My Dad has worked from a home office for about as long as I can remember. And because he was often gone for days at a time for out-of-town business trips while we were growing up, we were all especially grateful to have him at home while he was just doing paperwork, making calls, and working on his laptop. Yes, there were boundaries. Yes, there were quiet times and rules. And yes, work sometimes bled over into family time; we often saw him distracted after 5pm by work calls, emails, and projects.
But we learned how to watch him work, and we got the incredible blessing of having our Daddy just in the next room if something went wrong (or we just needed a hug).
Blogger Sarah Bessey also works from home, and has written a touching post entitled Here’s why I don’t feel guilty about being a work-at-home mum. Apparently a few years back, many Christian moms took to the Internet to pledge that they would never let their kids catch them at a computer. That may be a noble goal when it comes to facebook, twitter, and surfing the web, Bessey admits. But because Bessey works from home (and on a computer) she’s refusing to buckle under the pressure to shield her kids from technology exposure. She’s saying no to the “needless mum-guilt,” as she puts it. She puts it in perspective this way:
I don’t feel guilty when my tinies see me cooking supper. That’s part of our life – and in fact, it creates a great opportunity to be together, to prepare them for life, to teach, to have fun.
I don’t feel guilty when my tinies see me cleaning the house. Keeping our home clean and tidy is part of my life – and it is part of theirs, too, unless I want to have lazy and entitled teenagers someday. Can I get an amen?
I don’t feel guilty taking them along when we get groceries or pay bills or drop off library books or help others or any other of the chores and tasks and work that goes into running this little family.
Why not? Because work is honourable. Paid or unpaid, it’s good to work.
Perhaps it’s good for kids to see their parents working; to learn awe and respect for what it takes to build a home. Perhaps we don’t need to feel guilty for training our kids to amuse themselves while we attend to business. According to Bessey, there’s definitely no room in a mom’s world to heap needless guilt on yourself, just because your life isn’t as magic-and-pixie-dust and you’d like it to be.
According to Crosswalk author Theresa Ceniccola (a staunch advocate for Mom Entrepreneurs) our temporary situations, at work or otherwise, don’t define us as mothers. Rather, we can choose to be unbroken by cultivating 6 Characteristics of an Unbroken Mom:
- Clear Focus
- Wise Companionship
- Optimism, and
- Imperfect Faith
Sometimes on my quest to be the “perfect mom,” I adopt the misguided belief that if I only read the Bible more often, prayed harder, or taught my children hymns, I would find myself in God’s graces. But some of us have a faith like Louie [Zamperini]'s – we are filled with questions and challenges. I don’t think that makes us any less Christian. I think it makes us human. And loved. It gives us a faith as real as the Pope’s. And it is the one thing that we have left when everything else is broken.
Women like Sarah Bessey and Theresa Ceniccola offer something many moms have a hard time giving themselves: grace. Grace for hard times, grace for unmet expectation, grace for mistakes. Beth Ann Baus even recommends confessing to your children when you sin against them, something many parents couldn’t imagine doing. But children are people, just like us, and they need to see confession, forgiveness, and grace in action!
Sin is hard to talk about. Sin is hard to confess. But, when we allow our children to see our sinful nature and how God forgives us, we are helping them see their own sin and how God forgives them. Confession bridges the gap between us and our children and allows them to see us in a more transparent way. It makes us, as the parents, seem less threatening and condemning. It allows our children an open line of communication. It allows us to share the goodness of God in a very personal way. When our children are young, our confessions will help them walk behind us, learning from us as parents. When our children are grown, our confessions will help them walk along side of us, as we support each other, as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Do you struggle with giving grace to yourself, or to others? Check out Kelly Balarie’s Become a Grace-Giver Not Just a Grace-Getter. If you’re struggling with how to parent in a world of computers and smart phones, watch and read these resources based on Arlene Pellicane and Gary Chapman’s book Growing Up Social:
How Can I Raise My Kids the Right Way in a World of Screens?
4 Questions to Ask About What Your Child is Watching
8 Questions to Ask About Technology and Your Child's Brain
Your Child's Shrinking Attention Span
Debbie Holloway is the Family Life Editor at Crosswalk.com
Publication date: April 22, 2015