My transition (although it’s now been years ago) from corporate America to stay-at-home mom was a little rocky. And I’m not just talking about dealing with the uncontrolled seizures of my first-born. The people-pleaser in me struggled with the lack of feedback available when I wasn’t working for someone else’s approval.
I came from a rather high-achieving background. I took honors classes and made excellent grades, graduating second in my high school class (behind only my twin sister). I was an obedient child who gave my parents very little trouble and received praise from other adults for my maturity and behavior. As an employee I always did what was asked and gave good customer service. Even in things I didn’t excel – I was a mediocre athlete – I worked hard enough to receive an occasional pat on the back. That was enough to keep me motivated.
The silence I experienced as a SAHM was, at times, as grating as fingers on a chalkboard to my empty ears. There are no gold stars for keeping your baby clean, dry and fed. No performance evaluation for house cleanliness standards (thank goodness). No report card for how many nights you get a warm meal on the table. No praise for taking your kids to the park. I found myself often recounting every chore I got done and every fun, educational activity I had done with my babies for my husband over dinner at night. We will just call that my attempt to justify my existence and maybe elicit some verbal gratitude.
I eventually got over the fact that nobody hands out awards for my calling in life. That’s a good thing, because I would definitely only qualify for “World’s Okayest Mom”. But some of the feelings from this adjustment period have reared their heads recently. As we are firmly entrenched in summer (or the 7th layer of hell, says any Texas thermometer that hasn’t already exploded), I am “momming” a lot more than usual. Due to the demands of taking care of my children and their many, many, MANY needs; I have less time for things that feed my self-worth. Less time to exercise, volunteer gigs that are put on hold until the fall, and no quiet time to write (I am currently on a road trip with my immediate family plus one niece in the car so forgive me if this is less than cohesive).
Stripping away some of my “works” reminds me of what a poor avenue to worth they really are. Although I may always fight against the stubborn, prideful part of myself that wants to make much of me, I know that because of the sacrifice Christ made for me, I am a daughter of the King of Kings. My Heavenly Father loves me. And He loves you too. Someone out there needs to know that. Someone needs to hear that even if your name is never known by earthly standards of success and celebrity, you are a child of God if you but put your trust in Him.
Who remembers the Grandma’s Brag Books full of pictures that stayed in every little old lady’s purse? They could be pulled out in a moment’s notice to show any unsuspecting friend or stranger Granny’s sources of pride and joy. I now pull out my iPhone for anyone who will stand still long enough to see photos of my kids and grandkids. I believe, based on the story of Job, that God has a heavenly brag book for each of His children.
In Job 1:8 God said, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” Because, through Christ, we can have forgiveness for all our sins, God sees all who put their trust in Him as blameless and upright.
No matter what we have done in this fallen world, we can be made perfect. I can hear God with his heavenly brag book now, “Have you seen my daughter? Isn’t she lovely? I love her with all my heart. Have you seen my son? I could not be more pleased with him.” Zephaniah 3:17 says God will “exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” YOU ARE LOVED!