Monday, January 29, 2007

My Passion to be a SAHW and a Request for Help at the End

For a very long time I have longed to be a wife and mother. I have never had an intense desire to have a career. I attended college for 2 semesters and the best thing that came from my college experience was meeting my DH online.

DH proposed about 4 years later and I accepted. We were married in 2002.

Before our wedding, we learned DH had the opportunity to take a job in SW Pennsylvania, close to where his family lives.

We were moving! We moved almost one month after we were wed. I was raised in a military home and was used to moving. I was truly excited about the prospect of a new, fresh start as husband and wife in a new town.

DH had a good job and financially I didn’t need to work. FINALLY my time had come. I was going to be a SAHW and certainly, within a couple of years, we would be bringing our first child into the world.

As is so often the case, life did not go as planned. That first year I stayed home and expected to know EVERYTHING I need to take care of DH and our home. I expected to become my mother when that ring went on my finger. I was disappointed in my inability to focus on our home and our inability to have a child. I was unable to take care of my home, uncaring about my appearance, and downright FRUMPY.

It was hard not knowing anyone nearby. It was hard only having one vehicle, which husband took to work. That first year at his job he was working 80 hours a week. He was exhausted when he came home and I was miserable. After talking it through we decided I should try to find a part-time job, just to help me get out of the house and the ever present funk I was in. We bought a second vehicle and I put in for any part-time secretarial position I could find.

Flash forward 4 years. I am working 40 hours a week. We have our own home now and I have matured greatly from where I was 5 years ago. And now…

I WANT TO COME HOME!!! I want to be a SAHW. We understand it will take more financial and emotional effort to have a child (due to fertility problems). We understand it may never happen. I am willing to accept that (for now). I don’t have the empty feeling inside anymore. I know I am to be FIRST AND FOREMOST a helpmeet to my husband.

I am anxious and I need to be sure about my decision. DH will support me either way. He understands my desire to be at home and truly, I think he would prefer it. He does not, however, want the old frumpy wife again. Thus, I need to be sure about my decision.

We talked about it about a month ago and DH had some valid points. This is what I am working on right now.

These are the components DH has witnessed I need in my life to be happy and productive.

• Social interaction;
• Sense of purpose;
• Accountability;
• Being a contributing member of society; and
• Being challenged by my work.

I have all these things at my job and DH wants me to figure out how I will be able to find them at home or, if I can't find them, how will I supplement them.

I need to reason it through and identify where these components will come from. DH can’t provide a lot of them because he works ~ 12 hours a day.

I need to study each component in the Word to see where biblical women got these things.

Thanks so much for reading this. It was more about putting it in writing than anything.

I am not looking for counsel. I want to make that clear. I know that this is our family’s decision.

I am simply looking for the right avenues to research. I want to be able to make a decision on this by summer of this year and I just thought I could get some good resources from you all.

I have a wonderful woman who is our Fellowship Coordinator’s wife. She is wonderful to bounce thoughts off of. I just thought I would take advantage of the on-line community and any input you might have about books or simply records to look at in the Bible. I am currently reading through Ruth and noting (where I can) where Ruth received her support and all of those things listed.

Thanks so very much.

13 comments:

Samantha said...

I can relate to you. I stopped working full-time when I was married this past March, and while I LOVE being home, I do at times find it isolating. I think one of the reasons is because there just isn't anyone else home anymore. My husband loves that I'm home as well, but he knows that being around people regularly is very important to me.

We've started having more get togethers at night and that has been a great help. For example, every Tuesday night is game night at our house and this gives me the extra boost to make sure our home is clean and organized. Then small group is every other Thursday, and Family night every other Friday(not at our house). Wednesday afternoons my sister and I bring our grandparents lunch. We initiated all these things, and I need this kind of social interaction to keep me engaged.

I'm still praying about seeking ways to get more involved in the church and the community. Sometimes it's nice to get out some paper and write a few letters to loved ones who don't know the Lord, just to let them know your thinking of them. Then leave a Bible verse on the top or bottom.

