Since I returned to work 8 weeks after having my daughter, honestly, I have struggled. In all transparency, it has been way harder than I anticipated. It took me a year or more to get adjusted to our new routine. Over the last two years, I have chatted with some of my friends who also work full time out of the home, and I have realized that I am not alone in this struggle. It has taken some time, but the Lord has been working on my heart in the ugly areas of comparison, jealousy and self-worth.
In today’s Christian subculture, so many women decide to stay at home upon having their first child. It’s almost expected. I have noticed this is so common in my Christian community of friends. But on the other side, in my work environment and other friends in my life, I am surrounded by women who have worked for 20 years and have mothered their children into adulthood. For one reason or another, it is not always an option for every woman who becomes a mother to stay home with her children. And for other women, it’s actually a choice to continue working, because they love their jobs and feel they have purpose there. And dare I say this; some women may be called to work outside of the home, like God has a purpose for them to fulfill for His Kingdom, in addition to loving their husband and mothering their children well. Let that sit with you.
I want to share some topics that repeatedly come up in the conversations with my fellow WOHMs (work-outside the home-moms), to bring to light what is heavy on our hearts:
- I love my children just as much as you do, and just because I have to work or choose to work, doesn’t mean I love them any less or care about their needs, health, safety, or development any less.
- Staying home for me was never an option in this season, and as a true friend I need your support.
- Some women are called by God to work, and that isn’t something that needs to be pitied.
- I feel isolated from you and miss the friendship we shared pre-motherhood.
- It’s hard to see posts of your play dates, how refreshed you are after napping alongside your little one or how you made an amazing meal for your family that was ready by 5pm. The devil knows my weaknesses, and because of that, I sometimes have to glaze over your post without liking or commenting, to protect my heart. The Lord is working on me.
- Daycare has allowed my child to learn in a preschool-like setting, with structure, love, discipline and compassion. Her teachers shine the light of Jesus as they meet her daily needs, while I help provide for our family.
- I am loving my husband by helping to contribute to our finances; that he manages and that are a constant burden… on all husbands.
- My child doesn’t sleep through the night, and I believe it’s because she needs me due to our distance during the day. I am fine with meeting her needs even if it means waking up 2x’s a night to hold her.
- While you are home shepherding little hearts – we are at work, sometimes shepherding the mature hearts of our co-workers; hearts that may be hardened, bitter, and in need of Jesus. And THEN, we go home to also shepherd little hearts. The weight of that is heavy. Thankfully we don’t bear that weight alone – Jesus is so strong.
- Nursing and pumping at work is beyond hard. Pray for me.
- I struggle with my own personal desires to be successful in how I feel God as gifted me and my desires to be an involved parent.
- I am happy. Working is my choice and it’s not selfish. I love my kids and I live for the seconds I get with them.
- Balancing my work hat and mama hat is extremely difficult. I still have to go to work even if I am up all night with a sick kid, or if a kid has had night terrors. It’s hard having people depend on you who aren’t family. If you let your kids down it’s ok, they forgive you. If you let your boss down, it’s a different story.
- I dreamed and desired of being a mama since I was little, just like you did. I have also dreamed of having my own business where I can use my God-given talents for His glory, and at the same time, help provide for our family. And in that, I know I am teaching my daughter without saying anything.
- 98% of the time, I will choose to say no to your weeknight spa or oil parties. I have made it a priority to be there for my little one’s bedtime routine and spend time cuddling with her, talking to her, singing and praying before she goes to sleep every night.
- Our weekends as a family are gold and are very important to our marriage.
- My mornings are hard. My evenings are hard. And the hours in-between are hard… just like yours.
- Ask me how you can help me. Ask me if there is one simple thing you can do for me or for my family this week. I had a friend, who is still awaiting the day to be a mother, who cooked dinner for me and my family because she knew I had a terrible work week.
As mothers, let’s speak to the hearts of other mothers. SAHMs (stay-at-home-moms) – give your spiritual support to your fellow WOHM friends, and vise-versa. Pray for one another in and through your hardships. Sometimes a simple phone call or a prepared, home-cooked meal will speak volumes in your friendships. Stop judging each other and be supportive, no matter the roles you play in your family. Quit responding to the “What do you do?” question with “I’m a stay at home mom” or “I’m a _________ (fill in the blank, doctor, designer, teacher.” What you do or you don’t do outside or inside the home does not define who you are, Jesus does. Let’s empower one another to carry-out our God-given gifts, and support each other in whatever our day looks like.