I love hearing the responses from people who ask me what I do. You might be shocked to find most people don’t view stay-at-home moms in an impressively praiseworthy fashion, which is evident in their common expressions of pity or angst. Often, I hear “Oh, I could never do it,” or “I bet you’re hands are full,” and my favorite: “That’s the hardest JOB in the world.” So hard, and yet, so devalued.
I get that this title doesn’t mean to imply offense, but I honestly can’t stand it when people refer to being a stay-at-home mom as a profession. It’s as though corporate America and even other S.A.H.Ms feel a need to justify the role by referring to it as a job. But let me tell you, it is not a job at all. Not even a little.
A job requires “a paid position of regular employment,” according to definition. I have been a S.A.H.M for over 6 years and I have yet to receive a paycheck, so I guess that alone pretty much disqualifies this role as a legit job. But I’ll go on…a job comes with sick leave, vacation time, a 401K, and a tangible means for work- also known as a paycheck.
I don’t even get a moment of peace in the bathroom without hearing cries of demands or arguments just outside the door. Does your boss knock on the bathroom door requesting a snack immediately? I didn’t think so. And sometimes I wish my lunch was in a quiet, stuffy break room, considering it is regularly inhaled as quickly as possible- one of the side effects of being on the clock 24/7.
My performance reviews are given from the honest opinions of a 4 and 6 year old, suggesting to modify the broccoli that I made for dinner or showing more enthusiasm when I play the part of the noble steed, carrying the beautiful princess or brave knight. My worker appreciation comes in dividends of hugs and kisses. My benefits are stored in a prestigious eternal account.
The only raise I ever see are the hands I lift up to heaven daily, asking for God’s grace through it all- all the messes, laundry, temper tantrums, tummy aches, crayon-drawn walls, and even plunging a My Little Pony from the commode, while somehow shaping these young lives and setting a good example. The epitome of multi-tasking!
If I thought being a S.A.H.M was merely a “job,” I might have quit a long time ago. But I see it as a ministry- one that has insurmountable value. In a ministry, we do our work as unto the Lord, not to receive a paycheck or promotion. If you ask someone in ministry, they will often say it requires all of you. Being a mom who is intentional, nurturing, life-speaking, and graceful requires all of me…and you.
There is far more work to be done beyond the lunch-packing, homework helping and tucking in beds. There is work to be done in the hearts of our family. I ask for God’s strength everyday as I roll up my sleeves and set to work for His kingdom. Seeking His will, His wisdom and discernment. Striving to exemplify His servant heart, His humble spirit, and His affirming love.
Beyond the general duties of kissing boo boos and wiping sticky fingers, we are faithfully guiding, instructing, admonishing, equipping, disciplining, and discipling our children.
Being a S.A.H.M may feel like a job some days when you’re knee deep in housework and errands, or maintaining composure when your child finds humor in tackling the cereal display at the grocery store. But it’s not a job. Let’s stop calling it a job. Because it is so much more than that.
Be encouraged, fellow S.A.H.M’s, that you are highly valuable in the sight of God, for He does not look at your work of accomplishments and track record- He weighs your heart. And He sees all the sweat and tears that we pour into our families-our number one ministry. So c’mon, ladies. Roll up those sleeves. We’ve got work to do!
The Humble Homemaker