Thursday, May 10, 2012

How I Find Purpose as a Stay-At-Home Mom

The best way that I can describe my first week of motherhood is that it felt like a warm and cuddly slap in the face. Transitioning into motherhood, for me, has been the ultimate paradox. There are intense moments of joy, love, and happiness mingled with feelings of fear, doubt, and questions of self-worth. You are obsessed with this tiny, squishy person, yet at the same time so exhausted that you can (literally) fall asleep at any moment.


I don't expect other women to feel the way that I do, or have the same opportunity, but I think I'm a pretty natural stay-at-home-mom. Most days I don't mind being at home with my son. I'm actually learning how to cook, I cherish the first-thing-in-the-morning sleepy moments, and I think the stress of working outside of my home would kill me right now. There is so much wonder in watching my little one learn new things, discover the world, and grow. Yet even with how much I love our family life, I still struggle with my place. I struggle with my worth, my identity, and giving up my "old" life. I want others to know what I'm capable of. I don't want my friends and co-workers to think that my only talent is getting poop stains out of all types of fabric (although I am pretty darn good at that by now). My pride wants to shout "Hey, I'm useful in this or that area! Don't forget what I'm good at! I'm more than just a mom!" I want to be defined by my output. I want to be loved for what I can produce. And when I look around at my constantly messy house, my towel-dried hair, and my mile long to-do list, it doesn't look like I'm capable of much.


In these moments, the Lord (and often my husband) reminds me that God has given me this season of my life. I won't always have chubby legs to kiss, tiny clothes to wash, or fuzzy heads to cuddle. As a stay-at-home-mom, I have the privilege of having an incredible amount of influence on my child at this time of his life. My words, my actions, my heart choices really matter. I play a part of who this tiny person becomes as he grows. Each tender word, each prayer prayed, each meal made is an opportunity to love and serve like Christ. Each person invited into our home, each choice to support my husband, each diaper change is a chance to serve someone other than myself. There will be days for doing other types of ministry. There will be time for spontaneous nights out with my girlfriends. There will be opportunities for my talents and skills outside of the home to be put to more use. But today matters. And I want to make the most of today. I'm still on a journey of finding purpose as a stay-at-home-mom, but I know that the Lord has me here, right now, for His good. And for mine.


Fellow stay-at-home-moms, did you experience anything similar when you had your first (or 2nd, 3rd, 20th) baby?

I believe that being a stay-at-home-mom is a privilege that not everyone has, and it was a choice that my husband and I made for our family at this time. There are many women in my life who I love and admire who work outside of the home! This is just my story. I applaud you working moms, you are awesome!

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I'm linking up today with Casey Wiegand's "On Your Heart" Link-Up!


11 comments:

  1. I love being a stay at home mom!! I can not imagine even during the hardest days, being away from my kiddos all day. I would miss out on too much and I want to soak up every minute I have with them while they are young! Uriah and I made the decision before we had kids that we wanted one of us to stay at home with them and since he wanted to go back to school I got to do it and I would not change it for anything!! Granted there are days, especially since I have two now, that I can not wait for Uriah to get home so I can go the grocery store or just go sit a coffe shop for a few moments of quiet time but I LOVE my kiddos!!!

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  2. This post really spoke to me. Purpose is my biggest struggle as a sahm. I had to redefine how I saw myself and how I saw productivity. I had to re-learn that how much money you make doesn't determine the value of your work. Most of all, I needed to find creative outlets (like blogging) to put my mind to use. It's a challenge, but it's worth it. My 4yo is starting preschool in a few months, and I can't believe how time has flown. It's quite sad, actually.

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  3. I absolutely love being a stay at home mom. Somedays are hard...like today when my little man just didn't want to take a nap. But, I believe motherhood (no matter if you are a stay at home mom or a working mom) is a ministry in itself and that it is even avenue for sanctification (meaning motherhood calls for the laying down of selfish desires daily).

    This is one of my favorite quotes on motherhood...
    "Mothers, the godly training of your offspring is your first and most pressing duty. Christian women by teaching children the Holy Scriptures, are as much fulfilling their part for the Lord, as Moses in judging Israel, or Solomon in building the temple." - Charles Spurgeon

    How Encouraging, huh? :)

    Enjoying this season along with you.

