All my life, I wanted to be a mother. It’s just something I knew, deep down, I was meant to be. I also knew that I would have to work outside the home, because if I stayed at home all day with kids, I would go crazy. To me, I didn’t think I could be fulfilled or feel important if I wasn’t working full-time.
It’s kind of funny sometimes how life proves a person wrong.
After my first two daughters were born, I thought I had a system all figured out. My husband ran a restaurant at the time, so he was never home. He also decided to go back to school full-time and earn his degree, so I was the one left to tackle pretty much all of the parenting in addition to my own full-time job and everything else at home. I had gotten pretty good at it, too.
Sure, I was upset when I missed out on class parties or field trips because of work. Sure, my girls and I only had a couple precious hours together after I got home. But, I would always try and make the most of that time we did get to form a deep relationship with them.
Notice I said “try.”
I Was Afraid to Leave My Career
When my third daughter came along, I began to realize that something needed to change. I couldn’t “do it all” anymore. I started getting these whispers that I was supposed to be doing something else with my life. These little nudges kept pestering me and pestering me, and each day, I would find myself inching closer and closer to quitting the corporate world to be a stay-at-home mom.
After daughter number four arrived, and with many conversations with my husband and prayers to God, I decided that my maternity leave would become a permanent deal. I needed to just focus on being a mom.
It was scary and exciting and nauseating and exhilarating all at the same time. From the ripe, old age of 12, I had always had some kind of job outside the home. This was going to be completely new territory for me. And as a cynic, I kept telling myself that I wouldn’t be able to last a month before I would be wanting my job back.
Fast-forward seven years. Here I am, still a (mostly) stay-at-home mom, and I don’t regret a thing. All of my children are now in school full-time, so I’m able to work part-time for my church and also write for Grit & Grace, while still being a full-time mom.
I Felt Guilty For “Not Contributing” to My Family
It’s been wonderful to be able to be financially secure enough to do this. My husband has been amazing shouldering the majority of the workload to support our family. He even jokes every now and then that he enjoys being my “sugar daddy.”
I chuckle at that statement now, but I wasn’t always comfortable with it. I used to have this nagging thought that I wasn’t a worthy partner because I wasn’t contributing financially for our family, or at least not contributing enough to make a huge difference. To me, if I wasn’t using my degree to my full potential, or earning what I could be earning, or bearing an equal weight financially, then I wasn’t doing anything important.
But one day, a former coworker of mine hit me with a truth bomb: I don’t need to be making a full-time income outside the home to be important. I am important every day because I am raising the next generation. I am contributing, just in different ways.
Here’s what she emailed me: “I was listening to a sermon this morning about how important women and mothers are. Here’s a little bit of what he (John MacArthur) said: ‘For better or worse, mothers are the makers of men; they are the architects of the next generation.’”
I don’t have to earn an income to contribute to my family. I contribute by all the ways I mother. I’m a healer and bringer of ice packs and Band-Aids. I am a storyteller. I am a make-believer. I am an educator. I am a housekeeper and party planner and taxi driver. I am a psychologist and spiritual advisor and secretary and chef. I am a hostess, stylist, personal assistant, and photographer. I am a scheduler and a bill-payer. I am a disciplinarian, but also a friend.
My contributions might not build up the bank account, but they do build up my girls. And these contributions are every bit as important as the ones attached to dollar signs. Every time someone asks me if I’m going to go back to work full-time now that my girls “don’t need me as much,” I simply smile with grit and respond with grace: “My girls will always need me, and I am perfectly content with where I’m at.”
You Are Important, and Your Contributions Matter
Ladies, if you feel like you don’t matter or aren’t important because you aren’t contributing financially to your household, please know that you are important; you are contributing in the most important ways. The things you are doing as mothers are the only things that will matter in the end.
If you have thoughts that you don’t know if you can do the full-time motherhood thing, or you don’t know if you’re doing it right, or you don’t think that what you’re doing is important or matters, just remember that God specially equipped you for this very purpose. For better or worse, you are the architects of the next generation, and you matter.
You don’t have to bring home a paycheck to honor your family. You don’t have to be an equal breadwinner to be an equal contributor. Every mom matters, and every contribution matters.
Mama, for more encouragement, check out:
Dear SAHM: I See You and Want You to Know These 8 Things
5 Quotes That Will Encourage You, Working (Super) Mom
Raising Great Girls: How to Do the Job with Darlene Brock
Do You Have to Break the Glass Ceiling to Be Strong?
Moms Do It All and This Is How They Are Compensated
A Little Encouragement When Motherhood is Disappointing
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