This woman has really made me think on some things throughout the last few days. It felt as though she’d taken me further in my mom journey to create a better way of life for my family. There were things she said in our conversation that gave me a certain “aha” moment. I know I said, “Oh my gosh! That’s really good!” at least a dozen times. One of the purposes of doing this segment, “Women of Grace” is just getting to know other women. By knowing others, we can begin to realize we are more alike than we are not. This is a Catholic woman, but you don’t have to be Catholic or have the desire to become Catholic to see the greatness in her words. This segment, “Women of Grace”, is about tearing down barriers that keep us women from supporting and helping one another. Diama will encourage you to do this very thing in your own life, if you take a moment to meet her.
Without further ado, here she is.
What are the difficulties of being a stay at home parent?
“Okay, well, I was a work at home mom for the first three or four years, then I became a stay at home mom last September, when I closed my business down, so I could spend the next few years with my kids while they were in their younger years. I have found one difficulty is I feel like I don’t have enough time. What’s funny is, I felt like I didn’t have enough time when I was working, and now I feel like I still don’t have enough time because I have three of them and I only have two hands. Usually, I just feel like I want to make sure I’m giving each child enough attention, but I’m also realizing that based on their ages as well as their birth order that I might feel need to give my third child as much attention as my first child, but it turns out they just want to play with the other kids. You know?! I stress out about, are they getting enough attention from me, or attention period, and then I find that it just kind of works itself out.
“Making time for myself. I think any stay at home mom sort of relates to that. You spend your whole day, even if you’re not with the kids, you’re doing meal prep or you’re doing laundry, or you’re catching up on email, or whatever, and its just taking that time, even if it is just fifteen minutes. So I’ve started praying the rosary at night, which is really nice. Then during rest time I making it a point that it become part of my rest time too. They need to see me reading a book or something, because I want them to model that without me sort of being on my phone. I’m trying to set an example in that sort of way, but also making time for myself.
“The last difficulty is probably, well its not so much anymore, but when I first made the decision to become a stay at home mom, I felt like I had to justify myself to other moms, especially towards my working mom friends. I’m realizing now, a year into this, nobody really cares. When they ask me, I just say, you know I’m just at home with my kids right now and it’s great. Whenever people say, ‘well, don’t you get bored?’ I’m just like, well I’m pretty active. I don’t’ have time to get bored. My day is pretty busy, and it’s funny because when my working friends have to take a day off or maybe the summer, to be with their kids, they realize pretty quickly, that its not a vacation. I’m the only one who really cares about explaining myself, because when I talk to other people and they tell me about their lives, I take it to heart, but I don’t go home and focus on… ‘wow, they’re staying at home, [chuckling softly] let me judge them.
“Those are the things I grapple with now.”
What are the joys?
“I love being with my kids. You know I’ve gotten a real true sense of the world, staying at home with them. I didn’t grow up with any aspirations to be a stay at home mom. In fact, I didn’t even know if I was going to be a mom when I grew up; it just wasn’t at the forefront. Its never anything I thought about. I just assumed I’d go to college, get a job, get married, or if I did get married and have children, they’d be at daycare, because that’s where I was. So I feel like being at home with them means my first job is being a mom to them, because I’m responsible for them.
“I like feeling valued and that I have value. Part of the joy is understanding that we grow up with this sense that work is paid work. That’s just not the case.
“I really enjoyed forming deep relationships with other moms. When I was a working mom it was quite different, because it felt like I was straddling this world between these fleeting friendships I would have at work, which is people I saw at work, and then I didn’t have a lot of stay at home mom friends because I was working as well, so now I’m more focused on friendships.
“Another joy is learning how to be purposeful with my time. Not that I wasn’t purposeful with my time when I was working, but sometimes when you’re in a 9-5 job you have certain things that you do, and then you sometimes have some down time in your work. With kids its a little different, especially with small kids. There’s this rhythm to the day, and when you have a moment, that thirty minutes can be the most amazing thirty minutes in what you get done.
“Knowing that I need God. It makes me an active seeker of God, because everyday I’m sort of brought to my knees in some way in some situation and its knowing that I can’t go about it alone. There’s joy in that.”
Tell us something you value in others.
“This is a hard one. I mean, its not hard, but there are a lot of things you value in people. As I’m getting older, I’m really beginning to appreciate perspective. Understanding that not everybody has the same perspective as I do. We may share the same values and even the same lifestyles, but they’re coming from a completely different life experience than I’ve ever had. I really value that in people and I’m trying to become a better listener that way. Maybe that is just part of getting older, because when I was younger it was all about being heard, and now its listening. It’s just understanding where people are coming from. With certain decisions or maybe certain things people say, In the past I would have judged them on, where is that coming from? Now I’m realizing that maybe its from a place of pain, and I need to understand that and pray for them and walk with them. Even as hard as that can be sometimes. I’m always looking for Christ in people, because I firmly believe there is Christ in everybody that I meet. Its just meeting them where they are. Then this kind of jumps to the next questions, about the outcome I want to see in my kids…”
What outcome do you wish to see in your children, and how to you achieve it?
