I got my feelings hurt this week. And it may be a similar emotion you have experienced as a mom, especially a stay-at-home homeschooling mom.
We received the Judgment in the case I have been involved in with my ex-husband for the past 16 months for child support for Kyndal and Dawson. The results of the Judgment did not upset me. The judge heard the evidence and made a determination as to what he believed was fair and just. My children will receive some much-needed support and I will get a little help in supporting Dawson for the next five years until he graduates from college. As is with any legal case, nobody won. I didn't get what I wanted and he didn't get what he wanted. It just doesn't work that way in the legal system. I was prepared for that and was prepared for less justice than I believed was deserving.
The ruling itself wasn't the reason for my hurt feelings.
I stopped working outside the home 13 years ago after Rick and I got married. I came home to take care of Kyndal and Dawson full-time and we started the next phase of our family shortly thereafter. I have been a stay-at-home mom ever since. Five years ago I also began homeschooling Dawson ... and then Brynne ... and then Eli. I plan to homeschool my younger children indefinitely, possibly until they graduate from high school.
Pretty much every waking minute of my life is devoted to my family, especially to my children. My parenting of them is a full-time job that takes much out of me. It is exhausting and stressful work. Being primarily responsible for their education is a tall order and one that I take very seriously. I didn't quit work so that I could lay around all day and eat bon bons while I watched game shows and soap operas. I rise early in the morning and go all day long until I finally collapse into bed at night. After we moved to Missouri, and left Rick in Oklahoma to work, my work increased as I am now, essentially, a single mom during the week. This means I am responsible for making sure everybody gets where they need to go. And my children want me to be present at their activities, not to just drop them off and pick them back up. I spend almost every moment that I am awake with one or more of my children, and oftentimes their friends and significant others.
I am not complaining. I absolutely would not live my life any other way. This is a path I have chosen, that Rick and I have chosen for our family. I love my family and they are my absolute priority. Nothing happens in my life that does not consider the best interest of my family first. If it is an activity that will take me away from my time with them, I do not do it. Period.
The judge in the child support case calculated how much child support my ex-husband would need to pay based on his income and my lack of income. But then he stated that because I have an education that would allow me to work, and because my husband has voluntarily supported Kyndal and Dawson for the past 13 years and there was no evidence to show that he would not do so in the future, the judge decreased that child support amount by 50%.
Basically the judge told me in the Judgment that my contribution to my children has no value. He didn't say it in as many words, but that's what he meant. If I wasn't working to make money to pay for my children, my contribution to them was worthless.
Even though the child support worksheet said otherwise, the judge believed that I (well, Rick) is responsible for 50% of their financial upbringing. There was no account for the 100% of the rest of their upbringing that I do and have always done their whole lives.
My worth as a mother was marginalized. And it hurt. I actually spent a couple of days bursting into tears at the reality of the judge's opinion.
Like his opinion (or the opinion of my ex-husband) matters.
It doesn't, and I know it doesn't. But it doesn't mean that it didn't hurt.
Have you ever felt invalidated for what you do for your family, for your children?
To Him, what I am doing matters. To Him, I have worth. To Him, I have value. And I know that He is not the only one who feels that way. My husband believes in me and what I do. My children are grateful that they are an obvious priority in my life.
It feels good to have your 20 year old daughter come up to you and give you a big hug and kiss on the cheek and tell you that she loves you ... that you are a good mom. It feels good to have your 18 year old son say, "Mom, you know you're my best friend, right?", and know he really means it. It feels good to receive constants hugs and "I love yous" from your 10 and 9 year olds when you have made them do schoolwork all day.
I am a blessed woman ..... and wife ..... and mother. I have value. I have worth. And the heck with those who try to make me feel otherwise.
I mentioned that I did not feel that justice was served in the way I thought it should be.
It's funny that this issue of justice would come up this week in this way as the Sunday School lesson I taught my 4th-6th graders on Sunday was on this exact topic.
Throughout this entire case I have relied on God and trusted Him to put forth the Judgment that He felt was right and just. David said to God, "Establish justice for me, Lord, because I have walked with integrity. I've trusted the Lord without wavering." ~ Psalm 26:1.
I talked with my students about how so many times in our lives we want to be the ones to hand down justice ... that when justice doesn't come in the form that we think it should, we are angry and disappointed and try to take matters into our own hands.
God will establish justice for us (in His way) if we walk with integrity and if we trust Him in his ways without wavering. I have reminded myself of this all week. What my flesh has wanted to do, I haven't done. Instead, I have spent some time in quiet meditation and prayer and just reminded my heart to trust God, that His justice will prevail. And this has calmed me.
I almost didn't post anything about my feelings but decided that I needed to share with you how I am continually walking a Journey to Excellence. This blog is not just about our educational pursuits. It is about how my family pursues Excellence in everything we do. And students are not limited to those between the ages of 5 and 17. We are never too old to learn. Remember, our Journey is not about perfection. We fail, and we fail miserably. But we have a heart for Excellence. I have a heart for Excellence. And it is a constant Journey.