DEAR WORKING MOM
Updated: Aug 3, 2019
This post has a very strong Christian perspective.
High five! I am a working mom too. I am blessed to work a six and a half hour day and I start early so that I can be with my children later in the afternoons. I feel that I have too much on my plate most days, but I kind of prefer it that way. I enjoy working and I enjoy being with my children. I know all about the overwhelming feeling of not being able to do either well enough - your parenting or your job. I know about guilt for missing some of the children's milestones, and guilt for missing days at work for the sake of sick children.
Alicia Keswani says it well:
All of who you are—your passions, your fears, your job, your living situation, your marital status, your heart, your soul—is being used to create something so, so precious: a childhood. You are not a bad mama for working. You are not a bad employee because you are a mom.
Perhaps you feel stuck in a job that you hate. Perhaps you long to be with your children more. If there is nothing that you can do about the situation and if you simply have to work, here are some thoughts that might get you through the tougher days, they sure have made a difference for me!
What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you were grateful for today? Thank God for your job every day, having a job is such a privilege. Think about how many people would do anything for a job – not even your job, but something far less gratifying. Remember that the things that you take for granted, someone else may be praying for.
There must be something in your work situation that you can be thankful for. Perhaps it is a colleague who has become a friend, maybe they serve great coffee… Look for the positives and focus on them rather than being negative all the time. If it’s a cold day outside and you work indoors, there you go! Looking for opportunities to be thankful can have a major impact on your attitude and personal happiness.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Bloom where you are planted
When you hate your job the tendency is to slack off and just do the bare minimum. You simply exist. Remind yourself of the fact that we ultimately work for the Lord and do your very best for Him – He will take care of the rest.
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.
Proverbs 18:9 Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys.
Even when our circumstances are unpleasant we can still make a difference for the Lord - especially in uncomfortable situations. Remember that your life is a testimony and it might be the only “Bible” that your co-workers are reading. God wants to use us in many situations to pray for and impact the lives of our bosses and co-workers, it just takes maturity on our parts to step up and do it rather than focusing on ourselves. Choose not to take part in gossip or negative conversations. Use the Word of God as your code of conduct and live with absolute integrity. Integrity means following your moral or ethical convictions and doing the right thing in all circumstances, even if no one is watching you.
Unfortunately trails are part of life and we can learn from them. Use the time available to you to learn and grow as much as you can. Joseph and Daniel are two biblical examples of men who were in jobs they did not choose, but they were used mightily of God in those positions. God had a greater plan for them than just having a fulfilling job.
Philippians 4:11-13 I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation....I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
James 1:2-3 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Start cultivating your special gifts right now
“If you’re educated but have not developed your talent, you’re likely going to be depressed, frustrated, and tired.” – Dr Myles Munroe
Find out what the special gifts or talents are that the Lord has created you with. This is not difficult – it should be the things that you are naturally drawn to, the things that you like to do. You can take a quick test on the internet, see a counsellor or read a book. Then apply these gifts where you are, even if you’re not able to do the things that you love full time. If your gift is being creative, do something to decorate your work space. If you’re good at organising things, ask your employer whether you can assist with something that would involve organising. Perhaps a new door will open for you when people start noticing how talented you are at a specific thing.
If you feel like you have been gifted for ministry now is your chance to reach out to those around you and minister to them! How about starting a prayer group in your lunchtime, or reading a short Scripture before work? Ask the Lord to lead you in this.
Pray and seek the Lord’s will
“There are no ‘if’s’ in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety - let us pray that we may always know it!” - Corrie ten Boom
Seek the Lord’s face and ask Him for strength and wisdom to deal with your situation at work. Ask Him for favour with your bosses, co-workers and clients. Pray that He will release you into something better when the time is right. You can start being proactive as the Lord leads you by scanning job listings, tweaking your CV and taking classes to make yourself a more valuable asset to an employer.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Don’t do anything impulsive that you might regret later
“Every day we have plenty of opportunities to get angry, stressed or offended. But what you’re doing when you indulge these negative emotions is giving something outside yourself power over your happiness. You can choose to not let little things upset you.” - Joel Osteen
Never quit your job in a moment of anger or frustration. Psychologists say that one shouldn't make any important decisions when you are hungry, angry, sad or tired. Rather take a short break and speak to someone who can give you good counsel or go outside and take a breath of fresh air. Always consider your testimony – you don’t want to discredit all of the hard work that you have done for the Lord in your organisation. Finish well and don’t burn your bridges on your way out.
Keep your heart clean
Sometimes it is as if the work just keeps piling up and the more you do, the more you’re given to do. The workplace can be hostile and filled with mean-spirited people. Don’t let these people get to you. Imagine for a moment that your heart is a boat on the ocean. As long as you keep water out, your boat will remain floating. We need to keep our hearts clear of anger, be quick to forgive and pray for our enemies. Don’t dwell on the negatives and watch the words that come out of your mouth. Speak the Word of God into difficult situations.
Proverbs 18:21 The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.
If you’re in a situation where you feel like you’re overworked and burned out you need to be assertive and discuss the matter with your superiors. I highly recommend the book called Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend for clear guidance regarding how to do this.
“Blessed are the flexible for they will not allow themselves to become bent out of shape!” – quote Adapted from Robert Ludlum
In certain situations we need to let go of our rigid views and embrace alternatives. We need to be open to change and not insist on having our own way all the time. The Bible says to be willing to yield and to be open to reason, because then we are susceptible to the Lord’s leading. Have you considered that the Lord may perhaps be requiring of you to stay where you are and be a blessing?
Look at the story of Paul and Silas in Acts 16 – after attempting many mission trips without success they stopped in Troas to hear from the Lord, Who sent them to Macedonia and great revival broke out. Paul and Silas were open to the Lord and His guidance. They didn't stick to their own ideas and plans.
James 3:17 The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, (willing to yield) full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
Be present at home
“You can’t do a good job if your job is all you do.” – author unknown
Remember that you have a life outside of work as well. Make a point of spending special times together and making memories with your family and friends. Get involved in church activities or charities together. If you’re into sports, join a team in your area. If you’re into arts and crafts, do a workshop. If you like writing, start a blog! Take time out to relax in the way that you like most, wit the people who matter most. Ensure that your life is balanced and filled with things that you enjoy outside of working hours.
1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Alicia Keswani says it well:
If you are working a job you hate but you do it because bills don’t pay themselves, you are providing the means to create a childhood with a safe place to sleep and good things to eat. And I pray that one day, you’ll get to do the job you love the most—be it a different workplace or staying at home.
If you are working a job you love and you do it because you are passionate for your cause, you are providing the means to create a childhood...
And either way, you are working because you are a great mother.
Here is some more inspiration if you're feeling really overwhelmed right now: DEAR OVERWHELMED MOM