The Adventures of Anastasiya Didok

Life and faith in a nutshell.

Category: Marriage and Family

Response to the blogger who looks down on stay at home moms controversy

This is what I woke up to this lovely morning on my day off: some blogger somewhere basically said she looks down on stay-at-home moms because anyone can get married and have a child, and women should also get showers for promotions and taking trips around the world. Of course there are a million posts right now responding to her article, (as Matt Walsh pointed out, making her richer by the minute because of all the traffic going to her page). Even Fox news picked up the story! So I couldn’t resist also putting my two cents in.

To tell the truth, I am somewhat surprised that her post got SO much attention. This type of attitude is actually pretty common among single working women, although maybe not always spoken out loud or written down. To be completely honest, I had the same exact attitude before I got married, so I know that she is simply writing this out of ignorance (although she would disagree). Now that I’m a working mommy, I know the truth, of course.

To be a stay-at-home mom is difficult, brave, and daunting. When you get a promotion or take a trip around the world you’ve accomplished what a lot of stay-at-home moms only dream about: fulfilling their OWN desires and having the funds to do so. As some savvy commenters wisely pointed out, staying at home is a risk: you have to rely on your husband for income, you automatically cut your family’s income in half, and you really don’t get a break.

We are not in a position right now for me to stay at home, but we are working and strategizing towards that position. While I still wish to stay at home, it is purely out of the instinctual knowledge that it is better for my husband and child. When I did stay at home full-time during my maternity leave, I was depressed and saw no end to the tunnel because it was so emotionally draining! I returned to work and felt a bit more like myself again. That’s the thing about staying at home: you completely lose your SELF. Your focus shifts outside: I need to change the baby. I need to entertain the baby. I need to pump/feed the baby. My husband will probably want to come home to a clean house. I need to cook something for him to eat when he gets there. I need to show compassion for his difficult day at work. It all gets even more difficult because since you stayed home, even though you worked really hard as well, no such compassion will be allotted to you. In addition, you are constantly tormented by thoughts of being a bad wife/mother because you are not holding your baby 24/7 or being the sweetest self to your spouse when he gets home from work (because you are exhausted after a day of laundry, dusting, cleaning, putting things away, holding your child, cooking…).

Right now my mother-in-law is watching our child (bless her heart). I come home eager to hold him because I’ve missed him. There is normally already some sort of food for me to eat, since my husband gets home two hours earlier so either he will get some or MIL will cook. The house is typically spotless because she is nice and knows I’d like to come home to a clean house. And everyone is compassionate because I get back so late from work. Is my job stressful? Sure it is. But it is a desk job where I get to think creatively AND analytically, solve problems, and get patted on the back for doing so efficiently. Oh, and I also get a lovely paycheck twice a month that allows us plenty of wiggle room to pay off debt, take a vacation, or shop for new clothes. Stay-at-home moms do not typically get such luxury.

So there. Hats off to all the moms staying at home. The author of the blog does not know what she is talking about, but her point of view isn’t actually that shocking because from the early age our media creates this alluring image of a self-sufficient woman. That’s what I wanted to be growing up, although my instincts said otherwise, and I worked REALLY hard fighting against them until I started attending Mars Hill church and heard some sermons on women’s roles. That was the first time I heard that what I am feeling deep down inside is actually normal, structured that way by our Creator. I am positive that a lot of stay-at-home mommies today, in addition to the challenges of staying at home listed above, also are experiencing an identity crisis and feel torn between being  what society calls a “successful” career woman and dedicating her life to her children. I want to emphasize that you were created to be able to endure the never-ending boring daunting routines of the home. Your husband was created to make it in the business world. Although it is emotionally easier right now to work  full-time, I feel a little displaced. When I come home I don’t feel like I’m in charge. It is not fully MINE.

I do not believe what the blogger is saying is correct. But I do not believe it’s right to be bashing the blogger for saying what the media has been brainwashing us to think for at least a generation.

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Thankful for my in-laws

So for Thanksgiving I was planning on writing a post about how thankful I am for each individual family member that I have. Instead we hosted a dinner party for 16. Therefore I am writing about this now. Please forgive my being off schedule with the thankfulness.

