Embracing My Life as MOM

Many moons ago, I was a teenage girl, dreaming of a career in law or journalism. I pictured myself in blazer, skirt, and high heels racing up the steps of City Hall. I wanted kids, surely, but I wasn’t so sure about the husband part. I wasn’t too thrilled about the idea of being married unless I was going to be an independent woman. I didn’t need anybody.

But, God did a work in my life and in my heart during my senior year of high school. He showed me who He was — and how good He was, regardless of my circumstances. He showed me I needed Him, first and foremost.

I went to college and spent a lot of time looking for Mr. Right. There was a yearning in me to find someone special to spend my life with. Thankfully, I didn’t run around with too many Mr. Wrongs before I found him. But, before I got too serious, I needed to go to France, my life’s dream. There I decided to ditch law or the press and pursue teaching.

(What else can you do with a French Literature major, anyway?)

Two years and many long-distance phone calls later, I was home again. We married a few weeks shy of my twenty-second birthday. Fish was older than me by nine years and had been waiting for the right woman. I tease him that he had to wait for me to grow up. He was ready to be married — to me — and to build a family.

 

I wasn’t so sure — at least about the family part. I’d always heard about the magic “be married for two years before you have kids” equation. I was in graduate school and I wanted to get my credential. A year later I was a high school English and French teacher. My husband was self-employed as a building contractor. We lived in a one-room guest cottage. He was ready, but….

I wasn’t so sure. I wanted to have teaching experience. I wanted to get tenure. I wanted…. I dunno what. To prove myself? To earn the respect and approval of others? Looking back, I don’t know why I ever dragged my feet into motherhood.

Coincidentally, that second year into teaching I realized that it wasn’t all I had hoped it would be. And though I enjoyed many aspects of working with high school students, I had the sense that it wasn’t going to be my career. I had pursued what I thought I wanted, but it turned out not to be what I really wanted.

Finally, I desired to be a mom and a homemaker.

Throughout my pregnancy we discussed and planned the future. We had always said that I would stay home with our children, at least for the first year. But, during that nine months, we felt this pull to homeschool and we realized I was enlisting for more than just a one-year stint at home.

The school district awarded me tenure and a one year’s leave of absence just days after our first FishBaby was born. That first year of motherhood was challenging and fun all at the same time. We squeezed the three of us into that one-room cottage, and I busied myself with park play days with fellow moms of babies. I created all sorts of creative projects to fill the days and keep my mind “active.” I wasn’t deliberately trying to fill a “void,” but I drifted toward busy-ness. I had heard all those warnings about “not losing yourself” in motherhood, “don’t give up your career,” “make sure you can get back into the workforce.” But, at the end of that year, we decided that we were in it for the long haul. I “retired” from public school teaching and haven’t looked back.

While those who advised me about my career have always done so with the best intentions, God has granted me the ability to relax about those concerns. We’ve always had enough. I’ve had small part-time businesses from home that have helped supplement our income when necessary. Even though FishPapa could be laid off any day, I don’t entertain visions of a public high school teaching job or entering the fulltime workforce anytime soon. In fact, with a one-year old in my care, I anticipate another 17 years of making motherhood my career focus.

Just think! I’ll have been a stay-at-home mom for almost thirty years! I’m hoping that I get some kind of pin or something when I hit that milestone.

 

My purpose in recounting our story is not to convince you to stay home. I know that every mom’s path looks different. These are the shoes I walk in — and they fit me rather well. Instead, I want to encourage those moms who might wonder, who might struggle, who might need to be encouraged to embrace “life as MOM.” Particularly, a mom at home.

The last twelve years have passed in a blink of an eye. My baby is now in seventh grade and five siblings are following in his footsteps. I have a Master’s Degree. I have the education and earning potential to do other things. But, this is where I want to be. This is where I believe God has called me to be.

Remember Who You Are

It’s easy to feel that you’ve lost your identity when you leave a full-time job to come home. Keep in mind that it’s not what you do that defines you. It’s who you are.

Our culture wrongly places emphasis on paychecks and status. You have to fight this thinking. My identity is in Christ. I am a wife to an amazing man and a mother to amazing children. What I do with my days comes second to that, whether I’m presenting a law brief or changing a diaper.

