After attending church this morning, we put Asher through our usual parental inquisition of what he learned in Sunday school today. This little ritual is almost always bound to be a bit amusing and disturbing. The enormous responsibility of helping our kiddos learn the truths of God and develop a passion for His people & kingdom is pretty overwhelming. Last week, Asher learned that Jesus drank juice and we can too. (They had an object lesson on Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine and were all given water bottles and koolaide packets to create their own “wine”? I don’t know. Not exactly how I would’ve taught the lesson..) This week the conversation went something like this…
So, Asher, what did you learn today?
Did you hear a story about Jesus? What was it about?
Um…there were pool toys in the water and Peter fell in the water.
Sidebar conversation between parents (Oh, okay, he learned about the story in Matthew where the disciples are caught on the boat in a storm and Jesus walks out on the water to them. Peter struggles with his faith in who Jesus is and also attempts to walk on water, but falters.)
So, you learned about how Jesus walked on the water and Peter tried too. And how Jesus helped him.
No, Jesus didn’t help him.
Well, Peter struggled honey, but Jesus did help him.
No, Peter got eaten by a shark.
Oh my…what in the world is my child learning about Jesus from church? What does he glean from my attempts to teach him about his Creator and his Savior? Who does he think Jesus is? Wanting desperately to know the answer to this question, I decided to simply ask Asher.
Honey, do you know who Jesus is?
Now, I was hoping for Son of God here, but I certainly couldn’t argue with his answer. Just as Peter felt the rocking of his boat and faltered in his faith in Christ to sustain him on the water, I too feel like I’m totally faltering in my faith for God to sustain me in my role as stay-at-home-mommy. Most days, I too feel like my boat is being rocked.
It’s no secret that things in my marital land have been good but stressful since….well…. really since before we made the decision to become husband and wife! But these past few months have been very stretching for both of us. Our decision for me to quit my job, become a full-time mom and move to a new city has rocked my sense of groundedness and has rocked our gender-role boat. Perhaps this whole boat analogy isn’t the right one. Marital gender-roles for us have been nothing like a steady boat that is occasionally rocked by changes in the tides. Our experience with marital gender roles has felt more like the formless, ever-changing water that causes all that rocking to begin with (or perhaps more accurately the gravitational pull of the moon or changes in atmospheric pressure—or a big fat shark—whatever, you get my point)! We constantly have had to redefine roles and renegotiate power.
However, for the first time in our marriage, we find ourselves in “traditional” roles. Matt is financial provider. I am home/kid-caretaker. This is how I always imagined my life. This is the opportunity I have been waiting for…to be a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM). This is the direction I have been pushing my husband in since…well…since before we became husband and wife! And yet, in so many obvious ways Matt is more equipped to handle the role of stay-at-home-mom. He is incredibly warm, patient, nurturing and ADORES the time he has with his boys. He enjoys reading to them, taking them places, teaching them things. It’s not that I am lacking, per se, in any of these areas, but I honestly don’t enjoy all of them. I do these things many times out of the obligation to fulfill my role as Good Mommy. But honestly, many days I’d just rather be at work. Work was so much easier than this whole stay-at-home gig is. I didn’t have to worry quite as much about finances either, because I was better able to provide financially for our needs/wants.
On the flip side, Matt is struggling in his new job. He is working so hard everyday to live up to his new gender role as sole provider. I know most days he’d much, much rather go back to being stay-at-home-dad. However, I think we both recognize that in the best interest of our family, marriage, and even personal growth it is good and right for us to battle against the desire for equilibrium….that tendency we have to want to go back to what feels familiar and comfortable.
Despite my griping, please know that I am grateful and thankful for this time in my life. This time is fleeting, and I know that going back to work full-time will happen sooner than I’d like. (And when it does, I’m sure my blog entries will be focused back on my longings to be a SAHM.) But it doesn’t change the reality that so many days I just wish it wasn’t so hard. The proper supports of community & friendship that make the monotony and loneliness of a SAHM bearable aren’t quite established for me yet. But I’m working on it.
For example, the past several days have been been a flurry of social activity. I met a dear friend from college (who I’m loving getting reacquainted with) for coffee at Wegman’s (a great grocery store for those who are unfamiliar). On Saturday morning, I hosted a breakfast for 14 as a “Thank You Brunch” to all who helped us move into our home. (Yes, that was almost 4 mths ago, so it was a much overdue thank you.) Saturday night we headed over to a new friends’ home for dinner. Considering she just had a baby 6wks ago we should have been bringing her dinner. Katie is someone that I am so excited to get to know better. She is certainly someone to turn to when monotony and loneliness strike. As are most of you who are reading this blog! Being without many close friends (in proximity) has made me all the more grateful for you….my dearest kindreds and confidants! My comforters in times of storms and in times when sharks are in the water :).
I miss you.