Do you know the one question which is likely to make many stay-at-home moms break out into a cold sweat and suddenly wish that their little darlings would make all hell break loose and cause a distraction?
The dreaded “So, what do you do?”
I hate it when I get asked that. Because often the people who ask it generally work outside the home and are usually not really interested in your calling as a mom, the pleasure you get from taking care of your little ones and the time and energy you spend in making a secure, clean and comfortable home.
It’s so hard to know how to answer a question like that, isn’t it? Oh, well, I’m a Domestic Engineer, Home Manager, Home Economist, Carer, Overlord… ok, I was kidding about the last one! The answer that makes me cringe the most though is when I stutter out “Oh, I’m just a mom!”
Being a stay at home mom is something more and more women are choosing as their primary career whilst their children are young. And many of those who are forced to go out to work for financial reasons confess that they would prefer to look after their kids full-time. Yet, it still seems to be an undervalued vocation by society. Somehow, stay at home moms seem to be regarded as old-fashioned, as women who weren’t able to find a career doing anything else, or at worst some kind of homey, wasp-waisted 1950’s woman! Society chooses to value paid work above the most important role in the world – motherhood.
When I gave up my role in full-time youth ministry, which I job-shared with my husband, to stay at home with my first-born son, Ben, I found things to be very tough. The contrast between a fun, challenging, church ministry and working as part of a team to suddenly being at home with a screaming, colicky baby, whom I felt very underqualified to look after was immense. I suffered from post-natal depression and I think this was partly caused by such a massive change in lifestyle and the struggle I experienced in making the adjustment.
I think that when women give up paid work and start a journey into full-time motherhood they can struggle with what seems like a loss of identity. Suddenly they are spending their days doing something which gets very little recognition from the world and combine this with no salary, bonuses, holidays or pension, it can feel like a very undervalued role.
Now don’t get me wrong I value the privilege and responsibility that I have had as a stay at home mom for the last eight years raising my three gorgeous children. I love being creative with my home, seeing those “first” moments as my kids grow, being able to nurse them when they are sick or attend the school events that are important to them. However, I can’t pretend that it hasn’t been hard at times.
I think that one of the keys to maintaining a sense of self-confidence and self-worth as a stay at home mom is about identity. There are two parts to this –
1. Remember you are not “just a stay at home mom”
You are the same person you were before you had children. Ok, you might have a few more wrinkles, stains on your clothes and you may not even remember the last time you wore lipstick, but you’re still YOU. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our kids that we forget our own personalities, hobbies and interests. It is vital that you keep your own identity alive by giving yourself time to do the things you enjoy.
2. Remember your identity in Christ
Even though the world doesn’t always give stay at home moms the recognition they deserve, God thinks we’re terrific! He wants to see us do well in our calling and to bless those in our care.
…encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonoured. – Titus 2:4-5
I’m Mel Caldicott, a full-time mum who has spent a lot of time and prayer working out how to make the Essential Thing a priority in the midst of running a home, raising my kids and having fun with my family. We have three children Ben (8), Alfie (5) and Millie (3) and a dog called Cookie. I love reading, listening to music, gardening, coffee and chocolate! I love to write about being real about the ups and downs of womanhood and following Jesus. Blog | Facebook | Twitter