I grew up as an only child and suddenly God has placed me in a giant family through marriage. My husband is the oldest of 7. Talk about opposites attract… When I was little I prayed for a sibling. I prayed until I was 13 and realized I’d have to be more of a babysitter than a sibling at that point. Years later, God has blessed me with an opportunity to feel what it’s like to have the siblings I so longed for when I was younger. Each person in my family has made some impact on my life in the past year and a half, and I wanted to tell them in writing that I appreciate them. We’ll go from youngest to oldest in order.

My youngest sister-in-law:
You are a contradiction of characters all put together in one person. But your sweetness and sincerity can sweep anyone off their feet. I’m honored that you have chosen me as your confidant on several occasions for difficult conversations. I have great memories from the few times we hung out and had “sister dates.” I want you to know that I’m always super excited about major events in your life and will be there for you as much or as little as you need me.

My newest brother-in-law:
You are awesome and we are so glad that our little sister married you and not some idiot. You have a wonderful sense of humor and a good head on your shoulders. You’ve definitely added flavor to our already colorful bunch. I just hope that uno hasn’t ruined it all for everyone 🙂

My second youngest brother-in-law:
Your positivity and easygoing attitude are a rare find. You are hilarious and trustworthy. You have integrity and drive. I just KNOW that God is going to use you as an instrument for great things and influencing many many people. I am honored to be related to you and always happy to see you hanging out at our house when I come home.

My third youngest brother-in-law:
Man you’ve been MIA from our lives but it’s always good to see you on those rare occasions that you do show up. We miss you. You were the first one in the family to show me unconditional acceptance and I feel like I can relate to you more than anyone else even though I’ve gotten to know you less than anyone else. Please know that our house is always open for you. Ok, maybe not like at 6:00a.m. on a weekend… But otherwise.

My fourth youngest brother-in-law:
You are something else. You have that personality that collects people around you and organizes social activities. If it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t have football nights and wouldn’t have bonded even more in the past few months! Also, your willingness to always lend your help is greatly appreciated. It feels good to have reliable family in case something goes wrong!

My older sister-in-law:
Before we took that trip to hot springs with our little ones I was afraid to open up to you, but wanted to. Our conversations have been such an inspiration, and such a blessing for me. I felt isolated in the first year of my marriage and after talking to you that time I started feeling more connected. Every time we talk I feel like I can open up more and more and I really appreciate that. I truly hope that together we can influence our family and get something going at our church. I appreciate you like you can’t even imagine!

My oldest brother-in-law:
You were the last one I noticed and the most fascinating to get to know. If I had to choose one word to describe you, it would be “depth.” Your attention to emotions of people around blows me away. I am proud of you for making some difficult decisions last year and for sticking with it. If you ever move, you will actually be someone I miss.

Mom:
I am so blessed to have you as my mother in law. Your sacrifices and helpfulness are sweet, although admittedly often overboard. But it would be a foolish person that doesn’t notice the kindness of the heart that you take care of people with. I am blessed to have you watching my baby boy. I can trust that he is in good, loving, hands. I also would like to admit that you are a way better homemaker than I ever could be, and I am learning a lot from you when it comes to hanging things, folding things, and stacking things. I love you very much and feel extremely blessed to have you as my new mom.

Dad:
It is so good when you take the time to sit with us in the livingroom. Lately you’ve been doing more of that, and it feels great. You are a great theologian and a wise, acute man. I feel honored that you approved of me marrying your oldest son and always appreciate your words of encouragement.

My parents and my husband:
Please don’t feel left out. I could probably write an entire blog about all the things I appreciate about you guys! You are more dear to me than anyone else in the world and deserve separate articles that I’m sure I will be inspired to write in the future!

Submission and Respect

I am currently reading a book “Love and Respect” by Emerson Eggerich. So far I am not particularly enjoying the book, because in my opinion Eggerich is not as funny as he attempts to come off, and he has a tendency to overkill the point, going on for chapters and chapter about something that could be summarized in one sentence. Despite my dislike of his writing style, I do agree with his point, which is that wives are to respect their husbands.

