“To Work or Not to Work?”, Is there One Mom Type Better? SAHM-WAHM-WFTM

All media and social network channels are flooded with advertisements catering to moms. The “mommy network” is such a big commercial industry that most of the advertisers and product owners would do everything to get moms’ buy-ins. Let us admit the fact that all of these try to have a say on what type of mom one should be. However, considering that there are just too many mom types now, you have your stay-at-home moms (SAHM), your work-from-home moms (WAHM) and your working-full-time-moms (WFTM), it is so easy to get lost in the myth that one type is better than the other. And too many moms are also prone to committing the easy mistake of asserting (whether through conscious or non-conscious language) that she is playing the best mom-type. Case in point: see two myth busters below.

Truth#1: There is nothing wrong about being a working mom. This is particularly true especially if you know your correct list of priorities: God, marriage, kids, extended family, work, ministry and all the rest. Allow me to acknowledge as well that there is nothing wrong about being a SAHM or a WAHM, not discounting the fact that I was raised by my mom who has played all roles in her lifetime, worked fulltime, worked from home, now a stay at home mom. It is probably society or present culture that dictates and expects moms to be perfect, raising disciplined children who are models of well-behaved kids, be the number 1 cheerleader of their husbands and most fervent prayer advocate and show up pretty on all events with the most delicious kitchen concoction on hand. For most, it is just ain’t perfect if the moms who have got it all together happen to be working. I do not know about you but I know of countless working moms or mom entrepreneurs who are able to raise responsible, God-loving and successful kids. So if you are a working mom, clarify your reason, your view and your real heart for work. It is possible to regard work as a blessing (and not a burden). It will not make you weird if you find joy from working while finding joy in balancing it with mom-tasks of managing the house and parenting. And ultimately, it doesn’t make your husband less of a leader at home when you work. Decide to work or not to work because you know that your choice around it will never add or remove your right standing with God. Personally, I work because I know it is a season for me to do so. I am not in it to feed a lavish lifestyle or because I love money more than my family or because I do not have faith to believe God for more. I wouldn’t have done it otherwise. But it is a choice I make because God has given me limitless grace to do so with ultimate joy. Like all working moms or mom entrepreneurs, one day, God may call me or may never call me to be a stay-at-home mom, but I do not need to fret or sulk because I know what God can do over my marriage, my kids and my future.

Truth#2: SAHMs, WAHMs and WFTMs are not different from each other.  The same set of questions run around their heads and the measure of love they feel towards their family is one and the same. A mom who is not happy being a Working full time Mom (WFTM) will most likely, not be a happy stay at home mom (SAHM) or an unhappy Work from home mom (WAHM). It is my prayer that your happiness or fulfilment as a mom does not come from what you do but from knowing who God is and from trusting what He can do over whatever role you play. How to do a correct mindset check? Answer the question: Considering the status of your marriage, parenting, house management and family relationships, do you see that your role to ______ (work, stay at home, work from home) is certainly what God is telling you to do? If you easily answered yes to this question, then you may be on the right track. If you are being led by God to do things differently, pray and God will grant wisdom and clarity around how to transition. Discuss it with your husband with the perspective that it is God who provides and who does not add any trouble to blessings. Do not make decisions or maintain decisions out of fear. Never discuss it around how other people are expecting you to function or how my husband’s boss would want us to do it. Remember that your calling is ‘personal’ and never patterned from anyone else’s. If you find it similar with most people you are surrounded with, it doesn’t mean that your type is better than the other. Never make the mistake of looking at other mom types differently or less effective. Your goal in life does not include convincing everyone to be the same mom-type you are but to be a blessing to any mom-type without setting yourself apart with biased languages, actions or preferences. Pretty much as how Jesus has done it, He has never regarded Himself better than the others but found to be interacting, healing and blessing people of all sizes and shapes.

rsz_1mbp_pinkAt the end of the day, whatever mom type you are now, your provision will never come from your single-income or your double-income. Most of our big blessings did not really come from my pay envelope but from other channels of blessings that God has used in the past. Your decision about what lifestyle to keep for your children is a decision you have to make with your spouse and will come with different set of responsibilities. As long as your mom role does not take you away from your real priorities, do not entertain any form of guilt about not delivering enough. After all, the key is trusting God for your ability to mother. Count on His infinite grace to make your God-given mom-role work for you.

What “Not to Say When Speaking to a Working Mom”

Clock strikes midnight and just as half of the world is ZZZzzzing their way to sleep, the working moms may still be awake on their beds, completing a mental ‘to-do-list’ for the following morning. If you are a working mom, I am sure you work at getting everything move like clockwork. When in a room with working moms, you definitely do not want to get dagger looks from them should you find yourself mistakenly saying these things. Read up.

“You’re Working, Why?”I am not so sure if this question was meant to be answered when asked. I mean, what can be an appropriate answer for it, anyway? The truth that you have to work because you gotta work. From Sarah Jessica Parker’s movie: I Don’t Know How she Does it, she was caught saying: “Without work, I am not me but without you (talking to the husband) and the kids, I am nothing.” So believe us when we say, we know our priorities, we definitely do not work to feed an ego that needs to be promoted every year, we also do not keep lavish lifestyles to maintain with our double-income pays, but we do it with family and kids in mind. Just as the rest of the stay-at-home moms do when they plan the menu. The work we do should also be no different from the same value you get as a work-at-home mom. No mom type is better than the other, we all get better at making any season work for us, for our marriage and for our kids. So next time you meet a working mom who juggles work, parenting, family, house care, travel, ministry, me-time, don’t ask why because with God’s grace, it can be done.

