A daily question I find myself asking is “Fold the laundry or hold the baby?”; to fold or hold is my constant struggle. As a stay at home wife and mother my job is keeping the 900 sq/ft apartment neat and tidy (which really shouldn’t be that hard considering it’s size), yet there always seems to be a mess. I feel like a slight failure when clutter exists, since my primary duty as a housewife is to maintain the living space. However the other day I had a moment that changed my perspective of my primary role at home, a humble lesson that I won’t forget.
As I was holding Ezra and rocking him to sleep, I couldn’t help think “hurry up, fall asleep so I can put you down and sweep the floor”. After repeating this in my head a few times I paused as shame swept over me; I realized that I was putting housewife ahead of being a stay at home mom. I was too consumed with cleaning and not cherishing the life moment I was having with my son. Immediately my mindset changed and instead of stressing over a mess, I walked over to the couch, placed him in a snuggly position on my chest and just relaxed with him. He fell asleep and we cuddled until Clay got home from work a few minutes later (and subsequently woke him up because he wanted to cuddle him (and of course Ezra wouldn’t fall back asleep for his nap)). I was upset with myself for nearly throwing away an irredeemable moment for a broom and dustpan.
The clutter, mess and laundry will always exist. There will always be something to clean, organize, put away or fold. But Ezra will not always be small enough to lay on my chest as he sleeps, he won’t always be here for me to spend time with, he won’t always be the only child in our home. Rather than wishing away special moments so I can clean are the moments I can cherish now so that one day I can reminisce about with fondness.
I will always be a housewife, but being a stay at home mom is temporary. Both titles are important to me and to my family, however they are not synonymous, nor should I think they are. Being a stay at home mom is far more complex, draining, exciting, scary, and cherishable. In 30 years I will not be sitting next to Clay saying “Remember that one time I swept the floor and washed the laundry?”. Those moments can be replaced with moments of our son, the time we spent with him, the stories we read, the naps we took together, and the dance parties in the living room. I will never again intentionally choose housework over my child. To fold or hold will never again be given a second thought. I will choose to hold my son so that later I can hold onto those memories.