It’s an exciting time to be a mom. The number of different parenting styles is as countless as the diapers in the trash (or the cloth diapers in the pail, whatever floats your boat). Regardless of your thoughts on diapers or any of the million other little parenting decisions, the vast array of choices in motherhood plastered across social media can be just plain overwhelming. It’s like picking from a menu with 600 items and wondering if you made the wrong choice while eying another table’s food and chewing your own meal.
This spring, I left behind a teaching career I love to stay at home with my two girls. I know how many parents would love to leave work to be at home with their children and how privileged I am to have this choice. Sill, I’m in a role I didn’t envision; I’m a stay-at-home mom.
Don’t get me wrong—I want to be present in a full-time capacity every day (at least until 4 p.m.) but I also want my kids to have academic pursuits and to explore their deep heart desires and gifts God has placed in them. Even though I know pursuing a career doesn’t equal identity or value, there’s this little doubt trembling in my spirit that wonders whether my girls will equate my choice to stay home as the culmination of female adulthood.
The nagging fear that I’m encouraging them to chase their passion and pursue their education UNTIL they are parents leaves me with an uncomfortable question echoing away in the back of my mind:
Did I quit my job for this?
After all, my role model (my own mom) did everything and she did it well. She worked outside the home, she came rushing back to provide hot meals, she took us to all the activities and she never let us see she was tired. She was a tiny tower of strength and joy. But when I tried to do it all, I wasn’t a tower of strength. I was a precariously wobbly tower of Jenga blocks, one prod away from emotional disaster.
So why did I walk away from a career I love? For whining and fights? For painstaking puzzles and reading books over and over again? Did I get two degrees to load dishes and rewash laundry? To kiss owies and banish under-the-bed-monsters?
Yes to all of the above and also to banish my own monsters because I can’t do it all and honestly, I don’t want to. In all the choices that parenthood offers, I am realizing more and more that there isn’t just one right path. In the menu of motherhood, you can make a choice and discover a whole new sensation or you can decide it’s time for a different entrée. What works for me may not work for you and what works this year may look a lot different down the road.
I’m setting aside one passion for this season of motherhood, but nothing is lost or wasted. While there’s no singular model of success to pass on to this next generation of fierce females, there is a consistent message that I want my girls to believe deep in their souls: that they can choose and that they can grow. They can say yes. They can say no. They can do both. Or neither. Or either and then change their minds because their womanhood and identity is valuable and precious and belongs to them.
And for me, today, that looks like I quit my job for this.