I had always planned to be a stay-at-home mom, but I was only in my second year of teaching at my dream job when I got pregnant with our first child. I started to second guess what told I had always assumed I would play because I truly enjoyed my job, and I worried about how we would pay our bills on one teacher's income. After lots of prayer and many discussions with my husband, family, and friends, I made the decision to stay home, and trusted that God would provide a solution for our budget.
Ever since having my first child, I have always been presented with the opportunity to teach Spanish on a part time basis. The definition of part time has varied throughout my tenure as a mother, but the opportunity has always been there. In addition, I discovered the benefits of working from home, and have built a solid online business for myself in the pockets of my day. God truly always provided a way for me to contribute in some way to the family income while still getting to spend time with my children .
Each year we re-evaluate our financial situation, the amount of kids we have, the opportunities placed before me, and the sanity of our family as a whole, and decide what my work situation will be from there. Sometimes what we end up deciding wouldn't be my first choice, and I make the decision to sacrifice for a short time for my family. Other times we're making a leap of faith, praying that God will bless our decision.
I've experienced many situations on the spectrum of working mom to stay at home mom, and I've learned one important truth.
The real truth is that moms are resourceful as hell, and more determined than they knew they could be. Sometimes that comes in the form of a mom cutting back her work hours and realizing she needs to get creative about how to afford things, repurpose things, or go without. Other times that comes in the form of working more outside the home, and fighting to become a more organized person so her family can continue to thrive. Still other times it means realizing she needs to take responsibility for her online business, promoting herself and sending uncomfortable emails when it's the last thing she feels like doing.
Experiencing each of these situations has caused me to grow as a person and learn more about myself. More importantly, each of these situations has forced me to rely on God for strength, physical resources, and solutions when I don't see any.
Maybe if we recognize the change motherhood has made in ourselves - the grit, resourcefulness, and sacrifice - we can begin to recognize it in other women. We can applaud each other for doing what we need to do for our families.
Yes, there seems to be a great divide when it comes to the employment status of mothers. Working moms and stay-at-home moms debate amongst themselves about who has it the toughest, and everyone has an opinion about what is best for the child. We can debate all day long about what mothers should be doing after having kids, but the truth is, each family is doing the best they can with the resources they have. Each mother has been given a different set of gifts, talents, and resources to use, which means every mother's choice of where and how much to work will be different.
Motherhood is not an easy gig. It's a blessing and a privilege, but it's certainly not easy. Whatever work situation you find yourself in today, whether CEO of your house, work from home mom, part time employee, or incredible parent also balancing a full time job, go and do it with all your might, then pat yourself on the back at the end of the day.
You're resourceful, full of grit, and doing what you need to do for your family. And you got this!