“Part of that outcome is… one of the things I see and why I’m a stay at home mom right now, is I want my children to feel so strong in their faith that they can comfortably walk with anybody. Even if [those other people] are not of faith, that they can feel so secure in that that they can become an example. So I really try to make a conscious effort to see the good in others everyday, and it is so hard these days, especially with social media and all that. Its like you can’t even get away with it because its become so embedded in our lives. Its just making a purposeful decision everyday to say, ‘Hey! This person has dignity; this person has worth, and I need to see past whatever is going on here. Modeling is really the only way to achieve this. I mean its one thing for me to tell them something, and they’re so young. Its not like we can explain these really lofty ideas, and they’re not asking the questions. With my kids, I can only teach them as much as they ask me. I can’t overwhelm them. Its doing very simple things with them, like taking our oldest to Night Light. She’s the type of kid I need to explain to her what’s going on and where we’re going to go and what’s going to happen, so last year was the first time I took her. She’s now in the first grade, and I noticed this moving into seven is kind of a magical age.
“Our (my husband and I) communication has gotten so much better, and this is going to be a plug for ACTS, since I did ACTS last summer and then he went through the Men’s ACTS this past February, it has really changed the way we communicate with each other. We were able to move past a lot of other things we didn’t realize were going on. It was like we both had to heal individually and so now that’s really lead to us to really talking about the fact we have responsibilities to be disciples and part of that is discipling our children first.”
What have you learned along the way others may also need to know?
“Don’t sweat the small stuff. I’m one of these that have high anxiety, I’ve always had high anxiety. Its something that I have really had to learn how to get under control because I start to worry about the small stuff and then I forget to see the forest or the trees. I just get so focused on that, and it would just ruin my day or my week. If there’s one thing I could tell, especially moms, its don’t sweat the small stuff.
“Or, don’t get hyper focused on money either. I know that for awhile there, when I was making the decision to become a stay at home mom, I was worried about the money aspect of it. I mean having three children in private school eventually and all that. I just realized, we’ll just figure it out. There are people who have way less than we do and they figure it out.
“Prayer, and not just for the sake of prayer, but because prayer leads to action. I have really learned that in the past two years, whether that’s going to adoration -which that took me awhile to really get into. An hour used to seem like a big deal. I remember thinking, ‘how am I going to sit in that chapel for an hour? What the heck am I going to do in there?’ I’m amazed now that an hour goes by so quickly, because it’s such an opportunity to talk to Jesus. I may come out completely more stressed out than when I went in, but I’m always amazed that after I’ve slept on it, the next day, what resolve I have. Its giving myself an hour to really focus on what I realize is important to me. So prayer is really important, as women of faith.
“Nothing is too big, that we can’t overcome it. I say this really seriously. I’ve had friends battle depression, I’ve had friends commit suicide, I’ve lost my dad. There have been a lot of big events that I’ve observed or have been apart of in my life. Looking back in hindsight, man, that problem was not too big to overcome. It seemed so big at the time, or maybe it was really big for that person at the time, but its like if I had only done this, or someone had done this, or reached out to let whomever know they’re not alone, it could be overcome. It sort of goes back into that I’m really trying to see that little bit of Christ in people everyday.”
Share three fun or interesting facts about you.
- “I play the violin. I don’t do it that much anymore, but its something I really want to get back into. I played from age 7 all the way through college. I was in the youth symphony here in Tulsa. I was a serious player and then I got so burned out. There’s two of my violin’s sitting over there [directing my attention to two cases sitting on the floor in the same room we were conducting the interview.] I love playing the violin. I love music in general. I really want my kids to learn music at some point.
- I circumnavigated the globe when I was 15 unintentionally. My mom was from a little island off the coast of South Africa. When we went out there, we were supposed to go from Tulsa to Dallas to LAX to Hong Kong to Mauritius, where she’s from. There was a typhoon over the Pacific Ocean, so when we got to LAX we had a ten-hour layover. We ended up getting on AirFrance and going all the way back to Paris then to Mauritius. That was a 32-hour trip, it was crazy. Coming back, we went through Hong Kong so we really had circumnavigated the globe.
- This is kind of a corny one, but my husband is my best friend. I know that seems weird, because well she’s married of course she’s going to say that, but its so true. It’s a fun fact, and I don’t ever tell people that. I just discovered that this year.”