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To the Mom Who Feels Guilty for Sitting on the Job

To the Mom Who Feels Guilty for Sitting on the Job

Last week I found myself in a unique predicament. It was a typical weekday afternoon. Nothing special or noteworthy, and if I’m completely honest I’ll admit that I don’t even remember what day it actually was—could have been Tuesday or Thursday. I have no idea.

Regardless, on this afternoon the kids were all home, homework and chores were done, and the messy after-school routine (and the whining that goes along with it) was long over. My daughter was happily jumping away on the trampoline, my son was playing basketball outside, and my oldest had gone to a friend’s house. They didn’t need me. My house was quiet. My pressing daily chores finished long before, and there was still an hour or so before dinner had to be made. And I had no idea what to do.

I caught myself standing in the kitchen, my feet rooted to the floor, unable to will myself to sit down and enjoy these fleeting moments of quiet. I could not give myself permission to relax. I ran a mental index and kept thinking to myself: surely there is a chore I should be tackling. Surely there is something to be scrubbed. Surely I should start dinner prep now.

But breaking through all of those “surelys” was one unspoken theme: there is no value in sitting down and relaxing. You must earn your keep.

I’m not the only mom who feels this way…

I can wager that I am not the only mother who has felt this push, who has had this idea that value must be earned with productivity in the home and with the children. It doesn’t always take the same form, as I have friends whose struggles look very different, yet have the same core. It all comes down to value.

The world values productivity. In the corporate world and educational settings, your value is easily measured. You get reviews, raises, bonuses, grades, and report cards to let you know just how productive you are. That productivity is easily transcribed in our hearts and minds to value. Something to point to and say, “This, this is how valuable I am.” We don’t always get that as mothers, do we?

I have an amazing husband, but he doesn’t come home and give me a raise for scrubbing the floors clean each week. And my kids, while wonderful, they don’t thank me and give me a grade for their neatly packed lunches each day. So I keep striving and pushing. I work hard to be productive, at all times. Sitting down on the job is not an option, because nothing productive comes from it. I won’t have anything to show for that hour lost in the abyss of relaxation.

But as Christians and as mothers, we have to readjust our measuring sticks.

My job, at this moment in my life, is not to be productive in my home at all times. In fact, the Bible never once states that my job as a mother is to be busy all of the time, or have a spotless house, or make the best dinners and throw the best parties. No, my job and my value are both laid out plain and simple, multiple times. My job is to be a mother.

And that’s a tall order in and of itself. Because as a mother, we’re called to take that role very seriously. We’re called to discipline (Proverbs 13:24). We’re called to love and nurture (Titus 2:4). We’re called to teach (Ephesians 6:4) and we’re called to train (Proverbs 22:6).

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Unfortunately, this role as a mother, it chafes against modern-day ideas of value and productivity. I may not see my grade until my children are grown adults. Even then, after all of this work, it may not turn out quite the way I want it to. There are no guarantees, but that does not negate the value of what we do.

Our work as moms is hard. And heavy. And not always rewarded. So if you get the fleeting chance during your busy day, take that seat. I’m giving you permission. Sit down. Relax. Read a book. You know as well as I do that it won’t last long. You may get just five minutes—30 if you’re lucky. But those moments are precious. Take the seat.

Your work is valuable. You are valuable. There is no need to earn your keep with swept floors and delicious meals. Being a mom is enough.

So, take that seat. I did, and it was a glorious three minutes and 27 seconds.

Looking for more encouragement, mama? Check out:

Dear Mama, You Need to Break Up With These 3 Things
Dear SAHM: I See You and Want You to Know These 8 Things
Stop Judging Me—Freedom From Guilt in Motherhood
This is How to Work Hard and Still Be a Great Mom

We also think you’ll love Darlene’s new book, Raising Great Girls, available now on Amazon!

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Meaghan is the most extroverted introvert you’ll ever meet. An East Coast transplant living in Texas, she spends most of her time wrangling 3 kids, her husband, and a giant dog. When she finally gets a free minute you can either find her tucked in on the couch with a good book or in the kitchen, attempting to create magical meals (and sometimes succeeding).

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