To the working mom at church

to the working mom at church

Dear Working Mom,

I see you waking in the early fringe hours of the morning for self care – claiming a few precious moments of solitude for bible study and prayer, or for exercising and meditation. I know how tired you feel throughout the day because of the lack of sleep, but those wee hours of the morning are the only time you feel you can spend on just you.

I see you swallow back tears when your toddler looks in your eyes over breakfast and says, “But mama, I don’t want to go to school. I want to stay home with you.” I know how hard it is to hear those words, to try to make your little one understand how you wish you could stay home with her too and why you have to work.

I see you running errands on your lunch break, so as not to consume precious evening time. I see you grabbing a quick bite to eat in your car in the midst of grocery shopping or paying bills, or munching on a snack at your desk because you used your lunch hour to get a haircut or go to the doctor.

I see you missing group bible studies and/or moms groups, because they’re all in the mornings and you have to work. Or, when there is an evening option, the guilt you feel from sacrificing more time with your kids prohibits you from feeling the freedom to join. I know you wish there was another way, because you miss the fellowship with other women, and you know you need it.

I see you talking with other moms before and after service on Sunday, feeling out of place as they talk about homeschool curriculum or play dates. I know you feel like it’s hard for you to have friends. Most of the other church women are SAHMs, which is fine but you live in an opposite world. I know it’s lonely there.

I see you downcast during Mother’s Day sermons, when your well-meaning pastor extols the virtuous wife and mother who keeps the tidy home, raises the well-mannered children and serves her family joyfully. I know you feel less than. I know you feel like your brothers and sisters around you turn their nose up at you because you choose to work, as if your decision was made without regard for your children’s well-being or the good of your marriage.

I see all of these things because I’m a working mom, too. I know how hard it is to find a kindred spirit, to feel out of place among the family of God, to wish there were more bible studies or blogs written from the working mom’s perspective or to us.

I pray you can find friendships with fellow Christian sisters who encourage you, edify you, and empower you.

I pray you can find church family who support you and love you.

I pray your husband appreciates you and strengthens you.

I pray you know that your sacrifice is not in vain. I pray that you can have confidence that, though you work outside the home, you are motivated by what’s best for your children and family at this time.

I pray you can find rest for your weariness in Jesus. I pray you can believe him when he says, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

I pray you know that, no matter who cares for your child during the day, there is no replacement or substitute for you. There is no one like you in your child’s life.

I know you’re lonely, but you’re not alone. I know you’re weary, and though you can’t see it, I know you’re strong, because Jesus has you. Jesus is with you. He is with your children when you can’t be with them.

With you in Him,

Rachel

My Favorite Apps for Working Moms

apps for working moms

apps for working moms

When you’re a working mom, it seems like you’re constantly on the go. From daycare drop-off to grocery shopping, working moms are busy women with a never-ending to-do list. As a working mom, my smart phone helps simplify my life by providing easy access to information quickly and in real time when I’m on the go. Here are a few of my favorite apps for working moms:

  1. EveryDollar – EveryDollar is a budgeting software that is accessible from both your computer and your smart phone. It’s a Dave Ramsey product, so it works with his financial planning model. You can create budget categories, and track transactions within them. If you pay the annual membership fee, you can sync your bank account, and it automatically updates with your bank ledger and you can designate the transactions accordingly. It’s super helpful for me to keep track of our monthly expenses and to see how we are doing in reaching financial goals. It also helps me from having to use more than one app since I can sync my bank account to it. Working moms who manage their family’s finances will find this app useful.
  2. Wunderlist – Wunderlist is “the easiest way to get stuff done.” It helps you keep track of your to-dos, and you can create subcategories within your different lists. You can also share your list with others, and it automatically syncs when they update the list. Wunderlist has been incredibly helpful for us with our grocery lists. Instead of having to ask my husband, “is there anything you need from the store?” and him answer “no” only to discover something 5 minutes later, he can add it to the list and it will update to my phone immediately. Whether I’m planning a Target run or my weekly grocery haul, Wunderlist makes this working mom’s life easier.
  3. Yummly – Yummly is a working mom’s best friend when it comes to meal planning. It creates personalized recipe suggestions based on your preferences. When you find a recipe you like, it will create a shopping list for the ingredients you’ll need. As you continue to save recipes, it will continue to update your list. This app is so convenient for planning our family’s dinners for the week and creating my shopping list. It saves me time and energy by doing the work for me, which is like gold to the working mom.
  4. Pinterest – Now, who doesn’t love Pinterest, right? I’ve developed a new-found love for Pinterest since becoming a working mom. Whether I need to find a quick and easy recipe or a simple snack for a daycare party, Pinterest is a wealth of ideas for busy working moms.

