Just a Mom?

Since my first child was born nearly 20 years ago, I have not worked for pay. It is a huge privilege to be home with my children and not feel pressure to work because we need money to pay bills.

I am very grateful to have this choice when I know so many who don’t. However, sometimes I doubt my worth because I don’t earn money. Why is that?  I do lots of work that I love; I just don’t receive a paycheck for it. Why is that less valuable to me than if I did the exact same work on a payroll?

When people ask me what I do, I frequently minimize my contribution and say I’m “just a mom” or “just a volunteer.” With my children now in middle school, high school, and college, claiming motherhood as a profession falls short. This distinction has become even more profound as I watch more and more of my peers return to the workforce. I can’t help but begin to ask questions. Would my worth truly be greater if I earned money?  As my children grow up, where will I be and what will I be do with my time and talents? And will I be okay with it if I never make another dime?

“When I long for satisfaction and reward from a job well done, I am placing my hope in that affirmation instead of in Jesus.”

When I dig deeper, I discover what’s actually at the root of my questions and fears. The truth is, I am trying to find value in what I do, but it was never meant to bear the weight I put on it. When I long for satisfaction and reward from a job well done, I am placing my hope in that affirmation instead of in Jesus. But my value actually comes from Jesus and who I am in Him.  I am His daughter, not an orphan longing for a home (2 Corinthians 6:18). My calling is to be an ezer to those around me, not to leverage situations so I feel better about myself and my accomplishments. Am I truly satisfied to partner with others for the sake of owning and advancing their cause, either as a mother or a volunteer, or am I actually seeking my own self-centered cause, attention, affirmation and accolades?

As the Lord reveals these pitiful, powerless idols, I no longer want to live in bondage, doubt, and fear of man. (Proverbs 29:25). Instead, I want to trust the Lord and find freedom in Him, whose power and resources are glorious and unlimited (Ephesians 3:16). My value is based on who He says I am, not on the title on a business card or my earning power.

– Keri Geary, Downtown

Where are you seeking value? Is your desire for affirmation or accomplishment keeping you from selflessly loving those around you?