If you’ve been around the mommy arena for long, you’ve probably noticed that people cling to their labels. Some moms who work resent the label “full-time moms” give themselves, like the working moms are lesser parents. Moms who don’t send their kids to daycare or nannies or Moms Day Out want credit for their ’round the clock duties and can resent “part-time moms” who get a break now and then.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that there is no such thing as a full-time mom. Whether you send your kids off to school, or get a babysitter now and then, or even close your eyes and fall asleep at some point, you can’t be in utter control of your child’s life. No one can be a truly full-time parent. Our children need their mothers and we need to be an active presence in their lives, but we are not God to them, nor should we try to be. God is their Father full-time; I am their mom part-time.
Every family has a different situation that requires different decisions about working and childcare and lifestyle. While selfishness and wrong attitudes can be problems for all of us, most parents I know take their duties seriously. We all appreciate how great a responsibility we’re dealing with here. Veering to irresponsibility may be a temptation for some, but for me the tendency to lean too much on my own efforts is a bigger problem.
I’ve come to realize that I am actually a better mom when I let go and let people help me. Over the past few months I’ve asked my mother-in-law to watch the kids at times. I send my kids to children’s church part way through the worship service. A few weeks ago we had a non-family member babysitter for the first time ever so that I could go to a client meeting, and I’ve been gone a couple of times a week since then. Am I a part-time mom or a full-time mom? Do those labels really matter?
Having a better understanding of my role in my children’s lives in light of God’s role in their lives has helped me a lot in my pursuit of balance. When I am trying to be a “full-time mom” I quickly get exhausted and overwhelmed, but when I remember that God is sovereign over their lives and that He gives me His strength to be the mother He called me to be, I can let go and be free to excel at being a part-time mom. Whatever your balance of parenting and life and work, you’re always a mom, but you’re not always the point person. Isn’t that a relief?