On the assumption that a mother wants to stay home with her children because she thinks it’s the best thing for them, the “at home” part can’t be overlooked. (I don’t mean to state the obvious, but….)
And there are practical reasons why.
I’ve been thinking about those reasons, per a conversation I had with a woman recently who admitted that too many outside activities were having adverse effects on her children.
My top reasons to stay home as much as possible:
- There is no order in absence. Again, seems obvious, but until we grasp the importance of this simple, one-of-our-many job descriptions, we may not see the problem with too many outside activities. Keeping even a minimal amount of order and structure to a lived-in home is an on-going job in need of a physical presence.
- Outside activities means deadlines. Deadlines with children means “grumpy Mom”. ’Nough said.
- Meal planning gets the oust. The planning of meals, frugality in the kitchen and a thought to nutrition requires a significant amount of time. Without it, we resort to carry-outs, fast food and convenience food.
- It’s cheaper. Gas money for outings, snacks and lunches bought while finding yourself out and hungry, and the temptation to shop are all tangible reasons to cut back on going out. Don’t believe me? Dare yourself to keep a detailed tally of small expenses during your outings. You may be shocked!
- Children need steady routine. If there were no other reasons, I believe this one is enough. There is just a universal truth, though I can’t point to statistics, that children thrive in a steady environment. They need a regular rhythm to their day. There is safety in the expected, and though life certainly throws us surprises, we can do what we can to provide a safe, flourishing place for them to grow.
- Mom gets distracted. Only when a mother understands the weight of her job does she fully understand the need to be focused, ready and available for the task. Being at home better equips her for it.
Of course there are outings and activities we can’t avoid, and there are good things to do outside the home. But I am constantly challenged to take a hard look at our daily happenings, try to balance our time and rule out activities that are causing us to be stifled instead of helping our growth.
I had met a mom once at a homeschooling fair who was very exuberant and yet expressed her feeling of always being behind, unable to keep the house in order and mentioned several discipline issues with her children that she “just didn’t understand.” I was astonished (tempted to be jealous) of all the exciting field trips and educational opportunities she gave to her kids. They had been to some event every day of that week–concerts, museums, demonstrations, music lessons, etc.
And while I felt a bit inept that we weren’t able to participate in so many activities, it soon became apparent that what she was losing in the harried process was not worth the gain.
There are plenty of distractions right here in our homes to keep us from staying the course. May you be encouraged to make your home a constant, well-running incubator.