4 Good Reasons to Ditch All the Mom Labels
Let's face it, the old labels of 'stay-at-home' and 'working mom' just don't stick like they used to. Our world looks more different than even a generation ago, and with that, we need to consider updating how we talk about the role of motherhood and all the work moms do.
When I put my career on hold to stay at home with my kids, I started to notice other parents. And what I observed saddened me. So many felt the need to explain why they continued to work full-time jobs or stay at home. Others blindly and thoughtlessly made comments about how wonderful their choice was in front of others who were struggling to cope with and find purpose in theirs.
Whether you’re a stay-at-home or working mom, when we compartmentalize parenthood, we create a breeding ground for discouragement. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.” There isn’t a one size fits all way to parent. Yet, so many moms feel guilt and shame that they’re somehow getting it all wrong.
If you resonate with this, please find encouragement here today. If you love your children, you’ve already beaten the odds.
Now, how about we tackle these tricky labels of “working” and “stay-at-home” mom? I think there are a few reasons why these labels are becoming less important and we should maybe consider finding different ways to describe the vocation of motherhood.
1. Most Families Today Look Different than the Traditional Mold, Making the Labels “Stay-at-Home” or “Working Mom” Less Relevant
The modern family has broken the traditional mold of even just a few decades ago. Many families are blended. Stepparents, single parents, foster parents and adoptive parents abound. Some mothers work while their husbands stay home with the kids, some moms work at home while the kids are at school. Grandparents and other family members are raising extended family. In many homes, both parents work, or perhaps one or both are incapable of raising children on their own due to physical illness, depression, or addiction.
Behind every caregiver at home, and those at work providing for their families, is a sacrificial heart worth encouraging. Labeling stay-at-home moms not only misses the whole picture of who they are, but neglects to acknowledge “mom” isn’t always the one staying home with the kids. In today’s society, it’s more traditional to have an untraditional family!
2. These Labels Often Highlight Our Difference When We Should Focus on Our Common Goals
Not all parents are given the opportunity or choice to stay home with their children. Many hold back the floodgate of tears when leaving their kids each day to go to work. Their sacrifice for their children is admirable, and shouldn’t be seen as neglecting their children or lack in care for them. They miraculously seem to stretch time in order to complete a full workday, plus manage their homes.
These parents, as well as married couples working in tandem and single parents, do a formidable job making sure their children know they are loved and valued despite their absence during the day. For working parents, daytime caregivers are the reliable rocks that allow them to excel where God has placed them purposefully to make a difference.
What if, instead of defining ourselves according to our difference, we began to see the similarities in our journeys and our common goal of raising kind Christ-followers in a loving, supportive family?
3. Neither Label Gives Credit to the Invisible Work All Mothers Do
All moms, regardless of their employment status, carry invisible work that they find a way to do in the midst of all of the other challenges of life.
Beyond the everyday routine of running a household and keeping small children alive, moms also find a way to be the school-day volunteers and the weekday morning Bible Study leaders. They often find a way to work odd jobs and become fundraising geniuses for children’s extracurricular activities. They are the counselors on-scene to help children cope with the confusing and challenging world they are growing up in. They are the nurturers, the fixers of boo-boos and hurt feelings. They love tirelessly, endlessly.
Many stay-at-home parents and caregivers have part-time jobs or home-based careers, and more still have invested in the monumental and noteworthy task of homeschooling their children. Likewise, moms who have jobs outside of the home still find ways to enrich their children’s education, show up for practices and field trips, and get home in time for dinner, bath and bedtime.
4. Neither Label Highlights the Most Important Part of Who We Are as Mothers
Family are the people God has placed purposefully in our lives to care for us on this earth. Ultimately, our families are conduits to lead us to Him and to honor Him in all we do both individually and together. But the labels we put on different families can be leveling. While there are absolutely certain attributes that we can consider “godly” based on Scripture, neither a “stay-at-home” or “working” mom signifies godliness.
Every parent and caregiver has a calling and a purpose that includes, but is not limited to, raising kids. Though for a season, especially when we’re buried in littles and diapers, we are consumed by that identity, we eventually grow older, hopefully wiser, and possibly even more driven to accomplish our purposes on this earth than ever before. Meanwhile, children grow up to be who they were meant to be.
Each specifically purposed.
All completely loved.
Meg Bucher writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. An author, freelance writer and blogger at Sunny&80, she earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University. Her first book, “Friends with Everyone,” is available on amazon.com. Meg leads/teaches Bible Study in Women’s and Youth Ministry. Living in Northern Ohio, she’s been wife to Jim for a decade and counting, is mom to two tween daughters, a distance runner, photographer, and avid Cleveland Browns fan.