So, today was career day at my children’s school. I love spirit daysthey always give me a chance to frantically dig through whatever I can find to help my child look like their favorite animal or character from a book. (I hope you can read the sarcasm screaming between the lines.) Even better, now living in a developing country makes it even more fun when you can’t just run out to the closest Hobby Lobby and craft your way to the perfect costume. So, my heart was beyond happy to get word that the school was celebrating the last spirit day—career day.

I was even more excited when my daughter announced she’d like to go as a mommy.

She was torn between a marine biologist (her words were “dolphin doctor”) and the honorable position of mom. We quickly whipped up her costume, equipped with baby, coffee, and cell phone. Off I sent her to school. I snapped a quick picture of her proud moment bearing the resemblance of a little mom and called it a pretty good morning.

That evening as my son was getting ready for bed, he said they had asked on the field at school for the kids to share their careers. He said as his little sister spoke to the crowd saying, “I’m a mommy,” the kids began to giggle. It broke his heart and tonight it broke mine. He was sad because of the value our family has placed on callings and our careers. “If God calls her to it, mom . . .” he whispered.

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In a world where we teach our daughters they can be anything, why can’t they still be mommies?

In a world full of women’s rights and marches and the advancement of equal opportunities, why shouldn’t our young girls still have the right to choose to be “only” moms? Whoever in this world has been shaming this idea should have a good reminder of what it means to have equality and freedom.

Don’t get me wrongI’m the first to believe women have a place at the table. I believe a woman has the right to be a doctor, a lawyer, a pastor, or serve her countrybearing arms if she so wishes. I believe at the same time our men have the same equal opportunity to choose whatever career they want, whether it be a businessman, missionary, politician, or a full-time, stay-at-home dad.

Why must we limit our children based on what we feel is the best for them? If we truly mean it when we say, “You can be whatever you want to be,” we must be willing to embrace that career no matter the gender and no matter the job.

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Success is not always defined by your bank account, but from the joy your work brings you and those around you and the desire God places in your heart. I promise, my life as a missionary is not preparing us for that golden retirement, but I can assure you my heart is full and I’m content in the life I live. I love living my passion and our calling in God.

My husband and I tell our children when they share their dreams for their future to simply pray about it. Then we always respond if God calls them to it, He will bless them and bless those around them. To us, that is enough. Who are we to argue or question the calling and passions God places on our children’s hearts?

Being a mommy is not “just” a job. To many, it is “the” job. Being a full-time mom or dad is not for the faint of heartbelieve me, I’ve tried it, and I feel I failed miserably. But I know women who rock it with their Pinterest lifestyles, spending the days with their kids. I see the passion and joy they have in their lives, and I’m convinced it’s an incredible job to stay at home and raise your children. A job any child, boy or girl, should be proud to be on career day at school.

This mom is done with the idea we must conform to someone’s opinion that you can’t just be. You can just be a mom. You can just be a dad. You can just be a doctor, or a lawyer, or a construction worker, electrician, a secretary, a teacher, or nurse. Just be. If God has called you, and your heart is happy, and it brings joy to the people around youDO IT.

You can have whatever career you want and be proud of it. Own it.

So to my beautiful, little girl—own it, sweet Norah. Carry your baby and cup of coffee and be proud of the woman you will be someday. Be a mommy who walks with grace and pride and the joy of Jesus to share with your babies and those around you at every mom group, grocery store aisle, and school function. Be such a mom that the world sees Jesus ooze out of you, and they think, Wow, what a woman, what a job. I want to be a mom when I grow up, too.

Previously published on the author’s blog

Jenni Conrady

Just like any woman I wear many hats. I'm a wife, mother, pastor, and full-time missionary to Latin America. It's a crazy life for my husband and me with our two kids, but God is good and we are always growing.