Finding Fulfillment in Being a Mother Only

Finding Fulfillment in Being a Mother Only

Written by Sherrie Cook, Contributing Writer

For many years I’ve disliked filling out paperwork at a doctor’s office or school that asks for my employment status.  I struggle with knowing the right adjective or title to describe all I do in a day. Usually, I simply put “homemaker”. That never seems fair to anyone. Does that mean that the mother who works is not a homemaker, too? No. Does that mean that all I do all day is manage my home? Of course not. So really, it’s not fair to any moms anywhere.

I suppose it’s because there are never enough lines in the packet to explain what the real job of being a mommy encompasses. Even if there were enough lines, we moms wouldn’t have ample time to sit there and fill in all the details of our days!

Some days it seems all we get accomplished is to change diapers and wash endless faces and wipe away falling tears and dam up dripping noses. Sometimes, we get to celebrate successes and at other times we have to do our best to mend broken hearts. Sometimes our waking hours are distracted by looming decisions regarding the future of our children…sometimes our nights get consumed, too.

Throw in breakfast, baths, homework, packing lunches, creating wholesome dinners, character training, errands, cleaning house, soccer, baseball and volleyball practice, church time, husband time, and a little family time and our schedules are filled to the top! overflowing! (Notice I skipped personal time, exercise and sleep, among others. Those are the ones that get cut first anyway, right?)

Stack of Papers

Image courtesy of katerha

Distracted by Doing “Good”

So why is it that we always think we can take on more? And more? And MORE? Like… involvement in the worship choir, teaching a Bible class, president of the PTO, soccer coach, part-time job, co-op coordinator, troop leader, ladies class instructor, mentor, head chef for small group and secretary for the neighborhood association!

Can you identify with some [if not all] of those titles above? As women who love God, we earnestly want to serve Him. We see a need and we want to fill it. If we’re asked to participate in a noble cause, we most often respond positively.

If the request was for something illegal or a blatant waste of time, we would have no problem walking away, but all the things (and we all know there are way more) listed above have merit. They are “good” things in which to be involved. They help our families, our friends and lost souls. They need to be done. And somewhere in the dark corners of our minds, perhaps many of us know that if we don’t step in and fill the role, no one will.

In many cases, I believe, that being distracted by doing good is one of the ways the evil one uses to get a foothold on the hearts of God fearing women. Women who have a heart for Jesus. Women who want to serve Him by serving their families. Women who desire to model the woman of Proverbs 31. Women like you and me.

I, personally, have been dabbling in this very drudgery. I’m learning every day, hard lessons. I’m making heart wrenching choices about where I can truly be involved.

Right now, I am a mother of very young children. I feel like I have so much to give to my family, my friends, my neighborhood, my world!  I am embarrassed to admit that at times I feel like my gifts are being stifled or wasted while I do this “mom thing”. It is when I bring that confession to the Lord that I can hear Him whisper, “Be the best mommy you can be. Today. Let tomorrow take care of itself.”

It is then that I’m reminded that being “only a mom” or “just a mother” is enough. It is enough for God. It is enough for my children. It is enough for me. Right now, I’m pleased to say that motherhood is my season. If it is your season too, I pray you will join me as we strive to find peace in the presence of this awesome calling.

Do you ever struggle with “only” being a mother? How do you combat those struggles?

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  1. Motherhood is my season, too, and I am but at the beginning f it. ^_^ Amazing how intimidating it can be some days. Thank you for this post.

  2. Wow! It’s like you knew exactly what I have been thinking/living. I think I have had such a hard time with this, because I walked away from my dream career right when I was getting to the position I had been working for, for years! I did this for my then 3 yr old. I knew that I didn’t want anyone raising her but me. That was almost 9 years ago! During that time I had another child who just turned 6. Being a Mom can be a very scary thing whether you work outside the home or not. My hat goes off to both. Our culture doesn’t support the stay at home mom and the “traditional” lifestyle. It says as women we must be earning nearly as much money as our husbands and if we don’t…….if we don’t……Wow….we must either be lazy, or “pampered”. I appreciate your article and your insight. Thanks for letting this mom know she’s not alone!

