As of today, I am a stay at home mom.
I’m stepping down from my full-time position to work a part-time schedule at the same company in order to spend more time with my daughter.
And someone actually said to me, “O so you’re going to work part-time and be a mom part-time?”
Um, no. Not exactly. Not at all, actually.
Being a mom is a full-time gig. End of story.
If my brief stint as a “working mom” has taught me anything, it’s this: all moms are working moms.
When my husband and I got pregnant sooner than we planned, one of my fears was how this change would impact my 9 to 5. I love my job. I work for an awesome company with awesome people and we do awesome stuff. It’s one of those career jobs, you know? The kind of job that you get your degree for. How would my new title as mom jive with my old title as employee? (How She Does It, an eBook by Modern Mrs. Darcy was incredibly helpful in shaping my thoughts about how to make work life work for our family.)
We decided that I would take maternity leave, return to my position, and make a decision.
On my first day back to work I was an emotional train wreck. Handing off your baby is painful. Pumping breastmilk at work is awful. Constantly wondering what your little one is up to in your absence is exhausting. I shared my angst to a non-mom coworker and she replied, “I couldn’t imagine leaving my little one with someone else!”
I couldn’t either.
But I did.
Some moms have to. And some moms want to. It doesn’t make it any easier. And neither mom is no less of a mom because of her decision.
(You’ll notice I keep putting ‘working’ in quote marks. That’s because all moms work. Hard.)
I realize this subject can be divisive, especially in the conservative Christian circles in which I run. Let me just speak to that community for a moment. After much thought, prayer, and searching the Scriptures Ben and I came to the conclusion that the Bible gives us principles in this area, but not hard rules. The most notable mention of a wife being at home is found in Titus 2, and even there it reads that young women should “be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” Working at home. Does that mean only working at home? Or working at home and not anywhere else? Remember that the Proverbs 31 Woman “considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard” and she “perceives that her merchandise is profitable.” Aren’t those activities work outside the home? I’m willing to be corrected on this position if I’m in error but, at present, I don’t believe I am.
My husband and I earnestly prayed and sought what The Lord would have us to do. Let me say we do believe that mom being primarily at home and raising the children is a beautiful arrangement, if you can swing it. Why did I decide to continue working at my career job? Because I have a unique set of skills and gifts that I can use to bless others and glorify God in my role as an employee. It’s a mission field, a ministry, and I wasn’t ready to leave. Why did I feel the desire to spend the majority of my week at home raising our child(ren)? Because I think it will bless our family and it’s a way I can glorify God in the high calling of motherhood. It, too, is a ministry. And I made the decision knowing that, if I ever have to choose between the two, family wins.
Which brings me to this distinction of “working” or “not working” moms.
Y’all. Being a mother is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Ever. All moms work! Does a mom who works outside the home love her children less than one who works inside it? Nope. Do both setups – or something in between – have unique perks and struggles? You bet.
The measure of a mom isn’t found in the content of her calendar, but the content of her heart.
It’s true that where we spend our time is where we demonstrate our values, but I can tell you if a full-blown SAHM has a nasty heart her children will likely not be blessed by her presence. Likewise if a mom who wants to keep working at a career as well as her family has a beautiful heart, she will serve her family well.
I guess all I’m trying to say is let’s not exalt one and degrade the other – whichever side of the commute you’re on. Moms are moms. Moms work hard. And moms need just as much Gospel-grace as anyone. So let’s be gracious and give them some.