Be the Best You Can Be

As Jim Elliot said, “”Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.” If you feel called to be home, then do it the best that you can. I’m not kidding about that celebration I want when I hit 30 years of service. Not that I want to be feted and extolled, but I want to know that I’ve done a good job teaching, encouraging, loving, and caring for my family. For me, “the best” starts with my being home

Maximize the Experiences

The little old lady at the grocery store is right. The time will fly before your very eyes. Don’t blink or you. will. miss. it.

Make up your mind to enjoy your children’s childhood. Streamline your life to make things simpler, easier, more organized so that you aren’t distracted from the beautiful relationships to enjoy with your kiddos

My friend Amy has been presenting an entire series about leaving the workforce. Entitled, “Mommy, Come Home,” it’s been a refreshing reminder of what my purpose is in staying home to raise the FishKids. If you’re contemplating a switch, need some encouragement in your SAHM life, or just wonder what all the fuss is about, pop over and check out this series about other women and their lives as MOM.

Would you rather subscribe by RSS?
Read Newer Post
Read Older Post

Comments

  1. The Real Me! says:

    I really enjoyed reading your story. I too had hesitations about being a SAHM, but I am so glad the Lord shut all doors EXCEPT that one! Yes He made it quite obvious! LOL.
    Oh and I certainly think you should get a pin, a cake, a whole day of celebration when you hit the 30 year mark. I still have 14 years to go yet! LOL
    Blessings,
    Kim

  2. Lisa @ Simply Things Family says:

    Thanks for the wonderful post. I came over from Amy's site and just think your blog is great. This post fit in very good with her series. I am glad she is doing it.

  3. Phoebe @ Cents to Get Debt Free says:

    A 30 year SAHM career? Now that is something to be proud of! :)

  4. Thank you for sharing. I am motivated to through a party for my Friends when their youngest move on…What shall we call it?

    I needed the reminder to be all here in the moment. I do feel the pull to make a difference in the world, make a paycheck….but ultimately I know God's will is for me to focus on this stage of my life as a "disciple trainer."

  5. What a wonderful story of perfect submission to your calling as a mother. I can tell that God has truly changed your heart. Thank you for sharing your story!

  6. Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama says:

    Very well said. I faced similar feelings and made the choice to go back to work when my youngest went into kindergarten. God brought me back home and I know this is where I am supposed to be. Raising children is definitely Kingdom work! Thank you for sharing your story!

  7. Thanks. I needed this. Just this morning, after putting my two boys on the school bus, I was thinking, "now, should I be getting in the car to go to work?" I was feeling a little unproductive. Your post has brought meaning to my routine. It may sound old-fashioned, but I'm going to go bake something nice so when the boys come home from school, they will have a nice snack.

  8. What nice comments to wake up to. This is probably my most "controversial" post — to date. It's my hope that those who aren't in a position of staying home, whether by choice or circumstances, are still encouraged in their "life as MOM."

  9. Thank you for this. I am not a mom yet, but I am out of work and have been struggling with everything that entails. You gave me a whole new perspective on what I identify with and how to be appreciatve of what I do have.

  10. Thank you for this lovely post!

    I was a career girl for many years, but traded it all in to be a much more in-tune mother. I still must work outside the home, but now do it at night (and sleep while the kids are at school). This is never where I thought I'd be, but I'd make the same decisions again in a heartbeat. My friends and outside family don't understand how I can be so content with such a "boring" job……….but I am home now, when my kids and husband need me to be. It's exactly where I should be (and what I should be doing) at this point in my life.

    Thank you for encouraging everyone to be content and happy where they know they need to be!

