When I had a horde of small children, I heard comments that I was "just" a stay at home mom.

Now that I'm mom to children ages 8-18, I'm still "just" a stay at home mom.

I JUST ...

... meet my children's needs - and many of their wants - twenty four hours a day.
... put aside some of my wants and needs in order to meet those of my children.
... clean the house over and over again in a day. Some days it looks greatly improved by the end of the day. Other days, it looks exactly the same as it did when the day began. Yet others, I choose fun or rest after so much cleaning. The mess will still be there in the morning.
... schedule and take children and myself to doctor appointments, including their primary care doctor, eye doctor, specialists for those who need them, and the dentist. 
... take responsibility for much of their learning and knowledge gathering.
... listen to stories that make absolutely no sense and never seem to end, and do it with excitement and joy.
... do the majority of the grocery shopping, clothes shopping, household shopping, and any other kind of shopping.
... deal with our family's finances, including figuring out ways to save as much money as possible.
... deal with hormones and mood swings and people not wanting to do what they're supposed to ... myself included.
... set an example for my children in all I do. 
... schedule outings, volunteer and learning opportunities, vacations, meetings, family get-togethers, and more. 
...cook meals and help the children learn to cook.
... answer approximately 3827 questions a day. 
... research medical, developmental, and mental conditions and how to treat them and their symptoms and how to best support my children (and myself) through them.
... get up in the middle of the night to deal with sick children, sleepwalkers, existential crises, or my own insomnia.
... provide first aid for everything from a concussion to an invisible, yet very painful and serious cut on a finger.
... help make Halloween costumes, theater costumes, Christmas decorations, and the like. 
... procure birthday and holiday gifts, wrap them, hide them, and try not to forget where I put them.
... volunteer a lot of my time doing things that feed my spirit, so that I don't get completely burned out taking care of everyone else all the time.

I probably do much more, but I've been interrupted seventeen times trying to write this one list.  

Just because my children are no longer toddlers, it doesn't mean that they need my presence any less - they just need it in a different way.

Just because my children are fairly self-sufficient, it doesn't mean they don't need my guidance any less - they just need guidance navigating more mature issues.

Just because my children don't need my constant care and require less of my time doesn't mean I have a ton of free time on my hands. It means I have more time to be involved in church, community, and educational pursuits so that I may better serve others.

So yes, I'm just a stay at home mom, and all the wonder, hard word, and chaos that entails!


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