I was a stay-at-home mom for eight years before returning to work. I really didn’t make a choice to return to work, but it just kind of happened. An opportunity to teach students with visual impairments came my way. I completed this additional licensure program (both in TVI and Orientation and Mobility) and was finishing my internship when I was asked if I would apply for a part-time job. Part-time wouldn’t be so bad. Right? Well, part-time led to fulltime and voila. I am now a working mom.
However, the most rewarding part of my life will always be those eight years at home with my children. At first, that was an adjustment and I used to justify my choice with phrases like – I was a classroom teacher, and now I’m a stay-at-home mom. When someone would ask me if I worked, instead of quickly saying I’m a stay-at-home mom, I would give a quick background on why I decided to stay home instead of continue to teach. It probably took me a full year or more to realize that my self-worth or identity did not come from having a job.
Making a choice to be a stay-at-home mom is a sacrifice that is often overlooked. I would have never gone back to work on my own, but God put an opportunity in my path that I could not resist. Not an opportunity to become ridiculously wealthy, but an opportunity to serve. Thankfully, my job allows me to work when needed and be at home when needed (most of the time).
Being a stay-at-home mom even when your kids are older is still a sacrifice. Being a stay-at-home mom is a selfless act that only benefits those you love and care about. There are definitely perks to being a stay-at-home mom. You never have to free you calendar or use a personal day to volunteer for your children, or stay at home when they are sick.
Being a stay-at-home mom means that you have a servant’s heart. You serve those you love and volunteer for committees that will benefit those you love or your community. Most stay-at-home moms that I know don’t have any free time, because they volunteer their time away. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s definitely something that is overlooked. Not only are they volunteering because they want their child to enjoy or benefit from the experience of their actions, but they do it to benefit anyone involved. For example, I volunteered as a PTO mom not only for my own children, but also for the other children and our school. I wanted our school to offer activities that all students would remember. When I heard our school would no longer offer a COSI experience, the science teacher in me jumped at the opportunity to collaborate with other parents and teachers to create a STEM week for grades K-4th grade. As a stay-at-home mom, I volunteered at vacation bible school, not only for my children, but also for our church and other children. A stay-at-home mom rarely stays at home, and rarely only takes care of her own family.
In a recent conversation with a friend, I heard some awful remarks that had been said to her because she continues to choose to stay at home even though her kids are older now. I heard these comments as well. Most of them are something like…oh, she doesn’t work. She just stays home. So-and-so can help. She’s home all day. I hope my words may their way to her heart, as I explained that she does not have to justify her choice to anyone. Her children are never going to say, I wished my mom worked. Her children are never going to say I wish my mom wouldn’t have taken the time to volunteer for me. Her family is never going say I wish you didn’t have time to make dinner for us. Her family is never going to say I wish you weren’t able to make sure we have clean clothes, an organized house, pets that are well cared for or run those errands during the day that would take up our evenings together.
As women, working or staying at home, I believe it is our job to love and support one another. We need to build each other up. Each of us have our own insecurities, so why is it women that are the first to judge, sling that gossip and tear each other down.
To my friend that is the stay-at-home mom, I hope you realize how important your sacrifice is to your family. I hope you realize that your choice is a selfless act of character. I hope you realize the impact your choice will make on your children as they become adults. I hope you see that you work harder and longer than anyone slinging mean words your way, and everything you do you do out of love.
Dear Heavenly Father,
My friend’s heart is heavy and her emotional burdens are overwhelming. Please allow her to see that what others have meant for her harm, You will use for her good. You have given her the heart of a servant. I pray that we, as women and mothers, see our self-worth in You and only You. Thank you always for your encouragement and strength.