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A Homemaker's Cottage (Fifth Issue) by Sonya Haskins.
Featured 21 October 1998 and archived 7 December 1998
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Sonya Haskins is the full-time stay-at-home mom of Sarah, Micah and Christopher. She also writes magazine articles and is working on her first book. Sonya welcomes comments from readers and constantly seeks to meet new moms to interview for the book.

All this material is copyright protected and cannot be used without the written consent of the author.

Some would consider it wasted time. The toilets had mold (or whatever that rim-grime is) growing in them, dishes cluttered the kitchen sink, and there were little pieces of fuzz and other miscellaneous items littering the floors that begged to be vacuumed. All the while, instead of taking advantage of the opportunity to clean while my 10-month old baby napped, I sat there on the bed watching her.

Her eyelids flickered intermittently, with one eye opening partially. Little hands tousled hair that was already disheveled and a quiet squeak occasionally escaped her soft, pink lips. I wondered to myself, "Don't I have anything better to do?"

Of course the answer was an unfaltering 'yes.' Aside from all the cleaning and laundry, there was dinner to prepare, e-mail to answer, phone calls to make, and the list went on and on. I had become a stay-at-home mom so that I could work at home!

As I unwillingly left that watchful post over my little one, I wondered what she could be dreaming that would entice her to sleep so soundly. She doesn't have too many memories at this age, and it is said that babies don't have much long-term memory anyway. While I went to work on some of my chores, I tried to recall all the events from the previous few days that she could be dreaming about.

There was the other night when she smiled brilliantly and laughed so loudly as her daddy "flew" her through the air. I was kind of like the airport and he always fooled her by not taking her in for a landing when she expected it. We all laughed until the tears swelled in our eyes.

Then there was yesterday when I let her "help" me fold clothes. For every piece of underwear I folded, another ended up on her side of the basket on the floor. Of course, when the clothesbasket was empty, she politely began to put her share of clothes back in. She must suppose the basket is supposed to have something in it.

Of course, she could also be dreaming about earlier in the day when I was surfing the Internet and she wanted me to play with her, but I was too busy. I wondered if I could I ever change her memories.

As I continued to clean and tried to imagine what this new little person was dreaming about, I also began to wonder what kind of person my husband and I were creating as we nurtured her in this most influential time called childhood. I began to think about the decision we made for me to stay at home with her and how that would affect her life. Our goal was to create the most stable environment for her and sacrifice a few material possessions (we sold our house, among other things) in order to reap everlasting rewards from instilling the values and morals into this child.

I thought more deeply about why my husband and I choose for me to become a full time homemaker and mother. I pondered how lucky I am to have the opportunity - in addition to putting her down for naps and being there when she awakes - to enjoy each new word and activity, as well as those precious hugs and kisses. As the minutes continued to tick by, I decided that I should reconsider my original question. I asked myself once again if I had anything better to do than spend an hour watching this little baby sleep. While I admitted that I did have other things I could be doing, time would never be better spent than devoting it to this young soul by playing with her, guiding her, and even watching her little eyes flicker while she sleeps.

Please give all feedback on this column to the author Sonya Haskins.