  3. I am 46 and have a 14 year old son. I have been a homemaker/domestic diva for 16 years. I can say that I have never struggled with this role. I love it. I think it is the most important job one can have (stay at home dads included), no apologies!:) Love this blog!

  4. God is so good! I have been praying about this very issue and last night very earnestly. With a part-time job opportunity available again, wanting to do more with my blog, expecting our second, raising our 4 year old, I just feel God nudging me to those last words – motherhood. It is good enough for God. Good enough for my children. Why can’t it be good enough for me? Why can’t I just accept it is where I am meant to be right now? Thank you for such a beautifully written article. I’ll be praying still, for you, for others, and myself, who struggle to be “Okay” to be mothers only.

    1. @Michelle, Thank you for your prayers! What a blessing we have as a network of women to reach out, even through the internet, with the support of prayer. I will pray for you also as you make these decisions for your family.

  5. I don’t because, I’m not just a “mother”
    I’m a child of God, a wife, a mother, a friend, a sister and I also wear many other hat! who I am is what God made me and what I do I do it as unto the Lord, my security is in Him and I’m blessed!

  6. I’m very happy that there was no blogging (that I knew of) when my children were little. They are now 8, 9 & 11. Because when they were that age I was mom-only. Not blogger or anything else. And I don’t regret it at all.

    Now that they are a bit older and they are more independent I am able to spend some time creatively being more than “just a mom” but I still have to discipline myself to embrace motherhood with my whole heart & mind.

    I think it’s very easy to fall into the trap of wanting to be more than what we are called to do and be for the short life season of raising young children. The internet has been a blessing for mothers as encouragement but I think it’s also deceptive because we see snippets of people live’s – the pretty parts, the parts to envy but not what the home really looks like. What the kids really behave like, what the heart truly values.

    Sorry if this sounds like an internet bashing kick, it’s not. But I think blogging is one of those “good” things that can pull our hearts and minds away from where they need to be. And I am speaking to myself as much as any one else.

  7. I was raised in a very family-centred home, and being a wife and Mum has always been my ultimate goal. I have no issues writing “homemaker” in the doctors office, at WIC or any other place! It’s true that sometimes I wish I could do more, while being a mother, but there is never any greater influence we can have than on our own children. I think that if we did all the good in the world for many, many people but fail our children, then in essence, we have failed. However, by reaching our children, training them to grow up into Godly men and women, then through them – and in later years, ourselves – we will reach more people than we could ever have imagined.

  8. Hello Sherrie. I am a mother of 8 children ages 26 down to 2 years old. I’ve been homeschooling for almost 20 years. I’d like to tell you based on my own personal experiences with growing up a feminist, then accepting Christ and seeking to live Biblically that this territory you’re in IS a major front in the war between the LORD and the enemy. The enemy desires to destroy our families and our children any way that he can. Through the years, the assault has come in different ways. One of the most effective was the feeling that we just didn’t have enough money to meet our basic needs and for heaven’s sake, I have a college degree! I’VE GOT TO GET A JOB. Somehow I never did and somehow the Lord always provided what we needed, but I surely suffered a lot of unnecessary stress through my lack of trust!

    And yes, I struggled with the whole “just a mom” thing too. After all, I have a degree. About 10 years ago a dear friend loaned me a huge pile of back issues of a magazine called Above Rubies. I devoured them over the course of a week or so and I don’t think I’ve ever struggled again to any great degree with feeling like my position here in our home is insignificant. Nancy Campbell is such a treasure!

    I believe that Proverbs 31 demonstrates that it can be a good thing for a wife and mom to have a home based business. For me, that has meant learning to paint and hopefully one day actually selling my art work. I began painting seriously about 2 years ago (but only for an hour a day 4 days a week). I was 42 years old and had several teens at home to help with the little ones while I “worked”. I’m not sure that I could have done this when I had only small children, in fact I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have. So this is a new season. The Lord didn’t even reveal this to me till I was in my 40’s.

    I highly suggest you get ahold of some of the Above Rubies materials. There will still be other struggles, but I really think Nancy will speak to your heart and reassure you about how very important you are right where you are.

    1. @Beth, It is wonderful to listen to the words of an experienced mama. I totally “get it” when you say “I have a college degree, I’ve got to get a job!” Satan uses all sorts of vices, doesn’t he? Finding the balance between all these things – and weeding out a lot of distractions – is sometimes harder than I think it will be.

