My passionate dream of being a stay-at-home mom grew almost subconsciously out of my admiration for my mother. She was the ultimate homemaker. And still is, for that matter, with a homeschooled teenager and pre-teen still under her roof!
During my entire childhood, until I left home for college, my family lived as missionaries in a small town in West Africa. While our life seemed pampered compared to the lives of families around us, that didn't mitigate the fact that running a home on the edge of the Sahara desert was a formidable challenge for my mother. My parents arrived in Africa in the late '80s with a toddler (me) and three younger children in diapers. Cloth diapers were not the option that was best for the environment and the budget. They were the only option.
Over the years, my mom homeschooled eight children and ran a beautiful, warm, hospitable home. She made from scratch all the food we ate: our bread, muffins, yogurt, even lasagna noodles, cheesecake, and her own homemade version of Rice-A-Roni! During the dry season we often only had running water from about 1:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. Mom would get up to do a load of laundry and fill up tubs, jugs, and other containers for use throughout the day. And the homeschooling is another story altogether!
With all that, she still made the effort to do special things, like decorating cake and making ice cream for each birthday. She'd stay up late the night before to hang streamers and balloons, knowing how excited we'd be to wake up to a party in the morning.
This was and is my mother. She has been my inspiration and I've always wanted to be just like her: so strong, so dedicated, so talented. I once thought that the only way to do this was to live the lifestyle she lived. I have just begun to realize that I can develop the same qualities even though the Lord has not allowed me to stay at home. I can still be strong and dedicated, but in different way. I can still develop talents that will help me better care for my family. I'm embracing my own challenge now, thankful for my mom's example, and knowing the Lord is giving me grace to live the life he has given me to live.