By Laura Rennie, iBelieve.com
I wasn’t like most of my peers in college. If you had asked me my dream career, I wouldn’t have spoken of passing the bar or climbing corporate ladders to become a top executive. I would have told you my dream career was to be a mom.
The money I earned as a newlywed was immediately put into savings or towards paying off school loans. My husband and I wanted to get used to living off of his salary, so that when we were blessed with children, I could stay at home.
While I knew in my heart staying at home with my children was what I desired, it was hard to make it sound appealing to my friends (who were heading towards grad school or moving to places like Boston and Manhattan). It was an even harder sell when we moved from our slow-paced rural college town that was very stay-at-home-mom friendly, to our current city, where people moan about long commutes, hectic schedules and the high cost of daycare. Here, working mothers are the norm.
My big decision when we moved was whether or not to look for a full-time job or find part-time work that I could easily set aside once getting pregnant. I chose to nanny and substitute teach. Then, in the following two years, I would deliver two stillborn children. My dream job of being a mother was dashed — twice — and I began to question God’s plan for my life. I was miserably unhappy, grieving my babies and grieving my future. I decided to start a business, which would allow me to make an income and flex my creative muscles while still being in control of my hours and workload. Being a small business owner was rewarding, exciting and fulfilling. Still, deep down, I desired a child. I packed my schedule with friend visits, church commitments and business webinars to distract myself from my pain and longing.
Last March, my business was in a slow season and I prayed God would put something on my plate to both fill my plate and give me purpose. A week later a friend called and offered me a part-time job working for her two companies, a graphic design business and a women’s feature magazine. I immediately said yes.
Not ten minutes after my job training, my mom called with life-changing news. A young woman she knew from church was going to have a baby the following week, and she wanted us to adopt her baby. In the next seven days, we would find a lawyer, pick an adoption agency, register for baby items, temporarily move to a neighboring state AND receive a newborn baby girl.
But what about the job I had just said yes to? On one hand, I didn’t want anything more than to spend every single second with my new baby. On the other hand, my talents made me perfectly suited for this job, and I truly had felt God’s hand in providing it. Plus, my husband had just started a job that was 100% commission and we now had thousands of dollars to pay in adoption costs we hadn’t planned for. As my husband and I discussed our options, we realized that between my daytime work hours and his evening hours, one of us would always be able to be with our daughter. The decision was clear — I would work part-time three days a week.
Throughout the past year, my eyes have been opened to the ways I incorrectly viewed working moms (before I was one), and the ways working moms often belittle the difficult (but rewarding) job of staying home. I have more grace for moms of all kinds — I know better than to think a stay-at-home mom must be free all the time, just as I know my working-mom friends desire to be pursued, even if they do have busy schedules. I’ve come to see daycare providers not as strangers raising someone else’s kids, but as a part of the “village” — in fact, several of my friends say their children are better people because of the caring individuals that watch them during the day.
God has changed my heart about being a stay-at-home mama. I feel incredibly blessed to have a bit of both worlds — a job I enjoy and lots of quality time with my sweet baby. Still, I try not to cling to my job too tightly. Who knows what the future will bring? It may be I’m in a working season right now, and a staying home season may follow.
My prayer for myself is that I will seek God’s will for my life and not be swayed by what other people may say or think. I pray I will find my identity in who I am in Christ, not in how I spend my days. I pray I will be a gracious and encouraging friend, especially to those who are in different circumstances than mine.
I love The Message’s translation of Deuteronomy 10:12-13:
“What do you think God expects from you? Just this: Live in his presence in holy reverence, follow the road he sets out for you, love him, serve God, your God, with everything you have in you, [and] obey the commandments and regulations of God…”
Image Credit: Thinkstock/Monkeybusinessimages
Laura Rennie lives in Maryland with her husband and daughter. She loves reading, writing and playing word games. Her greatest desire is to share Jesus through her words and actions as she learns how to be a better wife, mom, daughter, sister and friend. She blogs at laurarennieinteriors.com.