Career & Identity: Part 4 Motherhood, The Civil War

I love my baby. I have always wanted to be a mom. Being given a child is truly the greatest gift God could have ever given me.

But that’s not why I’m writing you today.

I’m writing you because honestly, sometimes being a mom doesn’t give me the complete sense of fulfillment I thought it would [gasp].

Some of you have probably stopped reading by now and some of you are saying, “me too!”.

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For my fellow stay-at-home momma’s, hear me out; watching our babies learn to walk and be a functioning human is literally a miracle, but not every moment of our care and attention for them is interesting. Sometimes it’s boring and monotonous.

I am not saying it’s not important. Someone has to do it. It’s a gift to be able to serve our children and our Heavenly Father through the worlds most selfless job. I’d actually argue that it’s the world’s most important job. So, then, why do some days end and my cup isn’t full?

I’ve thought about this a lot - here’s why I think motherhood isn’t always the most fulfilling job: You don’t use all of your God-given skills and talents in one job (motherhood). Yes, you use a lot of them and He gives you new skills and wisdom to be a mother - but a lot of the other skills and talents you do have are typically just pushed aside. Maybe you were a professional athlete, a secretary, engineer, or a nurse before motherhood. Maybe you were a student and enjoyed learning or an event planner and got a thrill from the perfectly coordinated event. The skills that enable us to do those jobs are our strengths and gifts. Discipline, speed, organization, attention to detail. Studying, taking tests, planning, working with people. The list goes on and on.

Usually these skills and gifts are pushed aside out of necessity. There are many seasons of motherhood where you put aside all of your needs/wants to keep your tiny human alive. And that is GOOD, honorable. But there are seasons in life where your baby or child doesn’t need all of you.

Some mothers choose to go back to work at some point and that’s a great option, but friends, that’s not the only option. Us stay at home moms can tap into the gifts God has given us that aren’t being used in the home. Or maybe we can better learn how to use them in the home!

Step 1: Evaluate: What do you miss about your pre-mom life (activities and responsibilities)?

Step 2: Ask yourself: What gives me joy? What are my old strengths, new talents and skills? How am I serving others (outside of my family)?

Step 3: Ask God: Lord, how do you want me to be investing my time, energy, and spiritual gifts?

Step 4: Application: How can you reinvent your life to fit your current life demands while also pursuing your non-mommying passions and interests?

Now I’m far from having an empty nest but I can imagine me staying aware of all these things will be helpful for when I am an empty-nester. I’ll know who I am in the image of God, not just as a mother but as a woman of God. I pray my children will grow up understanding how to use the gifts God has given them because they see me doing just that.

My identity as a mother is huge, a great gift - but I am more than a mother. I am a woman of God. That means something and it’s not something for us to forget.

I am cognizant of the fact that not always will I be able to pursue my interests and talents in motherhood. Sometimes they need to be put aside but that does not mean forgotten or forever.

I called this article “Motherhood, The Civil War” because often, my love for my child and my life are in conflict. I want my cake and I want to eat it too. But if I keep my perspective upward, He will keep me in check. He will tell us when we can and when we can’t. He will sustain us in the dry seasons and replenish our tank.

Asking our spouses, family, and friends to keep us accountable is also helpful. Ask them to encourage you to pursue your interests. Kid-swap with your friends so you can dedicate an hour or two to something outside of the home (or in your home office). Find a ministry that you can serve in with your children. Involve your kids in your passions and service when you can. This is how they learn - by watching us in action.

If we want our children to find their identity in Christ then we need to do the same. Just as people find their complete identity in their professional jobs, women often overcompensate their identity in motherhood. Our children need to see us serving, loving, and living. The Proverbs 31 woman shows us that a woman of God is crafty, entrepreneurial, a provider, selfless, a businesswoman, a vigorous worker, a gardener, a saleswoman, she speaks with wisdom and so much more. Does she accomplish all of this at once? Probably not. But the point is, she is responsible for much and uses the skills God has given her. Her identity is in more than being a mother.

So, remember, your identity isn’t tied to your career outside or inside of the home --  but in Christ and Christ alone. He gives us the tools to find that identity in Him and He provides along the way. This journey is not meant to be easy or comfortable; but because we love Him we seek to find Him in all of our life, not just parts of it.