By Elisabeth Corcoran
My daughter, Sara (9), and I were working on her homework together the other day. She had to come up with a sentence using the word 'exhausted'. Want to hear something sad? Here was her sentence: "When my mom comes home from work, she is exhausted." Seriously. Ouch. Now, I only work out of the home two days a week - so twice a week, I apparently walk in complaining of a headache and my level of tiredness. That concerns me for a few reasons.
First, I'm one of those fairly liberal Christian women in that I want my daughter to grow up knowing she can do for a living whatever she wants to do, whatever she feels God leads her to do, even if it means working outside the home at some point in her life. So it pains me that, despite how much I love my job, all she knows is that it wears me down. That's not a good example to be living out in front of her.
Secondly, my husband and I just came back from a 6 day vacation. The vacation in and of itself was wonderful, but re-entry was hard to say the least. In the past, when I've been gone that long from home and work, I come back refreshed and can hardly wait to turn on my computer and jot down all the ideas I was struck with while away. But I didn't come home nearly as refreshed as I would have hoped, I barely gave the notion of my job a passing thought, and I certainly came back idea-less. Except to entertain the concept of what my life would be like if I weren't working (which had never crossed my mind before that moment). So her insight into that part of my life has wedged itself into my mind and I can't shake it loose.
And thirdly, I'm left with more of questions than an answer. How do you know when to walk away from something? When something really good just isn't the best for you? When something that used to be God's will for you has ceased being God's current will for you? How do you discern when something has become hard and therefore a growth opportunity versus hard and therefore time to bail? How do strip away your other external circumstances --- is my job getting to be too much for me because of the current crisis in our lives or because my job has just gotten to be too much for me?
And what does this have to with Mommy-ing anyway?
Well, a lot. Because if I'm concerned about the example I'm leaving to Sara regarding something like work, then I should be ever more invested in how I teach my kids the best ways to listen to the nudges of God. Is he trying to tell me something? I don't know yet. But my ear is to the ground and my heart is as right as I know how to make it. And that is something I'm okay with passing along...
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