Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Journey to Becoming a SAHM

I want to preface this post by saying that I DO NOT believe it's wrong for a mom to work out of the home. It doesn't make her ANY less of a mom than those who stay home. Some moms CAN'T stay home. I understand that--I've been there! We all have to do what's best for our own families. So this post isn't about putting down working moms because they don't/can't/don't want to stay at home. This post is more about following your heart when God plants a seed there, whether it be staying at home with your child, teaching, managing, or becoming a missionary! This post is about going where God leads you and having faith that He will see you through, even when it doesn't make sense at times.
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Amy @ Finer Things published a post last week about stay at home moms. Even though many won't be able to relate to my story, I thought a few people just might. I was hesistant to post this on my blog at first, afraid it might offend some, but then I thought, "It just might give one woman comfort or hope or an added ounce of faith." So here goes...

"Mommy, come home!"


Though my tiny newborn couldn't utter these words to me as I headed back to work after a short 6 week maternity leave, I could feel it. He needed me. The Lord had grown him inside me for 9 full months and I'd been his provider of everything for the past month and a half. I nursed him, rocked him, comforted him when he hurt, and held him while he slept. He had given purpose to my life. And there I was, laying him into arms he barely knew to walk out the door for my night shift. "Gotta make ends meet."

Guilt. Sadness. Frustration. Anger. I felt them all. But how could I ever express these feelings of negativity to anyone when I was "only" working 1-2 12 hour night shifts a week. People thought I had a luxury by only working ONE day a week. I felt like I would be perceived as ungrateful and lazy for desiring to be a stay at home mom. A lot of my fellow nursing friends thought it was crazy that I'd spent 4 1/2 years in college and taken a large chunk of student loans, "just" to stay home. I wanted to pull out my hair; no one seemed to understand the way I felt! Was I crazy for wanting this?

I examined my motives. Why do I want to be a stay at home mom? Why do I feel guilty about my desire to raise my own child in our own home? Am I putting too much stress on my husband to earn that extra dollar? What do I think God wants for me? It's like Amy stated: "Staying home to raise my children is so much more than what I do. It’s who I am." I've felt that yearning and tugging at my heart to be a stay at home mom since I was a teenager. I just felt like it was what God wanted me to do. And then I remembered, "he knows the desires of my heart."

I explained my desires and frustrations to my husband, Andrew. He and I both wanted me to stay at home, but the funds just weren't there. The numbers didn't add up at the end of the month. I prayed fervently as I continued working. I went in for my night shift, exhausted, feeling as if I were a danger to my patients at times. My energy level was nearly zapped seeing as how I was still nursing every 2 hours at night and not getting a nap during the day. Oh, and let's not forget mommy brain. I couldn't remember what medication I was supposed to be giving, what patient just called for a urinal, or why I was standing in the kitchen break room looking for casting supplies. I wasn't doing anyone any good, and I feared I would end up actually harming someone! Something had to give.

We prayed. And prayed some more. And some more. We cut the extras: no more satellite, drastically reduced the take-out, started cutting coupons, only drove when we had to. Finally we thought we had a financial break. I counted down the weeks to hand in my resignation. I was preparing to head into work to announce to my boss my new job as a SAHM. To say I was excited would be a severe understatement. That's when my husband called and explained that the financial break we thought we were getting wasn't going to occur anytime soon. I was crushed. Was God not listening? Did he not want me to have the desires of my heart? Why the wait? Am I supposed to be learning something here? I held my baby and cried. That afternoon while he napped, I prayed. I literally cried to God, explaining my thoughts, questions, hurts. This will be strange to say to some, but, I felt him telling me to hand in my resignation anyway--even though there wasn't enough money in the bank. "What a crazy idea," I thought. "We can't pay the bills on nothing. God, I feel you telling me to stay at home, but I don't know for sure that's what you're saying. God, I need a physical sign!!! How will this possibly work?!"

A few minutes later the phone rang. It was one of my best friends calling to tell me that she and her husband were in a similar situation. I asked her what I should do, fully expecting her to tell me to just wait it out at work until the finances came through. "You know what?" she said. "God is gonna provide. I think you should resign and have faith that God will let your ends meet. He won't let you go without food and shelter! He says we're supposed to trust him in EVERYTHING, including finances." I cried tears of joy on the phone with her, explaining to her that she was my "sign."

I poured my heart out to my husband and told him my burden had been lifted. He was 100% okay with me resigning that night. So I did. I put my letter in my boss' box with no fear, guilt, or worry. I knew God would take care of us, even if the numbers didn't add up on paper right then.

It's been months since that day. And you know what? We haven't gone without paying the bills, without eating, or without a roof over our heads. And we're finding that the more we give to God and others in need (even if we may not have it to give), that he blesses us right back. Little things are always happening to give us extra income. My dependence on God has made my faith and my relationship with him so much stronger.

