I remember it well, leaving the office more than seven years ago, my exit through those sliding glass doors a permanent one.
I had quit my job to pursue what I considered to be a more important job of working within the home. I was just weeks away from giving birth to my first child, and leaving my cubicle behind gave me an overwhelming sense of freedom. Peace. There was no doubt that becoming a stay-at-home mom was the right choice for both me and my family.
As the years have slipped by, I’ve muddled my way through the often excruciatingly long days of motherhood. I’ve experienced the high of mastering breastfeeding and the low of being sequestered at home for days on end with a nursing baby and sick child. I’ve survived the challenge of caring for a colicky baby who screamed for months and I’ve celebrated the season in which laughter became more common than crying.
The days have flown by in a flurry of dirty dishes and dirty laundry, dirty diapers and dirty little hands. The hours, a whirlwind of noise consisting of tantrums, begging, whining, and crying. Nothing about staying home with kids is easy, and I am often emotionally spent by midday.
And while it’s true that I’ve never regretted my decision, lately I’ve begun to question whether anything I do matters at all.
For awhile, I enjoyed close relationships with a number of fellow stay-at-home moms who were deep in the trenches with me, who eased the loneliness of a dirty job that tends to isolate.
But as time has moved forward, I’ve watched the identities of numerous friends and family members shift from stay-at-home mom to self-described mom boss and I can’t help but feel inadequate sometimes. Every time I glance at social media, my screen is filled with #momboss tags accompanied by posts pertaining to success. My fellow moms-turned-mom-bosses regularly share about their professional accomplishments, financial freedom, and goals they have conquered.
They are skilled women and mothers who have added pencil skirts and skinny jeans to a wardrobe that was once made up solely of yoga pants and oversized sweatshirts. They are recognized for their talents and professionalism. They are contributing financially to their households, often in a big way. They are well-known leaders, their names recognizable among the masses. They are juggling families and businesses, often all from within the walls of their home.
And well, I’m just juggling messy kids, dirty laundry, and a few gallons of milk. And my name? It’s still just “Mom”.
At times I am swept away by the images of beautiful home offices, celebrity meet-and-greets, award ceremonies, and attire that doesn’t include elastic pants.
I have no achievements to post on social media, unless you count the rare occasion when I wash, dry, and put away laundry all in one day. I haven’t earned a dime in more than seven years. And personal goals? I’ll get back to you on that.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the accomplishments of others, to allow their work to diminish mine.
But I have to remind myself that even though no one sees my work, it still matters. And that even though the position of stay-at-home mom pays nothing now, perhaps the payoff will come somewhere down the road when my kids realize—and maybe even appreciate—how much work went into caring for them.
The cleaning, the care-taking, the disciplining, the feeding—it’s all part of shaping my children’s hearts—an extremely important job since they will carry their hearts with them into adulthood, often guiding their decisions.
And if the hearts they carry out the door consist of compassion, kindness, humility and hard work? Well, maybe then I will recognize the great achievements of motherhood and the significance of my role in their lives.
There is no glamour in being a stay-at-home mom, no kudos or accolades. But the position is glorious nonetheless. There is no other job in which the stakes are so high and the potential payoff so great.
So although I may never be a mom boss, I will always be a mom. And while it’s a humble position, it’s one that I will always be proud to hold.
You may also like:
Want more stories of love, family, and faith from the heart of every home, delivered straight to you? Sign up here!