“I just wish you could stay home like I did,” my mom said while I was on a short maternity leave. And she wasn’t wishing alone. I wished I could, too. It was a heartbreaking understanding I accepted quickly in motherhood. I was going to be a working mom. But not just a working mom, a have-to-work mom. A woman whose husband has a humbly paying career and a schedule resulting in a high-five when he walks in because it is his turn to parent alone. Fellow have-to-work moms know what that means even without an explanation.

To my fellow have-to-work moms, the ones who feel the pressure to provide, who go without so their kids can have:

Maybe your husbands are teachers or in law enforcement like mine. Maybe you are single moms who work hard alone. Maybe your spouses are sick and cannot work. Or maybe there was major job loss or financial hits. Whatever the case is, your households survive on your incomes.

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You’ve heard them say, “If you trust in God, He’ll provide a way to be a stay-at-home mom.” Nine years in, I’m still here waiting. And maybe you’re waiting, too. Or maybe you love your outside job and have no plans to stop.

To my fellow have-to-work moms, the ones who would love to stay home but can’t budget that in. Or the ones who would still choose to work even if finances were different. To the ones who just want the option. To the ones who say, “My husband works hard so I can, too.”

To the ones who have missed school parties, Easter egg hunts, or bedtimes. To the ones explaining to their kids that Mommy has to work. To the ones who are there when they can be and still take care of the family’s needs.

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To the have-to-work moms, want-to-work moms, and stay-at-home moms: you’re doing a beautiful job.

You are refining under pressure. You are loving your kids. You are upholding promises.

You are what your children need.

Don’t forget to take time for yourself. Don’t forget to love yourself. Don’t forget to forgive yourself. Don’t forget to find someone to talk to. Don’t forget to pray about it. It’s a lot of pressure you shouldn’t muster it alone.

God will provide for you. He’ll provide you the grace to get through, the forgiveness when you mess up, the comfort when you’re hurting, the companionship when you feel alone, and the strength when you need it. He is faithful to help you do what you have to do because He’s the want-to kind of Father.

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Previously published on the author’s blog

Aneece Alicea

Aneece Alicea is a part-time therapist, writer, and speaker. She's a full-time mom, wife, Jesus follower, and dog lover. She enjoys a good cup of coffee and a good laugh.