I never in a million years thought that motherhood would change me.
I’d go back to work. I’d pursue my dreams. I’d juggle a full time job and mummyness perfectly.
But I didn’t. I meandered along my way as a new mum and finished my postgraduate degree. I discovered new dreams and life as a work-at-home mum.
Could I be happy with a vastly different existence, trading diapers, home education and freelance jobs for pencil skirts and power heels? Hard as it was to imagine, I could.
That realisation didn’t come as a lightning bolt. The realisation that I could influence the entire world of one little person came in bits and pieces, strung together with mundane moments, hung sometimes on a thread of self doubt, and strengthened throughout by the needy, trusting innocence of a child.
I wish someone had told me all this before I first embarked on motherhood. Before the difficult days when I felt I didn’t know what I was doing. As if everything I had sacrificed amounted to nothing and I couldn’t see the end of the road.
So here is my story. A glimpse of what being home with three kids is like for me. Stay-at-home motherhood can drive one slightly batty at times, but it is a powerful vocation. Let there be no doubt about that.
When I am home, I get to…
- Organise our day to best suit everyone.
- Wake up to the smell of freshly baked organic bread that I’ve loaded with fruit and seeds.
- Sit and read to my kids all the books we want, for however long we want.
- Learn new things everyday about every single one of my children.
- Make cookies and cheese buns with my Bunnies and let them lick the spoons.
- Teach my kids the joy that comes from helping each other.
- Grab my camera and capture two sweaty, exhilarated children riding bikes, digging in my plant pots and washing my driveway for a treat.
- Try new recipes.
- Kiss my children 60 times a day if I want. And get kissed in return, however many times they want.
- Keep our home beautiful and clean the way I want it.
- Soothe a crying child because he stubbed his toe.
- Play beautiful music for my children at any time of the day. Classical. Jazz. Bossa Nova. Blues. Rock.
- Train my kids in Alternative Dispute Resolution.
And if I forget all that, I’ll try to remember that
When I am home, I also get to…
- Know almost all the things that make my children happy, excited, helpful, curious, tired, sad, listless and grumpy.
- Work with my Bunnies in a way that no one else can.
- Cook the kind of food that I know is best for my children.
- Lovingly discipline my children at any moment they need it.
- See my kids surprise me by dressing up in funny clothes and make believe.
- Put my arms around my children at any time and pray for them.
- Teach my kids the stuff that I love. History. Foreign lands. Music. Spirituality. Law. Ethics. Modern and ancient languages. Art. Eating right.
- Avoid traffic jams.
- Constantly reinforce boundaries with my children, rather than frantically ring alarm bells.
Even more, I get to…
- Create a peaceful and loving atmosphere in our home, where everyone is happy to learn and feel free to make mistakes.
- Lie on my bed whenever I want and have great talks with my kids about life.
- Sing crazy songs to my children that I’ve made up about housework, eating faster, forgiving and being kind to each other.
- Nurse my baby whenever he needs it and breathe in his baby smell all day.
- Rest in the afternoon sometimes.
- See my children want to take care of me with their sweet, tender ways, when I get sick.
- Teach my Bunnies how to read, write and count in ways that make them all-so-excited to learn more.
- Laugh out loud, dance and roll on the floor with my Munchkins.
- Dress however I want.
- Understand more of my mother and the sacrifices she’s made.
- See my children get really dirty outside in the warm sun, and then splash like mad in the big tub afterwards. Twice a day sometimes.
- Cancel school time whenever we want to have other mummies and their kiddies over for lunch, because we can catch up with lessons at other times in the day.
And best of all, when I am home, I get to…
- See my Sweet Man come home in the evenings and feel oh-so-grateful he loves to kick a ball with them and teach them swimming three times a week sometimes.
- Know my children deeply, know where they are, and that gives me tremendous peace.
Jin Ai traded refugee work for diapers, dishes and homeschooling. She blogs about parenting, home education and life as mom to four kids (one baking) at Mama Hear Me Roar.