Whether you work full time or stay home with your kids, we can find camaraderie in both the hardships & joys of motherhood.
It’s 4am and I’m awakened out of a dead sleep by my littlest guy crying on the monitor. As soon as I start hearing the word “Baba” I know he’s hit another growth spurt, he’s hungry and he won’t fall back asleep until he’s had a bottle. When I climb back in bed, I’m hoping I can get another hour or two of sleep (which will feel like approximately 3 minutes) before everyone’s awake. Then we start our day.
Our precious boys are 16 months apart to the day. Just a few months after our sweet surprise, Drew Thomas, was born we were in interviews for my husband’s first lead pastor position. We were both working full time, had a baby who wasn’t sleeping, and a huge decision to make that would take us 3 hours away from family with 2 under 2.
Since starting this new adventure, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the differences between what it felt like to be a full-time mom working out of the home to a full time stay-at-home mom. What a whirlwind! I still haven’t totally processed everything, but here are some of the impressions I’ve been left with.
Mamas, whether we are working outside the home or working as a full time mom/home manager we carry a heavy load. It’s a beautiful one, but some days the weight of it can feel like it’s crushing us. When I was working full time and David was in daycare, I missed him all day and felt guilty that I wasn’t with him. However, it also felt great to accomplish goals at work and to know I was advancing the Kingdom in my position working for our church.
Now I’m caring for our boys full time and, wow, do I have a newfound respect for stay at home moms! I am physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually (is there another way to be exhausted? Add that to the list, please!) worn out. Some days I feel like I’ve made big strides in learning how to do this mom thing and other days I feel like I did a much better job when I was a 14 year old babysitting other people’s kids.
But, I guess that’s the essence of “mom-ness” (new word for your vocabulary). Whatever our situation, we’re fighting, struggling, moving forward as we juggle the different plates we are spinning. No matter the circumstances, they are always full and they’re always spinning. It’s easy to feel like we can’t stay on top of it all, that we can never win.
And that’s what I’m learning right now – that I can’t. I won’t. I will not win at everything. I will not get everything perfect. Whether I’m working somewhere else, or in my home, raising a family is enjoyable and hard. Pouring into your marriage and your kids is lovely and hard. Ministry, if you share that occupation with us, is worthwhile and hard. It adds a layer to life as a family that requires even more intentionality on our part as spouses and parents.
So where does that leave me? It leaves me with trying to learn to choose the right things to focus on. It leaves me with taking each trip to the grocery store, each fight over naptime and each dinner spilled on the floor one at a time. It means finding ways to make my guys laugh and smile, because baby giggles are the best. It leaves me feeling grateful for positive changes and praying for strength in the hard moments. Sometimes we can feel so invisible, but I see you Mama and so do all the other Mamas. Most importantly, God sees you and has uniquely gifted you to be in such an important role in your family. No one could be a better Mama to those kids or wife to that husband than you!
So in those crack of dawn moments when you’re up feeding a baby or worrying about your teenager or helping your 5th grader finish a school project he waited too late to start on, will you pray for me? And I’ll be praying for you too. And together all of us are doing the best we can, with God’s help and guidance, to be a network of moms raising families who will love God, love people, work hard and bring His light to the world.
Liz Dixon has a Master’s degree in social work and is married to Russell Dixon, who is the pastor of Sunset Canyon Baptist Church in Dripping Springs, TX. She is the mother to David (2) and Drew (1). She loves to cook and spends as much time outside as possible with her boys.