When you can’t do your job as a mom…

During the long period of knee injury and recovery, I had to confront what happens when a mom can’t do her job as a mom.

In the process, I confronted issues of identity, purpose, significance, and value. In the end, I truly believe that my identity is not based on my accomplishments.  That’s not where I get my value or purpose.

I know it’s true, but even as I type it, part of me squirms uncomfortably. There’s a small voice inside that whimpers “but what about…”

when you can't do your job as a mom

One of the unexpected blessings from my knee injury and resulting surgery was that I had to confront the issue head on. I had nowhere left to hide and little to distract myself.

In a potent mix of hormones, stress, fatigue, pain, exhaustion, and fear I had a complete meltdown one night. My husband had to listen to the whole ugly mess and then watch as I picked up the pieces. Among other things, I told him

My “job” as a stay at home mom involves caring for kids, cooking, cleaning and driving.  When I can’t do my job, I have no value or purpose for my family.

Once the words escaped my mouth, I couldn’t hide from them. I couldn’t pretend I hadn’t said them. I couldn’t ignore them.

Trust me, I tried.

I wanted to “un-say” them. I wanted to hide from my fears. I wanted to pretend I was more spiritual than that. I wanted to just sweep the whole ugly thing under the rug or claim it was just temporary insanity.

Nope.

In the days that followed my surgery, I couldn’t do a thing. For about 48 hours, it was all I could do to go to the bathroom by myself.

I was not a contributing member of the family… I was a burden!

I couldn’t do my job as a mom.

when you cant do your job as a mom

I wasn’t even able to kiss boo boos or chase away fears or pray for my kids. (I still believe that you can’t outsource motherhood.  But for a brief time, even THAT was stripped away.) For about a week, I was the most needy and self centered person on the planet.

My family still loved me. They clearly needed me to be “me” but they functioned without me.

The way they treated me showed me that they still saw me as having value and purpose… even when I clearly didn’t.

Based on experience alone, my lie was revealed.

Even when I can’t do my “job” as a mom, I still have value and purpose.

Even when all I could do was lie on the couch and ask for ice, I still loved my family.

Even when all I could do was doze through the pain, my boys still could use me as a pillow as they watched endless cartoons.

Even when I was “useless” I was still mom.

The discovery gave me unexpected peace.  Laying on the couch and feeling utterly useless, I found peace in a very unlikely place indeed.

Scripture tells the rest of the story.

My value comes from God.

Matthew 10:31 says “Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” How amazing is that!

(If you’ve not ever heard the old hymn, it’s worth a listen.)

My identity has nothing to do with who I am or what I do all day. My identity is based on WHOSE I am.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)

(Is it just me? Every time I read that verse I feel like a princess. It makes me want to walk around with a big tiara.)

God knows me and loves me.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:13-16)

God has great plans for my future.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

jeremiah 29 11

My purpose comes from Him.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

It’s not just me.

This is true for you too.

Even when you don’t feel like a good mom.
Even when your laundry pile towers to the ceiling.
Even when you yell.
Even when you serve corn dogs for dinner (again).
Even when you bounce a check.
Even when you can’t do your “job.”

God didn’t create us just to cook and clean and carpool. He created us with something much bigger and more amazing.

Your value and purpose are not derived from the things you check off the to do list.

Your value and purpose come from God.

You are more precious than rubies.

(This post is part of a series on the unexpected blessing of surgery.)

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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