A couple of months back I reviewed Mommy Wars by Leslie Morgan Steiner. In the book there was a quote that spoke right to my heart, but I thought it deserved its own post so I made no mention of it. It took me awhile to sort out my thoughts, but I think I’m ready to tackle it.
The author (a working mother) reflects on her own feelings about being a stay-at-home mom.
“Other women seem to do it, it’s true. I veer between thinking (a) they’re simply better human beings than I am, and (b) they’re lying about how much they like it.” Working Mother, Not Guilty by Sara Nelson
Although I had been unable to articulate it so clearly, as soon as I read that line I thought “THAT’S IT! That’s exactly what I think, too!”
More than anything, I thought there was something wrong with me. When people would ask if I wished I could stay home with Conlan, I felt like I should say “absolutely!” while in reality I thought, “Not really.” I thought that meant I was secretly a bad mother.
It took awhile to make peace with it, but now I realize that God designed me this way, and His plan is perfect. I have come to accept that not wanting to stay home with Conlan doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy spending time with my son or that I love him less. I just know that, for me, I’m a better mom because I’m working.
I enjoy playing with hot wheels, but not for 3 hours straight. I love singing “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” but not 13 times in a row. I know myself well enough to recognize that I’m not disciplined or creative enough to entertain a toddler for a full day, every day. I would start off with grand plans & intentions, but eventually would probably default to too much TV or lots of independent play. I think I would also get lonely. I wouldn’t get out enough, and Conlan wouldn’t get time with other kids as often as he should.
Even as I write this, I feel like deleting the whole post. You might not enjoy all that stuff, but that’s what sacrifice & motherhood is about, Kristina. You should choose to do it anyway if you love your child. There must be something wrong with you.
Then, just as clearly, God speaks to my heart. I created you perfectly, and you are exactly where I want you. Your son is happy, healthy, and loved. I orchestrate each life uniquely, including yours.
As moms, sometimes I think we are our own worst critics. We all have areas where we feel inadequate, especially compared to other “perfect” moms. I don’t think those internal voices will ever be completely silenced, but we need to just listen for the still, small voice of our Maker to remind us who He created us to be.
There is nothing wrong with me.