This weekend I had the privilege of sitting down with some older, much wiser ladies. With one, in particular, I was sharing my struggles, my thoughts, my dreams – and I said something about successful motherhood being an either or sort of thing in the Christian arena – about there tending to be a stigma that goes with working, and about how I just really didn’t buy into it anymore.
She said a thing to me that I keep replaying in my thoughts. The gist of what she said was this, “Emily, I wish we could entirely do away with the word ‘secular’ because it causes things to be categorized and that isn’t the way the Bible says it is. Life is just…life. We eat. We exercise. We go to church. We spend time with our neighbors. We spend our money. We love our family. We work. Your life is your life – and what it looks like is between you and God.”
I just read an article from a sight that is just for working moms – or appears to be. It listed a bunch of things never to say to working moms. I gotta say that people who are saying those things are probably saying insensitive junk to everyone else, too. There are sights and articles just like it that are just for stay-at-home moms. None of them sit right with me because they are the very things that cause the mommy wars. They are the very sites that make us all shimmy our lives up beside each other so that we can carefully compare successes and failures.
To be fair, I really think the author in the aforementioned article was just expressing her heart. She was probably frustrated and used sarcasm and working mom pride to express it. I use sarcasm to express hurt and annoyance quite frequently and truly…I understand. She even says at the end that we should all just support each other – whoever we are. I am not slamming her, let’s be clear about that.
I just want us to consider that maybe motherhood is just…motherhood. I want us to be sensitive and gracious and acknowledge that we each deal with so many insecurities and failures and hurts: every. single. day. [My oldest likes to tell me frequently that she likes Josh better than me] We all wonder if we are doing enough, being enough, following our hearts enough. I want to be a cheerleader for us all. I want to relish the journey of it all. I want to watch you do your thing in your own life and wonder at God’s impressive work through it all.
I don’t exactly know how to step out of this life long categorization of working mom vs. stay at home mom, thing, but I am working on it. I am working on asking questions about who a person is before I ask anything about what he or she does “for a living”. Sometimes that’s a huge part of who she is, but sometimes it just makes people feel inadequate. So maybe I should be sensitive to that. Maybe I should be more gracious and thoughtful all around.
6 thoughts on “Motherhood is just…motherhood.”
As a mom who has worked full-time, part-time, enjoyed almost every minute of staying at home on maternity leave, and never thought I'd work while my kids were young, this topic weighs heavily on my heart. I enjoy my work AND I love my kids. It's been a tough road learning not to compare myself to other mothers – whatever their work status – and it is something I have to work on daily. Two things I daily remind myself: Being a mother is hard, no matter if you work in or out of the home and comparison is the thief of joy. This helps me keep my focus on doing my best at work and at home and reminds me to encourage and support my mommy friends. What a Christ-like example we set for our children by building up rather than tearing down.
This is great. So often I can become puffed up in my role as SAHM. The truth is, this is where God has me and comparison is sin. My worth comes from Him and not my "job". The same is true for all moms.
I agree with all of you – it's a thing you have to work out with God! And you do the best you can with what you have – and you do it in love…thanks to my Gra'ma for that little word of wisdom. Being a disciple of Jesus IS our identity…which is exactly what Mrs. Carol was saying – everything falls under that umbrella and, as long as it remains within the truth of scripture, that looks different for all of us! Thanks for the responses, ladies!
Em, I have a friend, who, when asked what she does, replies, "I'm a follower of Jesus Christ", then if asked further, says that she is a nurse. Being a follower of Christ defines you more than stay-at-home or working mother or any other vocation. Just a thought to ponder!
I agree whole heartily that working mom vs. stay at home mom has to be between YOU and God, what works best for a family! I'm not completely satisfied with just being a homeschool mommy but when it's all said and done, I know it's what has been ordained for MY family, regardless of the " huh you do what faces!"
I started working when Alicia was 2years old. I was 23 when she was born and all I did before that was nanny and clean houses. I really got burnt out so when I had her 24/7 I needed an outlet. I worked 2 days a week for a long time. Part time has worked well for me do I can still be here when they get home from school and do school activities in the day. I used to think it was wrong for Mom's to work too I realized we all have to do what we can to survive and be true to who we are;-)