I am a little nervous to post this, it is something I wrote last summer and for some reason it makes me feel a bit venerable- mainly because I am a sinful human and I never want anyone to look at me in the parking lot as my kids are running and being disobedient and I lose my cool and say- "sure, she follows this advice"- or think I am a hypocrite! SO, I need you to know I do not follow this every day, I wish I did, a lot of days I am in a complete kid-induced funk and no more follow this than anyone. This is my goal- to lead each day with this mind set. I am the farthest from perfect, but if this helps any of you with a "plan" for mothering your family then I am blessed to share it. It is not meant to be controversial at all, this is just how I view my "job"- take it or leave it! XO
As a mom, I get the question all the time, “Do you work or are you a stay at home mom?” I usually simply say that I stay at home and move on to the next topic of conversation. However, I am usually left with the feeling that the person asking the question is asking for more, like, “dont you do anything else”? I find it so disheartening that when I talk to moms, who primarily stay at home with their children, I get the feeling that moms feel like they have to do ‘something’ else, simply being a mom is not “career” enough . Please hear me say, I have so much respect for women who go to work and can raise and nurture a family as well. I also have the upmost respect for the single mothers who manage to support their children in every way and are the mother and father in the home. I simply have a personal passion and a heart for those moms who have chosen and are able to stay at home with their children and who feel like that isn't good enough. This has nothing to do with the parents who have chosen a different landscape for their families, God has called you to raise your children and God bless you as you follow His plan for your life and your families! For those of you who are stay-at-home moms, I hope that you will find encouragement in this plan for parenting!
I believe, that making the choice to stay at home and parent our children is one of the toughest decision a mother has to make. Besides the financial issues of losing a pay check or paying for day care or a nanny, there is a self worth issue that we rarely talk about. It seems like everywhere I go someone is eager to give me advice, a strange look when my child is crying, a critical remark when my child is not being friendly or a “your just a mom” comment when asked what I do professionally. I have even had someone tell me their wife is “too hard of a worker to stay home” implying that I am a, what?
Until you are a mom you cannot possibly understand the day-to day JOB that is being a mom. I have worked at The White House, I have worked in New York City helping to plan a national political convention, I planned events for a large DC event and PR firm and held numerous other jobs along the way- but I have never been more challenged or worked as hard as I do as a mom. That being said, I have never been more honored or blessed that the God of the Universe has chosen me to raise His children and allowed me to stay at home with them and be a part of every moment in their lives. Somedays, I would love to go back to the work place and have people tell me when I do a good job, when I wear a cute outfit, get to hear interesting stories about coworkers, go to yummy lunches, have people give me fun tickets to things, get promotions and pay raises, etc...however going back to work for a month when my firstborn was 8 months old taught me that there is no way that I want to miss a single day with my kids and there is no one that will love my kids or train them up in the way God has called me to train them. So instead of saying, “Boohoo I am a mom and all I do is take care of my kids all day, clean, laundry, take care of my husband, pay bills, etc...” I have decided to view motherhood as an extremely important job. Guess who our boss is? God himself, the creator of the Universe! God has called us to train up our children, to teach them about Him, to nurture them, to serve them, to educate them, to encourage them, to discipline them and so much more. I believe if we start our day and view being a mom as a job, we will find much joy and purpose in what we do all day.
For most of us, when we have a job, there is always a boss, even if you own your own business your boss would probably be the customer or someone you are trying to please. For most people in the work place, they find great joy when they go the extra mile and do things to make the “boss” happy. Most people spend their entire time at work doing projects and aiming to ultimately please their boss. When you realize, as a mom, that the God of the Universe is your “boss” and you work throughout the day as if to please your “boss” you will absolutely be a better wife, mother, daughter, etc... God leads by example and he gave us Jesus to teach us how to live our lives. The primary theme in the leadership Jesus showed us is service. Ephesians 6:7 says, “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men”. If we start to rethink who we are trying to please when we are mothering our children and serve others as if we are serving the Lord, NOT MEN, suddenly it does not matter what other people think of our parenting, and it only matters what our “boss” thinks about the job we are doing. This mindset will effect everything we do as moms. God sees when we go the extra mile to keep a clean home, he sees when we stay up late to clean an outfit that our kids need for the next day, he sees when we put our computer or cell phone away and read a book to our children, he sees when we take extra time to make a special meal for our husbands, he sees all that we do and he is delighted! What an honor that our creator and savior looks at the way we serve our family and finds joy in the job that we do!
