I sat in my bedroom with the door locked, realizing if I walked out the door, I’d lose it. What was I doing here as a mom of teenagers? I remembered being in the same place as a mom of toddlers– the need for quiet moments to myself before the kids got up and my day belonged to someone else.
Just a few minutes of personal time, please! I just need a few minutes to myself that are mine!
When I was a stay-at-home-mom, I often gave myself time-outs behind closed doors. After being a SAHM for over a decade, I became a working-mom as a high school teacher. After several years of doing-it-all, with a broken heart, I turned out the lights in my classroom for the last time, leaving the profession I love.
Because I can’t do it all.
For me, my classroom was a sacred place where you pour your life and heart into kids. But there’s a price. Teaching’s a demanding job. While I kept up with the deadlines of the classroom and managed my home well, I was falling apart inside.
No matter whether you work in our outside the home, you can’t do it all. I learned the hard way by trying to do everything I thought I had to do during the busiest years of parenting. It resulted in a stressed-out-reactionary-mom. After assessing my personal and family needs, I left teaching and went back to graduate school to obtain a degree in a field that would allow better work opportunities for my sanity while raising a family.
Here are 8 things I’ve learned from being both a stay-at-home-mom and a working mom.
It’s a short preview of my new book, Balance, Busyness, and Not Doing It All.
- Doing it all is pricey,and for me, the price was too high emotionally and spiritually.My kids needed a mom emotionally available for them who was not irritated, frustrated, and on-edge. I needed to be at peace. Are there things causing a high price for your family right now?
- Being pulled in every direction is hard.During these years, Iwas pulled in every direction. My husband and I made a life-changing decision for me to go back to school so I could have other opportunities for part-time or flexible employment outside of the classroom. It was a good decision, but a hard one to make.
- God has been faithful.After a long wait, God answered our prayers by providing apart-time school counseling position for me. It’s a reminder that God cares, hears, and provides miracles. As my ministry as a writer and speaker expands, He’s been faithful, again, to provide a different schedule for the coming year to better accommodate work, family, and ministry. Only God can do that.
- I know what I can handle.I only have a few more years with my children at home, and I want to be present, at peace, and available. I’ve learned to know my limits and stressors. I protect my time to guard these triggers. Do you know your stress limits?
- God provides.Quitting a secure job to go back to school full-time with a large family didn’t make sense, especially with one going to college at the same time. After living on one income for most of our marriage, we knew we could return to it for a season. God has a way of making dollars stretch when you don’t think they can.
- Know yourself and be okay with your limits. I never felt more like a failure than when I locked my classroom door and turned in the keys. When everything around you says you’ve failed, you aren’t good enough, and you fear what-people-will-think, it’s crucial you’re confident of God’s plan for you. Then, you can rest in His will.
- God cares about women.Being on both sides of the working-mom fence, I’ve been challenged by every social mores there is in the Christian world regarding working or non-working mothers. I’ve learned women’s roles aren’t who weare, they are what we do. God loves us each individually, and ministers to us accordingly.
- A woman’s identity is in Christ alone.It’s not in our children, our work, our gifts, our talents, our husband, or our home. I can’t express in words all the places the Lord and I have been with this topic over the last ten years. I’ve learned first and foremost that I’m the daughter of the Most High God. I’m not defined by my children’s achievements or failures, a clean house, awesome lesson plans, or my ability to handle it all—or not.
Nor do these things define you.
God is crazy about each of us for who we are and who He has created us to be. And He has called each of us to be a testimony to Him above all else.
Do you need an encouragement to find God’s balance during the busiest years of parenting? If you like this post, comment below to enter your name in a drawing for the book Balance, Busyness and Not Doing It All. Or purchase the book at Amazon or the website.