I read this wonderfully supportive post written by Matt Walsh: You’re a stay-at-home-mom? What do you DO all day? Please head over and read it yourself. Then you can come back to see what I have to say about it.
Of course I have something to say about it!
When my husband first presented the idea of staying home with our first baby, when I was pregnant with him, I was not that keen on the idea. I mean, what about my job? I did not go to college and earn a degree, but I had been working as a teller at a bank and then was promoted relatively quickly to CSR. I enjoyed the work and the promotions, and I could see myself going somewhere with that. It really had nothing to do with how I felt about becoming a mother. I had wanted children from the time I was 12 years old and I was beyond excited about giving birth to our first son in a few months!
There was also that voice in my head. The one that said, “Who will you be without a job?” What will people think if you don’t work and help provide an income?” Isn’t it expected of you?” What is your worth without that job?” Now, as a seasoned stay-at-home-mom and mother of 5, I can see whose voice that really was whispering in my ear. Satan was taking everything I had ever heard anyone say that was negative about women who stayed home, and tried to use it against me and my family. He hid behind family members, neighbors, strangers, and my own thoughts (or so I thought).
I eventually did come to the decision to stay home, and for several years I still battled those voices, real and the ones in my head. I pursued college, placing my kids in school and after school programs in pursuit of my own dream of obtaining a teaching degree. All the while my husband was trying to get me to see reason. I was home in body, but my mind was elsewhere. And it had nothing to do with how much I wanted my children. I reveled in my babies and watching my toddlers, preschoolers, elementary kids thrive and learn! It was all about my need to gain that piece of paper that would tell me who I am, give me worth.
Finally, in 2006, God finally got my attention, and I came back home in body and mind. I stopped taking classes, pulled my kids out of school to homeschool them, and began seeking God’s will for how and what to teach my children. We are now into our 8th year of homeschooling and though it is difficult at times, I have absolutely no regrets. None.
Except for the years I spent thinking, dreaming, pursuing the things that were not mine to pursue.
God’s plan for me was to teach. However, He wanted me home teaching my own children, not someone else’s. I am grateful that I finally listened to His call on my life. God always knows best. Am I perfect at hearing Him? At following Him? No. But I am seeking, and I marvel at the ways He leads me and blesses me when I am in His will.
- I wish there had been a Matt Walsh in my life then. Actually, I wish I had only seen him. My husband tried to tell me. He was the ‘Matt Walsh’ in my life! The other voices were louder, or I was just listening to them more than him.
- I wish that family members, friends, and strangers had not asked those pointed questions like, “So are you going back to work now?” or “You’re done having kids now, right?” While I could have and should have ignored the way Satan used those questions against me, he knew my weakness and was quick to make me feel unworthy when I was asked anything like that. As if motherhood was nothing.
- I wish that I had learned as a child that mothering was a worthy calling and job as well. Options were Teacher, Doctor, Lawyer, why not Mother?
How to Encourage the Stay-at-Home-Mom
- Support her in her desires to stay home and care for her family, in words, in actions, in prayer.
- Ask how you may be a help to her. Just because she is home does not mean she is doing nothing! Parenting is hard, and a helping hand is a mighty blessing when truly given in love and support of the individual.
- Pray with her. Offer prayer when she seems stressed. Sometimes a mama needs to know that she and her hardships are visible, even when she does not voice them.
- Rejoice with her! Even on the hardest days there is something to celebrate. Maybe Johnny learned how to roll over. Perhaps Susie climbed onto the countertop and was safely rescued by an older brother. Possibly the marriage is suffering and she is simply happy to have a moment to truly talk with her husband. This should be celebrated, even if it means you get less time with her. She still values you, but values her husband and children more.
- Tell her you love her, and mean it. Make sure your actions and words match up. Mama-hearts know when someone sincerely cares and when words are simply lip service.
- Celebrate every life with her! Children are a heritage from the Lord. It hurts to hear that an expected child is unwanted by others. Don’t be the one to hurt a mother you know with callous or casual words. Take care.
Have you been hurt, as a stay-at-home-mom, by the thoughtless words of others? How have you grown through those moments? Please share in the comments!