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Dealing with Opposition, and How I’ve Become a Better Mom

I shared my heart a few months ago, about my struggle with being a stay-at-home mom. It was a post that I knew I was supposed to write, but felt myself extremely frightened hitting publish. For the most part, the “bearing of my soul” was incredible well-received, and you all just showered me with encouragement and stories of your own struggle.

Thank you, for that.

The more I share my heart, the real me, the more I realize that there are so many others out there that also struggle. This is all so strangely freeing.

To know I’m not alone in my depression and struggle with motherhood.

Of course, I know the struggle is mostly in my head—that I am not the only imperfect one. But getting it to sink deep down into my heart? That’s a different story.

Most of this is about the battle to connect my heart’s cry with my what my mind knows.

Dealing with Opposition

So, I said that it was mostly well-received. There was a bit of opposition. I’m not afraid of opposition, and I am so thankful for those comments. We all need to be able to hear the criticisms, and take them to the Lord. He has given us each other to point us to Him—sometimes through difficult conversations.

I did take the concerns to the Lord, and to my husband, but came out from it back where I had landed—that this IS the best place for us now.

Yet, I find myself feeling a bit mis-understood.

It is difficult to communicate by heart, and all of my story in 700 words. My struggle with being a stay-at-home mom is only one part of the journey. The words of the concerned commenters were very kind, but I could hear the worry in their words—the worry that I was going off the deep end, losing my focus—and my children would be the ones to pay for my “mistake”.

I don’t know, maybe this is all about the same issue, that I care too much about the ideal and what other’s think. But it still weighs heavy on my heart—that you all might be out there thinking that since I have given up my pursuit of being the typical stay-at-home mom, I am now giving my kids second-best.

How I’ve Become a Better Mom

There are certainly other factors involved, but the bottom line is that the pursuit of the ideal had led me to depression, and as I have taken steps away from trying to fit into a certain “homemaker” mold, my depression is lifting. (That, and a certain little blue and white pill.)

I did not making it lightly, this decision to not homeschool. Nor did I flippantly make the decision to start working outside of the home. Neither were made out of emotions—on solely what I feel. These decisions were prayerfully, slowly, and carefully made by my husband and me.

I was absolutely against going back to work and putting the kids in childcare, even for just a few days a week. It felt like a deferring of my God-given role to someone else. I had my heart set on homeschooling and continuing the typical full-time stay-at-home mom pursuits. But there was one big problem.

It wasn’t working.

Honestly, I was a really bad mother most of the time. Extremely irritable; completely un-motivated to do anything around the house, while I wallowed in my “failures” because my time at home didn’t look like so-and-so’s.

I was so overwhelmed by all that I wasn’t, that it paralyzed me from being who God made me to be.

I have been searching the scriptures lately, on this phrase in Titus 2 to be a “worker at home”, this phrase that so many see as the lynchpin to motherhood. I’m kinda surprised by what I have been learning, and observing…

…but that is all for another post.

Do you feel the pressure to be a certain “type” of “good Christian” mom?

Where do you feel you may be trying to fit into a mold God never designed you to be in?

Have you experienced this “walking away from the ideal” to find that it makes you a better momma?

 

24 replies
  1. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    Yes, I have felt the pressure. A lot. Sadly, most especially since I’ve entered the realm of blogging. I started blogging as a creative outlet..a way to write, and an accountability TO write, since I know how it feeds my soul. And this whole blogging thing has led me to the proverbial doorsteps of some amazing women. But a vast majority are of a different educational mindset than I am. And I often am left wondering if I’m less than B/c I don’t this or that. I firmly believe that God is not a god of cookie cutter, paint by numbers. I admire and applaud your willingness to step outside of what you thought and step out in faith to what He is showing you.

    Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      Thanks, Jennifer!

      I think blogs definitely have a big role to play in the comparison game we let ourselves play. Maybe that is why I long for this space to be just as much about my screw-ups and struggles, all meshed in with the rest. The more I share, the easier it gets, and the more I realize I am not alone!

      Reply
  2. Alia Joy
    Alia Joy says:

    Katie, I love how you’ve shared. I have dealt(am dealing) with so many of those same issues. I homeschool my kids because I feel that’s where God has called me for this season, and I’m blessed by it (most of the time.) But it’s truly disheartening how much pressure there is to “be” a certain kind of Christian mother. That we all need to look the same or be doing the same things. I admire your willingness to share both your depression and your decision making process in all this. We have so much freedom in Christ and while there are certain truths that are non-negotiable in the Bible, there are so many that are personal and God allows us to different but not wrong. Sorry this was so long but I was really blessed by your heart. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
      • Alia Joy
        Alia Joy says:

        Thanks so much Katie! I really appreciate your linking to me. Your post was very encouraging to me and it’s wonderful to see how God uses the broken, desperate parts of our lives to display His glory. I do think it’s so important to be real about these issues because there are so many women living with guilt about motherhood and their walk with the Lord instead of being free to be who God called them to be.

