Saturday, 13 April 2019

Did I quit my job for this?

A version of this article was originally published on Her View From Home.

Last spring right around this time, I left behind a teaching career I love to stay at home with our two girls. I know how many parents would love to leave work to be at home with their children and I know how privileged I am to have this choice. It's the right decision for our family right now but I'm in a role I didn't envision; I'm a stay-at-home mom.

It's almost a year later and I'm still figuring out what that looks like. I'm not sure how to respond when someone asks me what I do. Do I talk about the kids? My higher education? My chores? 

Don't get me wrong. I want to be present in a full-time capacity every day (at least until 4pm hits) but I also want my girls to grow up to explore their deep heart desires and gifts that God has placed in them, whether or not that includes marriage and motherhood. I don't think pursuing a career equals identity or value but there's this little doubt trembling in my spirit that questions my decision: will my girls equate my choice to stay home as the the culmination of female adulthood? 

The nagging fear that I'm encouraging them to chase their passion and pursue education UNTIL they become parents leaves me with an uncomfortable question echoing away in the back of my mind:  Did I quit my job for this?

After all, my role model (my mom) did everything and she did it well. She worked outside the home, she came rushing back to provide hot meals, she took us to all the activities and she never let us see that she didn't enjoy one minute of it. She was a tiny tower of strength and joy. But when I tried to do it all, I wasn't a tower of strength. I was a precariously wobbly tower of Jenga blocks, one prod away from emotional disaster. It was time to set it down.

So I'm learning more and more to place my identity in Christ. Before I'm a wife, a mother and a teacher, I'm a child of the King. My position is safe and growing when I lay my day before the One who made me. In the menu of motherhood, I'm discovering that I can make a choice and relish the meal until it's time for a different entrĂ©e. 

Right now, I have the freedom to set aside one career for this season of motherhood, but nothing is lost or wasted. Other opportunities to grow my gifts have appeared and we're finding the balance of what's best for our family as we grow. I'm sure this will look different in six months or in six years but I'm focused on one thing: God knows my heart and He is faithful no matter what the circumstances look like or how large or small the focus seems. 

So did I quit my job for thisDid I get two degrees to load dishes and rewash laundry? For whining and fights? For painstaking puzzles and reading books over and over again?  To kiss owies and banish under-the-bed-monsters?

Yes, I did and while there's no singular model of success to pass on to this next generation of fierce females, there is a message that I want my girls to believe deep in their souls: that they can choose and that they can grow and God will be honoured in their lives. 

They can say yes. They can say no. They can do both. Or neither. Or either and then change their minds because their womanhood and identity is valuable and precious and safe in the hands of their Creator and if their eyes are fixed on Him, then the details will follow. 

And for me, today, I can happily say, I quit my job for exactly this.

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