The 30,000-foot view for a stay at home mom
Have you ever heard anyone talk about taking the 30,000-foot view on something? This is something important, I believe, for you to do as a stay at home mom. Especially if you struggle to see your value daily.
I had a really unique opportunity to somewhat literally (and figuratively) do that today, about 3,000 feet up (or so I’m told). As soon as I got home and un-matted my hair, I knew I needed to share some thoughts with you ASAP.
Military life has its ups and downs; its peaks and valleys. Today was a highlight day, riding on an HH-60 Pavehawk (basically, think Blackhawk Down). I didn’t expect the thoughts that came rushing to my head after an almost pity party.
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Life before kids…
Life before becoming a stay at home mom is something with which I wrestle often. It’s like a ghost that haunts me in my dreams and through certain unexpected sights or smells. I know there’s no way to reconcile my family’s need to have me as a stay at home mom with my would-have-been military career. I made a hard choice, the right choice, the choice to which God called me.
I’d choose my kids a million times over the life I left. Still, I’ve never felt more “in the flow” than I did as an aircraft mechanic. It was where I, as a person, “just fit.” I can’t even explain it. Have you ever had that feeling? Once you taste that it’s hard not to want it again.
My husband is a Special Missions Aviator, part of a Combat Search and Rescue team. Every few years, spouses get to take a ride on the helicopter in appreciation for their sacrifices in support of the mission. This also gives them a better understanding of what their spouses do at work.
When I buckled in, I surveyed the familiar sights of the flight line. I heard the whirring sound of the hydraulic pumps and their conspicuous smell as I buckled in. Right then, and again as I type this, I fought back tears, trying to ignore the giant lump in my throat. It’s incredible how some memories can feel as though you’re still in them, but can’t quite get to them at the same time.
Then the pity party almost started
As we climbed, seeing beautiful mountain views with the exhilarating wind in my hair, I thought, “I can’t believe he gets to do this several times a week. This is so unfair…” Then I thought about how dangerous his job could be and how much closer I sometimes am with our kids. I never miss a milestone or moment. He misses months upon months at a time. Stay at home mom life has some real perks!
Seconds later, we flew over our house. There it was, raised garden bed and all. I was seeing the setting of my daily life from a “30,000-foot view,” or kind of anyway… It looked so very different from up there. The planes and cars resembled the Matchbox toys I fiddle with at the Pre-k Sunday School class.
While my husband is given awards and recognition for his work, staying at home with kids has little day to day encouragement. There is no award for “Mom of the Quarter,” “1-year accident-free,” etc… type of recognition. It sounds silly to even imagine such a thing… But at the same time, hearing, “Good job” once in a while goes a long way, right? Hold onto that thought, because we’re coming back to it.
The perspective shift we need
We live in Las Vegas. It’s a dry, mountainous area; a really rough terrain. There are little pockets of life and greenery here and there. Then, there’s the Colorado River running right through it all to the Hoover Dam; a giant sapphire gem surrounded by barrenness. Seeing it now from this overhead view gave me a whole new appreciation for the area in which I live my day-to-day life.
For example, I didn’t realize that there was incredibly large and lush golf course near my house. I’ve driven past it many times, only seeing a gate guard and rows of privacy trees. I’d forever thought this was just a small cluster of homes with a high water bill! We think we know what’s going on around us each day, but really…
At that moment, I started to take the 30,000 view of both my husband’s life and mine.
Recognizing important work as a stay at home mom
There’s work in which anyone can observe immediate importance. My husband’s job for example… Their motto is “These things we do that other’s may live.” They put their lives on the line regularly for a season of their lives. There’s no denying it’s importance. They can see it, I can see it, anyone immediately recognizes that. Their work doesn’t last a lifetime, but they impact others for a lifetime. I guess maybe he deserves a few helicopter rides here and there (honestly they’re difficult rides though anyway)! 😬
But here’s what I realized… we stay at home moms are doing the same thing in a sense. Most of us aren’t risking life and limb, aside from some violence from a child with special needs or a sippy cup occasionally thrown at our heads… yet our “work” still impacts people’s for a lifetime. We get moments with our children which our husbands will never have. Not ever. No one else will have your hard moments with your kids, but they also won’t have the ones that just squeeze your heart almost to death with joy.
We may think we see what’s going on around us, what’s on the other side of the fences and walls we all build. However, until you take a 30,000-foot view, you’re really just guessing.
As a stay at home mom, we’re laying down our lives a little bit each day for something eternal. When you take the 30,000-foot view, our lives will have been about laying them down for others.
Picking up our cross daily
Question is: do we do it in Jesus’ name? Or in our own name, looking for constant appreciation and affirmation from others?
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
When we lay down our lives for other’s in Jesus’ name, we follow in His footsteps. The only recognition that will ever truly matter is when we hear, “Well done good and faithful servant” once we take the permanent 30,000-foot view over our lives. THAT’S our recognition that really matters. It’s the only “Good job” that holds value eternally.
We can try to do this in our own strength, or we can go to the river of Living Water in our sometimes desert of a life. We can count on the pockets of water and life as we encounter them in the desert to survive… Or we can live by the river, deciding to go there each day to be refreshed and thrive.
Finding our purpose as a stay at home mom
This has been a hot topic for me, personally, lately. Many days I feel like I was made for military life and will always miss it, yet still, I knew I was called to give it up. I know I was definitely called to Special Needs “momming” and homeschooling. However, I also feel called to a few other things as well. What is my purpose in life?!
So often I feel like my purpose is passing me by and I’ll be too late for it all (if I ever figured it out)! This month I had several encounters with people talking about having multiple purposes – dependent upon the season of life, not one sole purpose. As well as the fact that all our mini-purposes are actually for the real main purpose: Jesus.
I may not know for sure what my future holds professionally, but I do know that God had a purpose for each day of my past, a purpose for my today, and for each of my days still to come. I just need to go to Him each day and ask, “What is my purpose for today?”
When the pieces click
Like a jigsaw puzzle dumped on the table, it can be hard to see the finished picture while you sort out the edges & corners, and group them together bit by bit. Our puzzles will be beautiful when they’re finished and we see how all those pieces actually fit. Try not to force pieces where they don’t fit. It changes the picture and damages the pieces. But if you do, just keep looking for the right spot, it’s not stuck there.
What’s more, each of our puzzles is a piece within a larger one. We are one beautiful piece of the puzzle of all of humanity and the salvation story that started way back in the garden. Could you imagine seeing that giant puzzle missing just that one piece because you gave up? Just you and your life, stay at home mom and all, missing?! You are where you belong, and you have a purpose that is affecting all of eternity.
On the days you feel frustrated with your life as a stay at home mom, please be encouraged! Take a 30,000-foot view of your life. Imagine the hearing the only praise that matters. Picture God placing the finished puzzle of your life into the giant puzzle to which we all belong.
Your Turn: We didn’t all have the choice to stay home. Did you choose this, or did it choose you?
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