- Compare myself to other moms and their choices. It's so easy to judge myself when I look at moms who stay at home and intentionally nurture their kids all day every day. It's also a lie I believe that their undivided attention is on their child's holistic development every day. I know that moms juggle a lot regardless of their "working" status. Comparison never works and always makes a villain and hero out of those being compared.
- Believe the lie that I can do it all and be the best at everything. It's impossible for me to be an amazing wife, mother, friend, pastor, student, daughter, sister...every day. The days when I place that expectation on myself are the days I feel the worst about myself. That's not the easy yoke Christ came to give me [Matthew 11]. Ultimately, I'm called to be a radical disciple of Jesus Christ!
I've realized that I need to extend a LOT of grace to myself in this season of life. And I'm pretty passionate about surrounding myself with people who will do the same for me. I didn't realize how entirely demanding and [often] draining parenting 2 toddlers can be, even without the other responsibilities in my life. I've found the people that I'm most drawn to these days are also those who are foolishly graceful. I want to be near these people because they will point me toward redemption and growth.
OTHER WOMEN :: This sly enemy is most interesting to me. I find that women are brutally judgmental about each other's choices when it comes to raising children and working outside the home. We are quick to judge another's circumstances:
she is greedy [prestige, money, appreciation...].
she doesn't love her children as much as I love mine.
she doesn't have much to offer outside the home.
her husband is controlling.
she cares more about her career than her own children.
she misinterprets Scripture and a woman's role.
she's only thinking about the short-term [or long-term] affects of her decision.
she has to work because her husband doesn't make enough money.
It's jaw-dropping to her insinuations about a mother's choices. And I've heard all of these!
Over the years I've discovered that it's far more mature and wise to not judge another mom's choices about work. More often than not, I don't know the whole story that's led to their decision. And those times when I have judged - and I sure have! - then learned the whole story, repentance is in order.
I've learned that "to work or not to work" is a highly personal and emotional decision. And the women I respect who love Jesus fully make their decisions from a surrendered soul. They seek the voice of God for what their family needs.
My hope is the MORE women would pursue this all-too-important decision with the same prayerful and courageous spirit. I'm grateful for dear friends like Jeanne, Erin, Christina, Rebecca, Kara, Julie, Cassidy, Emily, and others who've gone before me. They've all chosen very different expressions of motherhood and work, but they've done so with thoughtfulness, prayer, and ultimately obediently.