By Lisa Hamel
Mom guilt. It’s a real thing. You can feel mom guilt if you work and mom guilt if you don’t. Most women have a season where they are a Stay-At-Home-Mom. I worked for 12 years before I became a mom and we decided that for our particular families’ needs, it would be best if I stayed home. It was quite an adjustment for me.
Many SAHM’s wish they could work. Many working moms wish they could stay at home. Being conflicted is something I think we can all agree on. Here at Mom Mentor, we’d like to start a movement where all mom’s are loved for where they are at. Where we honor and encourage each other whether we work or stay home. Because it’s ALL hard!
As moms we are in an ever-changing rhythm of needs and emergencies. Maybe your kids are not in school yet and an uninterrupted trip to the bathroom feels like a day at the spa. Or maybe you are now the Uber driver for multiple events at 3 locations which all need you to provide snacks and carpool. I think we can all agree that there are unique challenges to the ebb and flow of motherhood. There are quiet moments and crazy ones. Since we live in a world of dishwashers, washing machines, and delivery food, our days often have down-time that our ancestors never knew. There are so many ways that the job as a SAHM’s has become easier. And here in lies the minefield.
What do I do with my flex time? A few years ago when I was in the thick of babies and sleepless nights, my mom offered to watch the boys for a few hours. Man, I was excited! Man, I was stressed out! What was I to do with those precious few hours? Read a book? See a movie? Take a walk with Jesus? Or just go to Costco by myself?! What if I chose the wrong one and regretted it?! Oh, the stress!! We have so many choices. So, whether you are in the early years looking ahead to the promised land of school, or you’re the Uber driver on call, here are a few things to consider as you work out your flex time.
- Use Your Gifts. If you don’t know your spiritual gifting, take a test or ask an older, godly woman what she sees in you. I’d encourage you to find just one small way each day that you can use that gift. Call or text someone and encourage them. Serve someone. Be hospitable. Your spiritual gift wasn’t given for your benefit. It was given for the benefit of the body of Christ. There is nothing more fulfilling than doing what God made you to do
- Don’t shame yourself for this season of life. What you are doing or NOT doing matters. You are “on call” for when there is an emergency. When a kid is sick. When a friend is in crisis. You have the space to minister to others. Each day God has a plan for you. Some days it may just be to rest up for the next emergency which means you might be more up to date on the latest Netflix craze than someone else. Lucky you! Seriously, though–there are 2 things that are eternal. God’s word and people. As moms we are right in the middle of the battle for eternal things!
- Don’t bow to the god of busyness. The world prides itself on stress. It’s almost a badge of honor. If you aren’t stressed out, people often look at you like something is wrong with you. But friend, God whispers in the stillness. In the open space of our lives. Many of us are uncomfortable with stillness. This is an area that our modern culture struggles with, but how much will they see Jesus in our lives if we are a people of peace?!
- Be intentional in the open space. This is a tricky one. Because we have more flex time, we can stare at shiny devices all day long instead of intentionally doing good and serving others. To battle this, I have a few intentional steps in my day that can be adjusted if I’m needed elsewhere.
- Set a stop watch and clean house for a set amount of time.
- Learn something new.
- Set a stopwatch for guilt free downtime. I put my feet up every day after lunch for at least half an hour. People who work outside the home get a lunch hour so it’s OK to take a break!
If you are intentional in the open space, you can let yourself off the hook if you binge Netflix occasionally! More often than not, I don’t have as much flex time as I think will. But when I do, I keep eternal things first and try to see my life from His kingdom perspective. I don’t have to do a single thing to be worthy of God’s love…for I never could-and yet, He loves me anyway and sent His son to pay for my sins. In gratitude, I gladly serve my God however I can in this season, and refuse to bow to Mom Guilt.
Titus 2:11 says, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘no’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”
Lisa is currently "SAHM-ing." In the past she has been a pastoral counselor, a singer, a music director, and an accountant! She lives in a multi generational home in the Pacific Northwest with her two boys, her amazing husband, and her mother. She is a coffee snob and a health nut who loves to dance like no one is watching. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook!