I am more than honored to welcome a guest post from Lisa-Jo Baker today in celebration of the upcoming Mother’s Day and the recent release of her fantastic book, Surprised by Motherhood. I spent the first 18 months of being a mother as a working mom. At the time, though it may not have been my first choice, it was clearly God’s plan for our family and we were sustained and blessed in that season. Never the less, I allowed myself the unhappy luxury of an incredible amount of “Working Mama’s Guilt.” If I had to do all over again, I wish someone would have said these very words to me at that time, and I hope that Lisa-Jo’s beautiful, grace-filled words will help erase the bold lines that are sometimes incorrectly drawn between Working Moms and SAHMs. You ALL Mother so bravely, so beautifully and so well. Please be lifted up today by this post from Lisa-Jo Baker. Happy Early Mother’s Day!!!
Grace for the Working Mother and Her Guilt
This post is not about whether mothers should work or should stay home.
This post is not about whether it’s better to home school or go the public, or Montessori or other route.
This post is not about whether it’s harder to work at home or out of the home.
This post is simply a whispered, “I know,” to the Sunday night, getting ready for work tomorrow, mamas.
The ones who are right now wiping down the counters, packing up the lunch boxes, sorting the socks, going through the mental gymnastics of gearing up for another week of good-byes. The ones preparing themselves for the waves of weekend homesickness that will hit when 5am comes early and preschool or daycare drop offs come inevitably.
This post is for the brave moms who know the ache of early good-byes.
For the ones who will commute hours before the rest of us get up because that’s what it takes to keep home a place of food and warmth and security. For the courage it takes to trust your children to someone else’s care. For the ones who beat themselves up harder, longer, more ruthlessly than the rest of us could possibly imagine.
This post is for the women who are short on grace for themselves.
I hear you. I know you. I lived in your shoes for long years and it is hard. And there are voices that can make us feel small. Make us feel achey breaky in our bones. Voices that lie about the quality of our mothering and try to steal the joy of time spent with our children by making us worry about the time spent apart.
My Sunday night sisters, I have listened to the crackly static of a nagging voice that whispers, deserter, and hear me when I tell you that that voice is a liar.
I know that going to work when you want to be home can feel like being trapped. It can make you want to beat your head on the wall. It makes you shrink next to those who point out what you should be, especially when it’s what you want to be. It can be an endless cycle of self beratement.
But for those of us in that place and season, we lift up our eyes to the hills and help comes. The Holy Spirit ministers tenderly, bandaging wounded hearts and restoring what the deceiver has tried to destroy. We need grace from others because goodness knows we rarely get it from ourselves.
And when the crackly static of the nagging dies down there is another voice and He whispers, provider.
He sings over you.
He is waiting for you in the morning as you struggle to wake up. When the glare of the bathroom lights blind and tired eyes fight the lenses they need to face the day, He is there.
She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family.
You are no less and no more than the mothers who get to stay home. God did not give them a pass and you a punishment. You do not need to apologize for the fact that you work. You do not need to be embarrassed.
We practice dying to our own desires every day with each good-bye, each desperate hug, each meal prepared and left to be eaten in our absence. We walk the hard path of trust. Trusting that the God who built our kids will parent them in our absence, will grow them in courage, and teach them over time that this is what love looks like.
Gritty, committed, and determined to do what is necessary.
And drenched in grace, friends. Drenched in grace.
This guest post comes with love from Lisa-Jo Baker to our community in celebration of Mother’s Day. If you haven’t already – treat yourself, your mom, your sister, your BFF or your grandma to a copy of her new book, Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected About Being a Mom. No matter what stage you’re in when it comes to motherhood, we promise it will encourage. And remind you that you are braver than you think.