When I became a SAHM, my whole world turned upside down. I had no idea the identity crisis I would go through. As someone who had a teaching career of six years under her belt, it was quite an adjustment to go from being in the workplace and constantly interacting with other people, to being a mom at home who talks to herself most of the day.

But there are plenty of people I have talked to about being a SAHM and I would sort of cringe on the inside, worried that they were thinking the infamous SAHM question “what does she do all day?” Or better yet that what I do is some kind of cushy experience.

Then I have my good friend who is a working mom and while she is incredibly strong in her decision (and a necessary financial need) to be a working mom, she often feels pressured to say that she is standing for her feminine right and value to be a working mom. That for her, working is a fundamental way to show her sons the value of women in the workforce as equal contributors in their careers.

Does this mean that being an at home mom doesn’t meet that need she is talking about? I think the answer is no. For her, this is how she needs to show her sons. For me, it will be showing the side of what it looks like to be home as a woman, while educating him and showing him the power of women like my friend who work away from home.

Both are valuable lessons that can be taught whether you’re in the workforce or not.

But more times than not, both sides of the “mom” perspective feel the pressured need to defend themselves. Not to mention other child caregivers in our society who subtly, yet directly, seem to get a low recognition and pay from the general workforce.

And while I understand many women want to fight to get rid of the various mom labels as a means to stop defending themselves and judge each other less, we’re dealing with a bigger root problem here.

Why do moms feel this need to defend themselves?

Because there is an underlying patriarchal tone that still exists in our society that says you can’t win and be a mom, and if you do, then something along the way must have suffered in the process, making you less than. Maybe it was your career. Maybe it was your marriage. Your finances. Or worse, your children.

Many women respond to this conviction from society by explaining away their decision for motherhood.

A mother who struggles with her identity will have her own path to work out. A SAHM will need to be confident in her decision that may include transition from a career and not let what others think affect her peace of mind and heart. A working mother who feels she has to do what she has to do, shouldn’t feel like her choice to work penalizes her in some way as she tries to progress in her career.

We say that we believe each family should do what works best for them. Each mom should decide what will make her a better mom. But our society makes this one of the most difficult decisions a mom may have to make as she starts her journey down motherhood.

Plenty of research will tell you we have the shortest period for maternity leave with some of the worst benefits for moms. We bring new life to this world, yet we seem to be penalized for this with job security risks and high costs of childcare. What does this say about family values of the workforce? An unreasonable deadline forces a parent to work late missing the precious time with their family. Vacation time for most employees is a joke. And is there even such a thing as paternity leave?

A mother’s choice shouldn’t be pressured by society or her job. Her choice shouldn’t be influenced by the financial demands of today’s living, but sadly it is. Many times she doesn’t even have a choice. She has to work. So why aren’t we as a society able to see that we’ve created a patriarchal monster that ascribes a lower value to caring for your children and makes it that much more challenging to work or to be home? That her value is defined by being labeled as a “SAHM” or a “Working Mom?” 

We need to raise awareness that it’s not about erasing labels, it’s about changing societal standards which will result in label changes down the road.

While my decision to be a SAHM was a tough one, it is not one I regret and I know plenty of mothers who say it was a no brainer for them to become a SAHM. We are doing what we think is best for our families. I also know plenty of working moms who are confident in their decision to work away from home as they care for their children. Yet both will have to journey down the painful process of holding on to their identity while answering to society for the decision, and most likely suffer because of it.

In the end, we are all caring for our children and the choice we made (or lack thereof) enables us to be the best mom we can be for our kids. Problems will always arise for both moms, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end all for their children. It doesn’t mean they are a lesser mom. Who am I to say otherwise?

And why should society get a say in her value based on her being a mom other than because she is female? Maybe it’s because we let them.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Gloryanna Boge

Gloryanna is a teacher turned SAHM whose identity is found in her relationship with Christ. She is married to her high school sweetheart who insists that dirty clothes can be left on the floor. Gloryanna writes to encourage others in their walk with Christ, no matter what season you're going through. If you want to be encouraged, you can follow her writing at http://www.gloryannaboge.com/. You can also catch snippets of her faith and scribbles on Twitter - https://twitter.com/gloryannaboge Facebook - https://https://www.facebook.com/gloryannabogewriterand Instagram - hhttps://www.instagram.com/gloryannaboge_writer/a>

Dear Daughter as You Grow into Yourself

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Girl in hat and dress-up clothes, color photo

My daughter, I watched you stand in front of the mirror, turning your body left and right. Your skirt was too big and your top on backward. Your bright blue eyeshadow reached your eyebrows and bold red blush went up to your ears. You didn’t care. I watched you marvel at your body, feeling completely at ease in your skin. You turned and admired yourself with pride. You don’t see imperfections. You don’t see things you are lacking. You see goodness. You see strength. RELATED: Daughter, When You Look in the Mirror, This is What I Hope You See I’m...

