I remember clear as day the moment I told my mom, with the haughty arrogance that only comes from being fifteen years old and full of worldly knowledge and superiority, that I would never be just a stay at home mom.
I said it because that’s what she was. And I was mad. And in that moment I saw her as the world often sees all stay at home moms… an inferior member of society. Someone who chose to do nothing with her life.
I’m not making a very good case for the kind of daughter I was, but my point is this: the world doesn’t appreciate what stay at home moms do and if we’re not careful, we’ll buy into the lies and recite them to ourselves.
Know your why. Ever heard that before? You can’t just know what, you have to know why. Once you know why, you’ll be able to challenge those lies with truth that has substance.
The fact is, it’s not as easy as just powering through every day, telling yourself “you can do this,” because there are any number of things you can’t do no matter how many positive affirmations you recite.
You can’t make your toddler stop tantruming if he wants to throw a tantrum.
You can’t make your other toddler eat anything if she doesn’t want to eat (and she never does).
You can’t bypass math in homeschool, no matter how much you despise numbers, and expect your child to just wake up one day understanding long division.
And even if you tell yourself “you got this”, you cannot pretend you baked the cupcakes from scratch if you’re delivering them to the church bake sale in their store boughten box.
There are just some things you can’t positive think your way out of.
At the center of it, some of the lies that stay at home moms tell themselves are soul crushing. Deeply rooted in past hurts, brokenness manifests itself in a variety of ways later on in life. And one of those ways is unhelpful, and untrue, verbiage playing on repeat in your brain waves.
Let’s take a look at the lies and actually break them down, break them apart, and dispose of them once and for all.
You may not have friends nearby or you may not see your friends as often as you would like, but is it true that you have none at all? And even if it is mostly true, it’s still not a helpful thought. I may not have a group of ride or dies but I have Jesus, and that is as ride and die and ride again as it gets.
Fact: if you are a Christian, your purpose is my purpose is everyone’s purpose… we are here to glorify God and spread the gospel message. If you’re a stay at home mom who wakes up feeling like you have no purpose, look up, sister. Your purpose doesn’t change when your social status does.
Glorify God in your home. Share the good news with your kids. Bam.
Okay, this one I feel deeply. I’ll admit that there have been times that I’ve felt more like the family robot, an extension of my children and their needs and desires, than a human being, but that doesn’t make it true. We are who we are where we are. I’m a stay at home mom, yes. I’m a maid for my kids, sure. I’m an on demand chef, entertainer, and chauffeur, definitely.
But I’m still a writer while I’m cooking, still a lover of sunrises while I’m cleaning up, still a wife while I’m momming.
In an age obsessed with labels, we can get caught up in doubting what we know to be true: that we are complex creatures made up of even more than we accomplish every day and our identity does not begin and end in the roles we juggle. You don’t have to stop being you to be a great mom.
This might be the woeful enneagram four-ism in me coming out, or maybe just the creative side of my personality, but being known is kind of appealing. I mean, perhaps more than anyone I know (aside from my dad), I can happily handle chunks of time without seeing or being seen. And yet I still crave that acknowledgment that my existence is valid.
Still, even if I’m never noticed by anyone else, I have to consider this key truth: I am known by my family, sought after by my husband, climbed on and clung to and clawed at and kissed and hugged and squeezed by my kids, and seen by my Father in heaven. If I ceased to exist, I would rock some worlds, no joke.
So no, you’re not invisible. And the ones who see you each day matter more than anyone who doesn’t.
This feels like betraying a best friend because I want to wear my sweats. I like my sweats. I feel comfortable in my sweats. But sweats don’t make me feel good about myself. When I walk by a mirror and notice the excess material occupying the space where my bum should be, it’s like, I get it. I finally get why my mom always showered and dressed for the day as a stay at home mom.
She knew something I didn’t for a long time. Wearing pajamas all day long sets you up for next to nothing in the productivity department. So while I will still wear pajamas until I shower at 4pm, just before my hubby comes home because I’m a good wifey wife, I recognize that that isn’t a great habit to have.
I’m currently in a self-induced challenge to shower and get dressed every day for a week. Some habits are just hard to break. Stay tuned on how it turns out.
“The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career.”C. S. Lewis
Mr. Lewis says it better than I ever could, so I’ll just leave this here.
