I recently read this article entitled, “In which I don’t mind if my tinies see me on the computer.” I think it was well-written. I appreciated her point that all of the work that God calls us to – not just cleaning house or cooking meals – should be seen as a part of life and that which God has called us. And that life simply does not revolve around their cute, dimpled booties (mine are 2 years old, so I can still say that about them ).
My one hesitation is *why* do we work? Do we work because we make poor lifestyle choices that necessitate a second income? Do we work because we want the escape the mundane? To feel validated beyond diapers and messy high chair trays? To preach the Gospel? To employ God-given skills? To escape a less than desirable home situation? Is there insurance that needs to be paid? Do we have former debt to pay off so we can begin “living like no other?”
What motivates us to be work at home moms (or working moms)?
These days there are so many ways to make money as a work at home mom (WAHM)! Multi-level marketing companies abound for everything you can imagine – designed specifically for the mom who wants or needs to be at home. Marketplace jobs are going online and virtual, and can be done across the world from a tiny handheld device, if need be. Bloggers are blogging. Crafters are crafting. Designers are designing. You get the picture.
In this day and age, it is not difficult to find some way in which to earn extra income.
My Path and Calling
As a blogger and virtual assistant, the lines are so often blurred between “at work” and “at home.” Especially when my office is my bedroom, the kitchen table, the back porch or wherever I happen to be able to grab a few moments. I never set out to be a WAHM – never wanted to work at all! I knew simply caring for my home, home schooling and getting real food on the table would be a monumental task in and of itself. Never mind the on-going privilege of training young souls to understand who God is. Because, you know…anyone can do that in a jiffy.
But then, my life turned upside down with the birth of our triplets. And I began to write. Writing was an expression for me I didn’t know I needed, or loved. Life was overwhelming and coming at me faster than I could translate. Writing became how I processed what I cried to my hubby about. I wrote out of desperation, exhaustion…and excitement as I learned and wanted to share with others my knowledge.
I typically wrote while I pumped breast milk an endless number of times while building up my supply. I wrote about life with higher order multiples and our natural living journey and what it was like to trust God in the midst of financial challenges, sheer exhaustion and seeming impossibilities.
Now, my writing is making us money. Slowly, but surely. I’m using a gift God gave me that I didn’t know I had. I’m sharing with others my passion for a lifestyle that is simpler and back to the basics. I’m sharing the Gospel. I’m feeling validated. I get an escape.
My goal in all of my work is that it never take me away from my ultimate God-given calling to care for, nurture and train my family. My work could require 60 hours a week if I let it. Oh, easily! At the moment, I’m able to invest about 20-ish. A measly 20. Because I want the vast majority of this to happen during times where my attention is not taken from my children, I aim for their naptimes and at night, beside my husband (building his own business as a realtor).
It doesn’t always work that way. There are times when I work while the kiddos play. There are times they wake early from a nap and talk and giggle and I am so distracted, I give up trying to concentrate. Recently my husband pointed out my response when they wake “early” from naptimes (or when other things take time away from my work). It’s not pretty. There’s complaining and grumbling and stomping of feet and gnashing of teeth. Ok, that is a tad bit exaggerated, but you get the picture.
Working can easily become an idol in my heart – despite my frequent (daily!) attempts at pushing it lower down my list. I believe with all my heart that my family is my first priority. The rest (the natural living lifestyle, the co-ops, the getting together with others, the blogging, etc.) are fluid points on the list. Yet, when deadlines loom, lucrative opportunities arise, that post is blazing in my mind and begging to hit the computer screen…I can quickly forget the role God has placed me in.
Thankfully, I don’t have to change all at once. Christ doesn’t expect that. Neither does He expect my determination for obedience to never wane. Instead, He simply calls me to be willing to adjust – to listen to input from others (like my husband’s gentle correction). Like Abraham, He could call me to lay aside something I love. What would be my response? What would be yours?
So, while I don’t feel guilty (most days ) that my children occasionally see me checking something online or putting out some fire in social media-land, I do not want this to be the main picture they have of me. I do want them to be aware of how hard Daddy and I work, how much we enjoy playing with them. Most importantly, I want them to know what obedience to Christ and trust in His leading looks like – even when it’s not easy.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you feel the pull between your God-given role and things you enjoy and/or need to be doing?