Answering “THE BIG SAHM QUESTION”

It comes in two different forms:

1. Another female has just explained her super-inspiring career, turns to face you and asks, “And what do you do?”

2. You need to fill out a form that asks, “Where do you work?” or “Career?”

These questions have the power to turn the loveliest stay-at-home-mothers into mushy, apologetic, jealous, defensive, and insecure lumps. (I know from personal experience!)

Let’s face it: this particular glaring spot-light burns.

We feel belittled, less-than, under-appreciated. Or, (worse!), defensive, and indignant.

If you know what I’m talking about, my friend, this is the moment of freedom you have been waiting for.

I’ve gotta share with you the loveliest, most honest, best answer for that question! I love it. And I think you will, too.

Here’s what I’ve decided to do:

I remember that staying home with my children is an honor that few women enjoy these days.

I remember that many women dream of staying home with their children, but can’t.

I remember the sacrifices that my husband is making to be the sole-bread-winner.

I remember the sacrifices that I am making to forgo a career, a paycheck, and reliable affirmation.

I remember the ways in which I have grown, the opportunities I’ve had to fix, clean, cook, love, and rest in the home that I am making.

I remember the ways in which my children are flourishing.

I remember that all of these things could change tomorrow.

And then, I smile, look the person in the eye with kindness, and say,

“Actually, I’m able to stay home with my children.”

The truth removes the spot-light. It helps everyone to breathe again. It disarms defensiveness on all sides. It retains the dignity of my choice, yet doesn’t condemn another person’s choices.

Try it! I have a feeling that you’ll both agree: it’s a wonderful ability, a luxurious opportunity, and an out-of-this-world gift to be you.

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18 responses to “Answering “THE BIG SAHM QUESTION””

  1. Brooke McGlothlin Avatar

    Beautiful answer friend…I love the feel of empowering others in their choices while affirming and never apologizing for my own. Good work!

  2. Apryl Y. Avatar
    Apryl Y.

    Thank you!!!

    We are Domestic Goddesses and proud of it! 🙂

  3. Kari Swigart Avatar
    Kari Swigart

    You’re absolutely right, Laura, being with those girls is a tremendous, blessed gift.

  4. Laura Avatar

    You are so right. I would LOVE to be able to answer that question the way you just did. It’s such a privilege in today’s day and age to be able to stay at home to care for your family and make your home a haven. I can only trust that God has a plan for me through working outside the home and hope that oneday his plan will enable me to work inside the home full time. 😉

    Laura

  5. Rebecca Avatar
    Rebecca

    Beautiful…just beautiful. I plan to use this from now on.

  6. Brittany Avatar

    Love this post! So many times I’ve run into old friends from school and the conversation always leads to work. “So what are you up to now days? Where do you work?” The old me (the new mom me) would quickly answer with “oh I just stay home with our daughter”. I’d walk away feeling kind of low after hearing all that they’d been up to. But now I remember the things that you are remembering and I feel blessed and proud to say its “what I’m doing now days”. I remember that it could all change and try not to take a day of it for granted!

  7. Lisa Miller Avatar
    Lisa Miller

    Thank you SO much! I will use this answer next time I am asked.

  8. thefarmerfiles Avatar

    Aaahh this post is SO timely in my life right now. But the next question people ask, is, “When” are you going back to work? I have yet to give an answer where I don’t puff up.

  9. Allie Fitzgerald Avatar
    Allie Fitzgerald

    Laura, this is wonderful! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and heart here. I am learning and experiencing how quickly time is passing and I try to treasure every moment with my girls. I am super thankful to the Lord for being home with them…and i can relate about the “reliable affirmation” you mentioned!!

  10. Amanda Parks Avatar

    Great Post!

    I’ve actually feel the opposite pressure from what you describe. I’ve found that it is particularly difficult within the Christian community to explain choosing something other than being a SAHM.

    In today’s global, technological, and multi-dimensional society women have a lot of options. Therefore, women can use both their homemaking skills, as well as skills such as business, writing, teaching, accounting, etc. It takes A LOT of creativity and sacrificing, both on the part of a husband and a wife to create an environment where a mother can work (from home or away) and nurture a household.

    I think this is the 21st century challenge facing Christian women! In the largely agrarian societies of the past, women could use their skills to create, manage and earn for the family from home because almost ALL work was based out of the home on the farm. Now a lot of women want to use the college degrees that they worked so hard for (and are often still paying for), but the trick is figuring out how to do that and care for a family.

    It would be really cool to have this conversation with Christian girls who are entering college and help them make forward-thinking life decisions! 🙂

  11. Laura Avatar

    Amanda, you’re so right… women do have a different selection of options (and demands) in front of us; and young women are so wise to consider all of them and seek experienced advice.

    I’ll admit, though, I am not the right person to talk to them about how to balance home-making, child-raising, and outside work, because I haven’t figured out how to do it peacefully and well. But, I think many other women have. It’s an art that requires specific qualities. So, you present an interesting proposal… And I feel like surely someone somewhere is diving into this much-needed ministry field… I’ll keep my eyes open!

  12. Laura Avatar

    Allie! SO GREAT to see you around in cyberspace! 🙂
    Thanks for stopping by.

  13. Anne Avatar

    You are so right! I’ve found that when another mom asks me that question and I answer that I’m a SAHM, she is invariably envious and happy for me. Nine times out of ten, the response back is, “Wow, you’re lucky!”.

  14. […] Answering “THE BIG SAHM QUESTION” :: 10 million miles […]

  15. Kristi Avatar

    Thank you for this. In fact, just yesterday I said on facebook that I so believe in the calling of being at home with my family, that I have a website dedicated to it. (courageoushomekeeping.com) So why then, do I get all tongue-tied when someone asks me this question? And why do I always feel like I have to justify it? Your answer is great, and I will definitely try and remember to use it, when next asked!

  16. Laura Avatar

    Kristi,
    I love the title of your blog and will check it out!
    I’m so glad that you deeply appreciate your calling and opportunity! 🙂 May God bless you so richly as you find more ways to express it.

  17. […] this post about being a Stay-At-Home Mom.  Living overseas affords us the opportunity for me to stay home and I don’t come in contact […]

  18. Mrs. White Avatar

    I have a post on my blog called, “Should Mother work outside the home in 1981?” It is the title of an article in a vintage homemaking magazine. You can see the struggle, even then, of whether or not a mom needed to work away from home.

    http://thelegacyofhome.blogspot.com/2009/07/should-mother-work-outside-home-in-1981.html

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