    Elizabeth

  11. Thank you so much for that post. I came across your blog this morning, and this is exactly what I needed to read. Growning up I was instilled with the idea that I had to go to college so I could get an important job and make a huge paycheck to matter in this world. I just finished my degree and I have been so conflicted. Deep down inside I have known for a while now that the Lord was pulling me in a different direction, but I have been fighting it.I don't have any children yet, but my husband and I are trying. We decided it would be best if I did not look for a job so I could stay home during the pregnancy because I have a health condition that may make my pregancy more difficult. I was 100% on board with the plan and at peace with the decision. I prayed about it for weeks and I was happy, I knew that it was God's plan for me. But then I got a job offer, and I turned it down. Since then I have had these feelings that if I stay home I am not productive, not doing my part, not utilizing my degree, etc. To make it worse some of my family members have not been supportive of my decision and they keep trying to tell me I should work or telling me of job openings they know of. I have been feeling really lost, but it is because I have lost focus of what matters. People don't understand, but it should not be about what the world thinks, my extended family thinks, or even what I thought I would be doing. It is about where the Lord wants me to be, what his plan is for my life, and what my staying home will mean to my children. Thanks for the reminder.

  12. Brown Thumb Mama says:

    Thank you for such an inspiring post! I'm a working mom now but am hoping to escape the cubicle soon. I, too, feel that I'm being called to do other work–at home and in our community.

    I enjoy my job, but making a difference in the world doesn't happen in my cube, it happens at home.

  13. I have been and will likely be a career woman for many years (WOHW), but I had an experience with a SAH sister-in-law this summer. She was offered yet another day care opportunity with the potential of $1000 a month.

    But that meant she would be caring for 9 children under age 8 and would be bound by the day carees' schedule. When asked, I told her that it wasn't worth $1000; that providing childcare was NOT why she had chosen to be at home (in addition to her children and husband, she provides enormous support to her sisters). My SIL, of course, had already determined this for herself, but wanted to hear it from someone not at home. I was happy to validate her.

  14. What a great post! I was really happy to read this. Isn't it amazing how good your life can be when you just leave it to God to choose your path?!

    I decided many, many years ago that I did not want to have children. I like them, but just didn't feel the need to be a mom. When I was 38, after one failed marriage, I met Mr. Perfect-for-me and his 3 kids. I fell in love with all 4 of them, married them 14 months later and have been in love with them all for almost 14 years.

    God knew what he was doing and sent me exactly the kids I needed to have. I didn't think I wanted them, but He showed me that He knew better than I.

    I think you deserve to have a celebration every day for being a mom!

  15. That's a great story! Thanks for sharing it:-)

  16. Jacque Dixon says:

    Thanks for sharing your story.
    I was not really career-minded and only attended college for a couple of years. It did take a few years for us to realize that being at home is being at home.
    I am blessed to be here, and thankful I can be.

    Great story.

  17. keepinupwiththejoneskids says:

    Loved this. And yes, now that I am home, it's kind of wierd, but I actually like it more all the time. Crazy! I thought I'd burn out by now, but I actually look forward to building stronger ties with my kids this way. I never pictured myself doing this when I was younger either.

  18. Hoosier Homemade says:

    Awesome post! Thanks for sharing your story!
    ~Liz

  19. This post was exactly what I needed to read to remind myself that I am doing the right thing by setting aside my career (also teaching) to be home with my children. I don't always feel the support for that decision. Thank you for your beautiful timely post!!

  20. Kelleigh Ratzlaff Designs says:

    Jessica, this post is about ME!! I, too, have my Masters in Education, and I'm now a SAHM with long-term career aspirations. I'd like to get the pin in about 15 years, and then I hope to transition into the SAHW(wife) field. Funny how I never thought I would be fulfilled in this gig. I can't imagine doing anything else!

  21. Michelle says:

    I had to giggle at the “our big girl words” part. I was very glad to find your story here. I am a stay at home mom and must admit I am torn. I know that financially I need to return to work very very soon, but I must admit I will miss being here to cook for them and see them off to school and back home. I enjoy the extra time with them that I know I will lose. I have also been considering a career change. I go back and forth about that. But, to get back on track here, I like that your story here is neither judgemental or pushy. It’s just right and just what I needed to hear. That I am doing something so important, the most important thing I will ever do in my life.

Thanks so much for participating in this conversation about "a mom's life."

This is a place where moms can be themselves. Remember that each mother's path looks a little different. Please keep your comments respectful and kind. Reasonable minds will disagree in a nice way.

So let's talk about it, using "our big girl words."

Share Your Thoughts

*