There is nothing more like a dagger to the heart,
then when your job as a mother is questioned.
The moment you hold your child, everything changes. A living, breathing angel is dependent on you. And as much as you try to remind yourself it’s not ALL UP TO YOU… every mother lives and breathes pressure. Am I doing it right? Should I work? Should I stay home? Are they better off in someone else’s care? Are we providing enough? Did I just damage them for life?
(um, yes – that is where the “hair” in this family begins. right there in the delivery room. mounds.)
The thing that frustrates me the most is the daggers most often sling from woman to woman, mother to mother. Why would a friend of mine say “she needs to get a life” (referring to my blogging). Why would people suggest working outside the home moms (WOHMs) have their priorities out of whack? Why would WOHMs joke that stay-at-home moms (SAHMs) have so much time on their hands and have it so easy? Why would SAHMs make the WOHMs feel guilty for less involvement in the classroom? Why would WOHMs make SAHMs feel guilty for wanting to get a break away from their kids? Why would people that never went through labor say “Oh, I would NEVER do that when I’m a mom”?
Why do the moms just one hill ahead of you in the marathon look back and say
“oh you just wait, it sucks worse up here”
instead of reaching back for advice, counsel and encouragement.
I am GUILTY of ALL of those and more. Words are easy to sling. I am so sarcastic and a joker. I’m learning it hurts others and it definitely hurts receiving it. I am learning that moms are all on some team, but we don’t act like it enough. We are also incredibly sensitive and defensive. We are looking to prance and jump on another who might question the way we are doing it. And, we get super focused on our “way” of doing it that we don’t remember there are others navigating different circumstances right beside us. The point of today is NOT to avoid challenging each other and just hold hands and get along, but I do think we have to do better. Much better.
There just isn’t one way to succeed. Or we’d all be doing it. I respect, adore and love all my mom friends. I know their hearts. I know they would equally throw their bodies in front of a moving train today for their kids. Some of them work full-time and love it, some work full-time and must go with tears due to finances, some part-time, some stay home happily, some stay home and hate it and are scared to talk about it, some homeschool, some do private and some do public.
However, each are ferociously committed to their kids
and doing the very best they can.
This blog is read by a lot of SAHMs and I definitely need to get more perspective from other moms of all walks. I want it to be for all moms of all faiths of all professions. However, it’s just reality that I’m sharing my life from where I sit – with girls as a mostly stay-at-home mom that is focused on biblical principles. People choose to log on and read. And you choose how you operate your home. Please choose to comment and email me so my perspective widens.
Some WOHMs have made some hurtful jokes about this silly world of blogging and that’s fine. Some WOHMs are SUPER encouraging and soak up and filter the information to fit their lifestyle. They are encouraging and give us living adults to connect with during the day. Some of them would love to do it and they have deadlines and bosses and such limited time. I get it. They race home and love on their kids and try to do life in the hours they are given.
(Meet one oustanding mom, Cara, from ella’s class that has GRACIOUSLY welcomed this new girl.
and i’m totally cool with ella marrying that cutie patootie. she GETS IT. encourages all.)
It’s mainly the big digs that hurt so bad, but we’re also guilty of laughing, joking and talking about the little things. The mom who breastfeeds in public gets the look, or the leash mom or the reindeer ears on minivan, stick people decal mom, dirty bare feet kids in grocery, screaming bribing mom at the mall… the list goes on and on. Either you are one of those, don’t want to be one of those or are laughing because you said you would NEVER and then you had kids. See, they change you. And, they look with you with those eyes and you’d do whatever. Walk naked through a restaurant if they are hungry. Sure, I’ll slap an actual reindeer on the hood of my car if it delights those sweet things.
My cool factor is not the pursuit of life.
The deal is we have to stop judging and ooze more love and grace, me included. One role is NOT superior to the other. In many cases, moms chose to be in their jobs and we chose to be home. Remember someone else for SURE has it worse than we do and someone else for sure could use our encouragement and or help. We have to remember we have a unique walk in this journey. If the girl with one kid that stays home all day is stressed to the max and can’t function and get her list done. And the WOHM with 4 kids wants to kick her under the table – try not to. It’s her world. Just like the woman that needs to lose 100 pounds vs 10 pounds. It hurts equally the same when it consumes your life and mood and thoughts.
Those that stay home will never ever begin to understand the weight of the guilt felt by the WOHM mom and the WOHM will never understand the weight of the exhaustion and weariness felt by the SAHM. We just have to try and build each other up. For this reason, I’m not going to make a case on what you should do if you are making that decision. I certainly have my experience and opinions and happy to share privately. Send me an email. I urge you to open your Bible, pray consistently with your husband for clarity for this season. If you know you’re supposed to be home, pray big that God will make it financially possible. I’ve seen him pull through over and over again. Many times AFTER the baby has come and the job is gone. If you know you’re supposed to work, pray big that God will bring the best school, the best teachers and the best bosses to help you navigate the schedule best.
Oh great – now we all feel like crap.
I’ll try to leave us with some things we could each do to support each other better.
How can we deal with our own hearts on this issue?
I am the QUEEN of being defensive and sensitive. I have to really try and pray not to take things so personally. Just because someone’s blog post said something you didn’t like, don’t write her off. Or, the friend at school who is way “over her kids” and you just want to be with yours. Try to guard your heart and words and give her benefit of the doubt.
How can we gain perspective?
I think each of us has to be responsible for getting the focus off our own world and ourselves. If we serve others, help others, count blessings, etc – we will immediately see our lives differently. In addition, I believe surrounding ourselves with those in other worlds – WOHMs, single moms, widows, ones with home schooled, 8 kids, etc is just a great habit. And, for WOHMs, since the blog world is mainly SAHMs, I’d suggest finding some other WOHMs at work or in neighborhood to share tips with so you’re not alone in this job. (or if you are a blogger that shares helpful tips for the working mom, share your blog below)
How can SAHM help the WOHM?
Let’s not keep score and points. Let’s just help each other, take the class teacher gift, sign up for the roles they wish they could do, and reach out to at least one on how you could be there for her in a pinch with her child. One WOHM shared a great idea about a friend that offered to take their child from time-to-time from after school until she got home. Just one day she knew he was away from “school” and getting to play at a home made her soul so happy. Running an errand for these friends would also be huge.
How can WOHM help the SAHM?
Build them up that they are doing something worthy, invite them into adult conversation, many are strapped for cash so offer to watch their kids even for an hour while they walk around the neighborhood alone, give them a date night out, assume she’s doing something more than hanging out and emailing –she’s probably been puked on, hit and disrespected and could cry. Invite her to coffee or lucnh so she can join you in getting “dressed” for the day and has a reason to meet a friend somewhere.
What do I tell a expecting mom that asks what to do?
I would tell her to wait until she has that baby. It is such a personal journey for everyone and you just don’t know (or someone people do) until you hold it and get home in the action. I can recommend a book for the mom that is leaning towards staying home. I would advise anyone to share the REAL truth. The struggles, the good times and the bad. And, I’d encourage them to pray a lot for clarity.
Thanks for listening to my soapbox.
My heart is that we lift each other up and support each other.
There are no awards in heaven for coolest mom or craftiest mom,
but the Bible has a lot to say about how we encourage and support and love.
New International Version (NIV)
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another —and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
New International Version (NIV)
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
New International Version (NIV)
Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Part 2 of Climate Change by Jeff Henderson