“So what do you do?” The dreaded question. It comes at me from all angles—at my husband’s office party, the dental hygienist, in the parent seats at swimming lessons. This time it was an old college chum. We ran into each other at a local concert and, naturally, he was curious to know what I’d made of myself in the last 15 years.
So I told him.
“I stay home with my kids,” I answered. Then, after a half second pause, I added, “And I’m a freelance writer.”
In other words, “I’ve chosen to stay home to raise my precious children . . . but I do still have a brain, just so you know.”
I’m sure I am not the only mom who does this. I hear it from my friends, too.
“Oh, I’m home with my kids now—but I used to work in finance.”
“I homeschool my kids—but I taught high school math for ten years before that.”
“I left a good job in nursing in order to be a stay-at-home mom. I don’t regret it, of course.”
Why do we do that?
Because we’re desperate for people to believe we can do more, that we ARE more than just this—this child-rearing, laundry-sorting, jelly-spreading life. We’re chest-deep in homework and play practice and potty training, and we wonder if the rest of the world values this carpool and crackers lifestyle, this unglamorous existence for which we traded all our worldly potential.
But I have to ask. Why do we care? Let’s not forget God’s measure of a successful woman is quite different from the modern yard stick.
“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised,” (Proverbs 31:26–30).
That Proverbs 31 woman was one busy chick. She got up early to make breakfast for her household. She spun wool with her own fingers and sewed it into clothes and quilts. This lady ran a trading business on the side and managed her money well. She’s strong and smart and nothing but kind and respectful to her husband—seriously?!? She was the classic super mom! Darn her.
And yet, what does God really value most about her in the end?
She is a woman who fears the Lord.
We all have the opportunity to do that—to make faith in God our top priority—whether we’re stay-at-home moms, working moms, or anywhere in between.
So let me help you see your job with new eyes today.
If you can balance a grocery budget on one income, you still work in finance.
If you can read books to a wiggly three-year-old and instruct a first-grader not to pick her nose in public, then you are still a teacher.
If you wash skinned knees and hold a child’s barf bucket at midnight, you are still a skilled and compassionate nurse.
If you can convince a toddler to swallow a cooked vegetable, you still have a knack for advertising.
If you sing lullabies to calm colic and soothe a babe to sleep, then your work is as meaningful as any stage musician’s.
And if you pray, trust God, and give this crazy mom life up to His greater plan, then you, my dear, are a woman worthy of praise.
So. The next time somebody asks you, what do you do?—tell them this.
I fear the Lord. Do you?