Feeling Insecurity and Discontentment
For someone who longs to be a stay-at-home mom but is unable to do so, it might be hard to understand the discontentment one can be faced with as a stay-at-home mom. No matter how you spend your days and manage your time as a mother, you very well might feel insecurity and discontentment. While I can only speak from my own situation, feeling discontentment and restlessness while being in a situation that many women would do anything to be in often leaves me feeling selfish. What is wrong with me? Ladies, if you’ve ever found yourself mourning the “what could have been” after making the choice to stay home with your kids, you are not alone.
I remember a conversation I had with a family friend quite well. I was a college student, planning to marry within the next year.
“Where do you see yourself down the line? What is your ideal job situation?” the friend asked.
“Well, I’d really like to be a stay-at-home mom.”
“Okay, but we know that’s not very practical these days. What do you really want to do? Realistically.”
For the first time, I felt insecure about my desire to stay home to raise children and take care of my family. I suppose I hadn’t given it much thought. My whole life I’d wanted it, and I didn’t think I could ever have any conflicting thoughts toward it.
My Path Changed after College
In college, I’d chosen my major carefully, feeling a calling to ministry. I loved my ministry classes. As I interned and helped out at local churches, I was in my element. I thought I might take on a job for a few years before starting a family and then take a break while I raised young children. As graduation grew closer, my new husband and I had to find jobs. Finding a job for both of us in the same location became stressful.
Remembering my desire to be a stay-at-home mom, I backed out of my job search for practical purposes. I decided I’d find something different to do since my husband’s job would be the one supporting us for years to come. If a ministry job came up where we were, that would be great; if not, that would be okay too. As I watched my peers launch into their careers I began to feel insecure and envious. As my husband worked hard to pay off my student loans I felt ashamed that I was doing jobs that didn’t require my degree. I felt like perhaps I was wasting everything.
Feeling Conflicted about the “Wasted Years”
A few short years later, the day I’d thought and prayed about for years arrived. I gave birth to our precious baby girl and became a mother! From the start, I was in love and so blessed to be home with her every day. Truly, I was glad. Yet even though I knew I was right where I wanted to be, I mourned my “wasted years.”
As the months passed by I sometimes felt anxious, like there was more to life that I was missing out on. I struggled through short nap times and teething pains, feeling so out of my element. I longed for the days of college when ministry work completely consumed me. How could my heart feel so conflicted?
I’m so thankful for the grace of our Lord. In all my insecurity, I found comfort in Psalm 18:16-19:
He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.
The Lord Has Stood by Me
The enemy tries everything in his power to bring us down. He flooded my mind with lies and insecurities and they pierced me. Through it all, the Lord has stood by me. He embraces me much as I embrace my own daughter. And he’s shown me my worth. During the times I’ve felt inept and alone, he showers me with his presence. He gently offers me sweet reminders of why my pursuit as a stay-at-home mom is honorable and important. He whispers value to my heart. When David wrote this psalm he faced literal danger for his life. But when I repeat this psalm I’m reminded of the times when I’ve been in danger of losing my joy, my focus, and my desire to live for HIM.
Over these last couple of years a lot has happened; in fact, I even took on a part-time ministry job for a little while before God very directly led us out of state and brought me once again home with my daughter. I’m satisfied to stay at home to take care of my family. It is my calling and it is my privilege to honor God in this way.
God has continued to offer me new ways to do ministry work.
While it’s not the way I first pictured it, it is still every bit as important. (Not just as a wife and mother, but as a church volunteer and a blogger!) There are days when I have to call upon God to remind me why I wanted to stay home and I think that’s okay. No matter what we ultimately decide to do with our life, I believe we will face struggles. I’m grateful for the moments in motherhood when God allows me to feel “in my element.” I’m excited about the ways God is growing me and challenging me.
This is my story.
It’s still changing and will continue to develop as years pass by. Staying at home can be challenging. We long to use our skills and feel needed for something beyond nose wiping and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We long for not just adult conversations but often the time to build friendships. If you struggle from time to time like I have, I hope you know that your doubts are completely normal. Turn to God and allow him to remind you why you are a stay-at-home mom.
A friend of mine has always said, “The days are long, but the years are short.”
The Years Are Short
Then what? How will we feel when our kids grow up and move out of the house? I’m sure no parent has ever looked back and said, “You know, I think I spent too much time with my family.”
Embrace your time with them. The years really are short. Call out to God for strength and be on the lookout for his gentle whispers of grace.
Father God, You are our good Father! Thank you for the gift of parenthood, for the gift of being a mother. May we treasure this responsibility no matter our profession. Lord, for those of us who are staying home to raise our families, help us find purpose and value in times that are hard. May we cling to you in our moments of doubt and stress. Ever so softly, remind us that we are enough. Please put seasoned mothers in our lives to encourage us and show us the way. May we never forget the ministry you’ve given us with our families. In the name of Jesus, Amen.