I’m (Still) Wasting My Life

I’m taking a break from my Desperate Motherhood series to admit something to the little world that reads my blog.

I love being a woman.

You see, I graduated high school in the early 70’s when roaring women declared, “I am strong, I am invincible. I am WOMAN!” One commercial sang of bringing home the bacon, fryin’ it up in the pan but also never letting you forget you’re a man. The American Feminist movement did some really good things. But I’m not the only woman (young at the time) who was tempted to subtly apologize that I wanted to be married and have babies rather than necessarily divide my heart and time to climb the corporate ladder.

My last full time job taught me that my choices weren’t going to be applauded by all. When I turned down a promotion to dry heave over my own toilet with pregnancy nausea rather than the one at the office, my supervisor pulled me aside. She questioned my decision and emphasized the significance of the company President offering me this promotion. She mildly chastised me for working hard during my time with the company, only to bail when a great opportunity came up. I have reviewed her final question repeatedly over the years:

“Do you really want to waste your talents being a stay-at-home mom? I think you’re gonna regret this.”

I respected her. She had made an investment into me and was now facing me getting a promotion she wanted. I was embarrassed for her and self-concious about my decision. Benny and I had discussed this at length and after five years of infertility I just wanted to stay home with my baby. I just knew it wouldn’t be a waste I would later regret.

Until I did it.

Over the past nearly 35 years I have wondered on more than a few occasions if wiping bottoms and sucking snot out of noses with that horrendous syringe and playing three hundred rounds of CandyLand and gashing my feet with left-behind legos and scarfing down pbnj crusts for lunch was wasting my “talents.” Yeah, I wrote a couple of books along the way and spoke to women about loving God and family. But I’ve spent the majority of 3 1/2 decades cleaning and cooking and refereeing and — I admit it — counting the minutes till nap or bedtime. I’ve watched my peers make enough money to get tucked and have personal trainers and drive cool cars while I’ve fought discouragement over having to buy a size bigger and try for the umpteenth time to start exercising and cut on groceries to make sure gas money for the minivan would last till Benny’s next paycheck.

I look at myself and see the battle scars. I’m chubbier than I’d like to be. (But, hey, I’ve lost probably 150 pounds in the past 10 years…well…losing and gaining here and there.) My aging body freaks me out sometimes when the mirror reflection reminds me I’m not young and trim anymore. I’m covering my gray to protect some allusion of youthfulness and try not to embarrass my kids with what I wear.

But I honestly have no regrets. None.

I don’t regret turning down that promotion to waste my life. I wasted it rocking sleeping babies until the warmth and calm of snuggling a newborn made me have to put them down before I nodded off and dropped them. Rejoicing over teeth coming in and then being yanked out years later. Reaching for chubby outstretched arms that longed for Mommy’s embrace. Fulfilling my desire to be a teacher my cuddling on the couch teaching seven people how to read. (Okay, Jaime, I know you take credit for teaching Jake.) Cutting out paper dolls; making ponytails and braids; shopping for wedding dresses; and watching Benny give our little girls away. Being hugged by teen boys who weren’t embarrassed to show Mom affection when they’re friends were around.  Packing snacks and driving all over Northern Virginia and Central Florida to cheer at hundreds of basketball games. And watching my children become Mommy and Daddy to adorable little ones with whom they’ll waste their lives.

Stay-at-home moms don’t have the market on motherhood. Working moms can waste your life doing all the same things, plus battle the guilt of wondering if you’re doing enough. I’m a working mom these days and even today I had to turn down helping a friend decorate for her daughter’s wedding because some last minute work responsibilities called my name.

I’m sitting here fighting tears because I miss wasting my life with little ones. But gratefully, when they leave home to wed the love of their life they reproduce, and I recently bought an entire trash bag full of Polly Pockets at a yard sale so little girls could trash my playroom with hundreds of tiny shoes and dolls and clothes.

Me and My People on Easter Sunday.

Me and My People on Easter Sunday.

I’m still wasting my life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

P.S. This is day four of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. 

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26 thoughts on “I’m (Still) Wasting My Life

  1. I love this post! I made the same decision 6 years ago and I have never once regretted it. Being a stay-at-home-mom is the hardest and most rewarding job I have ever done. I am so very grateful to God and my husband for making it possible for me to raise our children full-time. What a blessing!

