Thursday, June 15, 2006

How I Became a Mom

A couple of years into our marriage, one of mine and Terry's recurrent arguments was when we were going to try to get pregnant. Terry wanted to wait. He wanted more time for us to be focused on each other, which is really sweet. He wanted to be more financially ready, which was perfectly fair since he was going to have the stress of being the sole breadwinner. But a couple of friends had already gotten pregnant or given birth, and I was ready to join the club. In addition, I didn't really like my job.

"Having a baby because you don't like your job and want to quit is a really stupid idea," said my husband, who loved me so much he didn't want to share me.

But, see, I knew what my calling was. I wanted to be a mom. As my job. And I really didn't see these unfulfilling jobs as training for my call of motherhood. I felt like I was in a holding pattern, waiting for what I was really meant to do. Because of this I didn't perform very well at work and in the end, my self-esteem was not so great in the career arena (which caused a vicious cycle of having no motivation to do well). It's kind of unlike me, because in general I am good at what I do, even competitive, but I was never a high-achiever at my job(s). I never found my niche. I think that perhaps God knew that I was not to be trusted with worldly success. Would I have set aside my calling of full-time motherhood if I had achieved financial or emotional success in a job? I would like to think that I would have, but knowing my nature, I can't be so sure. Or perhaps I could have quit the job, but that would have made the job of mother one that I viewed as a constant sacrifice and second best to whatever else I could be doing. I think that this helps to clarify or add another layer to what I was really trying to say when I wrote this. Not that being a mother is second best. It's foundational to me and who I am. By choosing to be a stay at home mom, my world has opened up to me. In it I have learned sacrifice. I have also learned how exciting it is to be a child's first teacher and first playmate and first love. I have learned the joy in sharing this journey with other moms. I've become more introspective and sentimental, which is one of the things that has urged me to write.

Just after our fifth anniversary, and right after we had picked up and moved across the country from Houston to Oregon, Terry and I found out we were expecting. As always, it was God's perfect timing.

So, over eight years later, as I think about how I came to be a mom, and how long I waited, and how important it was to me back then, I was reminded that being "just a mom" is what I've always aspired to. Hey, I've made it!

To read some more about my parenting journey, please check out Mary DeMuth's Pioneer Parenting blog. A pioneer parent is someone who wants to build the Christian family they never had (as her new book explains). I'm always one to share my opinion, so when she asked for some people to do interviews, I volunteered. What I have to say is not very profound, but you won't be disappointed by what Mary has to say here or at relevantblog. One of the most relevant and honest books on being a Christian mom that I have ever read is her book Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God.

4 comments:

Dianne said...
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Dianne said...

Good thoughts as usual, Jennifer. I think I too was a little more focused on "quitting my job" than on becoming a mom. I do think being a mom is a high calling, higher than it is made out to be. It makes me sad that it's not given the priority it warrants sometimes. I think a lot of girls are frustrated because they've grown up thinking "what do I want to be" and encouraged very little in the family area. Not to knock careers but I think this just explains why a lot of girls just can't seem to find a job that suits them.

Katrina said...

Well - one more area where you and I are similar. I had the same feelings as you about career/jobs/etc. and I remember feeling *really* ready to get pregnant in part because I hated and felt so unfulfilled in my job(s). Now that I am dealing with my second baby, I realize even more that this is where I'm meant to be. Although I've always known this is what I wanted to do, I feel even more secure and confirmed in this "life path" that I'm on.

Katherine@Raising Five said...

Great post. I enjoyed reading your responses on the relevantblog website. You have to "know that you know" that what you are doing is a calling, whether or not our socity ever recognizes it as having value. Just like Christ came, not to be served, but to serve - it doesn't seem to make sense. But oh, the power!

Thanks for sharing your story.