S.A.H.M Status

11.29.2016 |


One of my friends recently asked how much I love being a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) and asked how I decided not to return to teaching upper level science courses.  Let me tell you, I am so grateful that she would ask me these questions (posted below) because it gave me a chance to get outside myself and really ponder the things I do and don't love about staying at home.

I decided to post my response here only because I think it might be a similar experience that some SAHMs have.  While I recognize that everyone has a different calling on and passion in their lives, motherhood is a strange web of mixed emotions whether you are with your kids 24-7 or are at the office.  I also realize that while some people have the option to stay home, some do not.  I realize that working moms may have a burning desire to stay with their children, but it is not circumstantially possible.  I realize that some moms who stay home have an intense passion for their careers and truly do want to be at work.  I get that everyone is in a different stage of life (which can be highly dependent on the ages and needs of your chilren) whether it's the stage of life they want or not.  I am simply sharing my experience from the past 6 months of staying home with Ezra.  I hope you can read this and not be too nit-picky on my personal experiences.  It's messy and I'm messy.

Here is my response to her.  Revisions from the original message are italicized.



Questions:

  1. Do you love being a stay at home mom? 
  2. Why do you choose to stay at home as opposed to work?
  3. Do you think being at home more aligns with what God desires in a wife and a mother?

Response:

I am not sure how much help I will be on this topic seeing that I have only been a mother for a little over a year, but what I will tell you is that I have learned SO much.  Time and time again I have been humbled as my impatient, unloving, bitter, and joyless heart rears its ugly head.  Motherhood is a sanctifying journey in itself, and it has taught me so much about the incredible love Christ has for us.  

While I have come to love being a mother, it wasn’t always a title I loved to wear.  There’s a lot of love, but a whole lot of messy too.  Being a mom means 11PM, 1AM, 3AM, 5AM wake up calls; it means cleaning up explosive diapers and vomit in a crib; it means enduring a screaming child in a car for no reason; it means being completely helpless and not knowing what to do feeling like you are half the time grasping at air to make motherhood work. (Like could a baby please come with an instructions manual? Thanks.)  But despite all of that, motherhood is a beautiful journey.  It means there is someone who is trusting you and counting on you like you have never known in your life; it means laying down your selfishness and pride; it means looking into eyes that look so eerily like yours and just crying because God has been so kind to let you raise someone made in his image and likeness; it means literally crying at the thought that something terrible might happen to him that would cause you to lose him; it means rubbing a silky smooth back while rocking a 1-year old to sleep because his teeth hurt; it means loving someone you are still getting to know as they likewise are getting to know you; it means dying to yourself and rearranging your idea of what “life” should have looked like (this last one has been the absolute HARDEST).  Motherhood (apart from staying at home) is something that I have learned to love, but for me, it wasn’t an automatic natural desire or passion.

There is still a lot of personal growth going on in my own life and walk with Christ, so I will be interested to see how I answer this question in a year or two.  

I really don’t love being a stay at home mom at all, but I do absolutely love being a mom.  It's just that being a SAHM is not something I want to do forever.  I know that it is completely necessary and the only option for me at this point in time having a baby due in January and moving to Virginia.  I think being a SAHM is God’s way of showing me how much personal growth I have to go, and how much I have been coasting through life without depending on him.  Teaching microbiology and chemistry is easy, work is easy, school was easy, but motherhood, it is not easy (for me).  I chose to stay-at-home because my doctor pointed out that getting a teaching position only to leave for 8 weeks (with no FMLA) in January would be pointless; moreover, childcare can be over $1000/month in Virginia, and after paying that, there would be little to no income left.  Not to mention, put 2 kiddos in daycare, and the take-home pay is ZERO for a high school teacher, even with a Masters degree.  For me and my family, I think the benefit of me being with Ezra (and soon Piper) will be beneficial not only to my own personal growth, but for my kids.  I think they will be able (or at least it is my hope) to see the way I react to certain situations, interact with people, use my words, and go throughout the day and that it would inspire and influence who they will become as young adults in the future.   