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“Don’t take Shortcuts” – there’s 24 hours for everyone but working moms tend to take multi-tasking to the highest level. In cases when there’s just cooking, homework and doing the groceries to juggle, we need to add show up to work on time, do that report, arrange kids’ dental appointment while at work, call up the husband while in transit from work, wash up and get ready for couple time at night. Shortcuts are among working moms’ best buddies. Allow us to use instant kitchen mixes, mincer, automatic juicers, buy ready-to-wear kids’ costumes, speed-read and write and watch while attempting to have weekend afternoon naps (if that’s ever possible).

“You are not coming? But you have to be there!” – If all working moms will say ‘yes’ to everything on the calendar, we will have to be at least three places in one time. If you find a working mom declining a party or two, or missing to go and celebrate your baby’s first haircut, or skipping the late night meet up, there must be a very good reason for her to do that. You have to remember that weekends are not the best time to socialize and keep in touch for the working moms because these are the only days we get to stay with the kids for a full day. We look forward to staying home or stepping out with the kids on weekends when the rest of the neighbourhood moms plan who to meet this Saturday or what event to attend on Sunday.

I get guided with how God has wired me to move. There is nothing you need to do that you cannot tag your kids along. Life is not paused when you work and have kids. There is no better version of my life than enjoying to witness my kids’ milestones while enjoying the blessing of work. I do not miss anything even in this season. By all means, teach Sunday school with kids in tow. Attend that book club luncheon while kids go to playdate. Date and encourage a friend while kids date ‘Dad’, or while in between bookstore/library visits. Enjoy that newly-opened restaurant with kids, just make sure you have something else to offer on the table (e.g. quick activity book or David’s favourite dino toys). In the same way, my kids also do not regard work as something burdensome. It is not just another means to buy milk. Me having to work teaches them to be independent, to be caring towards mom when I get home, to be conscious about spending, to be aware that Mom’s time at home can always be turned to another ‘fun and quality weekend moment together’.

Feel free to read up Proverbs 31 – Wife of a Noble Character or Chasing Superwoman by Susan DiMickile.

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Mom of Four and Working…Wait…What?

Yes, you heard it right. I am a working mother to four kids – all under eleven years old. Managing a brood of three boys and one girl while being on top of growing a career can be quite a juggle but I just have to add another item to the long list I have to do daily…blogging.

Mornings can be a test of patience, especially if it is a school morning. You wake up with a to-do-list that will give the Executive Assistant to Bill Gates a run for her money. Then comes the breakfast table when you need to have a built-in director’s boom voice to command everyone’s attention. Working moms are also quite excellent stylists: to be able to dress up in less than 15 minutes, mindful of the things she needs to show up for at work. The higher you get to the corporate stairs, the better a working mom gets at dressing up in work clothes with less time. Working since I got married year 2003, I have got twelve years of practice and now I have become an expert to squeeze time to change bags, match shoes, accessorize and yes, choose and do a quick hairstyle from Pinterest.

Just when you think you have got it all together, it is time to pack lunch bags. This is where helpful Tip #1 comes in: Prepare school lunch bags the previous night. Ziploc bags and plastic containers are your little helpers to making this happen. Unlike our western mom counterparts, Filipino lunch bags require that our kids have rice for lunch. I highly encourage preparing any dish the previous night and if anything needs to be warmed, make sure you put them in microwave-ready containers, pop them in so it can be lunch bag-ready.

All kids dressed up, all school bags, projects, assignments, signed papers, lunch bags in tact. Tip #2: Take advantage of school buses. For those who think that taking critical time to talk on the way to school is just not applicable to this working mom. That is because my kids’ school is just a 5-minute drive away and it does not make sense to force quality conversation with my 10-year old Kyle about how he spends too much time on Dragon City. However, if driving your kids to school will not disrupt your work hours, by all means, drive your kids to school and make it work (make it to work on time, too).blogpic1

Working mom finally steps into the office and switches hat but Oooppss…. technically, it is not switching hats but learning to wear several hats: your working self and your mom self. And I haven’t even started with my wife self yet. Tip #3: Work according to your priorities. This is why it is important to clarify your values. There is just no way that you can list your priorities without a clarified set of values. For this working mom, it is God first, husband second, kids third, family, work and then everything else after. It may seem irresponsible to have work on the fifth slot but believe me, I have shuffled these items over the years and this is the only order that works. It makes sense to read God’s Word first before you start your busy day as a chef, driver, stylist, teacher, etc. it also makes sense to show up for a dinner date with husband and impact your marriage, miss a board meeting disguised as after-work socials/cocktails which will not matter in five years (which will not matter as soon as everyone in the office starts the next project).

Tip #4: It is okay to say no. Lastly, as a working mom, it is okay to accept that we are not Darna (Superwoman). There is only so much we can do with 18 hours (less 6 hours of sleep, average sleep hours of a working mom). If we do not decide what our priorities are, the internet will have a say on it, the in-laws will have a say on it, your mom friends will have a say on it, the entire world will have a say on it. Without clarified priorities, I won’t be surprised if you see yourself doing things you should not be doing and squandering time you should be spending with the things that last. Agree with your husband what priorities you will have as a family.

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