"Take your pay in sunsets" he said. As a sophomore in college looking for a summer job, that was my answer on how much the camp counselor position would compensate me. Paychecks were low. Morale was high. Money couldn't touch the reward I felt in fresh mountain air, camaraderie with fellow camp workers, bonding with the kiddos as we kayaked and hiked, campfire singing and yes the sunsets too.
Often as a mother who stays at home, I yearn for where the grass seems greener: a paying job. Many take paying jobs for granted, and I was one of those people up until just a short time ago. Now, it seems like all inclusive dream vacation: adult interaction, organized working space, real conversations, affirmation for a job well done, and an actual physical paycheck. Also, the chance to play dress up and look nice would be a bonus too. Yeah, that gets old sometimes, but after many years in clothing either speckled with baby puke or cooking that splashed on me I'm ready to look presentable.
Just to affirm myself, as often I go without affirmation, I'm going to perform a little exercise just for me right here. This is how I take my pay as a person who chooses to manage a home and raise the children as a stay-at-home-mom:
1. Hugs & Kisses
2. Seeing the fruit in hours of teaching my kids to be "big helpers" around the house
3. Including them in helping neighbors (help shovel snow or deliver cookies, etc)
4. Compliments from others when we go out & our children are well behaved.
5. A brush of my husband's arm around me when I'm cooking.
7. When the kids finish their meal without complaining
8. Looking at a clean sink after doing dishes 4 times today
9. When my son says, "you look nice mom!"
10. The way my daughter scrunches up her nose and smiles
11. Playing on the floor with the kids
12. When my kids voluntarily pray for others or pretend to read the bible, or say, "i'm ready to ask Jesus into my heart", or "I'm ready to be baptized"...that is absolutely the best feeling in the world.
Also, I've never had to miss a first step, a first word...that has been a gift to me. I've been here. I've been the mom.
I still feel the pull to work outside the home, but I choose to remain here for now, taking my pay in the labor of love.
As women it's so stinkin' easy to fall into the trap of comparison, so I would like you to consider how YOU have been the mom, whether you've worked at home, at another location, or both. We all have wisdom to offer each other...let's be kind to ourselves and not compare.
How do you take your pay?