As for whether or not being a SAHM aligns with what Christ desires for us, I definitely need to do more study on this.  However, I think God calls certain people to certain passions.  I don’t think every mom should be a SAHM, because I certainly hope I don’t have to be forever.  I love working outside the home.  It’s biblical to work, no matter what profession that is (even being a SAHM) Genesis 2:15.  However, Lydia the seller of fine purple goods in the early church (Acts 16:11-15) clearly worked outside the home and made a good living.  The woman in Proverbs 31 clearly stayed in the home, but it also seems that she worked outside the home at times.  What I think is most biblical is to raise a children who are grounded in the word and use every opportunity you can to point them to Jesus and his promises (Proverbs 22:6).  That command is the same whether you are in or out of the home.  

Because I have had multiple conversations with Mark about this, I will say that he has reiterated time and time again that our home should be able to thrive and function financially with him making money while I stay with the children.  That is how it was culturally mandated in the early centuries.  Now I know culture has changed, but the principle hasn't.  I told Mark that I really wanted to go back to work because I miss the ease of work, the interaction with people, and just overall feeling like I’m doing something important (I know being a SAHM is important, but it’s just different in a way that’s hard to explain).  He told me that I could if I wanted to, but financially we will make it without me working-that we would never purchase a house with the expectation that I would work to pay the bill or schedule things in hopes that I would get a job to make a little more money.  He is so trusting in God, and it’s encouraging to me.  He really trusts God to provide for our needs, and it really is quite incredible some of the ways God has provided.  Mark just says we don’t pray and expect God to provide, but when we do, we get the opportunity to see Christ at work.  For example, we had a nail in our tire and we were just gonna get it patched, but the technician said we needed a whole new tire.  It was going to be roughly $200.  We don’t have that kind of pocket change just to fix a tire, so Mark told him to temporarily put the spare on it.  A man overhead the conversation and said that he would like to purchase the tire for Mark.  Earlier that morning, Mark had prayed that God would provide for the tire, not yet knowing the extent of the tire damage.  So incredible.  It’s moments like this I am grateful we are all the more dependent on God’s faithfulness.  We get to see it happen before our eyes, whereas if I was working, maybe an extra $200 for a tire wouldn't have been a big deal.  

I in no way think being a SAHM is somehow better or more noble or a more “Christian” thing to do.  In fact, I greatly envy working moms, because I used to be one.  I know how sweet it is to come home from a long day at work to see that smiling face get excited to see you again.  It is truly a sweet and special moment.  But I also know that there are working moms who yearn to stay with their kids day in and day out, but that is just not me at this point

I know God desires me to love him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5).  I know he has called me to submit to my husband (Ephesians 5:22-33, Colossians 3:18).  I know he has called me to walk humbly with Him (Micah 6:8).  Whether or not I (or any other wife/mother) has to do that strictly within the confines of being a SAHM, I would say absolutely not.  God has given us unique personalities, gifts, and passions to rightly use to share Christ’s message of redemption with others (Romans 12, Ephesians 4:11-16, 1 Corinthians 12).  We can all reach a multitude of people within our own spheres of influence, it just so happens that my sphere of influence at this moment is Ezra.  

It’s a season I am called to for now.  Maybe I won’t be in this season this time next year, maybe I will be.  Wherever I am, I pray that I can do it all with joy, patience, love, and gentleness to whomever my sphere of influence is at that time.  



I really appreciate you staying with me through this post.  There are some things I didn't mention, because well frankly, it's hard to talk about how bitter and jealous I can get, or how depressed and lonely it is at times.  That is another blog post for another day. 




  • What are your experiences with working or being a stay-at-home mom?
  • How have you seen God use you in your workplace or at home to influence others?
  • What are some positive things that have come from being at work or at home?
  • What are some negative things that have resulted from being being at work or at home?
  • Do you see your current situation as a season, or a lifestyle?







Family photos taken by Jenny with Aeternus Photography in a quick mini-session


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