Friday, August 27, 2010

Thoughts on Being a Working Mom

So, I wrote that I have been taking a break from blogging....from writing blogs and from reading blogs. I also wrote that I may one day blog about why this break has been good for me. So, I think today's a good day! I'm not sure if I'm "back" but here are some of my latest thoughts.

Many of the blogs I have read, are those of stay-at-home, homeschooling moms. I don't know why that is or what brought me to those blogs. But I do read quite a few blogs of working moms, as well. Over the past few months, I have become increasingly discouraged about certain things in my life. Namely, the fact that I work outside the home, that I don't homeschool my kids.

One thing that I know about myself is that I'm brutally judgemental of myself. And I, way too often, compare myself to other people, thinking that they do ____(fill in the blank) better than I do. I was looking to these blogs, more importantly, to the women who write these blogs, and thinking that I don't measure up. That I'm doing this "mom thing" all wrong...that my children are getting short-changed. That I'm out of God's will for my life, because these Christian women say that if I am not at home, homeschooling my children, then I'm not fulfilling God's plan, I'm not doing what God intended a wife and mother to do.

This was a big deal. It sent me into a bit of a tailspin, affected my relationship with my husband, and made me doubt who I was as a mother.

So I quit. I quit reading their blogs, the ones that told me I was likely sinning against God by holding a teaching job. And I started reading God's word. And do you know what, when I am in God's Word, not other people's blog business, I get clearer answers of what I am supposed to be doing for my family. I now have such a peace about our situation, there has been virtually no stress over the past few weeks, compared to what I felt over this summer, when I wasn't working.

I do firmly believe that God puts godly people in our lives to speak to us, give us insight, affirm our choices, etc. And have had clear evidence of that recently, when dealing with other important decisions. However, I also know that the one true place to find answers in the choices that you have to make is in the Word of God, and that is what I have been doing and it's great.

Now I see that the uncertainty that I was feeling in whether or not I was doing the right thing working outside the home was not a God issue, so much as it was an issue of me feeling judged, judged by people who are Christians, people whose belief systems, for the most part, line up with mine. And that's hard, no matter who you are. There was a time, that I believed that the feeling that I got reading their stong, opinionated, almost-condescending words was the Holy Spirit convicting me and leading me in the way that I should go. But now I realize that if I'm immersed in studying the Word and am not feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit, then that was not what it was.

Please do not read this and think that I am speaking against SAHMs or homeschooling in any way. Hear me loud and clear when I say that I have great friends and an awesome sister who are at home with their children teaching them. And if that's what God called us to do, we would do it. However, that is not the ONLY way to raise healthy, happy, God-loving, people-respecting children. What I am speaking out against is the condescending, unloving, judgemental attitude that some working moms get from other moms. There are some things in life that are black-and-white, universally wrong for every person...murder, adultery etc. This is NOT one of those issues.

We are all mommas, and working mommas love our babies just as much as SAHMs love theirs (believe it or not, I've seen it argued that we do not). I'm not sure why there is even a "division" between the two, but there is. Wouldn't it be great if we could all be "just moms".

Over the past few weeks, I've settled into the realization that there is but one standard that I have to strive to live up to and that is the one of my God, not that of any "mommy blogger".

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Break

School started last week and we've been busy with dancing, piano, and all the other things that go along with going back to work. I've been taking a bit of a break from blogs and it's been good for me. I haven't even read a single blog in about 2 weeks. And that too has been good for me. Maybe one day I'll blog about how that is, but right now I'll continue the break and just focus on settling into our routine.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Add a Bit of Chocolate

We all get busy. I know that, I don't think for a second that I am any busier than any other mom out there. Okay, who am I kidding, I have four children. So yeah, I'm busier than a mom with only one or two but that's not the point. I know life gets crazy for everyone. When things start getting crazy for us, I feel like we are treading water, just trying to make it to the next day. Doing just what needs to be done to coast on by. It's easy to lump the kids in with all the other chores that need to be done (I know, that's not going to win me any Mother-of-the-Year Awards). But I'm being totally honest. It gets to the point sometimes when I feel like we walk in the door, do homework, supper, baths and bed...over and over and over and over. I guess it's a good thing that our routines are in place but it gets sort of montonous at times. And I just focus on checking off my to-do list.

I have been reading Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver for a couple of weeks now and boy, is it challenging a great way! One thing I read today was actually an exerpt that she quoted from another book but it absolutely went straight to my heart.

Duty can pack an adequate sack lunch, but love may decide to enclose a little love note inside...Obligation sends the children to bed on time, but love tucks the covers in around their necks and passes out kisses and hugs (even to teenagers!)...Duty gets offended quickly if it is isn't appreciated, but love learns to laugh a lot and to work for the sheer joy of doing it. Obligation can pour a glass of milk, but quite often, love adds a little chocolate.

Do you sometimes need to reexamine your heart place? I know I do! Yes, I can get all the chores checked off my list. But if it isn't done in love, is it truly blessing my family? If I only do the things that I do out of obligation or duty, to just coast on by to the next day, does that truly make my family feel loved? I find that when I reevaluate my motives and ask God to help me to lovingly bless my family, I often reap rewards myself; rewards in hearing my daughter say, "Mommy, you are the best mommy I could ever ask for". Or hearing my son say,"Mommy, you're beautiful", or "Mommy, you're da best mommy ever". It's in those moments that I know they feel loved.

So, next time at dinner, instead of hurriedly fixing four little glasses of milk, maybe I'll slow down a bit and give them all a bit of chocolate.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Lunch Box Ideas

A friend and I were discussing the daunting task of coming up with ideas of what to pack for our kids for lunch. Our school does not have a lunch program, so the kids bring their lunches every day, except Friday when the school order pizza. So I set out to find some interesting, quick, easy lunches for my kids, so that they are not stuck eating turkey sandwiches every day.

Here is one lunch idea that I though was just adorable.

Corn Dog Muffins

What you need:

2 (8.5 ounce) packages cornbread mix
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
9 hot dogs, cut in half

What you do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease muffin tins.
Stir together the cornbread mix and the brown sugar in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs and milk in a small bowl until smooth. Fold the eggs and cheese into the dry mixture until moistened. Spoon mixture into muffin tins until 2/3 full. Add 1 hot dog half to each muffin.
Bake in a preheated oven 14 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown.

source for recipe and picture: