When Competition Divides, Let Grace Unite

When Competition Divides, Let Grace Unite {Thoughts on the stay-at-home mom and the working mom} | Faith and Composition
There’s a battle waging. And if you’re a mom, you’ve undoubtedly felt it. Sometimes it’s obvious; other times it’s covertly hinted at in whispers or jeers.

It shows up in our Facebook feeds, it’s splashed across mom blogs, it’s discussed in parenting magazines, and it even showed up in the comment feed here. A few of you alluded to the battle; some of you came right out and called it by name.

And you know what? It breaks my heart. There’s a heavy tension that exists between the stay-at-home mom and the working mom. It saddens me, and I think it saddens many of you too.

I’m a stay-at-home mom. I gave up a great job as a magazine editor and writer so I could stay home with my children because I desired to do so, and my husband and I felt that was the best arrangement for our family. It works well for us. I wrote When Mothering is Hard and No One Sees from my own personal perspective. But please hear me, the message of that post, the heart of it is for all mothers!

The demands of mothering, the daily battles, the unseen self sacrifices, the late nights and early mornings, the tears muffled by the sounds of the shower, the worn-out prayer knees … these struggles don’t know the boundaries of jobs and titles. Whether or not you clock in for a job elsewhere isn’t the point. The fact is you never get the opportunity to punch the time clock for motherhood. You are always a mom; and the demands of that sacred role are shared by all women who have the privilege of wearing that title.

And yet in discussion forums, in comment threads, in conversations muttered beneath low whispers, battle lines are drawn between stay-at-home moms and working moms. We throw stones and cast judgment from both sides of the fight while a plank sits lodged in our own eye.

Why? In a fallen world that devalues motherhood and is seeking to erode families, why do we contribute to the battle? This mothering of little ones is hard enough without us adding fuel to the fire.

Friend, here’s what I know. Whether you stay home with your children, work from home, work away from home or even hold down two or three jobs to provide for the needs of your your children, you are my fellow comrade in the trenches, and I’m in your corner. You are my sister in this incredible responsibility of raising the next generation, and I support you and commend you. You are courageous, strong, seen, loved.

Because this role of motherhood is hard enough without the added tension of competition and criticism from within, let’s cast aside slander and shame. Instead, let us affirm and encourage one another. Let us speak life and infuse hope.

When a materialistic society that values titles and position sneers at a stay-at-home mom, let’s rise to her defense and affirm the intrinsic value and can’t-put-a-price-on-it worth of her job. And when a self-righteous attitude casts judgment on a working mom, let’s come alongside her to quiet the voices of criticism and reaffirm her worth as a mother.

This role of motherhood is glorious and gritty, exhilarating and exhausting. It’s holy work, drawing us to our knees, but it need not draw us into competition.

For “Where the spirit of The Lord is there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17) Let’s loose the chains of bondage and bring freedom in place of condemnation. Let’s drop the stones, let’s quiet the judgments. And when competition threatens to divide, let’s invite grace to unite. 

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12 thoughts on “When Competition Divides, Let Grace Unite

  1. gina

    Many times I have stated, “I don’t know how I would have been able to work and raise my child”, but I have also suffered the loss of security and freedoms a paycheck allows. With 20/20 hindsight, I would have stayed part time in my field. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side. There are definitely pluses and minuses to both roles. The important message here is that just being a mother should be revered as we are raising hearts and souls. We always second guess ourselves. Now I am wondering if I have mothered too much! Know that you do your best. It will be good enough.

  2. Hannah Nichols

    I agree completely I myself am a stay @ home mommy to two beautiful little girls the loves of my life along with there daddy I applaud the stay @ home mommys just as I do the working ones I feel there pain because I know some of them would love to stay at home with there babies and watch them grow in God daily but for some it may not be possible so today I pray for the mothers who wish they could be at home that God would open up the doors to were they may have the desires of there heart and I pray for and encourage all mothers and fathers in this daily wonderful blessed walk of parenthood because we are blessed more than we deserve

    1. Priscilla Saura

      I agree to. sometimes the walk is too hard but we need to keep our eyes on God’s calling for us, and, like Hannah Nichols sad, pray for all thar mothers who desire this walk too, and pray and encourage all tthose fell not being able to walk this journey!!!

