Why Becoming “Stay-at-Home Mom” Feels So Difficult + The Decision-Making Magic that helps most.

Do you have any big decisions or transitions staring you down lately?

This year is a transition to a huge reversed-life decision for me. As a mom of young kids, I decided to continue working. But, today, I’m a Stay At Home Mom.

You might have mixed responses to a decision like that. Maybe you think staying at home is wonderful. Freeing. A blessing. Orxhausting. Isolating. Mind-numbing. To me, it’s all of those things.

I wrestled and fought and cried over the decision, and I chose it with both sadness and gladness.

Deciding to become a stay-at-home mom was a bit of a grieving process for me. But thankfully the decision was just that, a decision.

One thing really guided this tough decision. More on that near the end.

I didn’t want to be a stay at home mom.

Although some people love it (dream of it, even), I knew fairly early in my motherhood journey I wanted the best of both worlds.

After the birth of our first child, I enjoyed the back and forth of work-life to mom-life. To my pleasant surprise, I still loved working.

I really believe working made me a better mom — for a season.

Plus, I felt good at work.

I don’t feel “good” at motherhood. I feel appreciated at work. Motherhood can be thankless, sometimes. (Although my sweet 3-yr-old “I love you mama’s” are quite delightful.)

To make it even more difficult, I worked for someone that wasn’t just an employer, but also a dear friend. For over a decade, I was Carey Nieuwhof‘s assistant. He is doing such good, important work, and he’s a joy to work with. (Most days, right Carey? 😉) I couldn’t imagine not throwing fuel on the flames of what he’s doing.

At the start of my 3rd maternity leave, I gave a resounding “don’t worry, I WILL come back!!” And, I did. My return to work was fun and fresh and I loved the team and the mental space. I jumped into work, all-in, for the long haul — in my head.

Then I started juggling bus routes. And daycare drop offs. And runny noses to the power of three.

Then daycare closures. And covid tests. And bills for unused daycare days. Add bleary-eyed after-hours hours after bleary-eyed after-hours hours.

Do you ever so badly want something to work, you fight for it long past its expiry date?

My energy hit an all-time low, as did my income. Not because I wasn’t well paid, but because I was paying for double-time daycare I couldn’t even use. In the covid era, the lingering cough is unwelcome.

Always needed somewhere I wasn’t.

Why I Chose to Stop Working

As though God slowly pried one finger at a time off this thing in my life I so deeply loved, I finally had to acknowledge that… maybe… working wasn’t working.

I threw punches and flung fits over it, I did not want to quit.

I believe in a personal God that is more than a great power in the universe, but a God that wants a relationship with us. And so, I wrestled with Him over this.

I eventually came to the humbling conclusion that at this point in my life – this stage in my family – this moment in time – this struggle in my soul – home is where I need to focus.

This decision-making magic guided me more than anything else.

Although this was not the path I wanted to take, it was the path I found peace.

Peace.

In my experience;

Peace is the greatest gift God gives us in decision-making.

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

– unknown

“…in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

There is this peace of God that never ever leads me astray. It’s difficult to describe – have you ever experienced it?

We don’t necessarily find peace on easy paths, sometimes it’s found through tears and trial and exhaustion (like mine). Maybe it’s often found that way.

It’s the deep calm within that assures your decision. It’s the absence of a caution flag gut-check. That sweet spiritual resolve that settles in after the decision is made.

Have you ever experienced peace in your decision-making? How would you describe it?

Deciding to be a Stay-At-Home Mom is a decision I made with both sadness and gladness.

It doesn’t come as easy to me as it does for some. Perhaps I find too much purpose or identity in work. Or perhaps I find too much fulfillment in productivity and appreciation. Perhaps those are topics for future posts.

But, I choose to trust that meaningful professional opportunities will be ready for me when I am, and I thank God for the opportunity in front of me. For this “Domestic Monastery.”

I believe in the purpose of this season, even while I struggle. And I believe in the assurance of the peace of God, even when all is not calm.

I will embrace this season in front of me. That doesn’t mean I won’t thrash or struggle or feel miserable some days, but it means I’ll keep listening, learning and leaning into what God is doing in my heart right now.

Are you facing a big decision right now? What guides you?

8 thoughts on “Why Becoming “Stay-at-Home Mom” Feels So Difficult + The Decision-Making Magic that helps most.”

  1. Your decision was hard. But your decision was right. At the ages of your children it is you that gets to speak into their life.
    I’d love to be able to chat with you person to person, let’s plan for that when the weather warms and hopefully Covid is over, but if not, at a socially acceptable distance.

  2. I love and respect your decision. I always felt my purpose in this life was to be a Mom. I stayed home with the kids when they were young. I tried going back to work for a short time when Sarah was just under 2. That did not last. Lol!! Dad did not have any fashion sense or knew what a brush was. I do not regret being there for them. I think they appreciate it now as adults that I was there for them. My one struggle I did have once they were grown, was finding out who I was without them. What was my purpose now? I am thankful and blessed to have a solid marriage with an amazing man who helped me find that and encouraged me to get back out there. I enjoy my adult job and being in control of who I am and want to be now. Enjoy each day and each moment (the highs and lows) your babies give you Sarah. 💕. I praise all Mom’s who just love their babies.

  3. I remember tears leaking from my eyes as I told my boss I could no longer work for him when I left my job to take care of my young children and work part time from home with my husband’s business. I loved my job and my co-workers and the significance of being a valued team member where our contributions were recognized and verbally appreciated. I also knew that to give what I wanted to my family and my husband and my employer would leave me empty. Something had to give. At the time it felt like I was sacrificing my own professional opportunities for the sake of my children and husband. Our children are grown now and not for one minute do I regret not being there for them and being the chief influence in their early years. I trust that God will lead me to opportunities that He wants me to grow through and find significance and satisfaction in. Carey preached a sermon a while back about the importance of doing the thing ONLY you can be (ie. mother to your children) as opposed to the thing ANYONE can do (although perhaps not with the same efficiency and flare as you do) such as your assistant position to him (Carey) and the impact it would have on those most important to you. My kids and husband win hands down every time when I look at my choices in life. Don’t ever regret giving up your job to take care of your family full time. It’s the right decision.

    1. Thank you for the encouragement, Gayle. I can so appreciate what you are saying and it means a LOT. It really seems like the right choice for me for now. I also think it’s super important to acknowledge that for some moms, choosing to work while kids are young cal also be the “right” choice… it is for sure an emotional and challenging season either way. Lots of love to all the moms out there wrestling with this tension. <3 Thanks again Gayle!

  4. They grow up sooo fast, as everyone says…they doesn’t make the mom of young kids season any easier. You do amazing at whatever you do, and God gave you these 3 kiddos to raise..the highest calling everrrrr!!!!

    Stay at home mom is HARD…but someday you’ll be so thankful you had this time!

    Also, I can’t even comprehend fitting work into life with 3 small kiddos!!! You’re a hero for even trying! ❤️

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