      Thank you for your suggestions about Nancy’s writing. I’m sure there are many of us reading that will benefit from your comment.

  9. The two verses I hang on to are…
    Colossians 3:17 “And whatever u do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
    1 Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
    On bad days I would say these verses to myself and give thanks that I had a baby, could stay home, etc… Also It changed some of the ways I was doing things. I couldn’t do something half way when I was doing it for God. I came to realize that God doesn’t expect be to be a Beth Moore or whoever changing the world. That just offering up my daily duties is enough for Him.

  10. I really appreciate what you’ve written here. I admit I don’t totally understand your struggle because we all live different lives but I really appreciate the community available here and other blogs. It is great to have an online faith community of women for support in addition to our local church communities. I do work part time out of the house but the struggle of “being a good enough mother” still exists for me. Your post really spoke to me today. Thank you for writing.

    1. @Jessica , I, too, am grateful for the an online community of faith – how blessed we are! I think no matter how we spend our time, there is the idea of balance and of stewardship. There is always (at least for me) the wonder of “Did I do enough? Could I have done more? Better? Different?” etc. As moms, there are these little lives that are so tightly woven into ours that nearly everything we do or say affects them – it’s a lot of responsibility!

      I pray the Lord’s blessings over your life as a mother. Thank you so much for your kind comments here.

  11. I’ve been meditating on Mark 1:35-38 lately. After an amazing, miraculous day of ministry in Capernaum Jesus slept then got up early to seek the Father’s voice. When the disciples came clamoring after him to continue that work for another day, Jesus said no. The work in Capernaum was good but God had other plans for Jesus that day and so Jesus said no.

    I love being a mom but because my time can be less structured than someone who is employed outside the home full time, it is easy to overload myself with doing good. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and praying about what God is calling me to in this season of my life and have whittled it down to three things. Now, I can filter all those other opportunities through my top three things and if the support or enhance those things, I say yes. If it is a distraction, I say no.

    Read Elizabeth George’s book “Loving God With All Your Mind.”. It has really helped me in my journey to being an excellent wife and mother.

  12. Thank you for this blog- it brought tears to my eyes. I have been struggling with feeling bad about saying no to so many “good” things. Before my son was born I was extremely involved in serving at my local church. I still do a few things, but I don’t feel like my heart is in them like it used to be. It is so encouraging to hear you say that is okay to say no. It is amazing how hard that word is for us with the gift of serving to actually say. I know that motherhood is my season and I am so glad. It can be exhausting, but it is so rewarding. Thank you for your words of wisdom.

    1. @amber, I am so happy to hear that the Lord spoke to you through these written words. I will pray for your strength as your weed through all the “no’s” and “not right now’s” to find the things He has planned for you.

  13. I’ve been realizing this more and more lately too. I have a child with autism, and I actually have *help* now so I can take my typical child out once or twice a week and give him 1:1 time. I thought I would be the kind of mom who could juggle everything and do it well, well, I’m not at all so I finally figured that out and got help.

    Blogging is kind of my grown up time, before I blogged I quilted and talked on the phone more. Blogging has proven to be more profitable to our family, so it’s the hobby I choose to continue while the others got put away.

    Raising children is more than just providing for their safety and making sure they learn to read, it’s an amazing responsibility where everything we do or don’t do has an impact on their lives.

    1. @Cara, Your words seemed a bit discouraged at the beginning of your comment. I hope that you do not consider yourself any less of a mother for “giving in” and getting help. None of us can juggle everything. It is humbling when we figure this out (I keep learning it over and over and over), but it only reminds us we are human.

      I think your comment on “grown up time” is so important, too. We have to still manage to carve out time to fill our own cups (devotion & praise, time with our spouse, bonding with a trusted girlfriend, hobby, etc.) Otherwise, what will use to refresh the souls of our children? When our cups are dry, we have nothing left to pour out over them.

      Thank you for your comment!

  14. Sherrie,

    My little one is a month and a half old and I have definitely been wrestling with the issue of being a mom! I haven’t “worked” outside of the home for about two years, but have sold Tupperware, had a few little “temp” jobs filling in at offices, and also done a lot of custom sewing work. These days clean laundry, dishes, and dinner prepared are a victory of their own! It’s hard sometimes not to be pursuing the interests, hobbies, and money-makers as I was able to before.