I hope the Lord brings you back home soon, and that you find purpose and fulfillment each day. I know that can be a real struggle for SAHW. Take care!

pfg blogmatron said...

Hi Rean,
Your post is so dear to God's heart and mine in Christ. Maybe something would be of interest to you and your lord(hubby) that John MacArthur has written(he is quite heavy on Scripture referencing with sermons and writings and can therefore provide references to examine).

http://www.gty.org/resources.php?section=issues&aid=176404 (from this link, you can search through articles, positions, and other areas along with inputing specific wording in the search box)

http://www.biblebb.com (here you will find sermons of MacArthur and others, questions and answers, scripture references, etc.)

There are some links on my blog under FAITH MATTERS that might interest(some are MacArthur reads).

While the internet has had a valuable place in my walk with the Lord, it can only somewhat emulate rather than be a real hug, a real helping hand, a real Titus 2 relationship that is only found in the local Body of Christ in the tangible sense God would have for us. It can be a great pointer of ladies to be in the Word while He works out all the other details, certainly.

God is good; He'll lead you in what He already has all worked out for the best for your family.

Love ~ because of Jesus,
Mrs. Burrows

Amelia said...

Rean,
I don't really have much advice, but I wanted to congratulate you on being the winner of this AP Challenge! I work full time, too. I hope to come home soon, but when I do I know I will have my hands full. Thanks for visiting my blog, by the way!
From one stay-at-home-wannabe to another,
Amelia

Rean Day said...

Samantha - You said, "I do at times find it isolating. I think one of the reasons is because there just isn't anyone else home anymore. "

I absolutely agree with you. This is one of the biggest reasons I failed so miserably the first time. I DON'T want to make that mistake again. You and your DH seem to have made some great adjustments in your life to help you work through those things. This is exactly what I am looking for. I need to see the different strategies other SAHWs and SAHMs have in their lives. I know I am to make my own decision but this really helps me see the specific ways I can thwart the despondency that can set in as a SAHW. Thank you for your comment. You simply can't know how much I appreciate it.

Mrs. Burrows - Thank you for taking the time to post your helpful resources. I will take the time to look through all the links and articles you shared. I absolutely agree, there is nothing like a face to face Titus 2 relationship. This is why I made sure to note that I have a wonderful woman who is a great example to me. I will continue to research my decision and I will be sure to share what I find here on my blog. Thank you for your encouragement to trust in God and your loving heart to share what you know.

Amelia - I got your comment in my inbox and didn't realize I had won!! I hadn't checked my favorite blogs yet. Thanks for the heads up and the nice comment. I think that if there is this much encouragement out there for other ladies who have such a passionate desire to be keepers of their homes (whether working outside of the home or not) we will all do valiantly!! Power to the wannabes!! LOL

Emma said...

Hi Rean!

One thing that could help you with social interation is to volunteer at a school, hospital, or nursing home. When I was teaching we had a lovely man (a retired teacher/librarian) come in to read to the children once a week. He came up with an activity that went with the book he read and entertained the kids for about 45 minutes. His work helped give the teachers a little rest or time to catch up on paperwork (I taught first grade). Of course, this may not be feasible for you... just a thought! :)

Congrats on winning! I am really enjoying your blog!

Anonymous said...

Hi Rean,
I was going to tell you to contact Mrs. B and Lady Lydia, but I see that you already read their blogs. Have you been reading them lately? Lady Lydia has done some excellent posts on staying home very recently. I would tell both of them your concerns and get their input.
I am naturally a homebody and don't need alot of social interaction, although I do need some. So, I can't really help you there.
I guess the best advice I could give you would be to continue to pray about this. The Lord will change your heart and possibly even take away some of your "needs", the ones you listed. They very well could become non issues after awhile. If not, He will show you how to meet them.
This probably wasn't very helpful but I want to at least leave you with some encouragement-if this truly is biblical and right, then the Lord will lead you and show you the way that you should go.
I can't wait to hear how your future unfolds-I'm excited for you!!
Joanna :)

Mrs.B. said...

