936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
I will always remember his face that day, puffy eyes through the tinted glass of our front door. How could I leave him like that? I had put those tears on his face with the announcement of my departure. I would only be away for the morning, but if this would be the pattern going forward, could I really be a working mom?
My husband had asked his employer if he could work from home one morning a week, so that I could pursue my writing career. Thoughts of quiet coffee shops and hot lattes danced in my mind. But my son was a little less enthusiastic about mom leaving, even if only for a few hours.
Over the past few years as I have pursued my career as an author, my family has discovered by trial and a hefty dose of error that working-mom guilt has no place in this life we have chosen. Whether you are pursuing a dream that has tugged at your heart for years, or you’re faithfully plugging in hours at the supermarket to help pay off your family’s debt, working-mom guilt is no small thing. It becomes the landing place for blame and shame.
I have found that all this guilt really does is steal. It destroys what we are working so hard to build in our home, career, and ministry. In my own journey, I have fought hard (and cried hard), and through it all, found three foundational practices to snuff out the working-mom guilt, and pursue what I believe is best for my family.
We have far less teary-eyed departures these days, perhaps because my children have discovered that Dad is more fun, anyways. But also because I have been intentional about inviting my kids into my work. They are on this mission right alongside of my husband and me. When an interview about my book lands in my email inbox, I explain the opportunity to them. When I am packing bags for a speaking trip, I tell them where I am going, and what I will be sharing about. To a healthy extent, I let them in on my struggles, challenges, and insecurities. My seven-year-old now asks to pray with me before I go into an interview or speaking engagement. When our children catch a vision of the work we’re doing, they enter into it. Here are three ways to include your children in your work:
Being a working mom can be terribly lonely. It is easy to feel misunderstood and judged, whether that is the case or not. One of the most life-giving things I have found as a working mom is to seek and create community with fellow working moms. Two of my dear friends also run their own businesses. We get together over dinner once a month to share celebrations, prayer requests, struggles, and spinach and artichoke dip. We hold each other accountable in prioritizing our marriages, children, work, and self-care. We even snuck away to a three-day retreat up in the mountains this past winter to discuss year goals and pray for each other.
Much of our work these days revolves around a phone or laptop screen. When it is so easy for my children to view my screen as more important than they are, I have set some guidelines to how I approach work and screen time around them. This includes setting certain times to complete work tasks, and explaining to my children that this is “Mama’s work time”, and then doing my best the rest of the day to set my phone down.
I have also learned to practice “The Pivot”, as author Arlene Pellicane explains in her book Calm, Cool, and Connected: 5 Digital Habits for a More Balanced Life. “The Pivot” is an intentional effort to turn away from the laptop screen, or set your phone down, when you feel someone approaching. Turn toward them, look them in the eyes, and smile. Pellicane instructs, “Practice body language that states, ‘I am listening.’”
By living intentionally in the use and amount of my technology use, I have opened up other pockets of time to invest in my husband and children.
Whether we choose to work, or we find ourselves with no other choice, working-mom guilt looms large, ready to attack at every inconvenience and obstacle. Yet as a working mom, we are exercising our talents, passions, and gifts, and we are learning every day how to prioritize what truly matters in life. That, my fellow working mamas, is something worth celebrating!
So let’s invite our precious little people into our big callings. Let’s create community with fellow working mamas who “get it”. Let’s set down the extra fluff that threatens to steal our family time. And let’s trade working-mom guilt for passion and purpose.
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!