Friday, March 11, 2011

What if I am a working mom?

with Liz Sacks
Over the past few weeks, I've had friends and family ask me, "How can you write for a blog for SAHM's when you are a working mom?"

It's simple. Moms, be they blessed enough to stay at home, or whether they are a mother who holds a job outside of her home out of necessity, all have the same job. We all love our children, nurture them, teach them, care for them, provide for their every need. We are mothers, whether we earn money to help support our families outside of our home, or whether our job commute consists of five steps to the crib every morning, and our official title is that of "Personal Residential Administrator". We are all responsible for our children.

In Titus 2:4-5, Titus is instructing older women to teach the younger women. He says:
so that they may 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 dishonored.
I work outside of my home, yes, but my priority is always my family. My priority is always my home. This means that even though I am forced to work to pay the mortgage, afford the bills and feed our family, that I need to consciously strive to make my family the first priority in my life.
What does that look like? It's easy enough to discuss priorities, but harder to nail them down to practical, applicable lifestyle choices. Here are the choices I've made as a working mom:
I work part-time. Working full-time was a huge strain on my contribution to family life. There was a time we needed every penny of that full time pay. But we don't anymore. So I chose to work part-time to allow me to focus on my role as wife and mother, and to put more of my energy into teaching my children.

I balanced my budget. We trimmed down our budget to the bare bones minimum, allowing me to work part-time. As our budget is pared down, so will my hours to match. I don't work more hours than I need to.
I don't let guilt rule my choices. Working mommy guilt affects how we interact with our children on the most basic level. As a SAHM during my maternity leave, I wanted my children to achieve independence, and learn to be responsible for themselves. They found their own play opportunities, put their own coats on, and I spent enormous amounts of time working with them to clean up after themselves. I was not afraid to discipline them, even when it meant a few unpleasant minutes. As a working mom, that all takes a backseat to spending time with them. I have such little time with them as it is, that I don't want to spend time scolding them, or requiring them to be self sufficient. I relish the conversation over the morning coat routine, while I put it on for them. I have long since learned that establishing good habits is a relationship builder all its own. I will not let guilt push me into being their friend, rather than their parent. I have learned that by spending all my time with them in play, I shortchange them of the valuable opportunity to learn life's most important lessons from their first teacher, me.
Remember: We may work outside of our home, but every mother has more than "one job." We are not in this alone, and in connecting with other mothers who support us in making our family our first priority, it keeps us from wallowing in self pity and discontentment that makes us think we "have more to do." or "other important things to achieve." or that "we need to contribute to society." There is nothing more precious, or a more important contribution to society, than children who have grown to a productive fulfilling adulthood that brings glory to God.
"Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying: 'Many daughters have done nobly,but you excel them all.' Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates."
Proverbs 31:28-31

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