Of all the titles you walk in every day, which one gives you the most satisfaction and personal pride. Which title makes you feel the most important, valued, and accomplished? Is it Mom? Or does successful business owner, minister, writer, manager, or blogger come to mind first?
Our society rewards women who “do” things outside of running a home and raising a family. Even as moms, we love titles like working mom, work-at-home mom, mom blogger, and stay-at-home mom.
As if the title Mom isn’t enough on its own.
As girls, we’re bred with ambition like it’s in our milk as infants. And while I’m an extremely ambitious woman myself and equally teach my girls to be the same, I had a very misguided perspective about how to actually be a mother today.
Maybe you do too?
I’m that mom who always dreamed of being a mother since as far back as I can remember. As a little girl, I had more dolls than made sense, but for me, each one had a name and a place in my make-believe family. I sat endlessly daydreaming about one day having a family of my own.
I remember borrowing my mom’s JCPenney and Sear’s catalogs to cut out pictures of baby furniture and other house stuff so I could make little collages with the cutouts on construction paper. I would lay out these imaginary rooms and let my thoughts play endlessly. I now know I was actually creating vision boards and didn’t know it!
Obviously, the doll stage passed me by, but the desire to be a mother stayed. As I grew into a young woman that desire only grew stronger. It’s funny, the things as a mother I sometimes take for granted now; are just the things I wanted so badly to do as that childless young woman.
In my early twenties, I would long to be able to do my grocery shopping with a toddler sitting in that little seat that I now use for my purse because all too often I go shopping alone. For obvious reasons!
It took us 4 1/2 agonizing years to get pregnant and one heart-wrenching miscarriage at 13 weeks, but motherhood finally came and I’m now a mom to three amazing kids. I’m seriously so grateful!
Overcoming the Invisible Struggles of Motherhood
But no matter how strong my desire for motherhood always was, my heart was divided and I didn’t know it. Subtle seeds of insignificance had been planted in my heart all along the way. The insignificance of motherhood.
The value of motherhood in our society is slowly eroding. And no matter how much desire I had to become a mother; when the day finally came, I struggled to actually be a mother.
Are you struggling in motherhood now? If you are… stick with me, my friend!
Over the years, I always felt divided. Always choosing between my family and my work. When I left the corporate world while I was pregnant with my first baby; I went to work with my husband in our real estate company. I later added a high-paced ministry position at my church to the mix. I became a “Work-at-Home Mom” and honestly, that title felt great to my ego.
All this “work” made me feel valued and important. Meanwhile, the work I did for my family felt less and less valuable and important. These thoughts and feelings were buried deep; ones I didn’t even know were there. But they were always guiding my decisions and actions.
I prided myself on all the ways I “contributed” with regards to my work. Once a friend of mine made a simple comment about how she thought I stayed at home and didn’t work. I came just short of jumping down her throat about all the work I had to do. I was totally trying to validate myself in that moment.
Sad, when I think about it now.
Meanwhile, at home, I was absolutely in love with my husband and children but I was largely going through the motions. I was confused and overburdened. I would actually feel guilty for taking a break from “work” to fold laundry and play with the kids.
Yes, I had issues! I’m free to laugh about them now, though.
This cycle continued until January of 2013 when God took me by the hand on a life-changing journey. This journey was the start of my healing and changed my heart toward who I am and who I was called to be. The process took over a year and is still going.
I believe all change, good or bad, takes place in the heart – and mine was in desperate need of help. I was up and down emotionally all the time. It was simply a result of my heart being divided.
I devalued the part of me that was one of the most valuable… being a mom.
The Harmful Devaluation of Motherhood
I remember as a teenager watching an Oprah episode featuring mothers. This was the early 90’s so feminism was on the rise. It featured a group of mothers who were divided into two sections on opposite sides of the stage. Working moms on one side and stay-at-home moms on the other.
It was a real drama fest. I remember wondering why these moms were so angry and took such pleasure in vilifying the other group. Especially, since they were both raising the children they loved… just doing it differently.
But I believe some seeds were planted in my heart that day and I picked up a few more along the way. The moms who chose to stay home were portrayed as old-fashioned, lacking in creativity, and maybe even a little lazy.
I didn’t like that feeling.
Meanwhile, the working moms were shown as the only ones who chose to “use” their gifts and talents to contribute to the world.
I wanted to contribute to the world too.
I stood there that day believing the lie because I didn’t want to be seen as old-fashioned, lacking in creativity, and lazy by the world. So over time, without realizing it, I put my work up on a pedestal. Every day measuring my personal value by it.
I never had anything against moms who chose to stay at home and raise their children full time, but it wasn’t going to be me. I was a Work-From-Home-Mom. Can’t you see me standing tall wearing my flowing mom cape?!
That title sounded so much better. So much more accomplished. And it provided the bonus of telling myself that my children were better off because I was at home with them.
Boy, was I wrong.
The Title Mom is Enough All By Itself
But before I go on. I want to be clear that I’m not talking about the stuff I was or wasn’t doing on the outside. You know, my to-do list, my schedule, or my goal list. I’m talking about the condition of my heart.
If my main focus as a mother was about how I was viewed by others; I was truly doing a disservice to my family. It simply doesn’t matter if we work outside the home, inside the home, or devote all our work toward our home and children. If we have misplaced values, we’re doomed from the start.
As mothers, we were created to value our
right privilege to be mothers. Raising children is the greatest calling on the planet. And we can’t get by with giving only a portion of our heart toward it.
What I’m continuing to learn is just how magnificently beautiful the gem of motherhood is. It’s priceless! I took the world’s word for it and undervalued what I had. And I thank God that His loving grace showed me the truth.
And the first step on the path to truth is to lay our coveted titles down – stay-at-home, working mother, work-at-home mom.
The title MOM is more than enough!
The truth is, these titles don’t mean anything, really.
Mom. Mother. Mommy. Mum. They don’t need any help or added credibility by adding anything to it. Mom is the most honorable title of all!
As women and mothers, we should be lifting each other up instead of pulling each other down.
Motherhood Doesn’t Require Perfection
Motherhood has a whole lot less to do with what you do and how you do it… but everything to do with what’s in your heart.
Motherhood doesn’t require perfection, it just requires your whole heart.
I’m so far from perfect! I’m that mom who’s always forgetting permission slips, showing up late or even on the wrong day for appointments, and never seems to pack enough snacks for my kids on days out. On many days… I feel like a real mess.
Please tell me I’m not alone on this!
But even with all that messy craziness, I’ve made it a point in the last few years to be fully present and invested in my kids. I now understand that my value as a mom and as a woman isn’t about the things I “do” but about who I “am.”
I AM a Loving Mom!
And I choose to lay down the guilt, the opinions of others, my doubts, my insecurities, and my fears. And just enjoy being the mom I am and not constantly comparing myself to all the other seemingly more-together moms I know and see on Instagram.
It’s not to say I no longer struggle with the realities of working from home and running a hectic home life. But I’ve learned to go with the flow more and fully understand the true value of motherhood. I may still feel divided between writing blog posts or doing the laundry sometimes, but I never feel divided in my heart about which is more valuable!
Do you struggle in your motherhood journey? Share your thoughts in the comments below!