I shared this post last year on my other blog, after a very hard day…
Today I ran out the door after my typical and very long weekday morning routine feeling a little sad and slightly more overwhelmed than usual. I did everything I needed to do before heading to work, but the last thing I felt on my commute was a sense of accomplishment of any sort. I was already mentally exhausted, and not gonna lie, I felt a little sorry for myself.
Sorry I couldn’t stay home and clean the house. Sorry I wasn’t going to be home when the kids got there after school. Sorry that I wouldn’t be able to volunteer in my 4th grader’s class today. Sorry that I have to stumble into my kid’s practice in my high heels and business casual attire, because there is no time to change beforehand. Sorry that I had to give my precious time to an organization that although it values my contributions, is a business and naturally will not stop running because my kids miss me. On my way to work I couldn’t help but ask myself several times,”where is my joy?”.
In order to manage everything in my life I have to plan ahead vigorously. From our huge sports loads, school events, housework, exercise, family days, meals, date nights, and more. Basically, because I’m a working mom, every single thing that I am responsible for needs to be coordinated ahead of time in order to make sure our lives run as smoothly as possible. This can be downright exasperating. Obviously I am not the only mom on the planet that has so much to manage, and like many working moms, I sometimes struggle to find the joy in the daily grind. Spending 80% of my day away from my family was not my ideal plan for my life, but it is the season I’m in right now. With that said, and like many others, I don’t have a choice but to keep truckin’ along, right?
Many of us aren’t just physically overwhelmed, but can become emotionally drained by the whole thing. Though when put into perspective this is only for a short time, the ‘mom guilt’ is real. We simply cannot give everyone 100%, and that is a hard pill to swallow. After my self-imposed ‘pity party’ this morning, I gave way to prayer.
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22
5 Steps to Finding Your Joy As a Working Mom-Life can get hectic when you are trying balance it all. Taking care of kids while managing families and a job can be overwhelming for mothers! Find your happiness and joy again by embracing these 5 truths.
What can working moms do to live a joyful life?
Another question I’ve asked myself about a zillion times, and I keep coming up with only one conclusion; the only way to find joy as a working mom is to CREATE IT.
5 Steps to Finding Your Joy As a Working Mom
Listen up mamas:
Your Kids Love You No Matter What
They may seem oblivious to how hard you work for them, but they do know that Mom takes care of them and because of that, they have everything they need. 99.9% of my struggle has been the thought that the kids don’t see me enough, compared to other families (more on that later). In my case they spend their afterschool time with my husband, so knowing that I can only be physically present for 2-3 hours before bedtime can be hard. But I have to ask myself, are their needs being met by Dad or another caregiver? If so, then they’re just fine! Do make sure to spend time to talk to them about their days, and let them in on your day. Crack jokes and have some ‘hang out’ time with them. Play a game or take time to help with homework. Every little bit counts, and when looking back they’ll care more about the quality of time spent with mom than the quantity.
Focus On the Big Picture
Someday the kids will recognize the sacrifices made to give them a good life by the grace of God. They will also learn that in life they too may have to put other’s needs before themselves. You are helping them learn that truth. Whether you work outside the home, at home, or are a hard working stay at home mom, do it to the best of your ability. Show them that you are grateful for your job and are blessed to have it. My kids know that I would much rather be a Stay-At-Home Mom, but they also know that God has blessed me with a good job that helps to provide for our family. Paul writes to the Corinthians:
So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
Remember that throughout your day and let that fill you with joy!
Stop Comparing Yourself To Other Moms
Raise your hand if you have done this before. I don’t know any mom that hasn’t. We women compare homes, figures, wrinkles or lack thereof, families, just about everything! Don’t fall into the comparison trap! So your neighbor next door is a SAHM. She takes homemade pies to the PTA meetings, has dinner on the table by 5:30 sharp every night, and keeps her house immaculate. Those are all great things, and rather than envy, you should be happy for her. Yes–rejoice with her! This is her season of life, and you never know what her circumstances are. Just know that God has you both where you are for a specific reason, so keep that in mind as you’re pulling out of your driveway on your way to work, while your neighbor tends to her beautiful garden.
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1
This is solid advice for any human, but especially for us working mom types. I said earlier that I plan ahead to manage my family. Yes this can be time consuming and often tiring, but it’s imperative to my mental health. See, if I am at the office and my family is in need because I am not there, I can go into a mini panic attack. Ok I am exaggerating, but truth is, I get stressed! If I forgot to set my son’s baseball uniform out and he’s late for his game, immediately the “working mom guilt” kicks in. This is why I take a few minutes on Sunday afternoons to figure out who needs what in the upcoming week. Do they need to take a treat to school? Did I sign everything in their homework? Does my husband have clean shirts for work? What’s for dinner this week? Working on these things ahead of time is well worth the peace of mind later. What does the bible say about planning ahead?
Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty. Proverbs 21:5
Cut Yourself Some Slack
You are doing everything on this list and you are still feeling harried and agitated. You love your job but feel regret for not being home. Or you hate your job, but see no possibility to be home with your kids. Whatever the circumstance, it’s ok to lose it from time to time. Give yourself a break, the Proverbs 31 woman you aim to be is a tough goal to attain. Not impossible, but it isn’t going to happen overnight. You aren’t perfect, and that is a-ok! Jesus said:
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
That’s right, you have an ‘out’. You can call out to your heavenly father and He will give you the joy you are seeking, even when you can’t see a way. That’s what I did this morning (and do quite often actually). I prayed through my frustration, He heard me and comforted me. Did he give me a bunch of cash and send me back home? No. He did better, he reminded me that my role is to count it all as joy:
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
Being a mom and wife is the best gift! To me, the ability to work hard whether in the home or out, or both, is also a gift. Hard as it may be to balance it all, I am embracing this season of life I’m in, and trusting in God to carry me through.
Are you a working mom? Can you relate to trying to balance it all? How do you go about finding joy?