I wrote this piece over a year ago when I was truly struggling with the pull to be a stay-at-home mom or go back to work. My baby was then five months old and I knew in my heart of hearts I was not quite ready to take the plunge back to the corporate world. I also couldn't publish the story because there was some shame to that - in the choosing a path not many would understand. But many have challenged me that my journey is not just for myself. I can't be selfish with my pain, my stretching, my testing and the lessons, albeit foolish it all seems. I can't let my pride and the fear of being vulnerable rob other women struggling in the same place the
lessons God has taught me.
Who would think that an invitation to a job interview would depress someone so much? But it did. Because as much as I wanted to earn money, as much as I wanted to support our family's financial goals, I wanted to stay at home more.
Was I crazy to not to want to go back to work? Selfish? Lazy? Reckless? Irresponsible? Insubordinate to my husband? Someone even told me I love myself too much. These are the thoughts that have been going on in my head lately.
Last month we saw this wonderful house that would make the perfect home. I fell in love with the house and neighbourhood. I could picture us calling that our home. In fact I didn't know I wanted to live in that neighborhood until that day. But then the house cost a cool Ksh14.7 million. We looked at our books and options and knew that we didn't have that kind of money or access to such funding.
At that moment I'm pretty sure we both thought how much easier things would have been if I had a great job with perks like a mortgage. Heck, even half a decent job that supplemented our current income.
I quit a permanent job ago to raise my kids, mostly. I had plenty other reasons I did so but I knew I was leaving to home to primarily take care of my family, be a wife and mother and whatever else God would send my way. Since then I have been doing gigs, with a few forays into small business to stay afloat and active.
I've wrestled with the decision to be a stay at home mom since we got our first baby six years ago. I always felt drawn to the home in a way even hubs couldn't understand. At first I was too scared to make the jump. Finally, after sabotaging my career mostly because I always put my kids before my job and was not ambitious with study or seeking job opportunities, after months of agonising over what would happen to me and my family and what people would think of me, I quit in surrender to where God was leading me.
Being at home has been my happiest years. Who else enjoys hanging clothes to dry? The work is tiring to the bones, and the kids drive me up the wall but I love it. I love being the one to train and raise my children. I love being their main source of influence for now. I've had a nanny who loved my children, but even while she was doing her best, her best always fell short of the parenting I knew I could do as a mom. No matter how much she loved my babies, she could never be me.
A life changing moment for me was when a a parenting seminar, parenting expert Stanley Mukolwe asked us, "Who is raising your children? " I knew my house help was raising my children. She woke them up, made their breakfast and indulged their every whim, dressed them for school while sometimes forgetting to brush their teeth or oil their skin, took them to the bus, picked them from the bus, made and served their after school snack, washed their uniform, changed them, made their dinner, fed them. The only thing I did then was wash them and do a devotion with them while daddy would tuck them to bed. I knew I wanted to be the parent, not the househelp.
Often at home I've felt as if I I'm wasting my career and brains and skills. People close to me are concerned that I am sitting on my talents. Yet today I was reminded of the woman who poured a year's worth of perfume on Jesus and everyone thought she was wasting it. Nothing, spent for the sake of Jesus, is ever wasted. He says everyone who gives up houses or family for his sake will receive much more, in this lifetime. I'm for the moment giving up a paycheck and career advancement and man's acclamation (and our dream house and trip abroad) for the sake of kingdom work in my own house - loving these children, teaching them, being there for them, loving my husband, making dinners and beds, feeling underappreciated, not making money. That's what my years of schooling and work experience have come to.
When I eventually go back to work, I would want it to be because I feel released a home, because greater work is calling me out there. But before he sends me out again, I know this home is a training ground. I am learning to trust that God knows what he is doing, to trust him for provision, learning to be a good money manager, to be patient , kind and gentle with the children and to serve my husband and even househelp and all who God sends my way cheerfully, generously and without grumbling. I'm learning to open my home to refresh God's people. I'm learning to call people when I feel the call in my heart and to visit them if they need a friend. I can afford to because I have the time.
My heart is still chasing a trip abroad and a big house and the financial cushion for our family as well as business capital and extra money to bless others. I struggle with feeling as if mothering full time is not contributing to family goals. I'm scared of feeling like I've wasted my day or year at home with the children, when I look back in the future. But I wan t to be a faithful steward of what God has asked me to do. What is the role God gave me when he put me in this marriage and family? Am I excelling in my roles? Is my home in order? Am I being a good wife and mother and ordering my home and everything else the Proverbs 31 woman does? I want to do my bit and trust God with the success.
I pray God will bless us financially so we will not miss that pay check. Or that he will satisfy that desire to earn a paycheck by giving me work that I can do from home for now and flexibly as my kids grow. In the meantime I recheck my motivation in the pursuit for money lest I think by my effort I have gotten us where we are. It is God who supplies all our needs.
I'm stressed out that the prospect of working full time fills my heart with dread although what I could do with that job stirs me. I'm stressed out that I may want a job so badly yet not get it. I'm stressed out I don't know what job I want to do, where. So I stick with the last instructions I got. This for now, till God redeploys me, home is my ministry of making disciples of these littles. Home is one-on-one with my children and watching the five month old achieve milestones. Home is freeing up my time for BSF and ladies bible study and more reading and serving others. Home is training ground, I just don't know for what.
If God is calling me to the home in this season, to lay down my dreams and career, I want to be faithful in that. I want to not look back with regret or seek to chase my dreams but chase his dream for me, my children, my husband, my community and circle of influence. I want to honour God above everything else. He gives so much more when we are obedient and wait on him.