Today I gained an understanding and appreciation for the stay home mom in a way I heretofore had no perspective. I was ignorant. Although I had plenty of time to get ready for my first appointment, I found myself rushing to get out the door on time because so much of what occurs in my life happens at the hands of my mother. For all intents and purposes, I have a “wife.” I moved my mother into my home in 2007 when I traveled domestically and internationally about three weeks in every month and I wanted to ensure my then 8 year old son had proper care. Thus, after awakening to an empty house given my son is off to spend three weeks with his father in another city and my mother has elected to visit a sick cousin for a while, I found myself rushing. As I attempted to leave for my first appointment my fifteen and a-half year old lab mix who can barely hear or see anymore began to get sick and while I rushed her outside before the majority of her illness hit my floor, I had some cleaning up to do. At the same time, my sister’s cat has lived with us for a month while Kelly has been on a major project out of town and the feline got sick as well. If my mother had been here I could have left without worry but for the first time in quite a while, I had to manage ALL the affairs of my household……and finally the reality of a stay home mom’s contribution became glaringly real. I have worked all my life and I must admit, I held a bit of disdain for women who did not “earn” a living. While some part of me envied the “life of luxury” that I believed these women enjoyed because they did not have to fight in the “real” world of fickle personalities and petty, insecure minds, not to mention they had someone to take care of them and I had no one; my real “issue” with stay home moms was I did not see the economic value in what they provided a family. If you did not earn money, if you did not get paid cash, how do you quantify value? In fact, is there value outside of the lip service we pay to positions we state with are words are valued (teachers for example) but because we don’t pay them that much, we have essentially shown what we truly value. Furthermore, because I have spent most of my career working with men, I mainly hear my male colleagues complain about how much money their wives spend or how annoying it is that their wives complain about his lack of financial wherewithal, and, as such, I understood the “pressure” men feel to have a fat wallet. Couple the aforementioned with the fact that we live in a consumeristic society with a “Keep up with the Kardashians” mindset and, alas, how could I respect a stay home wife? I watch many women spend more money and time at the spa getting their nails and hair done than cleaning her home and cooking nutritious meals for her family….after all, so these women tell me, they have maids and restaurants for those needs. But that is not the average mom who stays at home. In fact, that is a gross exaggeration that makes for yet another popular TV “reality” show when it is so far from the truth. Most stay home moms are what “The Invisible Mother” reveals. A story of what God intends for his people – a life of abundance overflowing with love! Fortunately, the good Lord does not suffer His people to be ignorant for too long and, today, I now know why families are blessed when they have arranged their lifestyle so that at least one parent can stay home. Moms, we could not do our jobs without you doing yours - Thank you! You are a BLESSING! The Invisible Mother It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.' Some days I'm a crystal ball; 'Where's my other sock?, Where's my phone?, What's for dinner?' I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone! One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.' In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: 1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. 2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.' I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was Almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he'd say, 'You're gonna love it there...' As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers. Share this with all the Invisible Moms you know... I just did. The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you. To all the wonderful mothers out there!! God bless and keep you.