This has been a blog post in progress for a long time...in my mind. Many other posts have been written, saved and published while this one remained in the editing state, so to speak. I don't know if its because I was afraid to write it (you know, that whole 'fear of man' thing) or if I wasn't sure how to write it. Either way...I've decided that today is the day I will free my mind of these thoughts and express what I've been feeling, living and know to be true, by the grace of God.
I'm a working mom. And before I get any comments about how all moms work...I mean, I work outside the home. I'm fortunate enough to not have to work full time and can do a lot of my work from home. This leaves me free to be with my children 5 out of the 7 days of the week. But I work nonetheless.
At first, this was a decision made out of necessity. My husband is a Christian school teacher. Taking that job was a calling from God. But, that meant that we would live on less in order to serve. I'll admit, working was a bit selfish at first. I like buying new clothes, going out to eat, traveling to see family in other states. All things that we would not be able to afford if I did not work. We would not live in the house that we do, or have the means to give at the level that we're able to give. We are passionate about the Great Commission - and though God has not yet called us to go, we are having a wonderful time helping to send!
But, lest you think my attitude has always been so glorious...well it hasn't. When my first child, Annelise, was born, I went back to work after 6 weeks. I spent most of my time working from home...but as a new mother, that was difficult. I didn't want to sit on my computer all day. I wanted to take pictures of my sweet, baby girl, go for walks and playdates with friends. You know, all the things that moms do. I struggled for a long time. Angry at myself for wanting to work, resenting my husband for not making more money to support us, bitter at friends who had made the decision to stay home.
This lasted for nearly a year...and I was miserable unbeknown to anyone but my husband. The poor guy. He put up with a lot of moaning and complaining. I was not a godly wife.
Then the Lord blessed us with another pregnancy. Another beautiful baby girl. And, selfishly, I decided that I would take 12 weeks off after her birth. My initial plan was to prove to my husband that we could make financial sacrifices and survive without me working. And for a short time, we did just that. But slowly, God started to break away the crusty, bitter layer around my heart and reveal His true plan for our family. Boy, did I have a lot to learn.
You want to know the real truth about me? 12 weeks of maternity leave did not give me more time to be a homemaker, mother, godly wife. I didn't do the Bible study I had intended or teach Annelise a foreign language. I didn't have more time to read books or visit friends. Instead, I had more time to be lazy and selfish. Ouch! Reading books that I wanted to read, being consumed with "me" time.
Let me say this...I do not believe that all stay at home moms are lazy and selfish. Many that I know use their time very wisely, in a way that nurture's their family and honors God. Unfortunately, I was not one of those moms.
God used those 12 weeks to show me that He had a purpose in my working outside the home. He has gifted me in ways that are useful to the Kingdom. If I were not using those gifts, I would be squandering them selfishly. I'm driven by tight schedules. I enjoy getting a lot done in a little bit of time. In fact, too much time to do a project drives me crazy. I'm weird, I know.
Believe me, being a working mom isn't easy. There are pressures and expectations that I often feel I cannot fulfill. There are times when I'm torn between family and work. There are lots of times when I feel like I'm not a good mom...or a good employee. I've been fortunate to have close friends and family available to watch my children so I don't have to utilize public daycare. Most of those caregivers have been able to come to my home. I have a wonderful young lady watching my girls this summer...I babysat for her when she was little. Its joyous to know that she will be impacting my children.
Speaking of my children...God has given me two beautiful girls with strong personalities. In fact, I believe He gave them those personalities to help them (and me) cope through the busy times I have at work. Neither of my girls are so clingy that I cannot leave them. They are independent in nature and have a "I can do it on my own" attitude. Because of that, I believe God has gifted them to understand and support my work outside the home.
And my husband...my dear, sweet, supportive husband. I always thought he pushed me to working because he didn't want us to go without. I always equated it to money. How selfish and arrogant of me. I now realize that he understood me (my personality, emotions and needs) more than I did. He saw my creative drive, my need to have purpose, to make a difference. He sees to the future. He understands that when our children are gone I will want to reenter the workforce, and how difficult to do that with a 20 year gap in experience. He has been the biggest supporter in times when I felt like he was my enemy. He was the silent cheerleader when I felt like he was the taunting opponent. I'm thankful for his insight. I'm thankful for his love.
So, when you started reading this blog post you didn't know it was going to be a book. Sorry. I had a feeling it was going to be a long one. But, its my story. And its one that I didn't write. I'm proud of who I am - who God has made me to be. I have found freedom over the past 6 months...I'm no longer slave to my feelings of being inferior as a mother. I know that I am who God has called me to be for such a time as this. Instead of wallowing in "what could have been" I'm rejoicing in WHAT IS. And who knows...maybe this post will inspire someone who has been feeling the same bondage in their chapter of life. I hope that this is an encouragement to others.