Where Does the Working Mom Belong?
By Shelley Branine
“I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom because I know where my priorities are,” an acquaintance curtly announced to me one morning between church services. Her words stung deep in my soul. Though she did not appear rude, there seemed a hint of pride in her tone. I politely smiled and nodded, and then proceeded to the other side of the church coffee shop.
My head hung shamefully as I wondered why I felt so disconnected and misunderstood by the other young moms in my church. As a working mom, family life flowed well from the time our little girls were babies. It was a lifestyle that my husband supported, my children embraced, and a way of life that gave me great joy. I struggled, however, to find friends at church who understood our decision–a decision that God richly blessed and a decision that we believe he called us to. Like my acquaintance, I also understood what was important. My husband and children had always been my most precious gifts and highest callings. Our lifestyle was simply less common and at times misunderstood.
Throughout my seven years as a working mom, I have found that though it is often challenging, it is possible for the working mom to find community in her local church. Since she commonly juggles many different tasks, it is helpful to approach church and community involvement in the same manner. Here are some ideas to consider.
- Resist the urge to join every activity and event. Pray for direction, and be selective. Overly exhausted women are ineffective both at home and at church.
- Seek out friendships that are uplifting. Some women may never understand the role of the working mom, but there are many who do, and they would love to support and encourage you.
- Reach out to another working mom. Take her a meal, or offer to run an errand or baby-sit for an hour or two.
- Create awareness within your church and community about working moms. Teach and encourage others to understand that family dynamics and children differ vastly. All families are a blessing and God desires to work in the uniqueness of them all.
Often, it seems that there is a great deal of division and misunderstanding between working moms and stay-at-home moms. By empathizing with each others’ needs we can make a place where everyone, regardless of their differences, can find community.