This is a special lake for my family. It’s taught me so much about love, listening, and showing up as I am. Being on this water brings me joy. I can say the same about being a SAHM.

A wise friend challenged me to ask myself different questions, because the questions we ask either grow us or keep us stuck.

In my other post about the label of Stay At Home Mom, you can read it here, I ended with four questions I’ve been asking myself.  I’ll answer them in black and white text, because the answers will grow me.

Why did I think being a stay at home mom (SAHM) was weak?

I’ve been wrestling with this question since the fall of 2015. I was coming out of a baby fog and began experiencing some hard truths and false truths about parenting. I struggled with feeling powerless, insignificant, and forgotten. Being a SAHM was a balance I hadn’t figured out and I’m still discovering.

Here’s my recent realization…

I believed women who worked while raising kids were more capable than women who didn’t work while raising kids.

About a month ago I stopped believing this. Like really believing it. I might have spoken like I didn’t believe it, but somewhere within me the lie still had roots. I finally decided to kill those roots and make a total mind-shift.

Mothering is not weak. Deciding to not work outside the home or collecting a pay-check is not weak. Balancing a career with kids is not stronger than balancing life with kids. It is not weak to know my limits. It is not weak to nurture, and it is definitely not weak to be a woman who answers a call to be a stay at home mom. On the contrary, she is equally strong and capable to answer the call to return to her career as a mom. Either way, mothering requires strength.

What changed your mind?

In short, experiencing mothering changed my mind. And don’t confuse that with being an experienced mother, because I am only three and a half years with two kids into this journey.

At the moment a little pink line showed up on my pregnancy test I became someone different. The change is powerful and behavior modifying. There is a thousand years of journeying between the physical experience of being a mom and the emotional experiences. It’s within this gap where courage and bravery take root. Being strong is my only option. People rely on me at an entirely different level than ever before.

Mothering takes tenacity, intuition, emotional intelligence, patience, fully functioning on sleep deprivation, and loving unconditionally. All of these things are never on a college syllabus. They are learned in the moments of real-life mothering.

I changed my mind because I chose to stop believing what research might say about SAHMs, or what companies might pay a SAHM once she returns to work. Most importantly, I stopped talking negatively to myself about how my role as a SAHM wasn’t as valuable as someone out there in her career. Those things clutter my perspective, and I need to see clearly and move freely as I lead my kids.

Oh, one more thing that changed my mind: the word And.

I am one person, raising two people. My ability to do “and” is different from her ability to do “and”. What I’m saying is this: during this season of mothering, I am doing what brings life to my kids, me, and my family. Those are my “and she does this…”. My friends have their own “and, I do this…”.  That’s what makes us fun and unique. My “ands” don’t have to be equal to or greater than her ” ands”. We seem to place extremely productive women on pillars because they can accomplish many measurable things. There AND is huge. My and is small.  That’s a comparison I had to close my heart off to. It’s made a big difference in how I show up to my day.

Finally, my mind changed because I have lived to believe my identity and self-worth is not in what I produce on the daily. My identity is rooted in a creative and purposeful Love existing beyond my title or role.

What about when they go to school, what will you do with all your time?

In my opinion one of the greatest outcomes of the women’s rights movement is our right to have more choices. The choice to go to college and enter into a career then to choose to stay home raising little babes is a gift. So many women didn’t have that choice. They could only stay home, indefinitely. I don’t have to stay home but maybe I’ll want to. I will choose my route based on what is best for my family and my creative desires. Maybe I’ll go back into Producing, maybe I’ll write a book, maybe I’ll do both. Either way, while my kids are away learning I’ll pursue my options.

Have you had any challenges with wanting to go back to work?

Over the Christmas break I got an awesome gift. It was a job offer to produce with Disciple Media. The offer came as a total surprise. It was one of those too perfect for reality offers…but it was reality. Flexible schedule, work from home, be on-set minimally. It’s all in my wheel-house and was so enticing! Okay, so after about two weeks of thinking and asking questions back and forth I said no to the offer.

What? Crazy. I know.

Crazy because I had such a peace about saying no. The gift of the offer was within this: the job offer was my personal push to begin writing. I had been thinking about writing since September. I did nothing though. Oh wait, I did make a lot of excuses, but none of them were written down, so in effect, I did nothing.

In the email I sent with my no thanks, but thanks for thinking of me response, I shared with the owner of The company my reason for not saying yes. In the bold “that takes guts” email I wrote out my current calling in life and my future professional goals. I literally told him, the owner is a guy which matters because it’s not like I was talking to another woman about being a mom. So, I told him that my calling in this season of life is to be a mother. A full-time mom, and time is really limited lately with my kids the ages they are. I told him it wouldn’t be right for me to give such little time to Producing while also trying to give quality time to this crazy life as a SAHM. I told him I have a goal to write. I also said Disciple Media creates inspiring and motivational films, and those two things resonate with me big time. My hope is in the future our paths will cross. His response made my eyes shed a few happy tears.

I have to share it here, because I believe when someone decides to make a choice they know is true to their calling, something great will come out of it later on in life.

Hi Teresa!

I greatly appreciate your honesty and commitment to the plans God has for you. Our kids grow up so fast and we have such a small window to be an influence in their lives; we share the same commitment. It’s also exciting to hear about your writing direction – I wish you the very best!

Thank you again for your consideration and hopefully we can collaborate on something encouraging and inspirational in the future!

Chris Dearolf

Owner & DP | Disciple Media

This is the stuff of strong people, people!  Yes I think about going back to a career. Yes I think about what it’d be like to be around adults for most of the day and on-set and organizing compelling stories. I think about a quiet lunch in my office, or a business lunch. I think about not telling people to use the potty. I think about not making three meals a day and handing out snacks. I daydream about a day without negotiating with a three-year old or not hearing anyone cry. Then, I think about why I’m home raising two young boys and it stops me from thinking about going back to work, and refocuses me on our story as a family.

These are just a few of the questions I’ve asked myself since becoming a mom. There will be many more questions to live out the answers.

Are there any questions you’ve been exploring as a nurturer?