Rean, I want to comment on this post because it is a subject that is dear to my heart. But I need a little bit of time to 'mull if over' so my response may not come for a day or two.

Blessings!
Mrs.B

Rean Day said...

Emma - Thank you for your input on your experience. DH and I were just talking about this last night. He was telling me that I could look into the middle school that is only a couple of blocks away. I LOVE to read to kids (maybe middle schoolers are too old for that). I used to work at Barnes and Noble as the Childrens' department manager. I was also the "Storybook Lady." I have so many fond memories from that time in my life. We don't have any big book stores in my little town but maybe my experience in the field would give me an "in" at the school. I guess I always feel awkward being a volunteer at a school where I don't have children. I know I need to get over that, I guess there's no better way than doing it. LOL Thanks again for your comment.

Joanna - I love Mrs. B's blog and I have spoken with her about this before. She gave me a wonderful resource "Are You Serious About Marriage" from Keepers of the Faith. I have read through the book once and highlighted passages. I am starting through on my second pass. I just keep it in my purse and read it (or my little bible) when I have a moment. I am truly believing to see God's will for my life in this area. I know that He will show me what I need to see or put my mind at ease about these issues. Thank you for your encouraging post.

Mrs. B - I am so thankful for all you have already done in providing me with resources to help me in my decision. I look forward to any more direction you could give me to look. I know you are not one to give counsel and this is one of the reasons I made sure to disclose that I am simply looking for advice of resources, not someone to make the decision for me. :) You were very helpful when we last e-mailed. I know one way for me to continue to be encouraged is by reading your blog. I loved your post on the things you can do as a SAHW that maybe a SAHM wouldn't be able to focus on as much. I have taken your items and added some of my own...it's like a prayer list almost. Seeing those things blesses me and keeps me focused on what to make my decision on. I want this to be a deliberate decision and not an emotional one. (I know emotions are involved, of course, but I want to make sure it isn't simply on emotion that I base my reasoning)

EVERYONE - Thank you so much for your comment thus far. I am so blessed. I have much to research and go over and I will be certain to share what I can.

Rean Day

Mrs.B. said...

Rean,

I have been thinking about this and honestly I don't really think there is anything more that I can add about the mechanics of staying home so I think I'll hit on the more heart/emotional issues.It sounds like you are taking positive steps to make things work better for you this time.

I will say however that there are times that *every* homemaker feels alone and isolated and even depressed.....I know at times, I do.

But you know what? There are many women who work full-time feeling the same way. I think though that when you're at home you don't have so many distractions and you're forced to focus and deal with the feelings instead of pushing them away with busyness.

Oh and mothers often talk about feeling isolated and lonely too so SAHM's can feel the same way. Having children doesn't automatically make you feel all happy and elated with life.

It's very hard to be different from the norm and to have people question your choice or even worse, belittle it. When you stay home w/o children it's tempting for people to assume that you have 'nothing to do all day' and want to involve you in all kinds of things. While it's not wrong to have interests and activities that lie outside the home I believe a woman's main focus should be in her home. Just being there is comforting to husbands. I know that when my husband comes home after working long and hard all day he LOVES knowing I'm there and have been there all day taking care of things. Mrs. Sherman (Lady Lydia) has written TONS of posts that talk about that so I'll not delve into that any further.

As I said, it sounds like you are wisely working out the mechanics of coming home and staying home, now you need to focus on the heart issues that are involved.

1) Realize that sadness and depression are a normal part of everyone's life. I mean even in the Bible almost all of the prophets at one time or another were depressed. One thing that has always stood out to me was David. In the Psalms he would be in the 'depths of despair' but then he'd say something like......"But I will trust in you, Lord...." It was always 'I will'. He made a decision to get out of his depression. (Of course I'm not talking about the kind of depression that stems from a chemical imbalance or other physical problem--for that someone would need to seek medical help)

There are times I feel blue and I know that if I don't take some steps to get myself out of it that I could spiral down into depression. That's when I tell myself to quit living by my feelings and live by what I know to be right.