    As I have been praying through these times what I have learned is:
    -Adding more to my schedule/to do list just makes me feel more inadequate since then nothing is getting done at 100% (or even close!)
    -My husband is a huge blessing, as well as other family members. It’s hard to ask for help, but I’m having to get over that!
    -I have got to learn to find joy in the simplicity of my days, be efficient when I get time to do something extra, and enjoy every moment while my little one is still, well, little!

    Thanks for the great post!

    1. @Steena, Beautiful insights! It sounds like you are navigating the changing waters of motherhood with grace. Thank you so much for your comment!

  15. I needed to hear this so much. I have been struggling in what feels like an endles tug-o-war, I feel the deep desire to serve God, and I know I do in serve my family. I hear from church/friends/family about this study, small group, event, etc… they all need help, then there are my brothers and sisters in Christ, who need help… And all I can commit to do is pray for them, and I do. But, I always feel that someone somewhere is going to jump out and say, “you’re not doing enough for God.” My children are small (4 & 8months) and I know there are more on the horizen. I know the season of my life is in family service right now, but feel the pressure to do more.
    Thank you for the reminder that “good” things do not necessarly equal ” God ” things.
    I want to do the best I can at what He has called me to do now. And right now it is go nurse the baby…

    1. @Rita, It can be a daily “tug-o-war”, just as you said. You ARE serving in one of the most self-sacrificing acts right now. Daily. As you sleep. As you cook. As you pray. As you tuck in at night. As you hug brothers and sisters in Christ. As you fold laundry. As you nurse your baby.

      If ever anyone says to you “you’re not doing enough for God”, unless it was a trusted friend rebuking you in love who had insights into your present circumstances, I would say they are taking too much time looking at you to find your shortcomings and should spend a little more time “doing more for God”. 🙂

      Be still. Know that He is God.

      Your family is your work AND your worship. Care for them to His glory and He will help remove the pressures to “do more”. You are already doing His will. I will pray for your peace.

      Hang in there, mama! You are doing wondrous things for His Kingdom!

  16. Timely post for me. 6 months ago, I quit a high-paying, high-demand job to stay home with my 2 kiddos. It was easy at first to be fulfilled by full-time motherhood after such a high stress job. But I’ve noticed during the last month that I’ve become restless searching for some significance beyond “just being a mom”. The Lord is teaching me to find my significance in Him alone. I am the only full-time SAHM that I know so it’s hard to explain this to all of my friends that still work. It’s great to know there are others experiencing the same. Thank you!

    1. @Tiffany, What you are experiencing I have heard from so many, many mamas in your position. That restlessness you describe. Take comfort in knowing that you are looking in the right place. In Him alone. He is the only one who can fill that void you are experiencing. I think it is because He put it there. 🙂

      I pray you will find comfort in others (perhaps online) that are walking this path along with you. Thank you for your comment.

  17. P.S. agreed internet is wonderful for support and encoragement, but also is easily a trap. The question is always there when little one says, “mommy I need you.” You hear the computer say “I want your attention too.” Learning to say no to the computer is one of the best things I have done (and am still learning to do.)

    1. @Rita, You’re so right! Another area that needs to have balance. So easy to get sucked in to Twitter, forums, facebook, blogs, etc. I’m with you – still learning how to juggle the benefits without letting it become a stumbling block in my life!

  18. This has been SO at the forefront of my thoughts and conversations with other moms lately – so I was delighted to receive this post today.

    I was blessed from childhood to have the desires of my heart be the same as those the Lord had for me, even when I didn’t know Him. But even so, when I actually became a Mommy, staying at home raising my first little one was quite a challenge to accept. After all, you look at this little one who can’t talk, and you can’t tell what kind of lasting impact you are making, and you ask him, “I’m staying home for you? Not much going on here, is there?” It’s hard to FEEL like it really is enough.

    Steena, and all the other mommies out there who are where I was 25 years ago – trust the Lord in this. You are choosing a priceless sacrifice.

    Latest post happens to be….

