Am I doing it all wrong?

Written By Laura Haywood

I grew up in a wonderful Christian home with parents who love each other and made Christ a priority in our household.  She was a former teacher turned stay-at-home mom, and she worked very hard at home and at our family drug store.  She kept a very clean and organized house, had dinner on the table every night, filed insurance and waited on customers at the store, and served in our church in various capacities.  So when I got married, I had a very strong desire to be just like my mother and do all of the things that she did in the same exact way.

My parents encouraged my sister and I to be educated and guided us to having careers that matched our temperaments and talents.    When I went to Ouachita, I knew exactly what I wanted to study and God has opened doors since then for me to be able to use what He’s given me.   But in the past three years, I’ve often wondered why my parents encouraged us to have careers.  The catalyst to these thoughts was the birth of my son Jackson.

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You see, I was so excited to be a mother and I love that little boy with all my heart, but I’m one of the millions of women in America who leaves their kids at daycare and goes to work.  When he was born, I didn’t really have the option to stay home.  My career path is not one that allows me to leave and pick back up years later, plus we just simply could not afford to live on one income.  Regardless of our working situation, Brent and I have pledged to raise him to love Jesus and raise him in a Christian home, so I wanted him in a Christian environment where he could learn about Jesus, sing bible songs, and hear bible stories.  God answered our prayers by allowing him a spot at a great school 10 minutes from our work.

Everything that you read about child rearing says that staying home with your kids is the best thing for them, but quite honestly, to Christian working mothers, this is where the guilt trip starts.  We start lamenting the fact that we have to work and our kids are going to be messed up because we’re not with them from 8-5 every day.   I also feel extremely guilty and mad at myself for not cooking an amazing dinner every night, and stay mad at myself for not keeping a spotless house like my mother does.  But the simple truth is that I’m not my mother, and I just can’t do it all.  Christ has called me to a different path and He wants us to give Him the worry.  Many times over the past three years, I’ve reevaluated our circumstances and have asked God if this is what I need to be doing.  Every time, He has answered me with a “no, you need to be at work right now.”   So here are my top three reasons why I work:

  1. I have a good job with great friends and flexibility.  I’m good at it and I use my talents that God has given me.
  2. My child is well-cared for by Christian ladies who teach him about Jesus and the ABC’s.
  3. I am able to provide income to our household budget, which helps pay down debt and save for retirement.  I certainly don’t plan on working until I’m 75, so I must work for it now!  (We’re big Dave Ramsey fans and lead FPU at church).

Being a stay-at-home mom or a working mom has become such a hot-bed of controversy, and my goal is not to bash stay-at-home moms.  All moms work hard no matter if they are at home or at work.  I do think we all have to evaluate what works best in our lives and pray that God will bless our decision.   So to all of you Christian working mothers out there, please know that you’re not alone.   Think of your top three reasons why you work, what you’re working towards, and make your children a priority when you’re with them.  And most importantly, don’t beat yourself up for not being the perfect mom.  In the end, if he only eats chicken nuggets on a blanket in the living room and loves Jesus, then I know I’ve done my job.

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