Keep Reading

My Child with Special Needs Made His Own Way in His Own Time

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding child's hand walking across street

I want to tell you the story of a little boy who came to live with me when he was three years old. Some of you may find this story familiar in your own life. Your little boy or girl may have grown inside you and shares your DNA or maybe they came into your life much older than three. This little boy, this special child, my precious gift has special needs. Just five short years ago, he was a bit mean and angry, he said few understandable words, and there was a lot about this world he didn’t understand. Unless...

Keep Reading

Organized Sports Aren’t Everything

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young girl with Alpaca, color photo

Today I watched my little girl walk an alpaca. His name is Captain. Captain is her favorite. He’s my favorite too. I met his owner on Instagram of all places. She thought I was in college; I thought she was a middle-aged woman. Turns out, she is in high school, and I am a middle-aged woman. This random meeting led to a blessing. We call it “llama lessons.” We take llama lessons every other week. It’s an hour away on the cutest hobby farm. Our “teacher” is Flora, who boards her llamas at the alpaca farm. She wants to teach...

Keep Reading

I Had to Learn to Say “I’m Sorry” to My Kids

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Mom hugs tween daughter

My two oldest kiddos are at the front end of their teen years. I remember that time in my own life. I was loud, somewhat dramatic, I let my hormones control me, and I never—ever—apologized. This last part was because no one ever really taught me the value of apology or relationship repair. Now, I could do some parent blaming here but let’s be real, if you were a kid whose formative years were scattered between the late ’80s and early ’90s, did you get apologies from your parents? If so, count that blessing! Most parents were still living with...

Keep Reading

5 Things Your Child’s Kindergarten Teacher Wants You To Know

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child raising hand in kindergarten class

I am a teacher. I have committed my life to teaching children. Of course, before I began this career, I had visions of standing in front of a group of eager-eyed children and elaborating on history, science, and math lessons. I couldn’t wait to see the “lightbulb” moments when students finally understood a reading passage or wrote their first paper. And then I had my first day. Children are not cut out of a textbook (shocking, I know) but as a young 23-year-old, it knocked me right off my feet. I was thrown into the lion’s den, better known as...

Keep Reading

To the Extended Family That Shows Up: We Couldn’t Do This Without You

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Family visiting new baby in a hospital room

This picture—my heart all but bursts every time I see it.  It was taken five years ago on the day our daughter was born. In it, my husband is giving her her very first bath while our proud extended family looks on. It was a sweet moment on a hugely special day, but gosh–what was captured in this photo is so much more than that. This photo represents everything I could have ever hoped for my kids: That they would have an extended family who shows up in their lives and loves them so deeply.  That they would have grandparents,...

Keep Reading

You’re Almost Grown, But You’re Always Welcome Back Home

In: Kids, Motherhood
Teen in room studying with computer and smartphone

Dear child, In the days before you could walk or talk, there were times when you would wail—when my rocking and shushing and bouncing were seemingly futile—but it didn’t matter. Each day and night, multiple times, I always picked you up and welcomed you back into my arms. As a toddler and a preschooler, you had some pretty epic meltdowns. There were times when you would thrash and scream, and all I could do was stand by and wait for the storm to blow over. Eventually, you would run to me, and I would welcome you back with a warm embrace....

Keep Reading

No One Warned Me About the Last Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby, black-and-white photo

No one warned me about the last baby. When I had my first, my second, and my third, those first years were blurry from sleep deprivation and chaos from juggling multiple itty-bitties. But the last baby? There’s a desperation in that newborn fog to soak it up because there won’t be another. No one warned me about the last baby. Selling the baby swing and donating old toys because we wouldn’t need them crushed me. I cried selling our double jogger and thought my heart would split in two when I dropped off newborn clothes. Throwing out pacifiers and bottles...

Keep Reading

Parents Are Terrible Salespeople for Parenting

In: Kids, Motherhood
Tired mother with coffee cup on table, child sitting next to her

As the years of fertility start to wane, many of my childless peers are confronted with the question, “Should I have kids?” With hesitation, they turn to us parents who, frankly, seem overwhelmingly unhappy. They ask sheepishly, “Is it worth it?” We lift our heads up, bedraggled, bags under our eyes, covered in boogers and sweat and spit up, we mutter, “Of course! It’s so fulfilling!” It’s like asking a hostage if they like their captor. Sure, it’s great. We love them. But our eyes are begging for liberation. Save me, please. I haven’t slept through the night in years....

Keep Reading

Soak in the Moments because Babies Don’t Keep

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Roller coaster photo, color photo

I love marking the moments, the ones that count—making a note and storing them for memory. But I often miss out on them when it comes to our oldest. ⁣ ⁣The day he wanted to be baptized, I was at home with another kiddo who was sick. He called me from church excitedly, emphasizing he was ready and didn’t want to wait. I couldn’t argue with that, so I watched him go underwater through videos my husband and sweet friends in the congregation took. ⁣ ⁣On the day of his fifth-grade graduation, we found ourselves at the pediatrician’s office. Instead...

Keep Reading