    1. @Shyla, Your comment made me smile. I say frequently to my husband that I feel like I may not know for certain (in the flesh) if the choices I make daily are the right ones. This is because our children start out so little – and speechless – like you said. 🙂 It won’t be for more than a decade to see if I ruined them or if the decisions I made were right. And as moms, we make a lot of decisions, so lots of room for error!!

      May the Lord guide us all daily! Thank you for your encouragement here!

  19. Hello! Thanks for writing this and sharing….I agree and appreciate your honesty & viewpoints. A message truly needed!

    I do have a question for anyone interested: How do you suggest to women balancing the call to serve (for example in our church communities) with the call to be at home serving the family as well? Scripture speaks to both. I wonder sometimes if the message to Moms of young children is to simply ‘back out’ during these years.

    But if we do not help out, who are we expecting to teach our children Sunday School, VBS, or help out with the choir? Again, I fully agree with focusing on motherhood and not feeling that being Mom only is not enough–I have five children of my own, most of them young. We also need discernment in how, when & where to be involved in areas we should contribute. Any thoughts?

    1. @Daniele @ Domestic Serenity, I personally think a few things…one is that everyone has a season and its not the season of the mother with young children or in certain other seasons to rise up to fill in all those spots. But I also think you need to seek God’s wisdom and the wisdom of your husband in these things.

      The other thing that I think is that if you truly feel that you need to be serving beyond your own family then why not look for things that don’t take as big of a time commitment? What about helping with a once-in-a-while baby shower (although don’t overcommit to running it). What about making reminder phone calls for an activity once a month for people to remember to bring something if that is a need? What about things that you can do AS you have time like writing a simple encouragement note now and then to someone in the church or something that is not a weekly or monthly commitment but can be done once in a while as you can but still fufilling your desire to help?

      Our children are only young once. I think that if these types of positions are not being filled by those who are in different seaons then that needs to be a matter or prayer for the church and individuals in the church. I also think that sometimes churches can be “overprogrammed” and therefore needing so many helpers, when maybe things could be simplified more and therefore less helpers needed. Just some thoughts.

    2. @Daniele @ Domestic Serenity,
      I have this same question. After reading this post I decided to do a little searching of the Scriptures, other authors and wise women to see if I can find a good answer. I’ll eventually blog what I find. Since I’m “just a mom” I don’t have lots of time for research!

      I really appreciate what you added Nola. Those are some great ideas for serving without having to hold a specific roll in the community of believers. I also think, and maybe Paul (the one in the Bible) would agree, that there are many areas that we might typically think of a mother serving where single people can and are more able to serve the church. (I’m sorry if that doesn’t make sense my three little blessings are needing my attention and I can’t think straight! Back to doing what I’m supposed to be doing!)

    3. @Daniele , So many thoughts race through my head as I read your comment. You ask some deep questions. I think because they are so personal that they will have to be answered by each individual as she considers each occasion in prayer.

      For me, personally, my children range in ages from 2 to 10. In the beginning, I never “backed out”. In fact, I rushed in. I saw needs and dove for the opportunity to serve. As I’ve gotten older (and suffered with some huge medical issues), I have definitely “backed out”. I still see the needs and it is harder sometimes than others to say “no” or look the other way.

      Sometimes, I think we have to be careful not to take over too many responsibilities b/c it can keep others from serving. Example: if we teach the kindergarten class every year for 15 years and everyone knows that we ARE the kindergarten Sunday morning teacher. Period. We could keep someone else from serving in that capacity.

      That is oversimplified, of course, b/c in most cases if someone really wanted to serve, they could always teach 1st grade. But, I’m just using that as an example. If we take on too many roles, we likely won’t be able to give any of them 100% and all of them will suffer a little. Including our families.

      My personal recommendations would be to do:

      1.) short term things
      2.) things that your children can help with in some capacity or at least be aware of your service (Not that you want to flash it in their faces, but they need to see us serving people as much as they need to see us buried in the Word.) and
      3.) things that alter your young family’s schedule the least (young children especially need consistency)

      VBS = short term. Usually 1 week out of the year. Instead of being in charge, maybe you and your children (of course, age varies greatly) can bake cookies for refreshments, or you could teach your child’s class. Children can see the service and they will likely be participating in VBS anyway so their schedule isn’t altered specifically because of your service.

