Working motherhood is a dance between love and order. Love takes precedence, yet life runs at such a fast pace, order is essential. Except, when you have toddlers, you can’t be too in love with order, because that just goes against a 2 year old natural inclination. 🙂
Like this morning: my husband was asleep in the recliner in the living room, because our kids had taken over our bed around 4a. (I haven’t quite worked up the nerve to lock our bedroom door, which means they start in their own beds and somehow each early morning when we are semi-conscious, they take over ours). I had emerged earlier, groggy and sore from being kicked in the back. Getting dressed for work, I heard an ominous CRASH!
My husband and I rushed into the kitchen where our 2 year old looked very excitedly at a dozen eggs strewn across the kitchen floor, the refrigerator door stood wide open, creating a fog of cool air over his creation.
While I was still finding my words, my husband calmly asked “Son, what are you doing?”
“I play with chicken balls!” explained our sweet cherub, quite pleased with his independence of simultaneously helping himself and creating a new sport.
And this, ladies and gents, is why I enjoy being a “working outside the home mom.” Because truthfully, if I didn’t have a meeting with a client already set for 20 minutes later, I would have sat on my potentially salmonella streaked kitchen floor and felt sorry for myself and cried because this motherhood gig is really hard and there are not enough instructions in the world to manage these little people.
Love and order to the rescue. My husband passed me the Tylenol, my extra-large jumbo tumbler of coffee and headed for the mop. I headed out for the daycare drop off and my 8:30 meeting.
And this is where I make my scandalous confession – I really like working outside the home. I have just so recently felt comfortable speaking this truth. Do I love my children ferociously? YES. Do I wish I had more time to dote on them? YES. Do I think I am a good mom? YES. And it really is okay, moms out there, to vocalize that. Sure, I screw up every day like the best of them, but we need to be comfortable in this mom skin given to us, and stake a claim to a degree of confidence that we can do this (certainly with much prayer, advice, coffee, and Tylenol). I recently read an article after searching “scriptures for working moms,” you can find the link here: www.versebyverseministry.org. In summary it espoused the belief that the woman is in charge of creating and maintaining order in the home, yet because of tidbits in the infamous Proverbs 31 section, it was scripturally okay to also have pursuits outside the home.
I liked this article, not because the author gives me permission to work outside the home (this is a personal decision to be made with your loved ones, and peace to be found with God. You don’t need permission or acceptance from anyone, much less a stranger.) I liked this article because it helped me get to the heart of why I enjoy work. A full time job enforces a degree of order: there is a schedule, a routine, and a role that everyone plays. When I became a mom 5 years ago, I had a lot of love, and a lot of baggy skin, and a heightened need for order. I went back to work after 6 weeks with each baby, and I was thankful. I was very sleep deprived, but I was thankful. I was blessed with excellent caregivers, and I was thankful. Having a job to go to, and people to interact with, and a reason to shower gave my day meaning in way that a screaming infant could not. I loved that screaming infant to the core. I just didn’t know what to do with her (and 3 years later him), and I had to grow and learn the role. And I needed order to help me learn. Working outside the home provided me a degree of order I needed to better learn my new roles within the home. As He does, God met me where I was and taught me a new dance.
I am a firm believer that everyone’s dance between love and order looks differently: you continually assess the needs of the home front, and tweak that dance accordingly. And however you dance, however you strike that concoction of love and order, God is with you: in every step, jig, hop, bounce, and swish of the mop.
Not every little girl dreams of growing up and being a mommy and making a home. And that is okay. God makes us uniquely with interests and gifts and talents. He will help us to use our gifts to learn and accept new roles, and He will provide the resources to do so. And really, nobody is watching you so closely that you have to be the perfect working mom, or keep a perfect house. I made my 8:30 meeting this morning, albeit without make up and with mashed banana on my shoulder. And I doubt my client even noticed, or if she did, she really didn’t care. Most significantly, we are daughters of the One who is keeper of a powerful love that can change the world, each little “make up free-but-made-the-meeting-on-time-banana-on-my shoulder chicken-ball” story at a time.
And so we dance, sometimes gingerly, sometimes boisterously in a rhythm of love and order.
Father in Heaven,
Thank your for the path you lay for working moms. The path seems grueling at times, the needs endless. Yet, you are the ultimate needs – meeter. You have enough answers and enough love to get the job done, each day, everyday. Thank you for the jobs you provide, for the income, for the order, for the opportunity to share your light with others, for the opportunity to use your gifts with others. Thank you that we were each lovingly and uniquely made by you, for paths and courses set by you. Please help strengthen working moms with a sense of confidence, with a sense of assurance, and with a relentless hope that what they do matters deeply both outside and inside their home. Please bless their households, and let your light reign. Let your hand move within each step of love and order so that ultimately, you are pleased, and you are glorified, because at the end of each day, that is what matters most. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14