Dear Stay at Home Mom,
There are a few things I know about you.
Your time with the kids is precious, your energy spent on maintaining your home is well spent, your skills are still being used every single day, and you are a rock star. You know that.
But I also know that maybe, deep down inside, you’re still wondering how well you’re really doing.
I know, because I’m a stay-at-home mom too. A stay-at-home-mom that spent 13 years of my life sitting behind a computer after college. Without really meaning to, I climbed the corporate ladder until I was earning a great salary with a Senior in front of my title and living in a nice home in a Denver suburb with my husband. But that life did not include kids, and this life–the one where I’m a SAHM of two little ones in a tiny rural town, is very different.
I have a theory. Ready for it?
It’s kind of hard to truly believe we are rock star moms.
I’m not saying you have no confidence or don’t intellectually know your worth. You do. I know that you believe in the extraordinary value of a stay at home mom.
But sometimes, there’s a nagging problem–a sort of approval withdrawal. Why?
Because all our lives we’ve been evaluated. In school, we were graded on everything from art projects to how well we could climb a rope. Our parents analyzed our report cards and went to parent-teacher conferences, and then talked with us about what we needed to work on.
In college, it was more of the same, but we also had to meet requirements for our major, we made sure we were taking enough hours, we met with professors and advisers to discuss our progress. After graduation, we focused on earning money, and at work, we were reviewed and rewarded (or reprimanded) at every turn.
Going from a life filled with meetings, a sea of task lists, and job requirements to a life that’s more like pouring your every living cell into tiny human beings while maintaining your home can be seriously disorienting. There’s a sudden void of corporate instant gratification.
Even if everything inside you always, always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, there’s a bit of a culture shock that comes along with the 180 your world has just pulled. If you’re like me, some small part of you is waiting for that performance review.
But I think there’s an antidote to that approval withdrawal and insecurity.
And it’s really simple–just grab on to the truth.
The truth is that the reward systems we experienced in school and business were there to keep us motivated to do good work and fulfilled enough to keep coming back. But we just don’t need them anymore.
The truth is that being a mother is incredibly, immeasurably valuable and the most rewarding and amazing thing you’ll ever do in your life.
The truth is that if motherhood is your job, then your kids are your reward. Those spaghetti-smeared smiles and funny four-year-old phrases, those squishy hugs and butterfly kisses, are your salary and bonuses and kudos.
Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
The truth is that staying at home doesn’t come with a report card, but if it did there wouldn’t be grades. Why? Because you were never expected to be perfect at this.
The truth is that you are working for God, and he’s a great boss. He fills in all those imperfect gaps and has lots of grace and gentle guidance for you.
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
The truth is that you were meant to be a mother. There’s no guesswork involved here, you can know you’re in the right field, spending your energy on the right thing. Because every child is a gift from God. And the One giving the gift doesn’t just randomly throw them at the recipient. He’s actually really good at giving gifts. He gave you the children that would be just right for your family, and he made you a mom on purpose.
The truth is that your kids would name you Employee of the Month every month. In fact, your kids know all these truths and they would tell you without hesitation that you are a good mom.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
Case in point? Kai, my four-year-old son, just ran in here and said to me, “Mommy, I’m proud of you. VERY PROUD.”
He said this because I was able to pry off a Lego that was really stuck on.
So, fellow mamas,
I hope you grab on to the truth,
every single day. Parenting your child is the most important use of your talent and skills, ever.
If you ever feel a little lost, remember that your contribution is your kids, and your platform is the world, and that is pretty amazing.