I have known “what I wanted to be when I grow up” for as long as I can remember. As a little girl I always enjoyed helping people and the human body intrigued me. I would always watch the surgery shows on the Discovery Channel (which my parents found incredibly disturbing) and I never minded being in hospitals. I believe that God put a calling in my heart to be a nurse. I know he gave me a compassionate heart and sharp mind to help people who are sick. But I also believe that He called me to be a mom who stays home. And I think it’s ok that sometimes I miss working.
Yes, the days at home with my kids can get long, just like they can at any other job. Some of the simplicities of working outside of the home I miss on a daily basis. Things like going to the bathroom by myself, getting a lunch break while not having to share my food and having a meaningful conversation about something other than why Mickey Mouse never wears a t-shirt. Some days I miss getting myself ready for a day at the clinic and some days I even miss my uninterrupted drive to work. While these things are small, they are things that I no longer have. They reflect an even bigger sense of my identity that’s not there anymore. And it’s ok that I miss it.
For many of us who stay home, there are days that we don’t feel like what we are doing makes much of a difference or has meaning to anyone. And although we know this isn’t true, our emotions and days of loneliness can really affect the way we see our value of contribution to the world around us, even to our families. And I don’t know about you, but there have been days in my journey as a mom that I just want to stand up on my kitchen table and shout, “I’ve still got it! I can still do something important that doesn’t involve my kids!”
It sounds harsh, but it’s really true for me. I want a part of my identity to be just mine. A part that no one else can sneeze, poop or barf on.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 is just awesome. It says that, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” You see, God has given me two really beautiful seasons of “work” life; being a nurse and being a stay at home mom. Both of these seasons were (are) beautiful. So to look at one and not long for the other would be almost impossible. To look at these two very different times in my life and not see God’s goodness and joy that they brought me and not be able to recognize how they have (are) making me the woman that I am today would be cutting God’s eternal plan short. So learning to be content where I am…. there is where my goal lies.
Colossians 3:23 says to, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” This is a verse that I have heard my whole life, but it has taken on a new meaning since becoming a stay at home mom. On the days that I’m missing my old job or feeling like I’m just not making a difference or doing anything worthwhile, the promise of this verse has me covered. I can mix chemotherapy and figure out the cause of my baby’s diaper rash with the same type of enthusiasm. I am able to hold the hand of a dying patient and give them comfort and dignity and hold my daughter’s hand when she’s scared of the monsters in her closet and listen to her fears with the same heart of compassion.
God has given each of us unique, beautiful gifts. And most of the time, these gifts can be used in different seasons of our lives. We just have to choose to see where we can use them. And if we do that then maybe, just maybe, the yearning for something else won’t feel so overpowering and our contentment will start to naturally come back into our stay at home hearts. No longer will we feel the urge to stand on our kitchen tables and declare a need for vocational wholeness, but stand with excitement and proclaim the Lord’s peace and fulfillment in our lives. I can honestly say that I miss my old job a little bit everyday. But I look forward to standing alongside of you other stay at home moms on our kitchen tables, knowing we’ve got it in us to be great at home for His glory like we were at our past jobs.
*** Having said all of that…. if you have a dream of working while you are staying at home…. NEVER give up on the fact that God can still use those gifts and dreams again someday. God may have a plan for you to return to work, use them in a volunteer setting or provide you with a great way to serve others through your past vocational gifts. Continue to be open in prayer and seeking of what God desires for you to do and who He wants you to be***