Confessions of A Working Mom

This morning I’m sitting in my bedroom with the door locked, realizing if I walk out the door I’m going to lose it. 

Do you ever feel that way?


This morning reminds me of when I was a stay-at-home-mom and woke up anticipating some quiet moments to myself ….time with God, time to straighten up and organize before the kids got up and my day belonged to someone else.

But then a child would wake up 
earlier than the estimated-time-of-arrival.

And my response was 
frustration,
 irritation, 
and sometimes, 
(anger.)

Just a few minutes of personal time, please! 
I just need a few minutes to myself that are
(mine)  

Boy, putting that in print is scary, sharing my selfish thoughts with the world. And I’m petrified in sharing my secret..

(I can’t do it all.)

When I was a stay-at-home-mom I often had lock-myself-in-the-room days. I could somewhat manage them without the extra stressors of outside work, finding babysitters, and missing work because of sick kids.

Then, ten years ago, I was offered the opportunity to teach, and I became a working-mom.  Four years ago, on the last day of school, I walked out of my classroom, turned out the lights for the last time, with a broken heart, leaving the profession I love.

Because I can’t do it all.

For me, the classroom is a sacred place where you pour your life and heart into students God gives you.  But there is a price….it’s a demanding job, full of grading, lesson plans, standards to meet and data to keep.  While I kept up with the deadlines of the classroom and home pretty well, the reality was that casseroles in the freezer fed the body but not the soul.

Doing it all is pricey, and for me, the price was too high emotionally and spiritually. My kids needed a mom emotionally available for them who was not irritated, frustrated, and on-edge. I needed to be at peace.

Being pulled in every direction is hard. During these years, I was pulled in every direction. So Ron and I made a life-changing decision for me to go back to school so I could have other opportunities for part-time or flexible employment outside of the classroom. It was a good decision, but a hard one to make.

God has been faithful.  After a long wait, God answered our prayers by providing a part-time school counseling position for me.  It’s a reminder that God cares, hears, and provides miracles.  At least it’s a miracle to me because….

I know what I can handle. I only have a few more years  with my children at home, and want to be present, at peace, and available.  

Some things I’ve learned along the journey:

God provides.  Financially, quitting a secure job to go back to school full-time with a large family didn’t make sense, especially with one going off to college. But after living on one income for most of our marriage, we knew we could return to it for a season.  God has a way of making dollars stretch when you don’t think they can.

Know yourself  and be okay with your limits.  I never felt more like a failure than when I locked my classroom door and turned in the keys. When everything around you says you’ve failed, aren’t good enough, and you fear what-people-will-think, it’s crucial you are confident of God’s plan for you because then you can rest in His will. 

God cares about women.  Being on both sides of the working-mom fence, I’ve been challenged by every social mores there is in the Christian world regarding working or non-working mothers.  I’ve learned roles for women are not who we are, they are what we do.  God loves us each individually, and ministers to us accordingly.

A woman’s identity is in Christ alone.  It’s not in our children, our work, our gifts, our talents, our husband, or our home. I can’t express in words all the places the Lord and I have been with this topic over the last ten years.  I’ve learned first and foremost 

I’m the daughter of the Most High God. 

I’m not defined by
 My children’s achievements 
or failures 
A clean house 
or awesome lesson plans
My ability to handle it all 
or not.

 Nor do these things define you.  

God is crazy about each of us 
for who we are
 and who He has created us to be. 
 And He has called each of us
 to be a testimony to Him
 above all else.  

So next week I start a new part-time job, an adventure for this season. It’s what fits us now. In seven short years, my children will be gone, and I won’t  have to lock myself away anymore.  

But if I don’t care for my mind and heart now,
 my children may lock me away first.  

“If mama’s ain’t happy, then no one’s happy”

Lord, give each of us a peace of mind and heart for the season we are in.  Let each of us know the perfect grace you have for where you have placed us.  Help us not to look to the left or to the right, or what our neighbor is doing, but help us be comfortable with where you have called us as individual women who minister in the places you have put us.  Equip us to seek You above all else.

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for activity under the heavens;
a time to be born and a time to die
    a time to plant and a time to uproot, 
a time to kill and a time to heal
a time to tear down and a time to build
a time to weep and a time to laugh
a time to mourn and a time to dance
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them
a time to embrace and a time to refrain
a time to search and a time to give up
a time to deep and a time to throw away
a time to tear and a time to mend
a time to be silent and a time to speak
a time to love and a time to hate
a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil?
 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
Ecclesiastes 3:  1-11

Amen


9 comments

  1. Thanks for this Brenda – good for my "season" I am in right now. I love that you said "A woman's identity is in Christ alone". So easy to forget this sometimes! Loved the reminder! Love you!

  2. I'm not a mom yet. I'm a teacher, though, and plan to have kids in a few years. I don't think I would be a good stay-at-home-mom because I think I would be too irritable and frustrated like this. Not everyone is meant to be a stay at home mom, which is totally fine. I am confident I will keep working when I have kids.

  3. Jen, thank you so much for your honesty. That ideal of motherhood sure is a clincher huh? When I was home I had the same ideals but the demands of the day and temperament of the kids often left me frustrated because the ideal wasn't met and I was left being angry at the situation and myself. I am glad you have found the balance and have journeyed to being okay with where you are for this season. You have so much fun with your students. Joy in the journey is important. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I really liked this post, Brenda. I feel like I could have written most of it–only I switched all of the "staying-at-home" to "going back to work." I struggled when I became a mother with the fact that I wanted to go back to work. Aren't new mothers supposed to be so in love with their children that they automatically want to quit their jobs and stay at home full-time??? In my head, "doing it all" meant I would stay home with my kids, cook healthy meals and bake with them, organize fabulous art projects and awesome sensory experiences, and provide them with wonderful schedule and structure at home, etc. After all, I am a teacher, I could do this, right? HA! Staying at home full-time makes me the grouchiest parent ever by the end of the day. I have no patience and seem to resent everything. I certainly don't have the inclination to do projects and bake cookies with my kids! I remember being at home with my firstborn and frantically checking the school email, just dying for any type of adult contact!!I had to let go of the idea that I could "do it all" with my kids. I am a much better mother when I can go to the job I love. I know the kids have a wonderful daycare provider and great friends, and when I get home from work, I have the patience to cook with them, spend time with them, and talk to my kids. This also makes weekends and holidays super special. And I enjoy and cherish more the summers I have with them, instead of constantly wondering when I'm going to get a break and talk to adults. Anyway, I totally related to this post. It's hard to admit that you can't do it all and also hard to let go of that "perfect mother" ideal that you've created in your head (which no one can ever actually achieve). :)Jen Eash

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