3 Lessons I’ve Learned as a Stay-at-Home Mom
- Amanda Idleman Contributing Writer
- 2023 6 Mar
I have spent about the last 10 years in the land of kids!
I think most stay-at-home moms would relate to my story. I have slowly over the course of many years donated all of my work clothes to Goodwill. I currently own one pair of high heels. My life has transformed from the land of grown-ups to the land of kids! My days are filled with parks, homework, little friends, and lots of soft clothes.
The last few months I've had more meetings with actual grown-ups that live in the grown-up land and honestly it's felt a little weird. As a person who spent a long time in the land of kids, I have felt like a child entering the room with all the other adults. I imagine feeling out of place is something that most of us that have given many years of our lives primarily to the work of raising children feel once we step back into the place where the grown-ups go.
The one benefit is that I don’t take myself very seriously and I hold my dreams now very openly. This change in my demeanor has taken place because I now know that even if you spend 10 years in the land of a kid, God is still moving in your life! No matter where God has placed you; at home or at work with all the other grown-up people, God uses your service!
Truthfully, it took me many years to be comfortable with the title “stay-at-home mom.” My self-conscious posture prompted me to explain to everyone why we made these choices. I’d explain to anyone who would listen why it was financially advantageous for me to be with our kids rather than spending my salary on childcare, I’d share the ways that I still contributed to our home through part-time jobs, and tell of who I used to be when my life when my days did not center around my children.
Now 10 years into this role and I'm feeling so appreciative for the gift of these years. I’ve stopped over-explaining why God has placed me in this role. I’ve forgotten who I was before the days of diapers and nap times. I finally feel comfortable in my own skin. Mostly, I'm amazed at the way God has changed me through the very humbling service of raising young children as a full-time job. And even though I've had to dress up more I think I'm here, in the land of kids for a bit longer...and I'm learning to be grateful for these days. They are a privilege... and they are flying by!
The lessons of these past years are so many, it’s hard to even begin to explain how God has used humble places to refine me. There are some things that stand out in my mind as the biggest “lessons learned” from being a stay-at-home mom.
1. Our Identity Comes Only from the Lord
For me motherhood, while a role I am so grateful for, was actually something that stripped away all the things that once gave me my value and allowed these things to define who I was. I was always “smart” and “hardworking.” I never saw myself as someone who would stay home with my children. I planned to step into a career that would allow me to work and be a mother at the same time.
When I laid all of my worldly achievements down to stay home and change diapers… I struggled! I had a crisis of mind, faith, and felt all my ability to prove my worth in the world was taken away from me. But God knew what he was doing. He was always present with me through every struggle. Every failure. Every mental break. Through my questioning. Self-doubt. Through it all!
God sometimes puts us in humble places to teach us that who we are and our value is something that only can be securely found in him. I was 25 when I became a Mom and God set me on a path that led to the maturing of my faith. These ten years of washing dishes, questioning my faith, struggling internally, and learning to savor the tiny beauty in life, like baby giggles, have been the growing-up-ground for my spiritual life!
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/fizkes
2. Your Body Is a Temple
Mothering is so very draining! You give so much of your body, mind, and soul to raise the kids God has entrusted to you. “Mom guilt” held me back from investing in myself properly during the early years of motherhood and I am now dealing with the effects of my profound neglect for myself. My body, mind, and marriage have experienced profound brokenness which was a result of exhaustion and neglect.
You cannot love, serve, or give from an empty tank! There are seasons of motherhood that are unavoidably draining. Newborns are tiny tyrants that demand all-night attention but I will share a secret with you… if you are married you shouldn’t do these endless nights alone! I only learned this with our fourth little guy. We are fostering to adopt him and those early months were so much more manageable because my husband and I traded off night shifts. Do what you can to allow your community to support you when you find yourself in a draining season. Clear your plate and make room for rest. Prioritize your marriage. Don’t neglect your mental and physical health. You matter and investing in yourself is not something you should feel guilty about.
3. Connecting with Community Is Vital
One of the biggest challenges of being a stay-at-home parent can be the feeling of isolation and the lack of structure in your days. You have to decide how to spend every minute of the day with your people. This is both a gift and a challenge. Community is vital to avoiding burnout, depression, and more! I am very sure the only way my family has made it to this point intact is through the loving support of wise and encouraging friends.
Go out of your way to connect with others in the same stage of life as you! When I first stepped away from my job I immediately began attending a Mom’s group with my 2-week old son in tow. I emailed every woman in the group to see who would spend time with me! I know after spending every day getting up and seeing PEOPLE I needed to not be alone all the time. The women that responded to my potentially desperate plea for community became my best friends. We shared in our struggles and encouraged each other when the days felt endlessly long or our marriages felt fragile. Community is so important to the parenting journey!
I hate when people tell me to “enjoy this season” with my kids because the time goes so fast. It felt like that was heaping pressure on my already overloaded plate. What is true though is that seasons change often. If you are in a time where life feels heavy… be encouraged spring is coming! Kids do grow and change quickly and while it’s impossible to enjoy it all, it’s important to be thankful for each season, as to not lose sight of the blessings that come with every age and stage.
Photo Credit: ©Getty/MoMo-Productions
Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and Podcast, Crosswalk Couples Devotional, the Daily Devotional App, she has work published with Her View from Home, on the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. She has most recently published a devotional, Comfort: A 30 Day Devotional Exploring God's Heart of Love for Mommas. You can find out more about Amanda on her Facebook Page or follow her on Instagram.