Tuesday, January 7, 2014

{Real Mom Life} My Choice to Be a Stay-At-Home Mom

Yesterday morning Michael went back to work after a two week Christmas/New Year vacation. I made the bed, cleaned the kitchen, got a load of laundry going. The house was quiet and still; bright {albeit cold} sunlight streamed through the windows. Maylin had eaten breakfast, had a bath, and was down for a morning nap. I was getting ready to finish my coffee and spend some time reading my Bible.

That's when it hit me.

A feeling of such fulfillment and satisfaction and purpose that I had to pause in my tracks. This thought actually went through my head, "I love my job. I love what I'm doing. God wired me for this. And that's okay."

It was so relieving to finally admit that to myself, the first time in all the nine plus months Maylin's been alive and I haven't been teaching or working outside the home. I can say it with confidence, and I can say it without guilt.

Staying home to raise our daughter and manage our household is my true passion, my current calling, my purpose.

For months and months I carried around a permanent feeling of guilt for staying home with Maylin rather than working outside the home and contributing to our family income. I felt that being home wasn't "good enough," that it didn't carry enough weight, that I should be doing more. Michael would try to convince me over and over that what I'm doing is contributing, not monetarily, but in an equally important way. But I didn't believe him.

Deep down I wanted to be okay with staying home. After all, I chose to. In fact, the majority of my life I've wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom to our kids. But when it came down to it, all I could think about was what my working friends would think {they've all been very supportive, by the way}, what my coworkers would say, and whether I would have any respect from working women. Would I get passed by, wearing frumpy mom jeans and driving a minivan while my friends kept up their social lives and looked glamorous?

Surprisingly enough, I've realized over the months that just because I'm staying home doesn't mean a switch automatically flips inside me that makes me frumpy, dated, and boring. I'm still me. And a huge, integral, core part of me was created on purpose by God to derive fulfillment from managing a household and raising our child from home.

When I told my principal I'd be leaving my fourth grade teaching position after Maylin was born, I was a bit nervous. I rushed through my "confession," quickly explaining that I'd be home for a few short years, but planned to teach again after our kids started Kindergarten. He quietly sat and listened to me spill my heart. Then he said something very poignant. Something that has burned a spot in my memory and will probably never go away. He said, "High school kids need stay-at-home moms just as much as Kindergarteners do." In other words, don't rush back just because I think that's what's expected by the culture.

And I don't intend to. Michael and I have had our fair share of talks about what the future of our family looks like. In almost all the scenarios, I'm staying home with our kids. No matter what grade they're in. No matter how old they get. This is my job, my career. It's just as important as anything I could be doing in the working world. And believe it or not, there are days {just as my principal so wisely warned me there would be} that it would be easier to go to school rather than be in the house with a tempermental baby all day. But this is my choice, what I would rather be doing than any job I can think of.

The older {wiser?} I get, the more I realize that God created each person differently. "Everybody else" isn't just like me, and I don't have to be like "everybody else." I know women who work full time outside the home and are outstanding mothers. I honestly don't know how they do it. I have the utmost respect for them. I know women who work from home who are also wonderful mothers. {Sometimes I don't know how they do it either!} All that to say, I'm convinced that no matter what choice has been made by the mom, we're all just trying to do our best. We're all just hanging on to sanity by a thread. Each choice has its perks and its difficulties. No choice is better or worse, or more deserving of praise than the other.

So. At the conclusion of all these musings, the main thing I want to say is this::

I am accepting who I am as a woman who wants to stay home to manage a household in the midst of a career-driven society. I  can confidently and proudly admit to myself and others {when asked, what do you do all day?} that I honestly enjoy being a stay-at-home mom, and that I derive a great sense of satisfaction and purpose from it. I don't {and shouldn't} have to feel guilty for my choice. I'm doing what I was made to do. I am fulfilling a God-given desire in my heart.

What I do is important. It's meaningful. And it has eternal value.


  1. I am fully of the belief that mothers constantly come under spiritual warfare, where they doubt their mothering abilities and their choices. But you are 100% correct -- we do what is best for our individual family. And one of the best ways to combat this darkness is to join together and encourage each other. You are such an encouragement to me!! And don't ever doubt your choice to stay home -- that is a wonderful decision. As much as I love my job (and I had that ah ha! moment a few weeks ago, actually), there are many days where I wish I stayed at home. But we always want what we don't have, right, lol?? Seriously, though -- as long as we love our babies, we are doing our job.

    1. Thanks for that little bit of encouragement, Judith! You're one of the people who impress me the most with all that you do. So glad we're doing motherhood together and that we're learning from each other.

  2. God has kept me out of the workforce for the past 5 years. It wasn't a decision I made. He took my job away from me when I was 7 months pregnant with my 3rd child. As a result, I was "forced" to stay at home. It would have cost more for me to go to work than it would have to stay home full time. Long story short, I fought against being a full time mom for a while and battled feelings of inadequacy (as you said) in this career driven society. But once I accepted my position and saw how important it was for me to be home to help with homework, how important it was to prepare a hot meal before basketball practice or baseball practice, or how important it was to be able to volunteer in my children's classes ,... that's when I felt worthy and that there was purpose in being home full time. It is one of the most important jobs on earth and once I understood my value, I took pride in my role.

    My baby boy is about to be 5 in a few days and I just received a job offer. Although I would love to continue to stay home, we just can't afford it. But I know the Lord has given me permission. After all, He is the one that opened the doors for this wonderful position and He did it when he knew that not only I was ready, but my kids as well.

    Enjoy this time in your life. Your career is so important to your family as well as society.