There was a night earlier this week that my husband cleaned up after dinner and put our son to bed while I locked myself in the office to do photography work. It was the uninterrupted time I needed to finish up a few projects, and it was lovely. But as I crawled into bed long after my son was asleep, I found myself scrolling through my camera roll to find photos of my boy. I watched a few videos, relived a few memories, and caught myself grinning softly. I realized that night that I was living my dream: doing life alongside the man I love, and exploring the world with my sweet little boy.
In that moment before I fell asleep, I was content. I journaled about it so that when the restlessness came back I would remember. And it came.
Being a working mom often feels like my heart is so divided, and the contrast is only made deeper because I work at home. I have this dream of motherhood and homekeeping that's been alive since I was a little girl. I wanted to be many things when I grew up: a teacher and a mom. A vet and a mom. An artist and a mom. Always a mom. I'm living that dream right now, and I'm so grateful for my little family!
But then there's this other side of me, the ambitious side, the creative side, the inventive side. It's the part of me that photographs and operates a freelance business and writes and makes things. My life feels flat when I ignore and downplay and stifle these gifts. That's what they are -- gifts. A friend recently reminded me that when God gives us gifts, he expects us to use them. Shoving them in a closet and hiding them away is both ridiculous and ungrateful.
So I attempt to do both. I call myself a WAHM -- Work At Home Mom. I mother and I send emails. I make meals and I make photographs. I do laundry and play with legos and sing the ABCs and send invoices and place orders and write blog posts. And that's where the restlessness comes in. When I'm working on operating my business, I feel guilty for not using that time to mother. But kill those gifts and I feel guilty for stifling them.
There is no black and white answer. I fail often. But I'm striving for wisdom to pursue balance in my WAHM status. Mothering is the most important job I will have, and I deeply want to do a good job. Every mother wants this. Every father. And here's the beauty of it: parenting looks as diverse as the people doing it. Some mamas work outside the home so they can be better mothers when they're at home. Some fathers stay home with their children every day. Some work part-time, some work full-time, in-home, away from home, day shift, night shift. There is no black and white answer. We fail often. But the thing most of us are striving for is wisdom to parent in the best way we know how. For me, that looks like a WAHM status, embracing my God-given gifts of both mothering and creativity. Ignoring one of those gifts would be ignoring the way I was made, and that's a careless and ungrateful way to live.
Moral: my mothering is imperfect. My small business is imperfect. I'm imperfect just like the rest of humanity. But I'm being the best WAHM that I can, and I'm seeking wisdom to fill up the places where I’m lacking.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.