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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