      Sunday school = short term IF you volunteer for 3 months and then perhaps don’t do it again for 9 months or a year. Invite an older child to be your assistant so they are serving right along beside you. Or, consider being a substitute teacher and only fill in for a certain period of time or a certain age of children, etc. It doesn’t commit you to lifelong service, but it does get you involved and your children see this. Again, your schedule shouldn’t be severely altered if your children are already participating in this sort of thing.

      I loved the idea of sending cards of encouragement or healing. This is something that can be done quickly and it’s ok if you need to stop and come back to it, say to change a dirty diaper. You aren’t taking away opportunities from anyone else, (because who doesn’t like to receive more prayers and mail that isn’t a bill) AND your children can see you do it sometimes. They can participate in your act of service by putting the stamp on the envelope or just by knowing it’s going to Mrs. Marie who doesn’t feel well. As they get older, they can make the card you send or draw a picture to accompany the card. This isn’t short term but it isn’t consistent either. Tends to come in spurts. If your children were sick for 3 weeks straight, you wouldn’t be bailing out on someone who was counting on you – in fact, if that were the case, I’d hope you’d be on the receiving end of a get-well-soon card! 🙂

      Making meals for the sick, families of new babies, or for families who have lost a loved one is also a wonderful service. The next time you make a casserole, double it and put one in the freezer. When a need arises, you’re prepared and you did so when it worked into your family’s schedule. Time with your children was not sacrificed and (if age appropriate) they can even help you make the meal or deliver it.

      There are many, many ways to serve in the church community or in our own neighborhoods. But again, the age of your children is a huge factor. Don’t feel unneeded because that is certainly not the case. Don’t feel like you can’t do anything anywhere for anybody, because that, too, is only a lie. But, you do have to use discernment, as you said, to choose which areas are right for us at this particular season in life.

      I will pray for your wisdom. Thank you for comment!

    4. @Daniele @ Domestic Serenity,
      Your question made me think. Naturally, I thought mothers of older children with less responsibility should be meeting those needs. But I think often after are kids grow and need less we feel pressure to go back to work and contribute financially. It opened my eyes to the thought that staying home really is a much longer term need.

  20. GREAT post! i meant someone in the grocery store line the other day who asked what i did. i caught myself saying, “oh, i just stay home with the kids.” i was so mad at myself!! there’s no JUST about it! it is much more difficult than i thought it would be but it’s also so much more rewarding.

    1. When I first became a SAHM, I would tell people, “I’m just a Mom.” I always felt like that was the biggest understatement. One day, I said it to a girl I’d just met, and she responded. “Yep, JUST the most important job in the world!” and smiled. Made me think harder about what I felt about my job.

  21. Thank you for this encouraging post! This motherhood journey has rocked me to my core much more than I expected. This has surprised me as I’ve always wanted to be a SAHM! It’s good to be reminded of truth.
    Blessings from Evan’s Mom!

  22. I struggle so much with wondering if my “gifts” are being used. But when I get the opportunity to use them sometimes, my home suffers. It’s so hard to find a balance. But I know if my kids grow up feeling like they had parents who loved them, and most of all knowing that JESUS loves them, than I know it’s all worth it. Because that’s what really matters.

  23. Oh yes, I have dealt with this too- and I tend to overestimate how much I can do and how short and sweet this time is… Now that most of my children are getting a little bit older, I do wish that when they were babies I would have simplified my life even more….

  24. “I am embarrassed to admit that at times I feel like my gifts are being stifled or wasted while I do this “mom thing”. ”

    That’s exactly what goes through my head all the time …

    Although I am slowly, slowly coming to peace with my role as a SAHM, I still feel insecure about “wasting” my education and walking away from my career to stay home with my daughter. Fortunately, my wonderful husband encourages me and tells me every day how much he appreciates the work I do at home. Although I feel blessed by his love and respect for my role, I still struggle. Once I broke down and started crying when I was sharing these feelings with my MIL and she told me that it’s a hard thing to be a woman and have dreams, because you constantly feel conflicted between your dreams and the practical needs of your family. She very wisely and kindly encouraged me to focus on my role as wife and mother right now and to trust God with all the things I want to do someday. I have called her advice to mind so many times since then and it gives me peace to know that His timing is always, always right.

