How to be a mom (who works) // 6 totally easy steps

how to be a mom who works

I was a stay at home mom for just over a year when we realized: we’re broke. It wasn’t really a surprise, but we knew we’d have to find something. Either my husband was going to have to start working on the weekends, or I’d have to go back to work. When a friend called and offered me a job I could do from home, without finding (or paying for) childcare, it was a no brainer. Voila! I joined the ranks of women staying home with their kids and earning income (or doing ministry) on the side.

 

Four years--and a pregnancy, a third child, countless diapers, work calls, deadlines, and frantic crying sessions to my husband--later, I’m sharing what I’ve learned as a work at home mom. Consider these the nuggets of gold I’ve mined from lots (and lots) of mistakes!

 

1. Get used to failing everyone.

 

Like, really used to it. Make yourself a little bed there because this is your seat for the duration of this flight.

 

If you're a people pleaser, this is going to be a watershed moment for you. You'll either crack through the middle trying to meet everyone's needs, or you'll have this Divine Moment where you'll realize a) it's not actually your responsibility to do more than you can do for these people and b) other people’s approval doesn't really feel that great anyways.

 

2. Learn to see failure for what it is…

 

an incredible teacher.

 

You’re probably tired of learning, because it’s hard work, and definitely a knock on your pride, right? Girl, I hear you. Here’s the thing: we can stay there in failure-adverse land and absolutely petrify, or we can embrace the hard work of learning and start to produce something that’s really worth the effort. The seed that dies in the earth produces brand new life. Failure teaches like success can’t. So, embrace it. Get downright giddy over it. Smile a secret smile, and say, "I going to be soooo good when this is all over!"

 

3. Stop playing the short-game.

 

I can't even sit through a slow-moving classic novel anymore, because I'm so hopped up on instant Facebook status updates. Stop feeding the instant in your life--turn your phone off (for the LOVE, take your email off your phone!!!)--and start making space for the things that take time to build. The lesson about failure above? I have to caution you: you'll look for lessons immediately, and you might find some, but the real lessons come after you put some time in between you and the failure. It's a process like grieving: you can't rush it. You have to let patience and perseverance work itself out in you, at the deepest heart level. Quick fixes and instant success just don’t have the same effect.

 

4. Rest, for crying out loud.

 

God rested. Are you better than God?

 

Rest means two things: a cessation of work, and a cessation of striving. If you can't jump off the striving treadmill, you're a dead duck. You will run out of inspiration, energy, and hope. Do you work hard? Yes. Do you preserve? Yes. But you must make sure your soul knows the difference between "I'm in charge here!" and "I am embracing my mission!" Rest is what keeps you from erring here. Rest reminds your soul that somebody else is in charge. THANK GOD.

 

5. Don't make excuses about what you do.

 

People will line up in droves to point out why you can't/shouldn't/better not be a mom who works or does ministry. They'll tell you what you're missing, what your children are missing, and what your spouse is missing. I mean, really, you can turn any direction and somebody is chunking a stone at your head. Here’s the thing: the world needs more women who are brave enough to blaze the new path! God is infinitely creative, and so is his plan for your life. What’s really phenomenal is that your calling as a working person and your calling as a mother will not compete. They will complement and strengthen each other in ways you might not be able to imagine just yet. It doesn't mean it will be easy or a cake walk or the terrain won't dip into a pretty dark valley, but if this is your mission, do it, and rely on grace to cover it all.

 

6. Embrace the stunning creativity of it.

 

I mean really, only a God who writes individual stories for every single human (see Psalm 139) and who breathes stars into existence and created peacocks and duck billed platypuses could fathom a job where mothers are tending to their babies and caring for their family by selling things on screens and touching lives on social media, or doing any one of the amazing jobs moms who work do. The beautiful collage of diverse stories, backgrounds, talents, and lives is incredible! It feels messy and uncomfortable, but everything good is on the other side of hard, so just lean into it, relax down into it, and watch what he births in you. I can’t wait to see your story.

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Lots of people are loving summer--and then there's me

summer when you're a working mom

Judging by what's happening on my Instagram profile, a lot of people are uber psyched about summer. Lots of people seem to buying swimsuits, and according to Instagram stories, I've estimated all my friends are spending approximately 97 hours at the pool or beach this week. Or Disney World. There's a lot of magic happening, apparently, with lots of naps, Starbucks pink drinks and cake pops, bbq's, crop tops, etc.

