“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us” (Romans 12:4–6a).
By the time their first child is born, most women have to decide whether they will return to paid work or stay at home as a full-time mom. Actually, that’s not quite right. They have to decide if they want to throw additional work in with their set job of being full-time moms. Yes, that’s more like it.
Being a mom is not really something you can do part time. You never stop being the mom—whether you’re at the office, the grocery store, on vacation, or at a coffee shop. If that call comes in and your child needs you, you jump, run, drive, and get there. You can’t quit being a mom, and you never truly get a day off. The job never ends, even when your children grow up. A loving mother will always be there for her kids until the day she dies, and even then, she will live on in the hearts of her children and grandchildren.
That being said, I believe that every woman should have the right to make the choice of whether or not to work outside the home, though the decision will be different for each family based on their own situation. For me, I knew I would need to work in order to continue to provide the second income our family needs to sustain living expenses. A couple weeks of maternity leave was all I had, and then I would be back to clocking in hours for my day job.
By a miraculous arrangement, my employers offered me the opportunity to continue my salaried position while allowing me to work primarily from home. When we had staff meetings, they provided free childcare. I was fortunate to receive these gifts from God, and it made the transition from working woman to working mom so much easier. I realize not every working mom has the choice to work from home, but I am thankful that God has arranged it this way for our family.
Being a working mom has its positives and negatives. One of the most negative challenges I must contend with is feeling as though my attention is being pulled from two sides. Both family and work is important and deserving of my devotion. But often I am forced to make a choice between putting in time for work or attending to the whims of my children.
It’s a heart-wrenching judgment to make. If I choose work, I feel that I have failed my family; if I choose family, I feel I’ve slacked off in my job. At times, this co-existence of responsibilities boils down to a mental game of perspective and immediate objectives. I have to choose what is important right now, and save the other for a more appropriate time.
Being a mom means blending and balancing time carefully and strategically to manage our waking (and sleeping!) hours. When you've got employee responsibilities too, that throws another shoe in the washing machine. It's not always easy when you've had a full day of work followed immediately by an hour and a half of the kids’ homework and then the task of preparing dinner while thinking about the loads of laundry waiting for you. Oh, and has anyone fed the dog?
Being a mom means multitasking and trying to find brain space to focus on what’s important at any given time. As a working mom, the variety of weirdness I find myself juggling is sometimes beyond belief—one moment, I'm breaking up a fight; the next, I'm editing a video or emailing a coworker; soon, I'm unclogging a toilet emergency; then I come back to upload a Web page. They’re all significant and vital tasks, but they must be done in the order that time and life allows.
I’m not gonna lie—being a working mom gives me the added satisfaction of providing significant income to the household while also delighting in the joys of being a mom. For me, mentally and emotionally, I don’t think I could ever not work (And before anyone comments, no, I’m not wired to homeschool, and neither are my kids. Not happening.)
Motherhood glorifies God as we raise up children who will love and obey their Creator. That life purpose is far from insignificant. God has called each of us to use the gifts He has given us to glorify Him. If being a stay-at-home mom is where you have been called, do it! If you have been called to work outside the home, do it. If God has blessed you with the opportunity to do both, go for it.
Your identity is in Christ and in how He has equipped you for the tasks He has put before you. As for me, I’m a working mom, a writer, a Webmaster, a graphic artist. I'm grateful for the opportunities I have to reach this world, including my kids, for Him.
How has God gifted you for your specific circumstances and the people in your life? How can you use those gifts to bring light to a hurting world?
To read the blog written from the perspective of a stay-at-home mom, click here.
Catiana Nak Kheiyn is the webmaster and editor of 412teens.org and regularly teaches other young writers through tutoring and workshops. When she is not writing or hanging out with teens, she loves spending time with her family—a mountain man, two adorable children, and three socially awkward cats. She approaches parenting as an everyday adventure, albeit an often bewildering one, as the little ones in her life are in a constant state of flux.