Before we said, “I do,” my husband and I made a decision to wait five years before we started adding a lad or two to our family. We joked and called it our “Five Year Plan,” but when five years had passed, we still weren’t ready, and so five years became ten.
During those ten years we came and went as we wanted, established routines and slept! I laugh and say slept, because it was nothing for me to come home from a day of teaching, sleep three hours, wake up, eat and go back to sleep.
Then we had our first child and life changed. The changes weren’t negative; they just weren’t anything we were anticipating. No longer could we jump in the car and run down the road or kick up in the evening with a cup of coffee and a book. And sleep? What was that? I’m still trying to figure out if we slept the first year of our sweet boy’s life. Through every change though, we fell in love with our little boy, established new routines and laughed at our parenting mishaps along the way.
Then our son turned three and life changed again. I left teaching and became a stay-at-home mom. I expected to transition into my new “job” with ease and elation, but I didn’t. Quickly, I began longing for connection with others. When I taught I would crave a day at home, now I was rarely leaving home. As a teacher I was used to seeing achievement of the goals I had set, now the only thing I seemed to be achieving was changing from pajamas to clothes by day’s end. While I knew choosing to stay home was an investment in my son’s life, an overwhelming sense of purposeless consumed me.
In a world where we are called to make a difference, being a stay-at-home-mom doesn’t always feel world-changing; in fact, it can feel confining.
My new role as a stay-at-home mom allowed me to be more involved in our son’s teaching, disciplining and training, but it also made me wonder if I was doing enough for him. I began placing unreasonable expectations on myself and questioned every decision I made. Should I have set him in timeout? Did I raise my voice too much? Am I doing enough craft projects? Am I taking away his independence? Endless self-questioning began zapping the joy out of being a mom. Nightly, I would fall into bed feeling like a failure.
Days of questioning led me to a place of pouring my heart out before God. I reassured Him I wanted to be home with my baby, but I also told Him how I felt like my purpose had been lost. I told him I felt inadequate at being a stay-at-home mom. Shortly, after our conversation He placed this Scripture in front of me and my heart rejoiced.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 NIV
The words, “Let us not become weary” fell like fresh oil on my soul. God knew what I had yet to discover. He had called me to stay at home, but I was making myself weary with questions and self-induced pressure. His Word was the agent that transformed my thoughts. Before I knew it, the pressure lifted and staying at home became a part of my purpose and joy. My son and I began attending play dates with friends and story time at our local library. Together we pressed through the hard times and discovered joy in the midst of our daily routine.
If an area of parenting has you discouraged, may I encourage you to join me in remembering Galatians 6:9? Let’s choose joy over weariness and trust God to take our efforts and use them to develop our children and impact the world. We may not see it today, but through our love and discipline our children are becoming world-changers one day at a time.
Mommas, let’s not give up! Together we are making a difference!