2) Don't focus on whether or not you're being 'fulfilled' or on your 'feelings'. Focus on doing what you know is right. Often the right feelings will follow, naturally, after a person does the right actions.

3) Have a routine. Such as getting a shower and getting dressed EARLY in the day. Plan your days to a certain extent--but remember to allow for flexibility.

4) Don't look to your husband or any other person or event for your identity and fulfillment in life. Seek your identity in Christ--He's the only unchanging thing in this world.

5) While home, don't watch a lot of TV or talk radio. Learn to enjoy quiet. For the times when you want to listen to something, uplifting, Christian music and sermon tapes are great....especially while doing mindless tasks. The Bible often talks about controlling our thoughts and keeping them focused on the Lord. I think this is a lot of what 'Pray without ceasing' is talking about. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." Isaiah 26:3. Keep your mind 'stayed' on the Lord. This takes discipline and saying NO to the flesh. I heard a Christian speaker say once "If you don't decide what to think then the devil will decide it for you."

6) Constantly focus on the advantages of staying home. Realize that you are VERY blessed to have a husband who sees and understands the advantage and blessing of having a SAHW....He might catch some flack for it too.

We have been wrongly influenced by movies and modern books that life is supposed to be one big, fun, grand good time. That is just WRONG! Life is work...HARD work. Life is about living for Christ and for others and forgetting 'self'. Most of our problems would go away if we quit worrying about how we feel about things and focus on being a blessing to others. Jesus never went out seeking fulfillment. Of course one must maintain a balance in this I'm not talking about never caring about yourself....However most of us are selfish enough that we wouldn't allow that to happen.

You mentioned reading the Keepers marriage book....I'm so glad you read it, isn't it great?! Reread page 67 starting at "Set Aside Our Sin". Also reread the chapter entitled 'Wise Woman' especially pages 26 and 27.

I just recently did a post quoting from one of my favorite books from Keepers of the Faith called 'Princess in Calico'. It is one I would highly recommend you buy and read over and over. It's short, only 92 pages and very inexpensive but just FILLED with wisdom and wise living. Another great book and probably my most favorite is "Little Homes and Big Hearts". I would suggest you buy both books and really read them closely.

Well for someone who didn't have much to say, I managed to say quite a lot! This has to be the longest comment in history!

I hope this helps and I hope you take it in the spirit which I intend. I don't mean to be harsh or critical....I'm just trying to express truth and it's so hard to always get things across in writing.

Blessings Rean!
~Mrs.B

Rean Day said...

Mrs. B.

Thank you so much for your detailed comment. I very much enjoyed the book. I will talk with DH to put those other two books, plus one mentioned in "Are You Serious About Marriage" in our budget for this month. I agree about the heart issues. This is where I am trying to make BIG strides. Don't worry, you didn't come off harsh at all. Thank you again.

Rean Day

Deana (Dee) said...

My prayers are with you, I share your same feelings about some things you wrote about. You seem like such a wise woman, it's been fun getting to know you via BLOG.
Blessings
Deana

Kristy said...

I was just visiting your blog after seeing a comment from you on mine. Just wanted to say that I feel where you are coming from....the working and wanting to be home part. I was working a fulltime job about 5 years ago. It was a long, drawn-out decision, but I finally decided to come home. It hasn't always been easy-especially since the 'at home wife' thing isn't too popular anymore. ( I attend a fundamental Baptist church, and I am the ONLY SAHM-isn't that shocking?)

Anyway, just wanted to say I prayed for you to find the decision that is right for your family.

And if you want a good book about being a Biblical Wife, try Martha Peace's 'The Excellent Wife'. There is even a study guide you can purchase with it. Aside from the Bible, that book changed my life-literally....

In HIS Service,
Kristy

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