    Thank you for your kind encouragement. I needed to be reminded today.

  25. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we are given one church calling to fulfill. A few will have more if they can handle it but the church always cautions not to give more than 1 as not to draw away from the family since raising our children is our most important work. So I think if you can just do one then that’s plenty and say no to the others.

    1. I am SAHM of 2 (2 1/2 year old, and 8 month old), a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and post-partum depression sufferer. I love our church, and I think that callings are important. But it’s also important for people to understand that sometimes even one extra assignment outside of motherhood is too much. I get to lead the music every Sunday, and that’s all I can handle right now, and it feels awful. Our leaders think I should be able to do more because I don’t advertise that I am struggling. I don’t want to have to announce to the world that I’m depressed, but I feel like I have to have that excuse in order to be ‘allowed’ to turn down service opportunities. I don’t think that’s the way it should be. I love the idea of being the best mommy I can be, and I’d like others to just let me be that.

  26. I am thankful that I don’t often feel like “just” a mom…but I think it helps that I have been affirmed as a mom many times by family on both my own and my in laws. They truly believe in what I am doing as worthwhile and a high calling.

    But I can see where others come from this way with feeling like they are “just” a mom.

    I often get the comment after people asking my husband “what do you do” then they turn to me and ask me…I always answer I am a homemaker and a mother. Since to me its sort of two different things…anyways usually no one seems to care about that and they change the subject…

    But I did have one man once ask my husband and then turn to me and ask me “so are you a homemaker?” in a nice way and I said yes…and he got a big smile and said that that was wonderful, in a really genuine way…it made my day.

    I also don’t like the comments I get, which I have had from other moms who work outside the home, with the question “so what do you do all day?” I feel like saying that I actually have more work than time allows…but I think in this day and age where there are so many conveniences out there people sometimes don’t understand what we do if they are coming at it from a perspective of not doing things as “from scratch” or spending as much time with the kids etc…I don’t want to come across as saying using modern conveniences of any sort are wrong but doing things like cloth diapers, or clothes lines, or making food from scratch takes time and energy…which I don’t think people who do other things can understand.

  27. Thank you. A friend and I were having a conversation the other day about the season of motherhood and the misplaced feelings of guilt for not doing more outside of the home.

  28. So when I answer a post, I write a book…lol!

    This is a topic that I have often sruggled with since my daughter was born (She is 6 and I now have an 8 mo old). Interestingly, I always wanted to be a SAHM, but I also felt God had placed specific dreams on my heart. I found that I’ve been bored amongst it all, not challenged, and feeling ashamed that I felt this way. (Yes, bored even with all the wonderful slobbery kisses and read alouds and the never ending list of chores and responsibilities! 🙂 This past fall I truly wrestled with it (majorly wrestled!!!) and at this point have found a contentment with where I am as well as a new trust that the Lord will bring about the time to do “all the rest”. For those who continue to struggle with wanting to pursue those dreams, these things/thoughts were helpful for me: 1. Find someone to talk to about how you feel. You don’t need to be ashamed about your feelings. Talking to someone can bring fresh perspective! 2. God did create you for a purpose and he may have placed other dreams on your heart as well. At this point you may be a SAHM, but you will not always be. Instead of dreaming and scheming of how to make it all happen, talk with your husband about how at some point you may begin to pursue your dreams. For me, it just felt important to recognize and state what those other dreams are instead of burying them. If there are a number of areas you’ve considered, ask the Lord to show you more specifically what is next and a plan to eventually pursue. (For example, If it is going back to school, maybe the first step would be to recognize specifically what area of schooling and then finding a school that has that area, even though it may be a few years before it happens). Sometimes just having something to look forward to can give you the excitement you need to more fully enjoy what you are doing now. 3. If you find your life to be a drudgery, asking the Lord to give you and your husband a vision for your family of what he wants you to be accomplishing as a father/mother/husband/wife,etc. is also helpful. Answering the questions of what do you want for your children? What is important for them to be learning? What characteristics do you want them to have? What world view is important for them? What kind of learner do you want them to be? Are you supporting your husband and honoring him in his leadership? Is he pursuing what God has for him? Wow, there are lots of questions you could answer. As we began to answer some of those questions and others, God began to renew my vision for the now instead of just for the future. We have an awesome task before us and He does have an opinion about it! We often just need to begin the process of asking and seeking Him to bring about a renewed excitement and vision for what we are doing. I pray that faith rises up in you to trust Him with ALL of your dreams: those of being a SAHM as well as the rest!

