Its cold and rainy outside right now. I’m sitting with a freshly brewed cup of Cuban coffee while both boys are sleeping, and although everything is peaceful I feel like I am about to light the match to light the canon, to start a war. Hear me before you read any further, that is not my intention at all. I have thought about how much I want to write this post, and then I don’t. It seems any time that you talk about being a mom or prescribe what a mom should or shouldn’t do, you have backlash…fighting…rolling of the eyes, and yes name calling. We haven’t really progressed much past middle school have we girls?
As much as I don’t want to write this, being a young mom, a person involved with women in the church, and you guessed it…a female, I figured I should maybe start a dialogue about it. Not a cat fight or anything close to a war, but lets just say a chat over coffee.
Alright are you ready for the topic…here it is: Working vs. Non Working Mom. There I said it. Do I feel any better? No not really but I know you will probably keep reading.
It seems like in the evangelical world of women there is a disconnect between what we hear what a Godly woman looks like, and yet we all look and are so incredibly different. And if we are all so different then surely one of us has to be wrong right? And to further the confusion every preacher, Chick-God Blog, and pink papered book on motherhood always points to this ancient text of Proverbs 31 where really if we followed it, we would have to daily slay pigs, keep up our farm, and love all 20.5 of our children with everlasting patience and cool. I secretly hate you P31 Woman.
For whatever reason we kind of segregate as moms. Breastfeeding vs. Formula, Natural birth vs Drugged birth, Homeschool vs. Public School….and in all of these we some how puff up with pride and deem ourselves better, smarter, stronger than the other. So which one of these am I talking about today: The working mom and stay at home mom. Each wants to be the other most of the time. I went to the dentist last week and the young assistant and I had a conversation that went a little like this:
Assistant: “what do you do?”
Me:“I stay home with our two boys”
Assistant: “Lucky. “You are soo lucky you get to do that.”
Me: *Thinking in my head* “Oh yeah sister…if you knew the little heathens I had to watch every day, all day, you’d be asking for overtime and no vacation. I’ll take your cute little scrubs in brown and turquoise and paycheck any day”
Clearly I have the spiritual gifts of sarcasm and whit.
So I thought I would write a letter to my fellow stay at home moms to hopefully encourage as well as challenge. Also planning on having a guest blogger friend to write to my working mom friends to do the same for you. She has yet to commit but I’m going to peer pressure and harass her, so be on the look out for her letter.
Dear Stay at Home Mom,
You are valuable! Despite the fact that you think you constantly smell like throw up, and you have to clean up the same toys multiple times a day you do have purpose. So much of where we get frustrated with this season of life is that we don’t think that loving our kids, picking up toys, and making grilled cheese sandwiches is without purpose. Such a lie from Satan!
I don’t know how many times I have been frustrated in a day and thought, “I have a stinking college degree. I am losing so many brain cells by the second as I am forced to listen to the greatness of Barney and Bob the Builder. Really, I could be solving world peace right now, or fixing this debt crisis in America, I mean really how hard could it be.”
For whatever reason we believe that because we aren’t doing what the world ‘labels’ as purposeful or noteworthy then we are wasting our talents, smarts, and beauties. Hear my friend, we do not have to make money, hold a title, or have a calendar full of meetings to have purpose. God is the ultimate purpose giver and as an image bearer of Himself we reflect who He is and give Him glory as women and as moms. He is the one who defines worth, and you my fellow mother are worthy, not because of what the world says of you, but because of what God says of you.
So Number 1) You are Valuable and 2) You are Priceless
No daycare worker or family member can replace your role as mom. Your attempt to love your children well, even though you often fail, is a lesson to your children of the love that God has for them. The bandaid and kiss from a mom after scrapping their knee is priceless. The spanking from a mom for discipline and the hug after is priceless. The hours of sleepless nights because of sickness or monsters in the closet are priceless. The time you get with your children by staying at home is absolutely priceless. Slow down, take a deep breath, and thank God for the opportunity to navigate each day with grace, love, and mercy as He does with you.
I will step further into this war and say some things that I think Stay at Home Moms should not look like. Being a stay at home mom is not a license to be lazy. Yup let me say it again. Being a stay at home mom is not a license to be lazy. I think so many of us can sit and feel like we are worthless when all we do is spend our time on Facebook and watching daytime TV or reruns of reality TV. What purpose is there in that? “The kids are off at school? Well that means I’m going to hit up the nail salon today and tomorrow I’ll go buy a new outfit, and then the next day I’ll get together with my other SAHM and we will bash those other women that we can’t stand” says the miserable middle aged woman who on the outside looks all put together but on the inside is so unhappy.
Be a stay at home mom with a mission. it can look different for each of us…but here are some ideas:
– Start a Mom group to get together with other moms and talk life and Jesus together
– Get involved in a midweek Bible Study, if there isn’t one, start one
– Volunteer at a Crisis Pregnancy Center, Food Shelter, or Church
– Take your kids to the local nursing home and have them visit with the residents there
– Have your kids color pictures or write notes to the widows in your church
– Go to a local playground or mall with the intention to meet other moms and talk to them about Jesus
– If your kids or older and in school, find a younger mom with infants/toddlers and meet with her to encourage and help her in the steps you have already walked
– Log off the computer and read a good book. And I’m not talking romance novel, but one that challenges your walk and theology
– Rest. I have to add this one because so much of us plan and do, and part of God’s purpose for us is to be still and experience Him. We don’t carve out time for this often, so plan some time to just sit and listen to what He has to say to you.
So overall I’m saying that although there are not a lot of verbal “I appreciate all the hard work and sacrifice that you do” coming from your children, there is beauty and honor in the countless hours you spend with and for your children. You may not like it each day and thats ok, but it is a role and an important role at that. Strangely I hear all the time from older moms whose babies are now off at college and the work field, that they wish they could have these years back. As crazy as I think they are in the moment, their words are so very true. Each and every day and moment is a precious gift from God. Treat it like it.
In the middle of poopy diapers and toddler tantrums,