I said this on several occasions when describing our impending move. Around the third time, however, I caught myself. I thought, “I do work, I’ve been working for years, as a stay at home mom.” Why am I saying this??
I’ve been a stay at home mom, a part-time employed mom and a full time employed mom. Some of us are students making our way toward a degree or certification of some sort. Some of us are single parents (or feel like it). All of it is work, any way you slice it.
I’ve had moms tell me that they stay employed because they don’t think they could handle the responsibilities that come with being home all day. Some stay at home moms tell me that they’re looking for a part-time job, to have a break…but also to feel like they’re accomplishing or doing something.
Over the years, prior to being a mother, I allowed personal achievements and people’s words of recognition to gratify the yearning in my heart for significance and fulfillment. I’ve enjoyed each employment experience I’ve been given; I also know that I’ve given greater value to these at times because I experienced accomplishment, and I could actually articulate to others what I was doing.
We tend to minimize the “work” of parenting and therefore the significance of what we do, as parents. Paul says in Ephesians 2.10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepares in advance for us to do.” Our work as mothers was prepared by God; therefore, it is very significant to Him.
He honors us with this tremendous role – to raise our children to know Him and to live for Him.
We make considerable efforts to be good mothers, and in the quiet of our hearts, based on our positive experiences in other endeavors, we hope for similar feelings of gratification. Yet many days we are left feeling defeated, discouraged and unproductive. We love our kids, are grateful for them, but in our heats we are struggling. We wonder if any of the significance we long for can be found through being a mom.
Our craving for value will not be fulfilled this way or through any job, paying or volunteer, because our value is not found in what we do. Our value, our significance , is found in the Person, Jesus Christ, and through relationship with Him. Only as His own, can we know sustaining fulfillment and begin to grasp the honor He bestows on us as His Beloved.