I guess I can’t see the harm in working and being a mama

This is one of the lyrics I love in Brittney’s song “you want a piece of me?” partly because as a working mom, I feel like everyone wants a piece of me, yet I enjoy working and being a mom! Any other mama’s feel like this?  It’s a complex choice that is simultaneously rewarding and exhausting.

 

WorkingMom

Yes We Can!

This past weekend Dave and I helped to lead a conference called Compelling for 350 college students with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. We were both directing seminars & so we had a lot of work to do before the conference and during the conference. Though the work was challenging, the more difficult piece was finding childcare for our 2.5 year old son, Reuben.  Because InterVarsity is a family-friendly organization for the most part, we’re able to bring Reuben to conferences like these provided we find care for him when we are leading sessions.  Though I was leading entirely new content in a seminar called “evangelawesome” with a staff team of mostly volunteers I had never met and staff I’ve never worked directly with it was far more stressful making phone call after phone call to find someone to watch Reuben. I can deal with a talk that bombs. I am immobilized if I have to watch a toddler and give a talk at the same time- it just doesn’t work. Thankfully, my sweet cousins agreed to watch him which was great because they live 10 minutes away from the conference center we were at! It was really fun getting to know them better too.

The longer I am a working mom the more I think about how I (culture, we) try and compartmentalize our lives and see kids and work as mutually exclusive.  For many years I was terrified of having kids because I thought it would mean that I’d have to give up a job I loved. Finally as I was ranting to some older women on staff with kids about my fears of becoming a mom, one of them looked at me with a look of pity on her face and said “why do you think the Lord wants to harm you?” I was dumbstruck and ashamed. Because I was so wrapped up in how I thought my life should go, I didn’t even think to pray and ask God how he might want to use children to bless me, bless others and help me to trust him more. I thought of having kids as more of a speedbump in my career as opposed to a way that my life would become more rich (albeit busy!).

This weekend I saw God do some amazing things- give students boldness to talk to their friends about Jesus without sounding like a salesman, to share vulnerably about how he’s shaped their lives- even take risks to share a story about life transformation with other students who were attending the conference to learn about Jesus. I rewarded these brave volunteers with “shades of awesomeness” for their risk taking 🙂

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shades of evangelawesomeness

 

But one of the coolest things that had nothing to do with students was how I was able to reflect on the ways God has changed my attitude about being a mom & having kids since Reuben has been born.  This weekend it was so much fun to see Reuben dancing to the worship music, to wake up to his chattering in the hotel room even though we were both exhausted from long days of ministry, to realize that he doesn’t care if I do an amazing job leading my sessions or completely fail- he loves me because I’m his mama. I think this has been one of the most significant ways God has helped me to be reminded that my value doesn’t come from what I can do- it comes from who I am.  Though others struggle with finding their worth in being a mother, for me it’s been a reminder that I’m loved for who I am.

Now that Reuben is 2.5, people have been asking us “so, when are you going to pop out a few more babies?” I don’t really know if or when, but I do know that right now I’m enjoying both working and being a mom to Reuben. I know that I can continue to trust God with both my career and with being a mama if it’s just Reuben or other kids that God may bring into our family. While I may feel like everyone wants a piece of me, God is able to provide the strength, passion and care to serve in all the ways he’s called me. And that’s about all the parenting insight from Britney that I’ll take.

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5 thoughts on “I guess I can’t see the harm in working and being a mama

  1. I think being a working mother is a different choice for everyone. I do think that some working mothers do more harm to their children then good. Those mothers who choose work over their children and let others completely raise them. It really is a choice that every family must make but I think those choices should be made with God keeping our children’s best interests in mind. As Scott and I contimplate having kids it is becoming more and more of an issue because where we currently are I can’t completely give up my job yet, but I know there is no way I could work at the level I do now and have a child. I can barely take care of my house without one! My personal heart’s desire is to be a stay at home mom but I trust Jesus to work out everything as we sacrifice our lives to him.

  2. Jessica, this is a great post! I resonate in so many ways…though I don’t have kids yet! I hate that I have seen kids as a speedbump, or worse, roadblock to my career and following God’s purpose for my life. I have been wrestling with this a lot! It does boil down to my selfishness and I don’t like putting others above myself. Brian and I are attending a marriage class through our new church and I’m struck by how I find it difficult to put his needs before my own. Even though it is mutual – where we are both trying to put each other first. Do I really want to add kids to the mix who definitely need me to put their needs first? And they don’t put my needs first ever, unlike Brian who does. But I realize that all of this is part of me becoming more like Jesus and who God wants me to be – more selfless, humble, patient and flexible. The process of sanctification is rough, but I do like the result. I appreciated what you said about finding your worth in who you are as a Mom and not what you do. I struggle with that often. Thanks for the post. You’ve got a sister in NC who is right with you!

  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I still constantly struggle with finding worth as an unemployed mom, and then wondering if I’ll be able to be a working mom when the time comes. And then wondering how to have MORE kids and still hold down a job, as childcare is $$$$$$$$$. Agh!!!

  4. My oldest child will be 14 years old next month. In those 14 years I have been blessed with two more children (ages 10 & 8), a full-time career as a newspaper reporter (requiring full-time daycare), a part-time career as a campus minister and now a full-time career as regional ministry director (ministry jobs requiring a crazy amount of juggling preschool and then public school hours and the help of daycare, friends and family). The choices have never been easy, but the most difficult times are when we, as women, do not support one another in all of the difficult choices we face.

    There have been seasons in life where I have completely depended on others to help me raise my children. Thank God for girlfriends and a daycare provider who step in the gap, pick up kids from practices and drop them off at lessons, provide warm meals, etc.! My kids have missed me (and my husband), and I have wrestled with enormous amounts of guilt. I have had to face my control issues and perfectionistic tendencies. I have failed miserably and been blessed by the lessons my children teach me in flexibility and resiliency. And I am reminded every day that I cannot do this alone.

    There have been many conversations between me and my husband about the financial hit we often take by my working full-time. There are times when it doesn’t make sense. However, one question we’ve had to ask is are we willing to follow God’s call on our lives even if it means it won’t be financially profitable and there is no financial net gain?

  5. Dear Jessica,
    How wonderful that you are feeling so loved by Reuben as his mama. How wonderful that God is using you mightily in your job. I am cheering you on!
    Love,
    Mom Fick

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