Why Is It So Hard to Admit I'm a Stay-at-Home Mom?
A few years ago I was traveling on an airplane for the first time without my children. The woman next to me asked me what I did for a living, and I paused for a moment to find an answer—because I'm a stay-at-home mom with my kids, but I also had just sent in the manuscript for my first book. In a place like that, I think, Do I say that I'm an author and a writer, or do I say that I stay at home?
I felt this internal struggle because I knew the culturally acceptable response was, “I'm a writer.” That's more valued in our culture right now than being a stay-at-home mom. But I decided to go ahead and say, “I'm a stay-at-home mom.” I just kind of blurted it out. And she said, “Oh, I could never do that all day long. I'd be so bored!”
God sees your work as valuable because you're caring for people created in his image.
I get bored. I struggle with answering that I stay home with my children. In a Christian subculture it might be easier, but in some parts of our society it feels like we're letting down the team or we're not doing something of value by staying at home. But the storyline of Scripture is that God chooses the weak things of the world to shame the wise. God doesn't pick what the world picks as valuable in his eyes.
Does God Value At-Home Work?
While the work you are doing might seem embarrassing to the people that you're coming in contact with, or it might seem embarrassing to the people at your ten- or twenty-year reunion—God sees your work as valuable because you're caring for people created in his image. Whether you're making a meal for your children or your neighbor who is recovering from surgery, or taking care of a sick husband or an elderly family member, the worthwhile work you're doing is caring for the people that God has made and helping them know that they're valuable in his eyes.
Work is not about doing something great and glorious. Work is about loving your neighbor and loving God by loving your neighbor. And the work you've been given to do is good work, whether it's working in an office or working in your home. It's good and valuable work that the world needs to see.
Whether stay-at-home mom or career woman, where God has you now is his good design for you.
The value of our work doesn't depend on what compensation we receive or don't receive, but on the love we offer in service to our neighbor.
If you struggle with guilt over your parenting, consider that God does not require perfection from you.