Can I be honest? I spent most of my life wanting to make A DIFFERENCE in the world.
Oh I wanted my children! And I wanted to homeschool them and raise them well!
But I also wanted to save the world before dark and "pull my own weight" by bringing in money for the family.
I believed society's lies that if I wasn't making money, then I wasn't really helping the family.
Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever feel that you should be doing ALL THE THINGS (tm)?
I wish I could tell you that I got my head on straight when I realized that "a penny saved is a penny earned" and I was saving our family thousands of dollars with staying at home.
I wish I could tell you that I was set at ease when I realized that a nanny taking care of two kids is considered a "real, full time job" . (Wealthy people would hire me to do for their kids what I do for my own, so why do my kids not count?!) That I should consider my staying at home a "real, full time job" since I was doing the EXACT same thing as the nanny--except with less pay and more hours.
I wish I could say that as soon as I realize that almost no one else works 24/7 at two jobs all the time, that I can accept that I am working full time.
I wish I could say that I took into my heart what I knew in my head: Money is not the validator of work. The professor makes more, but the ditch digger works harder. The investor makes more, but the nurse works harder. I might be able to get a job in an office, but as a teaching mom, I worked harder.
I wish I could say that I was rational and reasonable and logical about this whole thing.
But I totally wasn't.
Thank the good and merciful Lord that He never opened the door for me to work outside the home. (Not that it's bad to work outside the home, but rather I was determined to homeschool and I would not have been able to do that if I had a full time job because no one would be home with the children.).
But I spent a lot of years not leaning into my calling, keeping one eye on a distant horizon where I would be "fulfilling my purpose" and "contributing", where people wouldn't refer to me as "Justa" (as in "just a mom"), where people would be surprised and slightly awed by my amazing professional accomplishments.
I didn't want just my husband and kids and God to recognize my work. I wanted the approval and respect from a bunch of strangers and half strangers.
Do you ever feel that way? Probably not. You're probably a lot more grounded person than I am. :D
But if you do, or if you ever do, let me tell you how this story ends...
When my children were young adults, I finally "got my chance" to bring money in. Finally, I could say "I am a personal gardener. I am a caregiver for an elderly woman. I am writer for a FABULOUS Christian animation studio (love ya, BP!).". Sometimes I have worked over 100 hours a week away from my house, not sleeping in my own bed for weeks at a time. The Lord has been merciful to me in these "work out of the home" times as He was during my "teaching and caregiving to two of the most adorable children in the world" times.
I finally accepted in my heart what I knew in my head: Work has nothing to do with pay. Worth has nothing to do with pay. Honor, diligence, and godliness have nothing to do with pay. "Pay-as-worth" is what a broken society uses because it is honestly blind and rejecting of eternal things. Pay lies about worth just as society lies about worth.
You know what? My "personal gardener" work was not about pay. It's real meaning was that I could help someone who was not as physically strong as I am make her home and yard beautiful. My effort freed her time so that she could do what she is good at (and what I am bad at): networking and organizing people to get folk the help they need.
My "caregiver for an elderly woman" meant, again, I could lend the strength and specific skills and traits the Lord gave me to someone who was weak and fragile during lonely, restless, pandemic nights.
My "writer for a FABULOUS Christian animation studio" meant that I can pass along the grace He gave me in my foibles. Maybe (God willing!) some of these will lighten your load just a tiny bit. <3
The work and worth of those jobs, if I do them diligently and well, is stewardship and protection and love for others in the strength and will of the Lord.
Which is exactly what we are doing, by His grace, when we are "Just A Mom".