We’ve all come across passive-aggressive people who says things in that patented, nice-nasty way, smiling while they twist the knife with their words. There’s always a negative person who will make you question your decisions. Sometimes, it’s a friend, but sometimes, it’s the voice inside your head.
When it comes to stay-at-home motherhood, the cacophony of voices, both inside and out, can be deafening. In my brief stint as a stay-at-home mom, I’m learning to constantly combat at least four lies.
1. You have to prove your worth.
Sometimes we don’t realize how obvious our insecurities are. They creep into our sanctimonious Facebook statuses. They seep into our unsolicited advice. They drip from our soapboxes and crouch all around the extrabiblical hills we’re willing to die on.
In the minefield of the mommy wars, we need to remind ourselves that our identity should be rooted in Christ—not in having an advanced degree, exclusively nursing your toddler, being on track to be a CEO, or being a stay-at-home mom.
You’re defined by the one who was crucified for your sins, who sits at the right hand of the Father and intercedes for you (Eph. 1:20), whose sacrifice makes you his (1 Tim. 2:6). Your actions should be motivated by who you are in Christ (Rom. 12:1–2), but they shouldn’t define you.
Everything you need to prove has already been proven on the cross (Rom. 5:8).
2. You have to explain yourself.
Related to feeling the need to prove your worth is feeling the need to explain yourself.
“Yes, I’m a stay-at-home mom, but . . .” We’re afraid of the baggage the label might bring. Will people assume our husbands are rich and we’re “kept” women? Will they believe we stay home because we didn’t have the education or ambition to do anything else? Will they think we look down on other women?
The thing about assumptions is they’re never-ending. You put out one fire, and another takes its place. It’s not your job to right the misconceptions of the masses, and that goes for at-home moms and working moms alike. It’s your job to be obedient to the Father.
3. You have to be perfect.
One of the most dangerous ways to quiet the insecurities of the stay-at-home mom life is to succumb to the pressure to be supermom. To prove we’re just as capable, fulfilled, and happy as the career moms in our lives, we set homemaking perfection as our goal. But even the career moms aren’t perfectly capable, fulfilled, or happy. When I was working full time, I had bad days. I struggled to love the people I worked with and the kids I taught. I was sometimes discontent.
And no one thought any less of me because of it.
One of the most dangerous ways to quiet the insecurities of the stay-at-home mom life is to succumb to the pressure to be supermom.
But as a stay-at-home mom, those same feelings give rise to so much guilt. The challenges haven’t changed, only the context. My biggest challenge isn’t my work environment; it’s my flesh. And the antidote for my flesh isn’t the perfect career moment or the perfect mom moment—it’s the gospel.
4. Everyone is watching you.
Critical frenemies are a dime a dozen. But the biggest enemy to your daily confidence in God’s calling on your life isn’t outside—it’s inside.
I’m convinced that the stigma of being a stay-at-home mom comes, not so much from the pressure of our culture (although it does exist), but from our own insecurities. We defend our choices, not because they need staunch defense, but because we crave the constant reminder that what we’re doing is valid.
Yes, people say silly things about stay-at-home moms sometimes. I’ve heard them myself. But day in and day out, those people aren’t the ones in our homes. We’re not serving our children, supporting our husbands, and keeping our homes for their benefit. So why do we let their words get under our skin?
I’m a stay-at-home mom because I’m striving to obey God’s calling on my life. He’s given me gifts, talents, and abilities that I steward while devoting most of my time to my family. We prayerfully made these decisions for our family; they’re not a judgment call on yours.
The stay-at-home mom life doesn’t define me any more than my professional life defined me—Christ’s death on the cross does. Staying home isn’t the most important detail about me. My identity as Christ’s daughter is.
If we find our identity, not in staying home or in having hobbies outside the home or in our nine-to-fives, but in serving Christ wholeheartedly in whatever sphere he’s placed us, maybe we would be less insecure when we’re asked what we do all day. And maybe the voices in our heads would quiet down long enough for us to realize they don’t define us.
Editors’ note: A version of this article appeared at Jasmine Holmes’s blog.