Exchanging My Slippers for Pumps

Almost nine years ago, I began a new career as a stay-at-home mom.  Within six months I was ready to hang up my spit-up laden apron and fuzzy slippers to return to the office.  Then I found out that baby number two was on the way and so I resigned myself to one of the most difficult and rewarding professions on earth.  Through the wisdom and support of other moms in my life, I learned to embrace and enjoy motherhood.

They reminded me that the season of toddlers was short and to cherish those times.  They taught me endurance with little sleep, how to clean strained carrots out of white carpeting, and to ask for help when I was overwhelmed.  They cheered me on when we brought our youngest son home from China and we were again sleep-deprived for six months, with three children born within three years.

My husband was also a sanity-saver during this time at home.  He recognized my need to use my talents outside the home and to engage in adult conversation.  He was willing to come home a little early from work and stay with the children so I could volunteer on our local nursery school board.  He spent Saturdays giving bottles, changing diapers, and chasing toddlers so I could help with the local art festival.  He made sacrifices for the Kingdom so my God-given gifts could be put to work.

We were preparing for me to return to work, part time, this fall with our youngest heading to school. We discovered that working outside the home again requires a lot more sacrifice and creativity than it had in the past.  Childcare needs to be worked out.  Dinner has to be planned ahead to make it to my son’s soccer practice in time.  Laundry and shopping have to be taken care of on different days. My work must be finished in a shorter work day to pick up the children from school on time.

Once again, I find myself relying on my wise friends and supportive husband.  I am exchanging child care with a friend so we both can spend a day working outside the home.  The first day of our exchange, however, one of my children woke up with a fever.  My husband was willing and able to work half a day at the office and then work from home in the afternoon so I could work.  Many friends have offered to be back-up sitters, help run children to activities, and offer advice on juggling these new responsibilities. My family has been satisfied with sandwiches instead of a hot meal, pitched in with laundry, even helped make lunches the night before.

Some of the lessons we have learned:

  • The support and encouragement of my husband is crucial.
  • Preparing for my work day the night before by making lunches, laying out clothes, putting school bags by the kids’ shoes, and having dinner prepped helps the next day go smoother.
  • There are many ways we can support and help others: babysitting, helping run errands, offering encouragement.
  • My friends and I have agreed not to keep track of how often we are swapping childcare, who is feeding more kids, who has to drive the furthest to exchange children—it’s all done for Him, not for ourselves.
  • Recognition that this change may be difficult, but it is a short season of life.
  • My time as a stay-at-home mom was not wasted!  In my volunteering I discovered that I really enjoy planning events and have the gift of hospitality.  I am now planning special events and meetings.


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  1. Heather Hohulin says:

    Julie—enjoyed your post! You have a gift
    Some things I have learned as a working mother
    1. My heart is at home even when my body is not.
    2. Cereal is fortified with 10 vitamins and minerals–its not just for breakfast anymore!!
    3. You really dont HAVE to clean you house EVERY week
    4. God will bless you (as you well know) for doing HIS will. He provides in amazing and wonderful ways!!
    love you friend.

  2. Heather Steinbeck says:

    Julie–this is a great post! I have been working a basically full-time job from home for the past ten years and have similar issues. It does take a lot more planning and prep time at night to be ready for the next day. Sometimes I think it would be easier to leave for a job because the "mommy guilt" of not getting things done around here like what I think I should (i.e. laundry, cleaning, good suppers, etc) would not be staring me down as I try to get my work done…but I know that presents a different set of challenges…
    I'm blessed beyond measure with the support of my husband who does help more than I think he should have to…and Heather is right, cereal or oatmeal never killed anyone for supper every once in a while. 🙂
    Galatians 6:9 is a life verse when I feel a little spooled on the tightrope, balancing work life and home life: "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
    I know that in 10 years, I am going to have an empty nest…wow, that is not very long if I think about how fast the first ten went…so the dusting may not be the greatest and I have realized other things can get pushed to the side until later and I won't die. 🙂 But my husband only has one wife (and date night is a priority!), my kids only have one mommy, and God has given me a blessing of an opportunity to help provide for our family, so I will keep taking one day on at a time and putting it before the Lord to help me manage it all.
    One last thing, I love it that you and your friends are working together on this and being vulnerable with each other with serving each other–that is so honorable and is The Church in action outside the four walls! 🙂

  3. Hello Julie, well I was working fulltime, even after my first child was born, now with my second child I had no choice but to work part time, its hard because Im looking into staying home full time and do the usual mommy errands. The hardest part is when you tell people you are going to be a full time stay home mom, they look at me like if im a complete looser for depending on my husband to provide for my family, times like these I feel a guilt for not fitting into the independant woman that works and has goals for her self. How can I just learn how to enjoy my children with out feeling guilty or sorry for my self? Its really tuff to compete with all the other moms who have careers and fulltime jobs. How can I explain to those who judge me because of my decision of staying home to be a fulltime mommy?

  4. Miriam – I too received some disapproval from friends when I chose to leave my thriving career to be a stay at home mom. I recognized that I was not put on this planet to please my friends or co-workers and me staying home was about what my husband and I decided was best for our family. Yes, I lost some friends over it, but I guess they were not true friends if they didn't support my choice. I started working again, by volunteering in my community and church, and by doing some consulting work, around my children's schedules, only when I knew that's what was right for us. It's now been 16 years – I ASSURE you, it was worth it. My children have benefitted from an involved, attentive mom! Many in this world do not get self sacrifice as a real choice. I DO NOT regret my decision and God has honored it with many opportunities for my personal and professional growth along the way! Listen to His voice not the voices of this world! I, for one, applaud you for putting your children and family first! You go girl! Get the book The New Eve by Robert Lewis, it's a great read on this subject! Blessings to you, Tracey (FamilyLifeMomBlog)