I don’t want to give the impression that because I personally don’t work outside the home and I LOVE being a stay-at-home mom that I think moms who work are “wrong” because that is not the case! However nothing bothers me more than when a “working” mother looks down her nose at a stay-at-home mom as if to say “I’m too important for that”. Now to put the shoe on the other foot it also bothers me when stay-at-home moms judge other moms who do work. I have been the receiver of both such snap judgements and it is so frustrating. Why can’t we women stick together in support and have a little empathy for one another? We all “work”…just in different ways. God has shown me what it really means to be a “working mom” and I am so thankful…even if I did learn the hard way!
When Emalynn was born I just couldn’t leave her…bottom line. I took my role as her mother very seriously. It just so happened I was blessed to be able to be with her everyday and to be honest, it was best for me as a new mom. It was one of the happiest times in my life. God did amazing things for me and showed me that trusting Him with everything was really living. When Emalynn was 14 months old God orchestrated a huge blessing and we bought our house and a job for mama came along with it. Going back to my Real Estate roots I starting working for the builder of our house 2 days a week in the office and at home as well. My mother-in-law took care of Emalynn on Tuesdays and my sister came on Thursdays. I felt a great balance and then…surprise…6 weeks later we found out we were having another baby. A new house, a new baby, a new job…changes were coming!
I stepped down to one day per week in the office 3 months before our little housewarming present, Maxwell was born and took a 12 week “leave” once he was born. I did work quite a bit at home however, I think I put 9 hours in the week he was born in fact. When Max was 7 months old I felt great pressure to accept a full-time position with the builder working 2 days in the office and the rest at home restructuring the company. I’ll tell you I was burning the candle at both ends and that precious time when Max was an infant is a blur. I did this for 9 practically sleepless months working all hours of the day and night. The pressure I put on myself to be the quintessential wife, mother, employee, daughter, sister, friend was enough to make anyone implode. In August the Lord clearly told me I needed to be done but I didn’t listen. Instead, I kept pushing along, but I was “pushing a rope”. I thought I was making a difference but I was killing myself. In November I walked into my office knowing I wouldn’t be leaving and working full-time. The Lord was working because the owners knew I couldn’t do it anymore either. We mutually decided that day that I would work from home mostly 2 days per week.
I continued working at home for about 6 months when we found out yet again…surprise…we were going to have another baby. This story is one full of God working in my life and I promise to share what we affectionately call the “God has a sense of humor story” some other time. I continued to work 2 days per week but as my body grew, so did the exhaustion and frustration with working. I told the owners I needed to step back but I still kept on pushing along all the while praying for God to show me what to do. After many months of prayer I finally trained my replacement just before Christmas and God very clearly showed me that I was going to be a stay-at-home-mom to 3 children as the new year began. The peace I felt was overwhelming and Jackson was born February 6, 2010.
When I look at my role as a wife and mother I know I need to look at what God says in his Word and what he says to me everyday. When God created Eve, he created her to be Adam’s “helper” in Genesis 2:18-23. In this modern age…what does that mean for us today? Proverbs 31 describes the Wife of Noble Character. When I think of being my husband’s “helper” this is the passage I always look to. This virtuous woman God describes is one I strive to be like and often fall short because man alive is she A-MA-ZING! It clearly states that God approves of a “working mother”. The woman here “considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard” (vs. 16), she “sees that her trading is profitable and her lamp does not go out at night” (vs. 18), and “she makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies merchants with sashes” (vs 24). This woman also “watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness” (vs. 27) which tells me that she is more than just a stay-at-home mom but while she is working she is taking very good care of her husband and children because they call her “blessed” (vs.28). She does not put her work first, but works to put her family first and take excellent care of them. This passage is both encouraging and incredibly challenging all at the same time.
This past summer I finally felt like I had the time to help Nathan put together his company website that I had been promising him I would do for the last 2 years. I sat down on a Tuesday and finally finished by Friday of that week. He was thrilled to say the least and said “You should start a company!” So, in the Proverbs 31 woman fashion, I did. It’s just a little side business that allows me to work a little bit completely at home. I have no boss emailing me, calling me, pressuring me and I pretty much work on referral and word-of-mouth as needed…and I HELP my husband with his business which God has graciously blessed us with. I am completely and totally able to care for my children and my husband full-time and to me, that is the most important job I have in this season of life….and let me tell you, I’ve never worked harder! Someone always needs something and there is always something TO DO…and while the pay is nothing tangile…this time with them is PRICELESS! I am so thankful to God for the blessing of being a stay-at-home “working” mom!
All moms “work” whether in the home or outside of it. I think now that I am home full-time I actually work harder. Things that Nathan and I shared responsibility before when I worked I now do completely by myself because I am here all the time. I look at moms that work outside the home full-time and I have no idea how they do everything! It is very impressive! I am so careful not to place judgement on any working mom because I’ve been one and it is so very difficult and even if it isn’t “necessary” financially, it did help my husband tremendously with many things. The skills I was learning helped him in his business and the money I earned allowed us to buy a new car and make improvements to our house that would have had to be put of for many years. My husband appreciated how hard I worked to be a good employee and keep our family first. The balance was so difficult and to be honest, I am so glad I’m not doing it anymore and I listened to what God wanted for me! And most importantly I’ve learned that when those big decisions come that effect my family, I know where to turn!
God bless all mothers. May we find peace with wherever the journey finds us:) It’s the hardest yet most rewarding job in the world. God bless you, Jennifer…