Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Thoughts from a Working Mom

Sometimes I feel so stranded, so isolated.  So lacking in support.

Because I'm HER.

The WORKING mom.

Sometimes - a lot of times, honestly - I hate that I work away from home four days per week.  I would so much rather be at home, taking care of the house, couponing, preparing dinners, washing clothes, and most of all spending time my son.  But you know what?  That just isn't something that works out for our family right now.  I need to work.  We need the money.  We would have to make some crazy, crazy changes to our lives in order for me to stay at home.  And I realize that.  But gosh it is SO hard sometimes.

And then I read other bloggers' blogs.  So many of them - most of them, it seems - are stay at home moms.  They talk about doing crafts with their kids, taking their kids to the park, working on Scripture verses, cooking lunches and cookies together, going to library time.  Bonding, learning, growing together.  Making menu plans, cleaning closets during naps, and starting up Etsy shops for some extra cash and a creative outlet.  And I am jealous.  Very jealous.  So, so jealous.

A heart at peace gives life to the body, 
   but envy rots the bones.
 - Proverbs 14:30

It's true, this verse. So true. When I let my envy get the best of me, which has happened all too often lately, I get a stomach ache.  I feel awful.  I want to cry.

But I know envy is not the answer.  I need to listen to God's whisper, the direction He has chosen for my life.  I am where I am for a reason.  Most of all, I need to rethink my motives.  The primary question is, why do I want to be at home with my son?

Is it because I think he's getting inadequate care while I'm at work?  No.  Eileen (his daycare caretaker) is an INCREDIBLE blessing and loves him so, so much.  And he loves her back.  I know this and I see it in their interactions.  She takes care of him, plays with him, teaches him, and disciplines him like she would her own grandson.  I have never for a moment doubted that he is getting the care and love I want him to receive.

Do I think he would somehow be better off if he were with me all week instead of at daycare?  No.  I honestly probably think it's better for him to spend time with other kids, to learn to obey and trust other adults.  He is always happy to go to daycare, and always happy to come home.  He feels loved and happy in both places.  I am able to stay patient with him longer in the evenings because I have not been parenting all day long.  He has companionship, love, and contentment wherever he is.

So why do I struggle so???  Jealousy.  It's all jealousy.  I want my son for myself.  I want to spend all the time with him, I don't want to share him.  I want him to like me, love me, have me be his favorite.  It's all about me, me, me.  God has really been revealing this to me lately, through my prayers and struggles with my emotions.  I am very, very jealous over my son.  And I only expect it to get worse when the next one comes along.  I'll have double the sons to be jealous over.

No lusting after your neighbor's house—or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don't set your heart on anything that is your neighbor's.
 - Exodus 20:17

So now I've realized this, and I must learn to move forward. I must learn to stop thinking about myself so much.  I must trust God that my sons will still love me whole-heartedly as their momma even if I'm not home with them every day.  But it's hard, oh so hard.  This parenting thing turns your heart upside down and inside out.  Everything changes.  Your view on all of life is altered.  Because you're a mom.

My mind has been jumping back to the story of baby Moses, whose mother gave him to Pharaoh's daughter to raise in order to let him live (Exodus 1 and 2).  Or to Hannah, who was barren, and prayed and prayed for a son.  She promised God that if He gave her a son, she would dedicate him to the Lord for his whole life.  And God answered her prayer, and she fulfilled her promise.  As soon as her son Samuel was weaned, she took him to the Lord's temple and left him there to be raised (1 Samuel 1).  That means he was still a toddler when she gave him up!

In both of these cases, these mothers made HUGE sacrifices for their children and for God - and as a result did not get to experience intimate relationships with their sons.  And this was God's will in both cases.  Why this was His fill is far beyond my understanding.  But I do know this.  My situation is nothing like this - nothing at ALL like this - so who I am to grumble?  I see my son every night and we all sit down together for dinner as a family.  I have time with my son all day long Friday through Sunday.  For Pete's sakes, I'm home with him three out of seven days.  And yet I still complain, I still feel jealous, I still grumble.  What a selfish person I can be.

For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?
 - 1 Corinthians 3:3

It's time for me to do some major heart work. Time for me to turn it over to God. Time for me pull myself out of my hole of jealousy and start seeing life in the light of reality and God's will for my life.  Time to start letting Him transform me into the mother He wants me to be.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
 - Romans 12:2

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
 - 2 Corinthians 3:18

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