Back in July, when my son was almost four months old, I officially resigned from my full-time marketing job. I had proposed a remote work arrangement with my bosses, but they turned me down. As much as my pride was hurt, I knew in my heart that their decision was for the best. Frankly, I didn’t want to go back to work, and after having five different bosses in a year and a half, I felt my time there had come to a close.
Charles and I had prayed about what I would do once the baby came, and the decision became abundantly clear as I spent weeks at home with our little love. I couldn’t imagine leaving him at home with someone else or enrolling him in daycare.
I knew without a doubt that God called me into motherhood, at this specific time, for His specific purpose. And I knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom.
I love being a SAHM. I love staying home with my son, and I feel incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to do so. I know this isn’t the case for many moms who desire to stay home but need two incomes to support their families. While, yes, we’ve had to make some financial sacrifices—like continuing to rent rather than buying a home and driving one car rather than two—the choice has been easy. This is what is best for our family.
Yet the prideful, approval-loving part of my heart still felt wounded when I was straight-up told no to my offer to work remotely. Since handing in my resignation letter, I’ve reached out to my editorial contacts to begin writing again, something I very much love to do. I’ve either been denied or ignored, and it’s frustrating.
Working is what I’ve done my whole life—from school to college to full-time career woman in NYC and Nashville. It’s what I know. It’s what’s comfortable. I enjoy working, and I am constantly striving to be “successful.” (Goodness, whatever that means.) I also tend to compare myself to others, so when I’ve been asked what my son and I do all day, I instantly turn from confident to sheepish.
“Well, we wake up, and I nurse him. Then I eat breakfast and try to read the Bible. He usually wants to nap by the time I finish, and he’ll do that for an hour or two. That’s my chance to finish reading, maybe journal, shower, and get ready. Depending on the day, we’ll go to a Bible study or mom’s group, or we’ll stroll Target or hit the grocery store. Pretty soon, it’s lunchtime, then nap time again, and before I know it, I’m prepping dinner. Evenings can be tough, and my baby is usually extra fussy. I might try to take a walk, I might give him a bath and read him a story, and then I put him to bed around 7:30. I crash by 9 or 9:30 p.m.”
I share my answer and then immediately tick off in my mind all the stay-at-home moms I know who also:
Run successful, money-making blogs
Consult with clients
Run a styling business
Work remotely for their company
Host a podcast
Cook gourmet meals most nights
Bake homemade desserts most days
Lead Bible studies or discipleship groups
I want to be like those women, too. I want to be uber-productive and more than “just a mom.” Even though I recognize my job is incredibly important and a gift and something I love, I can still feel that tension.
During the last few months of transition, I have felt like I have to somehow justify the statement: “I’m a stay-at-home mom.”
Why? Why do I feel the need to add that but/and statement following my declaration of stay-at-home motherhood? Why do I want to assure people that I have a blog and I write and I do all these other things in addition to momming full-time?
Oh, my pride runs deep. Perhaps you can relate. It took words from my husband to wake me up and realize the truth:
“Mags, you are productive, simply in a different way. You’re producing our son! What could be more important than that?”
I’ve needed to hear my husband’s words, plus the encouragement of other moms and ultimately the encouragement of God’s Word to wake up and realize this is the greatest job I’ve ever had. My husband is right. I’m more productive than I ever have been—but it looks a lot different than writing articles, producing reports, and leading meetings. I’m not getting words of affirmation from coworkers and bosses. There’s no paycheck coming into my bank account every two weeks, no pat on the back for a job well done.
Instead, my feedback is the sound of laughter from my son. The smiles that are so big his dimples pop. The beginnings of words: “Mama.” And yes, many times I get tears and screams and spit-up and blowout diapers. But there’s so much sweetness in that. I’m growing my son from a baby to a boy. Feeding him (a full-time job in and of itself). Cleaning him. Playing with him. Teaching him sounds and words and movements. I have the rest of my life to work outside the home. These days are fleeting.
Just as God birthed His Spirit within me, now He’s birthed my child. He’s given me the privilege of raising him and teaching Him to walk in the Way of righteousness. God has cared for me and held me. He’s sacrificed for me, and He calls me beloved. He looks at me the way I look at my little one—as precious, fearfully and wonderfully made. He’s showing me more of Himself than I ever knew possible through motherhood.
I am watching my son now as I type these. He’s rocking in his swing, chewing on a teething toy, and smiling at me with that adorable gummy grin. It warms my heart in a way I’ve never known before. Thank you, Father, for this good and perfect gift.
Becoming a mother, and a stay-at-home mom at that, has been both the hardest and greatest thing I’ve ever done. Or rather, that God has done for me. God is using motherhood to refine me every single day. He’s molding me and helping me see more of His character. He’s making me more like Him, through all the diaper changes and tears and sleepless nights along the way. God is holding my hand, sustaining me in this new season and reminding me of His goodness to provide this precious child to us.
I am my son’s caregiver, teacher, provider, and nurturer. I am his mother, and I am so, so thankful.
Father, give me joy and peace in my new calling, knowing my identity rests in You alone, Lord. Not a job title or paycheck, not more blog posts or more freelance work. In Christ alone. Thank you for Your faithfulness. Thank you for making me a momma. Help me to trust You in all areas of my life. Help me to disciple my son. Use me to be a light and bring glory to your Kingdom. I pray all this in Jesus’ name, Amen.