 

Me, on the other hand? I'm sitting here at a computer. No beach--just the sound of Daniel Tiger in the next room. No sun--just my fan whirring on high because AC costs a lot in the summer in Texas. My kids aren't at splash pads or summer camps--they're in the backyard, with a water hose. They erupt into screaming matches approximately every 17 minutes, and when I lock the door to keep them running into the house dripping wet, they'll throw themselves at at the glass door like it’s some kind of horror movie. My husband keeps telling me the neighbors are going to call child services on me and I'm halfway convinced he’s right. I know independent play is good for them, but sometimes it drives me bananas, and I'm pretty sure my productivity level has decreased by 73%.

 

See, I'm at work at home mom. It definitely has its perks, but summer is actually kind of hard. Somehow, the pressure to count each moment and make memories and take lots of sun-shiny, deliriously happy photos goes through the roof. I love you, summer, but I'm going to have to love you a lot from inside, at my desk, because...I work. I work because we need the money, I work because it's what we choose for me to do, I work because I love it--but sometimes it's a real bummer, and that's usually during the summer.

 

All of a sudden now, summer doesn't just mean childcare scrambles and higher energy bills; now it means more reasons to feel guilty, more hours of children being awake, and another summer slipping away.

 

Somehow, summer became the pinnacle of parenthood, the mountaintop experience for motherhood. It's not the daily work of autumn and fall that count anymore--it's the magic of the months between May and September. It's not the daily decisions to wake up, feed children, clean children, keep children alive that are sexy enough for Instagram, that together, slowly, ever so slowly, form a foundation from which young lives launch--it's bathing suits and popsicles and fancy vacations.

 

It's ok, all of it. Sunshine is really fantastic. But it's also ok if, like me, your summer isn't more or less magical than fall, winter, and spring.

It's ok if you are pregnant and spend most of it inside, on the couch, while your toddler watches the same episode of Thomas over and over again (the one with the giraffe).

It's ok if you're spending a lot of summer at your desk, while your kids just do whatever it is the kids do when their more or less unsupervised (raid the pantry and make huge messes).

It's ok if you don't have a lot of magical sunshine pictures for Instagram because you’re battling depression or health problems.

 

I think if our feet still hit the ground most mornings, breaking up fights and getting the right color sippy cups and putting babies down for naps and doing the work that pays the bills (more or less), I think we're doing great. We're not going to see the magic this summer, maybe, but one day our child will run by, and our breath will catch because of how grown up he is, how kind and smart, and we'll know--we did that.

We'll find that the mundane, tiny acts were what added up, in the end, to something magical.


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Finally Accepting Yourself as a Working Mom // Work at home Mom Stories (Part Three)

valuable advice from successful work at home mom, Chaunie Brusie

Chaunie Brusie is an author and freelance writer. She teaches women how to build successful writing careers, and is the mother of 4 children. We talked to Chaunie about how she got started, and what's she learned as a work at home mom. 

This is part three of our Work at Home Moms Stories series. Part One. Part Two.) 


Stand For Mom: Have you always been a work at home mom (WAHM)? 

Chaunie: I’ve been a WAHM since I was pregnant with my first daughter in college. I worked as a nurse for a long time to support our growing family (I had four kids in six years), but slowly built up a writing career on the side. It took me six years, but I officially traded in my scrubs for full-time freelance writing in 2014, after my 4th baby was born, and I’m happy to report I now make more from writing than I would have as a nurse!  I write primarily on motherhood for sites like Babble and Mom.me, and I have a published book about young motherhood and unplanned pregnancy called Tiny Blue Lines. I have a novel in progress that I hope I will finish this year, but again, four kids.

SFM: What's the most important thing you've learned as a work at home mom? 

C: It might sound silly, but it’s been very important in my life as the primary at-home parent of a lot of little kids: I’ve had to finally learn to give myself permission to love working and accept that it’s the way I operate. Why would I feel ashamed about the way God made me?

Working, and enjoying working, is not something to be ashamed of and I feel like that’s something I struggled with so long. I also run a writing course for moms to help encourage them to build up a writing career while having young kids at home because if anyone knows how hard it is to be in the trenches and try to connect enough brain cells together to write, it’s me and I feel you mamas, but I still believe it’s worth it and possible to make it happen.

I think so much of what holds us back is what we think we “should” be doing as moms and when you give yourself permission to do what you were made to do? Amazing things can happen.

 

You can visit Chaunie's website here.
Learn more about her course for freelance writers here.
Find her on Instagram here.
And purchase a copy of Tiny Blue Lines here

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