I was recently talking to a colleague about this reality we have as mothers: work = guilt. Between the two of us, we have experienced pretty much any combination of work and home life you could imagine. She has worked from home, been a full time stay at home mom, and is currently self-employed, working from home. For me, I have worked full time out of the home and am now working part time out of the home and part time self-employed at home. In the midst of talking about the challenges assigned to each situation and which is harder, we both agreed that no matter what, it was all too easy to focus on the thought that life would be better (at least easier) if ____________.
You see, as moms we put so much weight on ourselves to do the best we can to raise our children. Of course we should! Right? I mean our kids depend on us to feel loved, to learn to be independent, to model compassion and empathy, to grow up to be well adjusted adults. That is a big deal. An admirable role. We signed up for this and yet we feel guilty when we don’t feel like we’re measuring up. When I’m at the office for 8 long hours to bring home a paycheck our family needs to pay the mortgage, I feel guilty because “someone else is raising my children.” When I’m working from home, doing something I love, I feel guilty because “I need to ignore my little boy for just 5 more minutes to finish this email.” When I’m staying at home while my husband is working hard to provide an income for my family, I feel guilty because “the dishes are still in the sink, the toys are a mess, and I know my two year old was a challenge today, but I should have been able to get more done. Oh, and I should have had more patience too.”
We are going to feel guilty no matter what and I want to tell you (to tell myself) to stop. Let me tell you why.
God has called us to be mothers, but he didn’t stop there. Each of us were created with talents, gifts, mannerisms, and strengths that make us incredibly unique and perfect to act on the calling that he has given to us.
You may have an incredible mind for the human body, impecible observation skills, and compassion for others that God has asked you to use as a professional in the medical field to serve your patients.
Maybe you have a heart to serve women and a passion for hospitality. Your kids are young and your house might be crazy, but you make time for your friends in the morning or during naptime because God has asked you to use you talents in that way.
Maybe you are an encourager and teacher and were born with unending creativity. You spend you evenings and weekends teaching others your craft – giving them a break from their though day to have an outlet to do something they enjoy.
Maybe you spent 4 years, more even, to get a degree and now that you’re a mom that finds herself using that education by volunteering those skills for an organization that cannot hire someone to do that job.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is that we do not need to feel guilty for being obedient to the calling God has placed on us as a person. God’s calling on our life needs to be our first priority. Am I called to be mother? Yes. Am I called to love my spouse and serve him in the way our family needs the most? Yes. Am I called to use the gifts God has given me? Still, yes. Do I fail? You bet.
Here’s the most important thing, though, and what I need to remind myself daily. When we are acting on all of these roles to our best ability and are actively seeking to be obedient to the calling God has placed on our lives (no matter how impossible, boring, exciting, or unclear it may be), God not only gives us the strength to do those things, but he gives us grace when we fail.
You see, God only expects us to “do it all” when “it all” is being obedient to His calling and relying on him. That’s the only way it is possible. We will need to make sacrifices. We are even promised that it will not be easy. So that’s why we can’t feel guilty. That’s why, when we are loving our husbands, teaching our children, serving our families, and using our gifts we should not feel guilty for being diligent His calling.