God revealed to me a cycle of respect while I was talking about it on a trip with my sister-in-law. Before that trip, I had a solid understanding that I needed to respect and submit to my husband, even in the tiniest, most seemingly insignificant requests, but this was my “aha” moment as to why. And it wasn’t Eggerich’s “because that will help him love me like Christ loves the Church” take. Neither was it “because God says so,” although that should have been enough. It was this: a man who is given his wife’s respect through submission, despite perhaps being undeserving of it in her eyes, will eventually rise up to be a man deserving of everyone’s respect.  Here is how it works in practice:

God leads the family through the husband. This is something that us christian women agree with in theory. When it comes to practice though, it gets interesting. After getting married, I was shocked to find out that actions that I knew were truly wise (as opposed to wise in my own eyes, because there were plenty of those as well, but that’s not what I’m talking about here), no longer applied in cases where my husband happened to have a different opinion. Even if all logic and experience pointed to him being wrong, the end result would always prove him right! It worked to the point of absurdity. My husband checks in on our finances once a month or so to gain perspective and set direction. I, on the other hand, am constantly on Mint.com, categorizing every transaction from every account, every single day. In a recent discussion about how to pay for our hospital bills, my husband claimed that one of our low-interest credit cards has a limit of a certain random amount. I KNEW that the limit was lower, and frantically corrected him, being annoyed that he didn’t remember the correct limit and was not as panicky as I about paying all of our bills. I checked on that limit just hours before. I knew that limit was lower. I knew we couldn’t count on that credit to pay for the large hospital bills. All he responded with was “Really? Weird. I thought it was higher,” and restated what he thought the limit is. The next day I went to pay the bills and to my utter astonishment discovered that the bank has increased our credit limit on that card. Yup, you guessed it. Exactly to the random amount that my husband claimed the limit was! (And no, he didn’t know, and hasn’t checked on it before our conversation).

I don’t know why or how it works, but the point is, it does, and the faster wives get on board with God’s plan for the family, the better off and easier their lives will become! When we first got married, my husband has kindly informed me that he has a problem with most of my clothes. Of course, being 26, and having a very carefully constructed and quite pricey wardrobe, I was not exactly ecstatic to hear that, especially from someone whose style staple, for the most part, has been sweats.  Nevertheless, I stepped over my fashion convictions, pulled out everything I owned, went through it piece by piece, and promptly took everything he disliked to Goodwill. Then I told him I had nothing to wear. And I was not joking. The “obedience purge” resulted in a trip to the mall, initiated by my husband, during which I found out that the sweats guy actually has quite a sophisticated sense of style. Turns out he hasn’t shopped for himself in ages because he has been concentrating on giving pretty much everything he made to his family. I could have stood my ground, as I am still convinced that there was nothing wrong with my clothes, and that perhaps my husband was just testing his stance as the leader of the family. However, my submission has resulted in the following: 1. I found out that my husband has a wonderful taste in clothing — something I would have never known have I insisted to keep all my clothes. 2. I found out that my husband has a sacrificial heart and is willing to give up everything for family. 3. Knowing that solidified my trust in his leadership. 4. My obedience solidified his trust in me. 5. Because he knows that I will submit to his leadership, my husband is more likely to make wise decisions in the future. 6. I got a brand new wardrobe.

I know a few wives who have been fighting their husbands on small issues for decades! The fights ate away at the closeness and peace in the home, making husbands withdrawn, and wives longing for love. In the beginning of the marriage, new husbands are likely to perform “tests” like the wardrobe one above. Unfortunately, many wives utterly fail. Devout in their convictions, whether about mothering, setting the standards of righteous appearance, or something else, they trample their husbands opinions, and with that, many chances for the husband to grow into the man who God intended him to be. It is important for a man to know that his wife is behind him on any decision that he makes. That forces him to think twice about his actions and decisions, and consider whether or not they are foolish. If through his “tests” he figures out that his opinion does not matter, and that no matter what he says, the wife will do her own thing, he will have no motivation to become wiser or think about the consequences of his actions. The wife will have her own way in the immediate, but lose out in the long run, wondering all along why her husband is not as respectable and loving as she would like him to be.

