A few years ago, I left my job to be a stay at home mom. And this is what I discovered:
The grass isn't greener on one side than the other. It's the same. Whether you are working or staying at home, the roles and responsibilities of a woman in a home remain a lot to juggle and manage.
When I first began my new role as a stay at home mom, I quickly learned staying home brought new challenges. I was shocked. I really thought it would be a great big difference for the better. After all, what could be hard about being able to be home all the time? I quickly found that just because I was able to stay at home with my child didn't mean everything was rosy. There were no parties going on all day with other stay at home mothers and no bon bons being eaten either. I began to understand I was in a different kind of world. But yet, it really was the same in a weird way. The house still needed cleaning, the meals still needed to be prepared. The big difference was that there was less money.
Some things that hit me harder than I thought were :My cell phone quit ringing because no one called for business anymore. In fact, no one really called my cell phone anymore. The time I had worked didn't allow me to make "mommy" friends and so when I began to stay home I found myself lost and out of sorts. The fast paced life I had with schedules and appointments quickly came to a jolting stop. This made me feel unimportant which was a lie because I am important to God! No more meetings and performance reviews. No more rewards for doing good work and someone patting you on the back and telling you, you did a great job. The time I stayed at home was- in a way- lonely for adult conversation and mind stimulation.
For a few months, I found myself stumbling like I was blindfolded through this new life. My days went from being an honorable sales person to becoming a housewife. "Who was Ashley?" I thought. Who was she as a person? I began to find that I had unknowingly attached much of my identity to "what I did" than to "who I was in Christ." When people would ask me what I "did," I found them to turn their heads as I uttered the first word, "stay." It was boring and predictable to them. I now knew what it felt like for those moms who had stayed at home. I had crossed to the other side.
I had always known I had a desire to stay at home one day with my child, but this change threw me for a loop. There was no paycheck coming in for all the work I did at home. I missed my salary. I missed my great insurance. I missed a sense of "accomplishing" something in the day. There was no performance reviews about how I was doing. Just a "thank you" from my husband. That was very much appreciated. I began to live in fear of "what if" we don't have enough money coming in. I had never in my adult life worried about money. Because I had worked since the time I was 16, I was used to receiving a paycheck. It was odd not to have one. I found myself beginning to pray for my husband's job. I had never done that before. I began to pray for our "daily bread." This has been a great encouragement in our marriage and I have seen God answer prayers. I wouldn't trade this lesson for anything. It has brought my husband and I closer together.
So being on both sides of the fence I have found that being a woman- whether you are working or staying at home- is difficult either way. Each has its challenges and difficulties. Being able to stay at home with my child has shown me how to make better use of my time and find things for us to do. When I want to have adult conversation, I make it happen. I don't sit by the phone waiting for it to ring. I know what I want to accomplish in a day and if I get certain things done, that is my own performance review saying, "yay! good job Ash!" Being a stay at home mom is great, but it's not rosy either. There are issues to deal with that a working mom doesn't have to deal with and vice versa.
So what is the point of this post?
- Be thankful where you are. God has placed you there for a reason. Make the most of it.
- Stop looking at what other women "are" or "are not" doing and know each place has its pros and cons.
- Enjoy each day to the fullest. We only have each day to live it out fully for God.