Really, it’s apples and oranges. I don’t have to feel less smart than the doctor mom, I’m just not a doctor. I didn’t pursue that goal. I don’t have to feel less fit than the personal trainer mom, I can’t stop eating my kids halloween candy so there’s no real contest. I don’t have to feel less capable than the bakes all the things from scratch and makes her own flour mom, I just have to feel thankful that I’m not her.
The point is, I don’t have to feel less than because I’m me and they are them and we have been assigned different little people to manage and nurture and raise. Boy mom wouldn’t know what to do with my sensitive girl. And on-the-go mom wouldn’t understand that my boy needs to be in his crib at just the right time in order to get a restful sleep.
And those are just the simple examples. Think of all that you don’t know you’ll have to overcome as a mom with your sweet people. What if that specific, intense, key character trait of yours is exactly what your little one had to be exposed to over and over again in order to eventually give their lives to Christ?
You don’t know why God chose you to be you for them. But He does. Your role is your role, it matters not what anyone else has been called to do.
When I was pregnant, I wore a pair of white jeans and I was told that once I had my baby, I would never wear white again (because kids).
I totally scoffed at this person because clearly she had “let herself go” and I was not going to be that kind of mom. Which I wasn’t, for another six years or so.
Then I had my second baby. Shortly after, I had my third.
I’m happy to report that I still rock white
stained jeans (though not the same jeans that I was wearing that day because, again, kids) whenever the mood strikes. I don’t think we are meant to stop wanting to feel like us when we have them.
Actually, I think it’s imperative that stay at home moms find something that reminds them of who they used to be, and still are on the inside, even if it’s as silly as a pair of jeans in a totally-impractical-for-every-day-wear color.
Yes, we need to care about ourselves because we are the face of our homes. I’m not saying “me first everyone else second.” I’m just saying, “maybe me too sometimes.”
And in case you’re not catching it, this goes beyond jeans. You matter. Period.
I’m not even capable of speaking this lie out loud because hear me: if I don’t have alone time every single day, my entire family would beg me to go be alone.
Getting out of the house, or into a different part of the house without any of your little monsters seeing you, is just a really good practice to avoid stay at home mom burnout. Our husbands don’t work 24/7 and we shouldn’t have to either.
So you have my permission, mama. Go on and sneak away for a few.
Sneak away for a few days.
You’re the only one who ever raises her voice.
You’re the only one who ever wishes she could hide away for awhile.
You’re the only one who ever turns on the t.v. just to get a few minutes of silence.
You’re the only one who looks forward to nap time.
You’re the only one who doesn’t want to be touched after 4:30pm because you are all. touched. out.
You’re the only one who ordered out four days this week because you just couldn’t get it together.
You’re the only one who struggles with depression.
You’re the only one who desperately needs a friend in your corner.
You’re the only one conflicted over wanting to lose those fifteen extra pounds and wanting to eat fifteen pounds of chocolate.
No you’re not. You’re not the only one.
Should is such a debby downer. Should is the sledgehammer of confidence and contentment. Should will knock you down, step on your chest, and raise it’s arms in victory.
Don’t should your way through your days. The only thing you should do is take should out of your vocabulary.
Say this with me: good enough is good enough for most things. And good enough is definitely better than not done at all. I’m not suggesting we settle for lackluster instead of going for straight on glitter power all the time, but I am suggesting that maybe, for today, resting in the grace of good enough because the intentions behind it were golden, is a pretty great idea.
God’s grace grants peace.
And peace trumps perfect any day of the week.
So when you’re sitting down, evaluating your day, and contemplating all of the ways you could have done better… maybe instead just congratulate yourself on being alive and having a pretty big role in the kids making it to the end of the day, too.
Check out the post: Shifting Your Mindset to Thrive as a Stay At Home Mom for some practical tips on how to manage your mindset in bitesize pieces.
Sister, if you don’t absorb anything else from these 2000 words, etch this into your heart: You have everything you need to step boldly into every and that makes you the you God made.
He doesn’t create one dimensional works of art.
You are more than what you do, even if what you do is a lot more than what I do, each day.
You are a stay at home mom and… everything else that makes you uniquely you.
You are an and mom.
And that’s the truth.