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  4. in a lot of ways, i struggle with the fact that i am not a stay-at-home mom right now.

    it's always been my dream to stay at home with my children, so i came to terms with the idea of not having a career a long time ago. i knew that i would know my true potential in my heart and i would put all that potential toward being the best possible mom i could be.

    things are different than expected though. i'm the one who is working right now. it's the way it has to be right now, with the economy the way it is. it's something that's hard for me to wrap my head around, since it's so different than i expected/wanted. i have a great job with an incredible company, and i'm good at it. i never thought that i'd be in this position, and it's hard for me to come to terms with the idea that i'm good at my (dare i say) career, and i'm not at home where i always thought i belonged.

    the key for me is to still be as involved as possible. our working hours are pretty flexible, so i do my best to go in to work around 7:30 or 8 in the morning and work through my lunch so i can be home by 3:30 or 4. i play with my children before making dinner, and i play with them again before they go to bed. rachel and i always have some alone time as i tuck her in at night where i talk to her about "important" things and sing her songs before she goes to sleep, and now i work to have some alone snuggle time with andrew as well.

    it's not easy trying to merge my stay-at-home wishes with my working mom lifestyle and it gets overwhelming, but i do my best. it helps when the stay-at-home dad is the best dad in the world.

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  5. I struggled with the fact I was not part of the loop of the outside world when I first had my daughter. After all the elation of bringing her home, I was left with a baby who slept most of the day and didnt do much!! I am so priveledged to be able to stay at home, as many people cant afford to do so, and I wouldnt change it for the world.

    I did often think that I wanted to be more than just "Emily's Mummy" , as that is how I was being described by other Mums I met. I am Clair!! I am more than just a Mummy, even though it is a wonderful thing to be, I have so much more to offer!! That is why I started my website, to keep myself in the loop of my previous career in childcare and to show the world that I can still do something other than changing nappies and cleaning up sick!! (although that was a biob as a nursery nurse lol)

    I do think stay at home mums feel they have a lot to prove.I know I do. You want to please your child by making sure they have fun in your care, you want to please your husband/partner by keeping a clean house and please the world by showing you are a supermum with loads of amazing talents!!

    No wonder we are so tired!!

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  6. It is such a priveldge to stay at home with my two boys! It is such a blessing. I love how the Lord has allowed that and I treasure my time with them. I'm glad you get to stay with your sweet baby too!!! So fun : )

    p.s. I LOVE your pictures. Those are so precious. I love mommy and baby pictures. And your hair is so cute too : )

    -Ashley

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  7. Touching article. I love staying at home but it is challenging. I found your blog from Casey's site. New follower! Hope you stop by and check out Naptime Review.
    http://naptimeshopper.blogspot.com/

    Cute photos btw;)

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  8. "My words, my actions, my heart choices really matter."

    Perfectly put. God's calling for me is to be a stay at home mom also. Like you, being a stay at home mom feels "natural". But yes, it is oftentimes discouraging as I still find myself grieving over my professional identity. But I know that God has greater plans for me as a mother. I gave up my career as a paralegal and put my working life on hold so I can pay full attention to my husband, son and home.

    I believe you are giving your family the best gift by being a stay at home mom.

    God bless you and your beautiful family.

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  9. Goodness gracious, WELL SAID! I think about this A LOT. I always pictured my life as a SAHM to be filled with an always clean house, well-stimulated and educated child, perfectly coiffed hair and painted nails, weekly Pinterest projects, couponing perfection, etc. Clearly, not realistic! I also struggle with giving up my old life as a marketer - I loved my job, but it was very stressful (though my boss always said I'd be stressed out even if my job was scrubbing toilets... and she's probably right!), and I couldn't have kept up that level of stress while raising a family. Sometimes I wonder if I'm wasting my education and skills being at home, but then I remember exactly what you said - babies are only babies for such a short period of time (geez, I get teary just thinking about that!), and I need to pause and remember to enjoy it. So, thank you for the thoughtful post, because it helped remind me what is really important! I'm bookmarking this to re-read on days that I'm struggling :)

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  10. LOVED this post! I googled "finding purpose as a stay at home mom", and I'm so glad your post came up in the search results. I'm a stay at home mom to four kids ages 4 and under. It can be overwhelming and somedays I beg my husband to let me get a job and pay someone else to raise the kids. I know when all is said and done, and my kids are grown and gone, I will be SO very thankful for this time I have here at home with them. I love my kids and husband, and I am glad I can serve them in this way. Enjoy your time with your sweet boy! Babies grow up far too fast, despite our best efforts to keep them little. :)

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  11. Thank you for posting this. I too Googled "finding purpose as a SAHM" as I knew there must be others that felt the same way. This is my 2nd time around being a SAHM, after having my 2nd child. After just becoming pregnant with my first, I knew I wanted to go back to work. I'm an overachiever, I have OCD, and I need to always be productive, progressive, and proactive. I just had an argument last night with the Hubbs about this very subject. "What do you mean you don't know your purpose?! You're a stay-at-home-mom!" I've screenshotted some of your comments to show him that I'm not the only one that feels this way. I absolutely agree with those of you that spoke about keeping your mind busy. I dabble into EVERYTHING! Thank you all for validating me. I think validation is so key for us Mommas! <3
    (Tried to sign in with my blog account...which after reading this, I think I may start back up again! Follow me at ILIsMOMMA.wordpress.com)

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