As with a job, I try to set goals or “tasks” for my day at the start of the day such as having a quiet time, exercising, grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, etc...whatever the goals are, I try to have a rough schedule from the beginning of the day before any chaos takes over! I might not stick to my schedule exactly, but at least I have a goal. When we get up to go to work, we get ourselves dressed for the day. Whatever activity (or lack there of) you have planned for the day, dress for it in the morning. I find that when I hang around in my sleep ware, with no make up, no shower, etc...all day, I am not as productive as I could be and I just dont feel good about myself.
Two of the most enjoyable or the most challenging aspects with most jobs are coworkers and outside activities. Your job in the workplace and at home is so much more enjoyable if you are surrounded with awesome coworkers who will support you and encourage you daily. In our job as “mom” it is so important to nurture relationships and surround yourself with wonderful “coworkers” who will relate to you and support you. In this job, we have been given an amazing gift that we can choose our “coworkers” and the Lord provides so many people in different “departments” that can support us in our job! I would encourage you to ask the Lord to “hire” as many department leaders as possible; a mentor, girlfriends, family members, godparents, church leaders, bible study group members, nursery helpers, teachers, etc... What a gift that we dont have to walk through life alone! It is an honor and blessing to watch others love your child and to feel the love of Christ displayed by your “coworkers” for your children to see and learn from! Often times when we are working in a job, it is hard to find balance between work and outside activities. In the same way, it is hard as a mom to have a life outside our children. In both situations, to have a life outside of the “job” makes you a healthier and more productive worker. I feel so refreshed after a few hours of my kids being at Moms Day Out, when I can go do something I love to do and be able to do it in PEACE! Your outside activity could be a part time job you are passionate about, playing a sport, exercising, shopping, reading, joining a bible study, a moms group or anything that allows you to refresh your mind and refocus on the task at hand; passionately raising your children!
One of the greatest challenges as a parent is discipline. Yes, we are called to serve our children but we are also called to “train” them. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” I believe that training a child should be our job description. Yes, I am a “stay-at-home mom” but I am also a ‘child trainer’. In everything we do whether it is at home playing, eating a meal or running errands, we have the unique opportunity to train a child in the way they should go. We have been given a huge responsibility to teach our children values, manners, integrity, honesty, obedience, self respect and respect for others, modesty, self control, respect for authority, healthy eating habits, exercise habits, service, education, the value and responsibility of money, joy, patience, love, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, there are so many more things we train our child to do on a daily basis but the most important and all encompassing lesson we can teach our children is who God is and what His word says about how we should live our lives. Can you think of another job description with that many responsibilities? Mothering is not for the weak or the lazy, it is a high calling given by God himself to fight for our children and train them to be healthy, happy followers of our Lord and Savior and to contribute to our world in a way that pleases God himself! Jesus was no push over, he was the most loving and serving human being to ever live, but when he felt something was wrong or didn't agree with something, he was radical in his response! He threw the merchants out of the temple, he constantly called people out on their sins, because he cared for their hearts and followed his Fathers plan no matter the cost.
The final aspect of your job that is the most important to remember, you would never go through the day at work without communicating with your boss. The good news about our boss, Jesus, is that we can go to him all day long with every little question or need, he is always available for us and always has our best interest in mind. He loves our kids more than we do, he is our creator and knows EVERYTHING! What an amazing boss to have! He is never wrong, never unfair, never selfish; He is the perfect boss, savior and friend. He wants to have a relationship with us and He wants to reveal himself to us through His word and His spirit. I try to view my quiet time with God as my daily “staff meeting” with the boss. Think about the work place, if you have a daily time set aside for your boss, you rarely miss that meeting. There might be days when you have to “call in sick” but the majority of the time, you are there for your meeting with your boss rain or shine. I believe that no matter what phase of life your child(ren) is in, there is 15 minutes in that day you can set aside (and preschedule) for a meeting with your ‘boss’.
I have never felt more blessed than I do at this phase of life, yes there are bad days and I am far from perfect as a mother. However, my boss is quick to forgive and allows me to start each day fresh. Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” We get to take one day at a time, THIS is the day.
What a privilege that God has called us to be mothers, and what a blessing that he allows us to stay at home with them and train them up in His truths! Lets take our job seriously and fight for our children. In a world that is encouraging all the wrong ideas, parents need to be more involved in the minute-by-minute than ever. I encourage you to be the employee of the month every month when it comes to loving, caring and training your children. John 16:33 says, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." We have the king of the universe on our side and he is the only one we have to answer to, there is NOTHING He cant get us through or that he hasn't already overcome.
So, to those who give me looks at the store or make judgmental comments, I say to you; The King of Kings and Lord of Lords is delighted with me and my children and nothing you can say or do will put me in bad terms with my boss! There is no job on the planet I would rather have than this one!
God bless you!
Proverbs 31:28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her
Hebrews 12:10-12 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.