This is my story of “Coming Home” after being a working mother for six years. You can read part 1 of my story here.
My experience with my daughter as a baby was completely different than my experience with Drew. She was not colicky. I was more relaxed. And we developed a bond that I can’t describe. Don’t get me wrong. I have a bond with Drew, and it’s strong, but it developed slowly over years. He also is such an independent personality (like me) that I never felt that he depended on my presence day in and day out.
But it was different with Alyssa. She wanted to be near me all the time. She developed quite the reputation at church for throwing a fit to be heard all across the church when I would leave her in the nursery. When I would come home from work, she wouldn’t let me cook dinner. She wanted to be held constantly by me and me alone.
That’s when it hit me. Women who stay home with their children don’t always do it for the love of being a homemaker. They do it for the love of their children. I’m not saying working moms don’t love their children, of course. I’m simply saying that sometimes we dismiss the thought of staying home with our children because we think it’s not our gift or our calling. I felt that way for years. I thought some moms were had the personality and interests to be home with their children and some did not. I truly felt that I was a better mom because I worked. But shifting the focus away from my abilities and aspirations to my children’s needs changed everything for me.
I was almost in tears when I realized that my daughter only spent 1-2 hours with her mother every day. Not once did this thought cross my mind when I just had Drew. But it haunted me with Alyssa.
That’s when I started praying that God would show me what in the world I was supposed to do. I was absolutely terrified of being a stay-at-home mom. I have a tendency toward depression when I’m home alone too much. I would have no idea what to do at home with a child. I always thought some women were called to be at home with children, and the rest were not.
Did I mention the thought terrified me? I guess that’s what makes my willingness to pray about it pretty miraculous in itself.
Isn’t it amazing that God knows when you need a confirmation of what he has laid on your heart? In my case, confirmations came from multiple sources.
About that time, I developed a friendship with a childhood friend’s wife. Her fourth child was born two weeks after Alyssa was born, so we had that in common. Because we didn’t live close, we traded emails, and she shared with me how God had impressed on her heart that she was called to stay home with her children. I listened to her story and tucked it into my mind. As time went on, I knew her gentle example was a whisper of the Holy Spirit into my life.
A Lesson from the Israelites
About that time, in my personal Bible study, I was studying Exodus. I had studied this passage multiple times before, but for the first time, these verses leaped off the page:
When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.”So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. Thus the Israelites left Egypt like an army ready for battle. Ex 13:17-18 (NLT)
God freed the Israelites from Egyptian captivity for the purpose of bringing them into the Promised Land. So why didn’t he take them directly there? Because he knew they weren’t ready to handle it.
What if my Promised Land is being home with my children, but God has not led me there yet because he knew I couldn’t handle it?
I couldn’t escape this thought. It explained why I had never felt convicted to stay home before. It explained why I was suddenly being plagued with this thought that I needed to be home. God was leading me gently to my Promised Land. With a weary hand extended to His, I let him lead me.
The walk was long. There were many mountains to climb and many glances back. But I never turned around. Slowly and fearfully, yet trusting in my Guide, I knew where I was going.
Continue Reading My Story Part 3: The First Step Home.
*Disclaimer: I recognize that the working vs. stay-at-home mom debate has been fuel for countless mommy wars. I want no part of that. I know the reality that many women who work outside the home have no choice in the matter. I also know many choose to work for other reasons. The purpose for this series isn’t to convince anyone that being home is the only right decision because I don’t believe that. Instead, I simply want to share my story for those who might find our path helpful in *prayerfully* discerning which path they might take. My deepest desire is that we would all support one another. I welcome comments that achieve that end. I seek for us to build each other up – no matter where we are – and not tear down. Thank you for letting me share this very personal part of my journey with you!