These are just some of my favorite apps to make the working mom’s life easier. Do you have any apps that you love? I’d love to hear them!

What I Learned When My Strong-Willed Kid was Kicked Out of Daycare

What I learned when my strong willed kid was kicked out of daycare

 

What I learned when my strong-willed kid was kicked out of daycare

As a working mom, choosing childcare is probably one of the most important, if not THE most important, decisions you make when returning to work. From nannies to mother’s day out programs, finding the situation that offers the right fit for your family can be a daunting, frustrating and exhausting search. I appreciate Metro Family Magazine‘s breakdown of childcare options for closely looking at the pros and cons for each different childcare situation.

When I returned to work last summer, we were able to put our children in an intimate, in-home childcare setting. They shared the home with two other children in the beginning (the caregiver’s children), and a third child was added a few months later. They were able to stay in their PJs if they wanted to, they had the nurture and informality of a home environment. Their caregiver read stories and made crafts with them. It was a (seemingly) perfect setup.

My strong-willed kid struggled with the new daycare situation. She experienced several changes in the span of about six months: she got a younger brother, we moved cities and mom went back to work for the first time since she was born. Not to mention, she was developmentally entering the threes – which is notoriously worse than the terrible twos. Her emotions often overwhelm her and she reacts as a strong-willed, emotionally-immature toddler normally reacts. She’s not violent or aggressive. She just has big feelings that she doesn’t always know how to process without the right hand caring for her and guiding her.

We knew she was struggling, but we didn’t think it was that bad. We would regularly get reports from our daycare provider that she had a “rough” day, she had trouble listening or didn’t play well with the other kids, but we never thought it was an expellable offense. Which is why it was like a bomb drop when we were told our childcare contract was terminated because of her strong-willed behavior.

When I had to sign the termination agreement, my heart sank. If you’ve ever had a child who’s been kicked out of anything – school, daycare or whatever – I’m sure you’ve experienced the same thoughts I did. What am I doing wrong?  What is wrong with my child? Wrong was the word that kept coming to mind. There must be something wrong with her. There must be something wrong with our parenting. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I was an emotional wreck that night. I just knew somehow we had failed our daughter. She was only 3, but yet somehow we had already broken her irreparably because she was being kicked out of daycare at 3 years old.

Over the last month since our strong-willed kid was kicked out daycare, we’ve had lots of discussions evaluating what our priorities are and whether we are making the best decisions for our family. We even discussed that I would quit work and return to staying at home. However, we found a solution that we are confident will be a good fit for everyone. Through the recommendation of a high school friend who is also a Childcare Director, we found a church Child Development Center which actually had immediate openings for both of our kiddos.

Today, our children start their new “school.” I’m nervous and excited for them. I want them to enjoy it and to thrive. I’m praying for good things to come from this new situation. So much of the last month has been filled with doubt and fear, wondering if we’re failing at this parenting thing and if we’re doing what’s best for our family. As I’ve been praying through this situation over the last few weeks, God brought me to Psalm 56 in my quiet time, and verse 9 leaped into my heart: “This I know, that God is for me.” Realizing that God is for you is the antidote to fear. Knowing that God is for me calms my anxious thoughts. Realizing that God is for my children gives me peace about today.

That is my biggest takeaway from this parenting crisis. God is for my children, and he loves them even more than I do. He created them and he gave them each their unique personality, including my daughter’s strong will. I’m thankful for the blessing of knowing them and parenting them.

Have you ever faced a parenting crisis?

 

 

 

Working Moms and Mondays: back to the daily grind

Mondays are hard for everyone, am I right? The weekends seem to last all of maybe 5 minutes while the work week is something like the movie Interstellar, when they are on that planet for like an hour but it amounts to 20 years in Earth time. That’s the work week, it’s really only 5 days, but it feels like a time suck of approximately 737 years.

I feel particularly sensitive to Mondays since becoming a working mom. It’s like opening a wound every week, picking a fresh scab that grew over the weekend. Having to wake the kids early, instead of letting them sleep until they wake naturally. The daycare drop off, and all of the emotions that come with it. The concern for their well being throughout the day. Always feeling divided, like you’re not quite fully present at work because part of you is elsewhere.

I’m sure I’m not alone in these feelings. Working moms have been conquering the daily grind for many years before me, and I’m not unique. And truthfully, I enjoy my job, I feel a sense of calling and purpose in my work that is fulfilling to me as a woman and a believer in Christ. Feeling called to be a working mom and feeling the tension of being a working mom are not mutually exclusive; they go hand in hand. You can find fulfillment in your work and acknowledge that you miss your children, want to be with them, desire to care for them and hope you’re doing it right.

So, Happy Monday, fellow working moms. May your coffee be strong and your days be short.