Back To Work

It’s day 4 of being back to work full time and I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised. I expected to be absolutely miserable being away from my baby, but so far I am far from it. Do I miss him? Yes. But is it unbearable to the point that I am depressed or want to cry? Not even close. I think that a huge contributing factor to that are prayers of support of my church and my family. Another must be that I’m blessed to have a job that I love.

I am a property manager, which means that every day I get to interact with a bunch of people and help them in resolving all sorts of different issues. It’s a kind of job that is perfect for my nonexistent attention span, because every day I am faced with thirty or so different tasks which all require fifteen minutes at most to complete. My to-do list goes on for pages and pages, but I also leave home every day with a feeling of accomplishment because I can get a page or two worth of items crossed out in a single work day! No day is ever the same, which keeps me entertained. Needless to say, there is plenty to keep my mind away from missing my baby boy.

I also find that the time that I do spend at home with my baby now is much better quality than before. While staying at home, I got sidetracked by running the household and noticed myself rarely going to him for things other than a diaper change or feeding. I may be judged for it, but I will say it: after fifteen or so diaper changes in a day, you want to hand the baby over to whoever walks through the door next. Now when I come home, I run to hold my son, change his diaper, sit down, calm down, and actually talk to him. I have also noticed that my energy level increased, although I get less sleep. The feeling of being “trapped” at home drained me. I am astonished to come home now and have more energy to go somewhere or work out than I did while staying home all day and sleeping in!

Is this an ideal situation? No. If we had the financial resources for me to stay at home, I would do it in a heartbeat! But unfortunately with Obamacare requirement for insurance, my husbands salary isn’t even close to covering premiums for me and baby. I have been assigned to my current property for a short period of time, after which point I get to decide whether I want to stay on full-time or go to part-time. At this point, the money from a full-time position is extremely helpful to paying off medical bills from delivering our little bundle of joy. But later on I will likely switch to part time. For now, I am looking at the bright side of things, enjoying adult interaction, and spending as much quality time as possible with my son.

Facebook Fast

I haven’t written in a while because in my mind I have created an insurmountable barrier of wanting to catch everyone up on a year worth of events before I continue. But as time passes by, it becomes a bigger and bigger barrier, so I’m just going to start from right now, and hopefully continue!

Since giving birth to our son, I have been drifting in and out of hopelessness and depression while staying at home and healing postpartum. My husband complained that I am always in my own world, spacing out and losing myself in thought. I felt guilty that I am not spending every awake moment talking and playing with my baby boy. And I was forever glued to my I-phone, checking on the updates of the world that understood what I was going through — the endless cloth diapering and new mama blog pages on Facebook.

Last week the Lord called me to take a Facebook fast, and an amazing thing happened. I felt more present. I WAS more present. And my depression lifted for almost the entire time. I was planning on making it a week, but my husband kindly requested that I extend it for another six days after I was done. “I want you to be happy for my birthday,” he said. Here is what happened during the fast:

* I read a book and shared the story with my husband. Now, instead of contemplating about the different varieties of cloth diapers in the privacy of my mind (oh yes, there are many!), I could discuss my thoughts with him, and hold an intelligent conversation. (Really, you couldn’t blame the man for not wanting to listen for the thousandth time about things that catch poop!)

* I realized that it’s probably not my calling to write a parenting/mommy blog and spend time promoting it on Facebook. For some reason that realization actually inspired me to write! Stress free and no strings attached, simply for the sheer pleasure of writing that I seem to have forgotten about.

*I got a lot more done around the house. It’s amazing how much time I spent browsing updates that were coming way too slow to keep me entertained.

After a week and a half of the Facebook fast I feel a lot more connected and centered. Today I finally went back on, and spend a day cleaning up my page, and un-liking hundreds of pages that wasted my valuable time. For now I feel that I should limit my time for checking things to once a day for the next few months. Who would’ve thought that Facebook is such a large contributor to feeling blue?