How to be FREE from the Stay-at-home vs. Working Mom Guilt

Apr 4, 2016

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What if we could be free from the guilt we feel about working or being a stay-at-home mom?

Recently, I changed from being a stay-at-home to a working mom. The funny thing is while I was a stay-at-home mom, I felt so guilty for “just” being a mom. For not making any “real” contributions to the family. Now I knew that wasn’t true, but it was the way I often felt when I saw other moms who appeared to be doing it all, or whenever someone would ask me, “What do you do?”

Now that I’m a teacher, I feel equally guilty for not seeming to place my kids first. For not giving every minute of every day to my family. For sharing the responsibility to “be there” for our kids with my husband.

This internal struggle I’ve been fighting has gotten me thinking about what it means to be a Christian and put God’s priorities first. Because that’s who standard I should really be trying to live up to, right?

The more I look about me, though, the more I realize God often doesn’t have one “right way” to do something. He is the God of creativity and variety! Yes, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, NLT), but once we’re in Christ, there is so much more variety and ways to live out the Christian life than we ever thought possible!

Think about this… All through the Bible, we learn about how Jesus is the light. At first glance, there is one sun and one light coming from it. However, as scientists have learned, there is actually a whole spectrum of light. As that spectrum hits the different flowers, plants, and trees God created, they all reflect that light back in different ways. The maple trees in Vermont reflect back brilliant reds and oranges in the fall. The Pine trees in Colorado reflect back their deep greens in the winter.

They both are reflecting God’s light, but in different and unique ways according to how he made them.


Tree collage


What if we applied the same thoughts to ourselves? I have several friends who are stay-at-home moms and homeschool their children. They do a wonderful job and brilliantly reflect God’s light through their families. I just love to be around them and learn from them.

But just because they do a great job in their God-given role, doesn’t negate the life God has called me to right now. My family can also reflect God’s light through me working and my kids attending public school.

Quite honestly, this thought process is a huge struggle for me. I grew up in churches and a culture that taught one “right” way. I was convinced if I didn’t stay at home and homeschool my kids then they wouldn’t grow up to be strong Christians. However, as I look around me at other families, especially some of my mentors who have raise Godly children, I see my kids can be strong Christians either way.

Jesus says, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32, NLT). But how can we claim that freedom? It is so easy to feel chained by the expectations of others. So easy to feel chained by our belief that there is only one right way to live for God.

It all starts with God. We can pray and ask for guidance in this area. If you’re like me and need explicit signs from God that this is what he wants of you right now, ask for those signs. He loves helping his children understand his will!

Then once you set the course, find verses and mementos to help you claim the freedom that is yours. Verse like,

“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.” 1 Cor. 12:4-6, NLT

Go ahead and read the rest of 1 Cor. 12. Yes, it is talking about spiritual gifts specifically, but the same thoughts can be applied to working or being a stay-at-home mom.

I also look to nature itself for reminders to claim the freedom that is mine in Christ. If you need to, find pictures like those of maple and pine trees above to post somewhere and remind you that reflecting God’s light differently than your friends is okay and natural.

Today, allow God’s truths to sink deep into your soul. Our God is a God of vast creativity and variety. The way we both reflect his light may be different, but they are both equally pleasing in his sight. {Click to tweet}

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You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes in your life.

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