Almost four years ago, at the age of 33, I walked away from my teaching career, independence, and most aspects of my identity as I knew it.
My husband and I had made the intentional choice for me to stay home with our new baby.
Before marriage at 32, my personal and professional resume of experiences, travels and adventures attested to the advantages of singleness. As a result of a generally happy singlehood, the mourning period for that time of life has been unexpectedly long and difficult, though our marriage has been a joyous one.
The first year of staying at home was probably the sweetest. I had begun to feel burned out as a teacher and wanted nothing more than to be with my precious son every second I could. Having been extremely single by the time of my 30th birthday, I had begun to wrestle with the possibility that I might never marry or have children. So every day of marriage, pregnancy and cradling my new baby truly felt like a gift that I never expected to have. I soaked in his smell, stroked his soft head and didn’t even mind being woken up in the middle of the night to feed him because it meant we got to spend more time together.
But around the time I got pregnant with our second, I began to feel fidgety. Unsettled. Dissatisfied. Giddiness was replaced with groaning. Delight with discontent.
The change was subtle, but the desire to use my education and past experiences to feel the rush of problem solving and growing in knowledge increased.
Leaving my past behind had left a void that I wasn’t sure how to fill with the limited time and energy I had after caring for my son on a 24-hour basis. And as a Jesus follower, a part of me also knew that I would never find my identity in those places anyway.
So I started a blog (which I never told a soul about). I learned to sew. I painted furniture. And in 2015 I finally followed the impulse I’ve had my entire life and began to write—for people to actually read.
And I’ve begun to notice a trend. Stay-at-home-moms are creating. In the void left by careers and education, we are given the gift of expanding into our potential as creators. From sheer observation alone, this is the time of life that stay-at-home parents are most likely to begin an Etsy shop, start a non-profit or business, write a blog, explore a new art form or become serious about a hobby. I used to belittle women who would spend hours on Pinterest for their children’s parties when a friend said to me, “Hey, we need to get our creativity out in some way!”
Trees and plants are routinely pruned not so they will be miserable, but for their own well-being and growth. And in the place of the cut branches, new ones are allowed to grow. So it is with those who sacrifice to stay at home with a child. Though we may feel naked and strange without our careers, God does not leave us shivering and bare. He brings us new growth. New foliage. New life.
Women are incredible. If needed, they can work three jobs and raise children to go to college all on their own. They can give birth in a field and keep on working. They can keep ten balls in the air at once and make it look easy. They can earn as much as men and climb the corporate ladder just as stealthily.
But women are also creators. They are given gifts and talents that begin to ooze out if they are not given permission to flow. And today, I give you permission. Sometimes to love well, we need to use the gifts God has given us whether they make money or not. Whether they seem to be making a “dent” on the kingdom or not. Whether they serve our families or not.
As long as our desire to create does not supersede our commitment to God and our families, I believe that God will use our gifts to honor Him in ways we cannot imagine.
So create, mama.
We have the special privilege of co-creating with God as we experiment with what has been lying latent in us for so long. And I believe our families will benefit from the shade and life-giving fruit as we stretch out our branches.
What new windows have opened for you since your transition to motherhood?
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