August 29, 2014

Is Being “Just a Mommy” Enough?

I struggle with this.

I struggle letting myself be “just a mommy.”

It’s a pride thing. It’s a desire to be able to tell people that, “Oh, no, I don’t just ‘stay home’ all day.”

But discouragement has a way of creeping in at all the wrong times:

“Oh, so you don’t work then?”

“Are you going to look for work?”

“What do you do with your time?”

“You could be benefitting twenty kids instead of staying at home with only one.”

First of all: What?!!!

Is this an assumed thing now? That mommy has a baby, stays home for 6-12 weeks, finds someone else to take care of the baby, and then goes back to work so they can contribute to society? Is that all I am? An un-used degree?!

(And I promise, I am not trying to start a mommy war between stay-at-homes and careers.  This is not the thought that “if you are a working mommy, you must not love your children.”)

Second of all: What?!!!

I never wonder what other stay-at-home-moms do with “all of their time.” But for some reason, I can’t seem to shake the thought that I'm just a stay-at-home-mom.

Like I said, it’s a pride thing.

I tend to answer with a quick, “Well, I stay home, but I also volunteer part-time with the school we worked at in Guatemala.” Or, “that volunteer work goes through September, and then I will have to find something else to do with ‘all my time.’” Basically, “I’m not just a mommy. I do more than clean the house, cook meals, and watch my kid all day."

But will I? Do I have to find something to do that the world classifies as “work”?

Since when was my worth, my value, my contribution to the world connected to working outside of my home? Why do I think that in order to be important, I have to be busy?

It’s true, I do have downtime during my day, especially now that Jocelyn is getting a little older and a little more independent. But that's just like every other job. (Except I’m not getting paid.)

And it’s true, I strongly believe a mother’s beacon of Christ’s light should shine outside of her own walls and beyond her own children to the neighbors.


I must never take this task for granted.

I must never be ungrateful for this little human being that God has entrusted me with.

I must never compare this gift of motherhood to locked shackles that keep me from the traveling, teaching, and playing that sometimes I wish I could be doing instead.

Because my big baby needs me, her big mother.

She needs me to be there, consistently, to love and nurture her.

She needs me to do those completely monotonous and repetitive things that help her learn and grow.

She needs me, now more than ever in this chaotic, absolutely broken and messed-up world, to be teaching her right from wrong, truth from lie, Christ from Deceiver.

And that means, as I have been seeing and hearing from many wise women lately (***cough, cough, Amber***), choosing not what seems good and sounds great on a resume, but is best for her, for me, for our family, and hopefully is spread in ways to our neighbors around us too.

Because my worth, my contribution to the world is not wrapped up in having a “real” job, just as it's not wrapped up in being “just a mom” either.

It’s using my life in whatever tasks, glorious and inglorious as they may be, to bring glory to Christ.

So I’m learning, slowly.

Learning to choose not what seems “good,” but what is actually “best.” (Check out this really great devotional on the topic!)

Learning to appreciate this precious gift that is now walking (!!!) right in front of me.

Learning at times, to say “no" to opportunities, even when it stings a little.

Learning to soak up this toddler time that is already passing by way too quickly.

Learning to be okay with a little downtime to maybe read, write, create, or heaven forbid, to pray!

Because that’s where God has me right now.

I’ll end with something I shared before, but something I believe to be worth sharing again: Words from a wise friend talking about motherhood in light of eternity. It’s so important!

“I need to pour everything I got into raising them to follow the Lord. I need to be diligent to drive rebellion from their hearts, because rebellion towards me as a toddler could grow to become rebellion towards God as a teenager. God has entrusted these kids to me and expects me to raise them with more passion than anything else in my life right now because it is only a small window that children are so moldable.

Of course the decision comes down to their own hearts, but I believe I'll need to prepare them for the not ‘lukewarm Believer’ days. In a day where the culture is so loud and enticing, I need to start them from these toddler years to love God and never turn from His truth, even when others may call them hateful or intolerant for doing so.

Because nothing else matters. Our lives are just a small dot on a line that stretches out into eternity. Life is not about this life we see. That's so hard for people, myself included to remember. This small dot will come and go, even if it is full of trial and persecution or whatever else. It is a passing thing and then we will live forever with Jesus. This world has nothing to offer me.”

Yes, this task of being "just a mommy" is enough.

Grace and Peace,