It doesn’t feel like it’s been a year, but June 8th rolled around again.
June 8th last year was the last day that I got paid to work.
Have I been working since? Yes indeed.
Motherhood is work.
Teaching is work.
Volunteering is work.
Do I still miss my day job sometimes? Yes.
While it’s an immense privilege for me to quit and homeschool my kids, it’s by no means easy.
In some ways working a job was easier.
In some ways staying home and being more or less in charge of my own schedule is easier.
Either way, it’s true that frugality gives us options.
I’m able to say “yes” to a lot more things since I said “no” to working for a paycheck.
When I first quit my job to be a stay at home mom, I didn’t know what kind of mom I wanted to be.
Then I started paying attention.
Then I found my tribe.
Now I know.
I’m not there yet – this is a target to aim for.
But without a dream to work toward how can I make those little everyday decisions that shape myself and my children?
I know it’s about the journey ultimately and not the destination.
But without a destination how can I even start the journey?
“Begin with the end in mind,” says 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
I spent last year doing a lot of wandering and soul-searching.
This year I have an end goal.
A dream to aspire to.
Friends who are already modeling these qualities for me and helping me along the way.
This year I’m excited.
I want to be the mother who turns the music up, sings loudly, and dances around the house.
I want to be the mother who takes care of herself – who works out and eats well and practices self-care.
I want to be the mother who lets kids be kids. Lets them play in mud, splash in puddles, help me cook, and build tent forts.
Lets them express their feelings and their dreams, even when it’s inconvenient.
I want to be the mother who encourages the use of imagination and doesn’t stifle the creative synergy my kids have.
I want to be the mother who doesn’t make decisions out of fear or out of convenience – who plays in the rain, who walks slowly, who stops to look at bugs and marvel at the wonder of creation.
I want to be the mother who never loses my curiosity.
I want to teach my kids to love learning by fostering their curiosity. Kids are naturally curious. Curious about nature, curious about about food, curious about space, curious about trucks and dinosaurs. I want to see the world through their eyes.
I want to be the mother who makes fancy breakfasts for my kids and all their friends.
Who has an open-door policy at home. Who is an unofficial “mom” “auntie” and “sister” to whoever needs one.
I want to be the mother who doesn’t lecture but learns alongside my children. Who doesn’t just teach the answers but teaches them to ask good questions.
I want to be the mother who goes on adventures – camping, hiking, biking, swimming – showing my kids the world and getting fresh air daily.
I want to teach my kids to say no to being busy and to learn how to just be. To lay in a hammock. To swim and let the sun dry them. To slow down without rushing everywhere. To go to the zoo and watch the same animal for 30 minutes.
I want to be the mother who isn’t in competition with anyone. Who makes decisions out of love, not to one-up anyone or post a better photo at the end of the day.
I want to be the mother who delights in my children – in their quirks and mannerisms and individual personalities.
I want to be the mother who is engaged and not always on her phone, wishing she were somewhere else.
I don’t want to be the mother who obsesses over cleanliness and who makes her kids grow up too fast. I want to relish their childhood with them before it slips away.
I want to be the mother whose kids would rather play in the yard than watch TV.
I don’t want to be a stay at home mom. I want to be going places everyday – the park, the library, adventures, trails, highways and hideaways along the way.
I want to be the mother who promotes hands-on learning – whether it’s watching an eclipse or digging for fossils, geocaching, or tubing down a river, grocery shopping or making budgets.
I want to be the mother who lets them play – because playing is the job of every child.
I want to be the mother who lets my kids get bored – because boredom leads to creativity and invention. It also means their lives aren’t overbooked.
I want to be the mother who chooses her battles. Who lets them wear what they want and express themselves as long as it isn’t hurting anyone.
I want to be the wife who loves her husband and faithfully parents alongside him. Who is steadfast, reliable, consistant. Who is still flirtatious with him, grossing the kids out.
I want to be the mother who serves alongside my children, volunteering and modeling what life can look like when it’s joyfully poured out.
I want to teach them to love learning, not dread it. I want to foster a love of discovery and creativity. I want to give them hope.
More than anything I want them to know God’s enormous grace and love. I want them to look to him rather than me for their security because, in spite of my best efforts, I will let them down.
I want to be the mother who lives intentionally in these short, fleeting years I have with my kiddos.
I don’t want the kids to be carbon copies of me and my husband. I want them to find their own voice and their own purpose.
I want to build a childhood that is peaceful and beautiful, that my kids will remember fondly. This doesn’t mean our days are all perfect, but that our days are free from unnecessary stress and obligation.
I want to build a home that is a safe place for my kids to find freedom and refreshment, even long after they walk out the door.
I want my kids’ independence to flow out of a feeling of security and steadfast love, in spite of my imperfections.
I want to be the mother who forgives quickly, who doesn’t hold a grudge, and who asks for forgiveness when I hurt others.
I want to be the mother whose kids know that I love them and that I’m on their team – no matter what – till the day I die.