        Reply
  3. Kristen
    Kristen says:

    It’s funny, I understand where you’re coming from, but my recent experience has been very different. For me, my church highly values a good neighborhood public school or private Christian school for their children, ‘freeing’ up the mothers to serve the poor, the sex-trafficked women, the youth in the community Young Life. All these are good works, for sure, and I’ve enjoyed helping when I can. But God has created me to absolutely love being with my children during the day, teaching them and taking care of my home. My husband and I have felt great pressure from our church community to send my kids to school so that I wouldn’t ‘burn out’ as a mom and to volunteer more in the community, even to the point of a super generous offer of free scholarships to a fabulous preschool in the area. I’ve tried it, I really have, but it just doesn’t work well for my family when I try to fit into my culture’s view of motherhood.

    So to enter into your questions – yes, I’ve felt pressure to be a certain type of mom who serves a whole lot more in our community while my kids are in school, but when I “walk away from this ideal” and go grind my own flour for my kids and I to bake bread with or plan phonics lessons for the week or plan our backyard garden or knit a pretty dishcloth to brighten my kitchen while my girls dig in the dirt for worms or read for hours, yes hours(!) with my children all piled up on the couch (I guess all the typical full-time stay-at-home mom pursuits?) then this makes me a better mama, because I’m resting in who God has created me to be.

    Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      So glad you commented, Kristen. It swings both ways, doesn’t it?

      Walking away from the ideal that others have set for themselves. We each are on the journey to find our own ideal, for this season. I don’t imagine that I will work forever, but then again I might find myself working full-time one day. I still long to homeschool one day, but I know that for this place, this time, it isn’t right.

      I love your life, and often find myself wishing for it more than I should. Contentment is difficult. But I am learning to let go of my “ideal” or at least the all or nothing mentality I tend toward, and focus more on what God wants for me and my little family.

      Love you!

      Reply
      • April
        April says:

        And this is all what has lead me here. This search for where I belong right now. Where does God want me. I have been home raising children for 18 years now. We have done public school and homeschooled depending on the family and individual needs of our children. Now I am home with my 2 youngest (8 and 11) and I have never felt less content. I really have no desire to go to work right now and I know that my 11 year old needs to be homeschooled due to special learning needs, but I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere. I love that both of you know you are where you are supposed to be, doing what you are meant to do, even if it is only a season. praying that God shows me where and what I’m supposed to be doing.

        Reply
  4. Heather
    Heather says:

    so thankful for your honesty in all this Katie. I totally get it. Whenever I try to fit myself into the mommy mold I “think” I should be ( the ideal) I am miserable, angry, and unfulfilled. I love being a mom but I also love being other things God created me to be. If I am not filled in other endeavors and my relationship with God, I try to be filled by my kids. And they just cannot meet all my needs…nor should they!! Love ya chica!!

    Reply
  5. Jen
    Jen says:

    Katie, I am grateful for your openness with us all. I think it is great that people love homeschooling, I would be horrible at it. I already compare myself as a ‘failure’ in all the realms of life I try to engage, and to add extra pressure on my children with special needs, well, even as their advocate I must rely on His compassion and strength to get my children what they need.

    My expectations of myself are unrealistic, and although I have this “ideal mother, wife, teacher, provider…” image from the Bible and worthy people who are led by Christ, my giftings AND weaknesses cannot live up to what I perceive as “perfection.”

    I am SO grateful for your honesty with your struggles and how God gifted you uniquely to bless others AND your family. You have been (and continue to be) a blessing to me, through your written word, your encouragement to Seek Him First, and your humor. Bless you.

    Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      Thanks, Jen. I think I just think way to much of which is the BEST option. First glance, homeschooling, organic eating, etc IS best. But, no one can do it all, and I must strive to be the best momma God has made ME to be, not what is best for others.

      Thanks for sharing with us. Glad I’m not alone. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Jamie
    Jamie says:

    Katie,
    War Eagle from a fellow Auburn fan! Are you in Alabama? {I am.} I am glad to see this string of writings from you. Most of the cool mommy bloggers are homeschoolers, homesteaders, etc. I have been disappointed in my inability to find Christian women bloggers who do not homeschool. I would love to be able to, but God has not called me to do so. Often, the decision has been hard, especially when in the blog world this side of life is rarely presented.

    Last year, I read Boundaries by Townsend and Cloud, and I was relieved to realize that we are not all created the same. Our personal boundaries are unique to us meaning we are not all created to do the same things and are not gifted in the same way. The book is not about these things; it just opened my eyes to better understand these things.

    In keeping with that, I applaud you for pursuing dreams God has given you, to heal you, and make you a better mom. I understand where you are coming from, though I don’t work outside the home. I also feel led to write devotionally and even just pursuing that dream alone has helped me become a better momma.

    Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      War Eagle!! I’m in Florida now.

      Glad to meet you, and excited you’ve found my little corner of the web!

      It is hard to go against the grain, no matter where you are, but it is not what matters. I only want to be where God wants me to be. Unfortunately, I had been so cloudy about where that was. But, for now, we are where we are and are happy.

      I work one day a week, and it has been a good fit. I make enough to put the kids in daycare an extra day, which gives me some time to spend an extended time with God, read, write and other bloggy admin stuff. It has been a great thing for me, as I strive towards emotional health!

      I read Boundaries years and years ago, but only remember that it was good—no specifics. Probably needs to be on my “to read again” list! So many books, so little time!

      Reply
  7. Melissa H.
    Melissa H. says:

    My comment was the last one on your original post…and I thought I’d share again on this one. 🙂

    I recently led a Bible study on Titus 2..and it was eye opening to me too. It gave me clarity of my purpose–my role–as a wife, mother, homemaker. It doesn’t, however, say exactly HOW to do those things. And THAT is the freedom that we have in all of this.

    However–we do not have the freedom to forsake the calling on our lives for another “calling” we think is right for us. Our hearts are deceivers! And if we feel “in our heart” that we are to do one thing, but it is directly opposed in Scripture, then we know that warm-fuzzy-feeling is not from God. It is not a “calling”. If I believed that the Lord would call me away from that which he has already called me to (and wrote about in black-and-white unchangeable Holy scripture), then I’d have to believe it is all a lie.

    I encourage you to not let others encourage you AWAY from the truth. I get a lot of that myself. And I believed it for a time–and, wouldn’t you know it, I also got deeply depressed at that time! So I know exactly what you were talking about there!

    But I was not freed from that bondage of depression by having others tell me it was okay to not be/do those things (wife, mommy, homemaker)…those things only made me resent the role I was in. Nope–it was finally picking up my Bible for myself and reading the TRUTH about God’s purpose for me as his created female.

    I went all the way back to Adam and Eve…and then again, Titus 2 wrapped it all up in a pretty package.

    Here is my own post on those well-meaning friends (or blog followers) who encouraged me in the not-so-truth…and I encourage you to continue to seek out what GOD says on it all. I know you are!

    http://whohearsahorton.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/just-keep-swimming-a-rant/

    I look forward to your next post!

    Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      Hi Melissa,

      I am glad you feel you have clarity from the Lord about where He is leading you and your family.

      I do not feel at all that I am “forsaking my calling” for another. I am not trying to climb any corporate ladder. I am simply working one day a week, because it is what we have decided is best for me and my family. I can go into a hundred reasons why, but the biggest reason is because it is incredibly clear that this is where God has us, for now. I would willingly give it all up, the moment He shows us differently.

      Yes, our hearts deceive us, and we must be very careful not to base our decisions solely on emotions. That is a dangerous place to be. However, God can use our emotions and experience to lead us. The Holy Spirit prompts our spirit, and there is peace that is experienced and FELT when you know you are in God’s will.

      I have that peace.

      I have been consistently in the Word throughout this entire “ordeal”. In fact, that is why we started looking at other options. My depression wasn’t spiritual. I feel closer to God that I ever have. I am in His word more than I ever have been. But the depression still loomed. I was stuck in an unhealthy situation, and we’ve made changes with the end goal being that “the Word of God would not be reviled” by my time at home.

      I think we need to be very careful not to put others in the situation God has us in. Every mom has different personalities and unique needs. Each of our children have different temperaments and thrive in different situations. And, we all live in different areas and are surrounded (or not) by differing communities. Bottom line: there are way too many factors to make this issue so black and white. We cannot draw a line on something that the Bible itself is not clear on.

      I hope to expand on this more in my next post on the subject.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

      Reply
  8. Muthering Heights
    Muthering Heights says:

    Wow, Katie, you are so beautiful and brave! I’m going to click back to read the original post…

    I think there is quite a bit of pressure to be a certain kind of Christian woman in general, motherhood being a part of that.

    Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      Thank you for your encouragement, Jessica!

      I wonder what motherhood looked like for the Christians in the Downton Abbey era?! *wink*

      Reply
  9. Beth
    Beth says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! I too have been thinking along similar thoughts and going through a struggle of my own on what kind of mother I should be and where God really wants me. Please check out my most recent blog post. I share what God’s been teaching me as a mother and I know now at this time I’m to be at home.
    I’ve been absent from the blog world and just recently reentered and have really been encouraged by the new people I’ve come in contact with. Thank you again for sharing!

    Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      Thanks, Beth.

      I think we just need to walk with God, seek Him earnestly for His will for our families, and walk in obedience to where He is leading us!

      Heading over to read your post now…

      Reply

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