    1. @Faith, Wonderful thoughts! (I like your book!) Your steps reminded me of a post I read recently:

      All companies have a mission statement. It helps to keep them focused. It helps everyone to know what they stand for and what direction their business is going. Lindsay, at Passionate Homemaking, has done a wonderful job (I think) of walking through how to design one of these for our homes. What I like about it is that it answers a lot of the questions that Faith brought up here, and it can be changed (if needed) as your seasons change. I’ve seen this done before, but thought she did a lovely job.

      Thank you for sharing yourself with your “book”, Faith!

    2. @Faith, I really liked your point about not feeling ashamed about expressing feelings of “wanting more.” Once I got past my fear of honesty, I felt so much better and had a much greater sense of peace, direction and purpose. Hiding my feelings and trying to pretend that I felt happy was what was really making me miserable. Isolation is the enemy in this situation. Once I realized that I wasn’t alone in this experience, I found that my anxiety and restlessness faded away.

      I also liked what you said about planning for the future … life is always changing and although I may be SAHM right now, someday my life will be different and there will be new challenges and responsibilities. And then I’ll probably look back at the all the years I spent at home with my kids and wish I could have some of those times back again … 😀

  29. Oh I love this supportive post and the comments so much. I’m 54, and get no support. Everyone is saying, you need to get a life and get a job. Those very same people need me just about every day. I have two grandchildren living with me. I raised my kids, I homeschooled, when my son was paralyzed I took care of him. If you read between the lines (to keep this shorter, ha) this is just a drop. I did venture to work. It was awful. I homeschooled and did my homework by day, then every night either went to work or school. When I got home the husband was sleeping and the kids were hungry or needed help with something. That would be around 11pm. I quite enjoy being here, chasing two babies, and teaching them. I get a kick when people wonder what I do all day. Yeah, it does bother me at times. But then I fire back, oh, the babies and I soak grains and grow sprouts. My business is here, and if I make any money on my projects, or heal people up with my crazy potions I am totally happy with that. I just wish the world around me would quit thinking I can’t possibly be happy with this life. That somehow I’m missing out.
    Thanks to all for the Bible references too. It’s all so nice to know that I am not alone with these feelings.

  30. So hard to deal with. I am constantly feeling like I don’t measure up as a “homemaker.” So I have been daydreaming about getting a job, relieving some financial pressure, and seeing if that outside fulfillment will fill the hole.

  31. This blog is so encouraging. I had been feeling this way for a long time. This year has been hard. I’ve lost my uncle, mom,, aunt and my job as well as develop borderline pnuemonia since April. Its been a strain because I was killing myself while working and maintaining the home. Now that I’m home, I find myself still working hard, but feeling under appreciated and burned out. My husband has wanted to be the main breadwinner and now, has been working overtime (not forced). I was getting to the point of resentment, despair and overall loneliness due to lack of help and companionship. Then I came across this website and was encouraged to just fulfill this role and Jesus will take care of the rest. Thank you so much, you have no idea how much this helps me a young mother of small children ages 4,2.5 and 10 mons.

  32. I found your article by doing a google search and it was very comforting and insightful. Thank you. I’m a Christian SAHM also to four kids 10, 8, 4, and 2. It’s been a discouraging day and I needed some perspective.

  33. Well, Im going to be a mother very soon! Im looking for some advice about the reality of having a child and have found your post interesting. I’m getting all prepared and reading up on how to deal with the many different things of having a baby. You seem to be doing great!

  34. I am in my first trimester with our first child and feel blessed to have read your article. I am still deciding what to do regarding work when this little one is a toddler, especially as we want to have have the next one not too long after!
    I got a bit teary reading just then, and felt that you really affirmed that our identities are influenced by this change in becoming a mother – something I feel more peace about fully embracing and journeying in with God. I look forward to celebrating successes and mending broken hearts – just the way God made me able to do. (This also makes all the current nausea and tiredness feel very worthwhile!)
    Thank you!

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