My mother was a mom that worked in the home, a ‘stay at home mom’. It was AWESOME for me and my brothers. She volunteered like crazy at our schools and she was exceptionally good at it. We got to do so many fun things with her growing up because she was always close by. We went to parks during the day. We went to Chuckie Cheese, the Mall, Peppermint Park (South Houston reference). I can’t imagine anything else working quite as well for my family of origin. As I grew up, I always knew I was going to be a stay at home mom when I had children. I wanted that more than anything else. I knew it in college as I got my degrees, I knew it when I married Daniel, I knew it as I started my career. Someday I was going to stop all that nonsense and raise my children in my home and that was that.
Daniel and I are excited to celebrate our first daughters 1st birthday soon. What a crazy year- she has brought so much laughter to our lives and so much sweet sanctification as well. Daniel and I tell each other constantly “how much we enjoy loving her together”. The Lord brought her into our family for countless reasons; and one of the biggest reasons our Olivia Rose arrived was so that God could begin to show me what kind of mom HE wants me to be, and for me, that’s the kind that works outside the home. I would like to share with you how I fought that TOOTH AND NAIL, and have emerged on the other side filled with gratitude and humility for God’s perfect sovereignty.
I work at Dell Children’s Hospital as the Graduate Medical Education Coordinator for some specialties including Craniofacial/ Pediatric Plastic Surgery and Child Neurology. I get to work with amazing people, in an amazing environment and I get to be creative in my work. My commute is over 2 hours a day total, and I have developed a GREAT relationship with the free audiobooks on the Austin Public Library app. What all of this means is that I am working outside the home, away from my child, for about 50+ hours a week. When I was pregnant, I cried- fought-prayed-BEGGED and threatened God, Daniel (anyone who would listen) to get to be a stay at home mom. I was PISSED that I had to go back to work. I thought this was NOT the way a Christian mother should ‘mother’, or whatever that means. I know lots of wonderful mothers in the church, and most of them stay at home. I thought I was going to be doing Olivia a disservice by working. She needed ME, her MOTHER, to raise her those 50+ hours a week… RIGHT??
WRONG. The Lord keeps showing me that what Olivia Rose NEEDS is HIM. And what that looks like today is mama (me) and dada (Daniel) in the evenings and on the weekends. And my baby needs Angela Hart Monday-Friday, 8-5. Yes, The Lord has ordained that Olivia spends the majority of her time with Miss Angela, Mr. James, and their children Josh and Noelle. At first, it was so very hard to leave Olivia with Ang. I often cried getting back in the car after dropping her off. It hurt because I thought I was doing Olivia a disservice, thought I wasn’t measuring up to what a ‘Christian mom’ should be… But I was so, so wrong.
Angela is a stay at home mom that goes to our church. She was MADE to be a stay at home mom. I can see that so clearly now, and in that clarity, I can see that I am not made the same way! Let me be explicitly clear. There is NO ONE WAY TO BE A MOTHER (or Father!!). Every woman that has children is called to work. Either in the home or outside the home. The moms inside the homes have unique gifts and unique struggles. The moms outside the homes have unique gifts and unique struggles. Please stop believing the lie that one is better than the other. Please stop believing the lies (as I did) that one is more fulfilling than the other. That goes both ways. Outside or inside the home, we can’t envy each other. We have to work together, in community, to raise our children. I have never been so clear on that as I am now. I NEED Angela. And she needs me too. We need each other’s experience, each other’s reminders to take everything to Jesus and lay our everything at His feet.
Do I still struggle sometimes? Yes, absolutely. Of course. There are days where my job feels ridiculous and I wish I was at the park with Olivia. There are days when Angela is at the park with the kids and wishes she was in an office talking to adults. I’m sure that’s just how it’s going to be sometimes- because we are far from perfect. When those days happen, I pray. I tell my community how I am feeling. I kiss Olivia extra times when we’re together at night. And everything usually ends up ok, because Jesus always reminds me that He is what I need most. He is better than days in the park or days in the office with other adults. He is what I need, what Olivia needs, what Angela needs. Thankfully, He can handle all that.
Do you feel like you’re not mothering or fathering well because it doesn’t ‘look like what you thought’ it would? Please take that to The Lord and confess to your community. Pour out your heart to God. I assure you, if He has called you to motherhood or fatherhood you can trust that He will make you the parent HE wants you to be. Even if it was never what you imagined it to be.
Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Ashley Andreano lives in South Austin with her husband Daniel, daughter Olivia Rose and big ole’ dogs Wyatt Earp and Aubergine. She loves Jesus, making things with her hands, zombies and professional wrestling. You can check out her blog The Andreano Show at http://ashleyandreano.wordpress.com/