For months after I left my career, I found myself dreading the “what do you do” question. I didn’t know how to boldly answer “what do you do” as a SAHM. Each time I would meet someone new, I felt like I had to piggyback being a stay at home mom with my work credentials and abilities. It sounded something like this: “Hi, I’m Jessica. I’m a stay at home mom, but I used to be an ER nurse. Yeah, you won’t believe the things I’ve seen and done. It was crazy and awesome.”
I wanted to make sure to get across the fact that I am more than just a stay at home mom. My husband and I worked and prayed for years for me to be able to stay home with our girls. I chose this life, worked hard for it, cried for it, prayed for it, and changed everything for it. There is no doubt it’s the right thing for our family and for me. So, why couldn’t I be confident in my answer? “I am a stay at home mom.”
At the core, I was trying to prove my worth to others through my abilities, and, unfortunately, the ability to manage a home, love and lead children, and help your husband isn’t something that gets the highest recognition from others. I was shouting, “I’m not just a stay at home mom…there is a hardcore ER/ Trauma nurse under these milk stained yoga pants!”
Why is the middle so uncomfortable? You are no longer the career woman you once were, but you’re not yet the business woman at home you hope to be. When you don’t line up with either title, you are left with mom…I’m a stay at home mom.
Here’s what I’ve found that has helped me make this transition and remain confident in who I am:
1. Hold on tight to your identity
It’s easy to wrap our identity around our careers, even as Christian women. It’s rewarding to do a job that you love, especially when you’re good at it. People count on your and you’re able to help provide for your family. It’s usually much easier to measure your success at work than it is as a mom. This whole mom gig is hard, and the rewards are long-term and hard earned.
The thing is, you don’t have to prove anything to anyone. You are worthy, and not because of your skills at work or because you know how to make homemade bread and your baseboards are free of dog hair. It is Christ that gives us our identity. He says we are valuable, chosen, loved, cherished, beloved, and more precious than rubies. So, we are.
“I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith in [by adhering to, relying on, and completely trusting] in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” – Galatians 2:20 AMP
If your worth and identity don’t come from Christ alone, then how you feel about yourself will constantly change based on your title and your performance.
2.Remember what you did to get here
When I start feeling self-conscious about being a stay at home mom, I remember all the hard work it took to get here. I recall the intention, planning, prayer, and the changes God had to make in my heart and my husband’s heart. Remembering how hard I worked to get this “job” helps me appreciate it even more.
I didn’t grow up in a family of career women or men, for that matter. Yes, all the women in my family worked hard, but they didn’t have high paying jobs or go to college. They were tough as nails blue-collar workers who did what they had to do to provide for their family.
When I graduated college and became a nurse, I was the first one in my family to “make it.” I had the career. The money was good; I was the primary source of income in our family. My husband and I were financially stable and able to purchase the things we wanted. When I announced that we were trying to bring me home, no one understood. They responded with, “After working so hard to get a good career, how could you leave it? What about all that college and the money you make?”
What they didn’t realize was that I had a call on my life to be home, and we were working hard to make it happen. It was a few years in the making. Dying to self. Changing our hearts. Relying on God. Accepting that our financial future would be different. I want to encourage you to hold on tight to those changes.
3.What you do isn’t who you are
People often ask “what do you do?” as a way to better know who you are. Which is another reason we need know how to boldly answer this question as a SAHM or WAHM. Honestly, I’m guilty of asking this question too. We ask someone “what do you do?” Then think we know more about that person based on their job. “I’m an accountant.” ‘She’s good with numbers and money, maybe not so much with people.’ “I’m a designer.” ‘She’s stylish and expensive, probably high maintenance.’ “I’m in sales.” ‘She’s bossy, pushy, and always thinking about the next sale.’
Not only do we wonder what people will attach to our status of being a SAHM or WAHM, but if we’re not careful, we can start measuring ourselves on these same standards. We may have checklists for our accomplishments in the home that provides evidence that we do this SAHM thing well. The only evidence we need for “who” we are is does your whole heart belong to God? When you continuously look to God, He will help you do any job that He has assigned you to. If you have a child, you have been assigned to the job of mom. No matter if you stay at home or not.
To find “who” you are, look to “whom” you belong to, not what you do.
4.Be confident in your choice no matter what people think
When you start saying “I am a SAHM or a WAHM” with confidence, many people’s response will become more curious than questioning. The more confidence you have in your choice, the less they will question your “why.” They may still ask you things like, “How do you like it?” or “I don’t know if I could ever do that.” Don’t waiver, or wonder what’s going on in their head. Boldly tell them it’s the greatest thing you’ve ever done. They may even become curious to see what makes you so joyously different.
You can even come up with a phrase or some keywords that you always answer with or sort of an elevator pitch. Simply put, it’s a short explanation of what you do or your purpose delivered in less than 30 seconds.
Know that sometimes people just won’t understand, and that’s ok. Remember why you chose to stay home with your children. Why you work in the fringe hours so you can be present with them throughout the day. Then choose to not worry about what other people may think because your greatest job doesn’t come with any other title except mom.
My hope is that we will no longer shy away from the “What do you do?” as a SAHM or WAHM. Instead, we will be confident and bold in our SAHM or WAHM answers. All the while, we hold on tightly to the faithfulness of Christ and who he says we are…His!
Jessica Goss is the wife to an extrovert, who keeps her laughing. They have two young girls that sing and twirl every chance they get. After missing many bedtimes, family events, and holidays, she decided to leave a career she loved to stay home with their girls. She now homeschools and wakes up insanely early, so she can pour out encouragement to overwhelmed mothers. She blogs at Overwhelmed to Fulfilled where she helps women to let go of the guilt of not doing enough, inspires them to love their everyday life, and pursue the things that matter to them. Her favorite things are reading, quiet time with God, feeling the sun on her face, blogging, and spending uninterrupted time with her family.
If you’d love to work from home but don’t know what to pursue, download our Uniquely You Workbook! It’s a free 20-page workbook that will take you through various brainstorming questions and techniques that wills how you what skills and passions you have that you can use to start a business from home.
Need to find time to yourself or time to start a business? Go to our “downloads” page and download our Time Tracking Sheet!
Don’t forget to join our YouAreMoreThanMom.com Community Group on Facebook if you want to be part of a group of who women just like you who use to thrive in their careers but are now home with their kids.