I know I am right where the Lord wants me. Being a SAHM is not for everyone, but I know it's for me. And if you feel a tugging in your heart that the Lord has placed within you to be a SAHM, don't fight it! Trust that the Lord will take care of you and your family. He is such a generous God and wants us to have the desires of our hearts--especially when our desire and His plan is to care for His children!


11 comments:

Ben and Audrey said...

thank you SO much for posting this. i really enjoyed reading about how the Lord opened up the door for you to stay at home. we are really really praying that this happens for us. we feel at a crossroads. baby #2 is on the way & our desire has always been for me to be at home with our kids by that point. i do have a great job where i can take jack, & eventually this baby to work but it is a lot of work. caring for 4 kids under age 3 ain't no joke!!! but my hubby literally makes under $16,000 a year. he is a part time youth minister & associate pastor at our tiny country church. they compensate by allowing us to live in the church parsonage completely free. we don't pay utilities, rent, water or trash. so this is a huge blessing. and it really does help us out, a lot. but we can't live on $16,000 alone. my income is really what gives us the boost we need. so we feel stuck. we know our desires for ourselves & our family but it just doesn't seem feasible in any way. i've even looked at cutting expenses & i just don't see a way that it could work. we would have no extra money to save in case of an emergency. so we are still praying & trusting in the Lord to show us His will. i will continue to work if i need to, even after i have this baby. i am happy to help out but i know that the Lord is calling me to stay home, but when, we aren't sure.

i really appreciate you following the Lord & completely trusting in Him to meet your needs. its a sweet testimony of His grace & providing hand. please pray for us as we seek Him & his plan for our expanding family! there are a lot of things we have to think about & plan for now! i believe that one day, i'll be able to be at home, every day with our kids. i feel like its just a waiting game right now!

Amy @ Finer Things said...

Thanks so much for posting your story, Audra. I'm linking to it this evening and I'm certain many couples will be inspired by your faith!

Hilary said...

God is so good!! Thank God for Christian friends!

Audra said...

Audrey--Girl, I will be praying for you. I know how you feel. God knows the desires of your heart, and I pray he lays the path out for you and gives you faith to follow it! The waiting game can be tough, but it all occurs in God's perfect timing!


Amy--Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my story! Without your post, I probably would have remained quiet on the topic.

Hilary--Yes. Thank God for friends who are our signs!

Sharon said...

Audra -- I just read your story via the link in Amy's blog and it was so encouraging! Thanks for sharing your testimony about how your family is trusting in the Lord's provision. AWESOME!

TeamBrown said...

Thank you for sharing your story. It's so nice to hear how you put your trust in the Lord to provide. We are currently working to become debt-free so that I may stay home in the next few years. Your story is an inspiration

Amy Lynne said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I know about wanting to be a SAHM. I struggle with it everyday because we cannot afford for me to do it at this time. I am very thankful though that as a teacher I get to be a SAHM for my boys some parts of the year. Good luck in your journey, being a mom is the most important job you could have.

The Washington Family said...

i, too know of that struggle. After having our middle child, I struggled daily with leaving her and she cried so much at daycare. First we tried working opposite shifts so at least one of us was always home with them, but I hated that also. One day, I just broke down crying at work. I called Bryan during my break and decided to quit. i earn extra money but babysitting (which turned into my home childcare business) it allowed me to get paid for my children's playdates. I am very grateful to be teaching now. This past school year I ws working 45 minutes away (one way). i was extremely tough but on the last day of school I didn't renew my contract in hopes of finding something closer. on mpnday i was offer a job that is five minutes away. So God is always good to his children.

Jeannie said...

Audra,

Thanks so much for sharing your story. We are in the same situation right now. a 9mo old with baby #2 on the way. I work 3 days a week but want to be home. When we do the math, it just doesn't work. Thanks for demonstration faith in God to provide. Such a great example you are setting for those of us riding the fence.

Praying the Lord continues to bless you and your family as you continue to step out in faith!

Jeannie

Laura said...

Thanks for your post. We hope to start our family next year and I hope to stay home too. I have started selling Usborne books, but it hasn't taken off yet. I am hoping it will soon so that will be a source of income for us. I have wanted to be a SAHM since I was about 16. It's all I've ever really wanted.

Amber said...

Wow. I don't even know if you'll see this comment, since this is such an old post, but I just have to say thank you so much for sharing it. As I read it, I felt like I was reading something I had written. I'm a nurse, and have struggled with these EXACT thoughts/ feelings/ burdens for 3 years. (I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old & am still working PRN.)

So far I haven't had a peace about resigning, but I haven't prayed about it enough lately. I'm really, really, really struggling with it again and wondering if now is the time.

Thanks again for sharing your story. I can't tell you how much of an encouragement it has been to me to hear a story so much like my own and be reminded that all things are possible with God, even for somebody like me.

It's official. I'm committing this issue to serious prayer. Starting now.

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