to have five kids!”) How many of them are in school?
Me: Well, technically we have a third grader, a second grader, and one in kindergarten, but I homeschool, so…
Person: Oh, wow. I could never do that. (or some facsimile thereof)
The comment “I could never do that,” means different things to the vast number of people who say it. Some people mean that financially they couldn’t afford to stay home; some mean that their spouse would never agree to it; some mean that parenting one or more of their kids is a struggle and they’re glad to usher them out the door every morning; some mean they just couldn’t sacrifice all the “me” things — the career, the time.
If I’m honest, I can latch on to that mindset pretty easily. I start thinking in terms of “I have to do this.” I have to get up at the crack of dawn if I’m going to get a workout in before the craziness starts. I have to feed a large number of people three times a day and clean up the kitchen three times a day. I have to organize, declutter, nag, do laundry, clean.
The grass is always greener in somebody else’s life, no matter what part of the world you’re living or working in. Working moms want to be home. Stay-at-home moms want to be working. Somebody else’s job, house, spouse, life, looks better.
It’s better to think in terms of the “get to’s.” Take this week for example.
- I get to encourage my oldest in his latest obsession: Shakespeare. I get to bond with him over his favorite, Macbeth, and show a snippet of “Shakepeare in Love” so the boys can see what the theater looked like back in Shakespeare’s day.
- I get to laugh at my youngest as she struggles to string sentences together with an extremely limited vocabulary. I get to be the one who understands her the best.
- I get to experiment with new recipes to try to fill up these boys. Yesterday I made fried eggs on TOP of english muffins with a little sprinkle of cheese, and something about putting the egg on top of the muffin made it a whole new experience for the boys. Funny.
- I get to drink coffee in my quiet house every morning without feeling the need to primp and get out the door to a job outside the home.
- I get to see the light cross my son’s face as he finally “gets” something he’s working on in school. That’s the entire reason why I chose teaching as a profession before I had kids.
- I get to let my kids sleep until a reasonable hour instead of pushing them to get up, get ready, go, the bus is coming…
What “get-to’s” are you celebrating this week in your world?