I know what it’s like to dream about the day you’ll become a mom, yet still feel conflicted when that time comes and you have to decide whether or not to return to work.
I didn’t think it would be as hard as it was.
I vividly remember mustering up the courage to share my decision with my employer and then questioning my decision afterwards. It seemed everyone, including my boss, thought I was crazy for stepping down from a position that I had invested so much time and energy to attain.
Everyone except one person.
Pat came alongside me in my struggle, empathized with my situation, and encouraged me to embrace this new season. She gave me a copy of the book, In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms, along with this handwritten note:
I am so very excited for you as your enter a new phase of your life – that of teacher to the most important student you will ever have. You may have already gotten some comments by well-meaning people about your decision to care for your child full-time. I heard similar comments when I had my children – they made me feel like I wasn’t living up to my potential. But that just shows that THEY didn’t get it. Motherhood is not about the mom – it’s about the child.
You will have this time with your child for a short time in your life. Embrace it! Whenever the naysayers get you down or make you doubt yourself open this book – it will give you support.
You are a fantastic teacher and friend. You will still be one after you raise your daughter. I look forward to your return, but for now enjoy teaching and loving your daughter.
I wish I could tell you it became easier once I was home with my daughter, but that wasn’t the case. I had anchored much of my identity and self-worth in my career and it took a long time and a lot of soul searching to separate the two and find out who I was outside of what I did.
There were many lonely mornings where I’d look at the clock and wonder how I was going to fill the next nine hours before my husband got home and there were many sleepless nights where the anxiety of whether I was doing this mom thing right would set in.
In the midst of those emotions, I would pull out the book and re-read the card. At a time in my life where I wasn’t yet turning to God’s Word for comfort, God used Pat’s words to comfort me. Her words encouraged me and reminded me of why I had chosen to stay home.
Now almost 8 years later, I am able to look back and see not only how much my three children have grown, but how much God grew me during this season of being a stay-at-home mom.
He helped me discover my need for connection and personal growth, which I found through a local Christian moms group and a new church.
He opened my eyes to where I stood in my walk with Christ and encouraged me to set aside a fraction of those nine hours to pray, read His Word, and participate in small groups.
In stepping out of the hurried lifestyle that working full-time outside of the home brings, I was able to devote time to growing meaningful relationships with God, my family, and others. I was also able to explore other passions that have given rise to new desires and directions for the next season of life.
If you’re a new mom, I encourage you to get plugged in to a community of other women who are in the same phase of life. Invest in building relationships. Pray over your kids and ask God for wisdom and guidance. Write down things you’re grateful for and the funny or memorable things your kids say. On tough days, that list will be a life saver.
If you’re a veteran mom, be the Pat for the new mom in your community or workplace. Allow God to speak through you and don’t doubt the enormous impact that one small act of kindness can make.
“I alone can not change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Theresa
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Jen Roland is a Holistic Health & Fitness Coach, speaker, and blogger. Her website, Fueled Fit Focused, was inspired by her passion for health, her faith, and her desire to help women move from frazzled to focused. Jen helps women find balance and freedom with food, fitness, and faith through family-friendly nutrition, simple fitness, and a deeper understanding of how God’s Word applies to their overall health and well-being. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children. You can follow her on FB @coachjenroland or on Instgram @jenroland.