  3. Elaine

    GREAT article!!! Frankly, I am envious of all of you stay-at-home mom’s – I always wanted to stay home with my girls, but was not and am not able to. I was fortunate enough to have a mom, who quit her job and moved 700 miles to where I live, to be with my girls while I continued working. Without that, I don’t know what I would have done! God bless everyone of the mother’s out there! I appreciate your posts and the encouragement I get from them; it doesn’t hurt to be reminded that we have been given a gift when we were given children. Thank you and I look forward to your continued posts!

  4. Rebekah

    “When a materialistic society that values titles and position sneers at a stay-at-home mom, let’s rise to her defense and affirm the intrinsic value and can’t-put-a-price-on-it worth of her job. And when a self-righteous attitude casts judgment on a working mom, let’s come alongside her to quiet the voices of criticism and reaffirm her worth as a mother.”

    Great words here. As human beings, our first response to any kind of guilty feeling is to defend ourselves and it turns into attack. It would help if we could simply be gracious and understand that there are differences in the roles/lives of working mothers vs. stay-at-home mothers instead of feeling like one is always being singled out or forgotten. Some words will not always apply to us, and that is okay. Either way, lifting each other up is the way to go, not lifting up our selves or tearing others down.

  5. Shonda

    “A soft answer turns away wrath” and this article is certainly that soft answer. I’ve never understood the battle between “working” vs “stay-at-home” because to me it’s ALL work. Everyone goes through different seasons of life, and as mothers the callings and purposes of life God places on us are all different. Respect what He’s called you to and pray for others as they walk out their purpose. This was a beautifully written piece that provides some great advice on how to do just that.

  6. kag9780

    I feel like I have a unique perspective as a part-time working mom. I see how impossible it is to balance it all as a working mom, the guilt of feeling like you’re failing at everything, the times you miss out on with your kids, the laundry that piles up, the messy house, etc. But I also see that when I’m at work I get a bit of a “break” in that I can talk to grown ups, pee when I want, send an email when I want, etc. Being home with little kids is hard and exhausting! So there are tough and there are beautiful things about both and it’s not a competition as to which is better or which is harder. It’s about what’s best and necessary for each individual family. We all do the best we can with what we have and we all love our kids the best way we know how!

  7. Pingback: When Mothering is Hard and No One Sees | faith&composition

  8. Misty

    I am so happy to see this issue addressed in such a loving way. I have been both as well and the struggles of each are overwhelming enough without having to face judgment from other moms. We should all be raising each other up instead of condemning each other for our “work” choices/circumstances. Bravo ma’am, Beautifully written.

  9. Jessica McGehee

    What a beautifully written point! There are so many things to learn from both the stay-at-home mom & the working mom. I had the privilege of having both in my life. One was my working mother & the other was my aunt who stayed at home & cared for me during the day along with her children. Both did an excellent job. From my mother, I learned ambition, determination, sacrifice, & that I shouldn’t be limited in life because I am a woman who will most likely have babies one day. Because of my mother, I didn’t follow the trend of statistics that say that girls usually fall away from the more masculine areas of education such as math & science. I felt like I could be anything I wanted to be because of my working mother. On the other hand, my aunt has taught me compassion, forgiveness, understanding, sacrifice, love, & faith. She was my soundboard for my big decisions & my counselor when I was down. I trust her prayers more than anyone else’s. My mother was an inspiration & my aunt was my comfort. Some may say one sounds better than the other, but I can proudly say that I was blessed with both & wouldn’t be who I am today without these two strong women doing their mothering the best they knew how! On the day my son was born, I knew I wanted each of them by my side as they both taught me what it means to be a mother. Now as I write this with my nearly 4 month old baby asleep on my arm (which is also now asleep), I am getting to choose what is best for him & all of these things that I want to pass on to him. I finished my degree before being blessed with my sweet boy, & I’m choosing to stay home for now & soak in all this joy while I can. I may work later & put my degrees to good use, but whatever I choose, I will be no more or less of a mother for my choice.


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