    • Being in the thick of motherhood is the best thick to be in, right? 🙂 Thanks so much for visiting. I hope you’ll come back! Did you find me on UTC? What’s your website?

      • I can’t remember which blog I found you on. It was in a post from either Generous Wife, Romantic Vinyard, or To Love, Honor, and Vacuum. I have 8 kids 7-22 and would love to have a picture like yours someday. But I don’t have a website.

  2. I admire mothers – women who selflessly sacrifice for the children they love. I’ve made the decision a while ago, and feel more sure about it every day, that I won’t have kids. My reasons are selfish. I have no doubt that I’ll be a good mother, but it is not something I want to be. And I also don’t think you (or I) have to justify any decision we make to anyone – we just need to be happy with our choices, and you are, so “wasting” really is a subjective term.
    🙂

    • The fact that you admire those who live a life you have deliberately not chosen is terrific. And being able to define your decision as selfish is all the more impressive. Your self-knowledge is compelling, Thanks for visiting!

  3. Dear Fellow Life Waster, I love you for encouraging so many mommies (and daddies). Not one moment of time with those children is really wasted or regretted. How great a gift to be with them full-time. I wonder how moms who work out of the house do it. They are amazing, too. My nightmare is that I would have to go back to the work force. It makes me wake up screaming. I admire your talents and response to the calling to head back there. Love your blog.

    • The great news for me is that I can work from home and yet have gotten to know many devoted, loving mothers in the workplace who sacrifice for their kids daily. I love your blog, too!

  4. This reminds me of a book I just read, “The Power of Starting Something Stupid” – the author was reclaiming the word ‘stupid’, because what may seem like a stupid choice on the outside, isn’t always so stupid in the end. Your post on the wasted life reminds me of that.

    The only truly wasted life is the one you choose to live for reasons you later regret.

    • Is it possible to delete my previous post? There’s no need for me to have posted that. If I’m not willing to admit that to people who know me, I have no business being passive-aggressive and putting it on here.

      • I will be happy to delete your post, Kathy. But I think your struggles are shared by many moms who don’t have the courage to admit it — especially in the midst of the challenges and demands. Thanks for visiting and commenting. I pray you’ll have the courage to open up to those close to you and that you’ll receive compassion and understanding.

    • I don’t think I really knew what I was getting myself into! 🙂 But God has been so good to me and I’m humbled by His blessings, even through the struggles. Thanks for visiting and for your kind words.

  5. Great post! I think we all go through this from time to time. Even when we love being a stay-at-home-mom, there are times when it gets to us, and times when consider “what might have been.” But in the end, I wouldn’t give up the rewards for anything.

  6. Being on the other side of motherhood (my kids are not young adults although still home), I SO wish I had made the decision to stay home and be with them during their growing up years. I did what I could, but now a days I look back and feel like it all went SO fast! Most of all, I don’t think I took the time to enjoy things as they were occurring. *sigh* Kudos to you for following your heart – which is definitely no waste of time!

    • How humble of you to admit your regrets. I think we women so often defend our decisions rather than soberly acknowledge when we may have missed it. Honestly, we all live with regrets. You obviously have a loving heart toward your kids and I’m sure your awareness of your desire to maximize your time with them is having a good affect. Isn’t it good to know that it’s never too late to make changes that can make a real difference? I stayed home with my kids, but I can still look back and see things I need to improve on in my relationship with them. Thanks so much for visiting and commenting. Many blessings to you and your family!

  7. Loved today’s blog Sheree! I waited over 20 years to “waste” my life taking care of a little one and I would do it all over again. I worked fulltime for awhile and spent many days crying on the way to work because I wouldn’t see my baby for 9 hours. I realize how fast she’s growing up and know that the time spent with her everyday is time. well-wasted”.

    • Well wasted. 🙂 That song came up between Jake and me today. Tomorrow’s blog is about it. So grateful that you’re getting to waste time with your girl. She has some serious shoes to fill in becoming like her mommy. Thanks for staying connected through the blog. I pray you’re doing well with your injury!

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