What About Me? (by Lisa Anderson)
What About Me?
In all my talk about the value and worth of motherhood and homemaking, you may be asking, “What about me? What about my dreams and desires? What about my education and calling? Am I not wasting my talents and abilities by being just a stay-at-home mom? Isn’t there something more important I could be doing with my life?” Those are good questions—ones I want to address today.
There is so much we can do right from our homes as exemplified by the Proverbs 31 woman. She was one busy woman! In addition to meeting the needs of her family, she bought real estate, planted a vineyard, and had a belt business. That means she worked outside the home—right? No, not necessarily. Nowhere does it say she left home to do these things. She could possibly be a great example of a home-based entrepreneur.
Her life can intimidate us, though, unless we realize that nowhere does it say she lived out the accomplishments of Proverbs 31 simultaneously. Speaking from my own experience, I did not have it in me to administrate our ministry when our children were young—my hands were more than full. But as my children grew, I took on more and more of the administration, operating in my natural gifting. As my seasons changed, I was able to take on more responsibility.
Here's a partial list of dreams and callings women can fulfill from home: run a hair salon; teach piano; have a framing business; do medical billing; tutor students in your area of expertise; administrate the family business; sell real estate; run an Etsy shop; do professional photography; run a catering business; have a graphic design business; record a worship album; write books; help with a political campaign; run ministries at church. It’s a lie of the enemy that you have to waste your abilities and talents if you are a mom and homemaker.
I do have to issue a warning here, though. In the midst of eight children at home, I wrote two books and helped Jim write two books. In the process of writing one book, I set aside three hours a day in which to get the work done. I set up shop in the dining room so I was available and not sequestered away. However, when I completed the book, my kids gave a sigh of relief. Even though I was home, my focus had definitely shifted for three months, and I had not been fully present. Life had not felt normal in our household, and a lot of things were neglected. When we take on new activities or responsibilities, we need to be careful that they are not distracting us from our primary calling.
Understanding the seasons of life can be so helpful. Remembering that our children will not be small forever can give us needed perspective. Embrace the gift of fertility when you have it. Enjoy the season of raising your children. Most of us get to enjoy our children at home for a brief 18 years. I know that seems like an eternity when you are in the midst of the demanding years of raising infants and toddlers. But it won’t be long until your children are gone, and you will have lots of time to pursue other dreams and callings.
The Proverbs 31 woman “did it all.” She did it in such a way, though, that in the end, her children and husband rose up and praised her. Apparently, they did not resent her or feel neglected as she pursued her dreams. Maybe it was the understanding of seasons that allowed her to do it all in the right way.
Enjoy the season you are in!
P.S. Mother of three boys, Erin Dofelmier is featured with her husband Ryan and one of their sons. Erin exemplifies the blog “What About Me?” She felt led to pursue her dream of law school after she and Ryan married. However, once Henry, their first child, was born, she couldn't stand the thought of leaving him. She chose to lay down the law-world so she wouldn't miss out on the chance of raising her children and enjoying the special moments--like the one pictured above! By choosing to forgo a lawyer's lucrative salary, they are living on one paycheck and staying in her parent's cottage, instead of owning a big house. She is reveling in being a mom, though, and trusts that God will put all the puzzle pieces of her life together in the end. We honor you, Erin!
What dreams and desires are you laying down in this season of child-raising? Describe if that has that been difficult or relatively easy.
Explain how the understanding of “seasons” can help give you needed perspective.
In what ways has the Proverbs 31 woman intimidated or encouraged you?
Share ways in which you have succeeded or failed in your attempts to follow dreams or desires in addition to motherhood.
Pray for wisdom for each woman to know what to do with her dreams and desires in the midst of the child-raising years.
Pray for grace and strength for each mom in the season in which they currently find themselves.