Thirty three years ago, after my husband and I graduated from college, we decided that I should stay at home to take care of our then, one year old daughter. It was in obedience to the design of God for mothers to “be keepers of home” as stated in Titus 2:4-5. I also read a little green book on child training which said that formative years are critical in child’s development and that they imbibe the values and manners of the person who spends more time with them. To leave them in the care of a yaya or helper was not a good option for us.
That decision, l learned later on, was not a walk in the park. I soon got envious of my former classmates and neighbors who looked so smart and good-looking in their office attires. I saw them applying their education and contributing to society, while I was taking care of our children and the home . Boredom became my frequent companion. At the same time, I had to endure sarcastic remarks from friends and families, telling me that I wasted my education, and so is the chance to earn my own pay check. But through the years, God has led me and showed me that mine was a better portion. Boredom slowly left me as the Lord paved the way for a lot of activities I can do at home. The Lord has set various kinds of rewards along the path of fulltime motherhood.
Because I was always with my daughter and later on, her two siblings, I had a chance to teach them many things. Our room was like a kinder-garden classroom. Posted on the walls of our rooms were colorful pictures or cut-outs of letters, numbers, fruits etc. I taught them letters even when they were still babies. I sang to them while I lulled them to sleep with songs that I just made-up. When they were old enough for bed-time stories, I and my husband told them make-believe stories because we could not afford to buy children’s books. Adventures of Baby Bunny ran for years, so were the stories of Billy Balyena, Pussy Pusit and many more. By the grace of God, all our children had their fill of bedtime stories until they were old enough to refuse them – when they were 8 and 9 years old maybe.
I taught my three children how to read by play method. For two weeks I told them the letter “A” , then letter “B” and so on. After learning all the letters, I posted a consonant and a bowel “BA” , telling them how it is read. This I did with all the letters and vowel combinations. After they learned those, it was not hard to teach Filipino words like Baka, Babae, Tao, Bata and so on. With that method, my daughter and my eldest son were able to read Filipino by the age of two (My other son read a little later). Teaching how to read in English was not that difficult as well. Since they knew “Ba” already, reading “Bat”, “Bad” , “Bag” became easier, so with other simple words. Admittedly, It was a crude method, and pronunciation was not refined but this was corrected easily because they became fluent readers and book lovers. Since I was with them all the time, teaching shapes, numbers, texture, colors, numbers, time and even simple science were all easy. By the grace of God, all my children were given a good headstart when they entered kindergarten.
With my eyes glued on them, I could easily spot misbehavior and readily corrected them. My children were far from perfect. But by the grace of God, they grew up to be god-fearing, well-mannered and excelled academically. My husband and I did not encounter difficulty in dealing with them in their growing years. Most of all, God reached out for my two children who are now faithful followers of Christ. My other son is in the path of grace and hopefully God will also take pity on his soul as well.
Last April 27, 2013 our youngest son graduated from Civil Engineering in the University of the Philippines magna cum laude, just like his sister. My eldest son, a medical doctor was offered an scholarship recently to study in the University of Amsterdam. I am not telling this to boast, for it is all by God’s doing. We don’t even deserve to be rewarded. I have my share of weaknesses and failure as a mother. If we receive God’s blessings it is because He is good. What I am saying is that God is true to His promises. And He rewards even our faintest effort to please Him.
Looking back, I know that things would have been different if I pursued a career in my field. I may not have developed a beautiful relationship with all my three children and my loving husband.
But what I consider as my ultimate reward is a sense of fulfillment that by the grace of God, I am able to carry on with my role as a full-time mother, in spite of my human weakness. It is a wonderful feeling not to regret the past, especially if we can’t bring back the growing years of our children and make up for it. God grants the conviction to obey His call, and He also gives the sustaining grace to remain in that calling. Whatever good I did and is doing, are all by the grace of God. Let His grace be magnified.
Praise be to God for all the full-time mothers out there. You are all doing a noble job. We may, or we many not receive material rewards, but great is the feeling of peace and joy, knowing that by the grace of God we are doing what we are suppose to be doing. God is good to His people. Praise be the Lord!