27 Jan 2013

Grace for the working mother and her guilt

This post is not about whether mothers should work or should stay home.

This post is not about whether it’s better to home school or go the public, or Montessori or other route.

This post is not about whether it’s harder to work at home or out of the home.

This post is simply a whispered, “I know,” to the Sunday night, getting ready for work tomorrow, mamas.

The ones who are right now wiping down the counters, packing up the lunch boxes, sorting the socks, going through the mental gymnastics of gearing up for another week of good-byes. The ones preparing themselves for the waves of weekend homesickness that will hit when 5am comes early and preschool or daycare drop offs come inevitably.

This post is for the brave moms who know the ache of early good-byes.

For the ones who will commute hours before the rest of us get up because that’s what it takes to keep home a place of food and warmth and security. For the courage it takes to trust your children to someone else’s care. For the ones who beat themselves up harder, longer, more ruthlessly than the rest of us could possibly imagine.

This post is for the women who are short on grace for themselves.

I hear you. I know you. I lived in your shoes for long years and it is hard. And there are voices that can make us feel small. Make us feel achey breaky in our bones. Voices that lie about the quality of our mothering and try to steal the joy of time spent with our children by making us worry about the time spent apart.

My Sunday night sisters, I have listened to the crackly static of a nagging voice that whispers, deserter, and hear me when I tell you that that voice is a liar.

I know that going to work when you want to be home can feel like being trapped. It can make you want to beat your head on the wall. It makes you shrink next to those who point out what you should be, especially when it’s what you want to be. It can be an endless cycle of self beratement.

But for those of us in that place and season, we lift up our eyes to the hills and help comes. The Holy Spirit ministers tenderly, bandaging wounded hearts and restoring what the deceiver has tried to destroy. We need grace from others because goodness knows we rarely get it from ourselves.

And when the crackly static of the nagging dies down there is another voice and He whispers, provider.

He sings over you.

He is waiting for you in the morning as you struggle to wake up. When the glare of the bathroom lights blind and tired eyes fight the lenses they need to face the day, He is there.

He sings,

She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family.

Proverbs 31:15

You are no less and no more than the mothers who get to stay home. God did not give them a pass and you a punishment. You do not need to apologize for the fact that you work. You do not need to be embarrassed.

We practice dying to our own desires every day with each good-bye, each desperate hug, each meal prepared and left to be eaten in our absence. We walk the hard path of trust. Trusting that the God who built our kids will parent them in our absence, will grow them in courage, and teach them over time that this is what love looks like.

Gritty, committed, and determined to do what is necessary.

And drenched in grace, friends. Drenched in grace.


My book – Surprised by Motherhood – shares my own journey of grace and you can order it right here.
Or download the first three chapters for free over here.



{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    I’m crying right now. Thank you for this! I’m a working Mama and have felt bad about it for the past 7 years. You have no idea how much this post meant to me.


  2. 4

    The words, drenched in grace, that drip from your mouth into the lives of others are such gifts. Thank you for always extending grace, love, and hope. I will share this with young moms.

    Deb Weaver

  3. 5

    Thank you for writing this for the working moms. It is the most beautiful piece I have ever seen written for a group of women who matter just as much as the stay at home moms. I wish someone had said this stuff to ME when I was the working mom, beating myself up over what I wanted to be and didn’t know how I could be. Lisa Jo, you get more beautiful with every bit of grace that oozes out of you.

  4. 6

    Sweet LJ, thank you sister for hearing the Spirit’s calling, his Holy prompting to pen the words that spoke to my soul tonight! From across the miles, thank you!

  5. 8

    I am a stay at home / work at home mom who just became a working mom this year. Luckily all three of my kids attend preschool and elementary at the school where I work, but still I feel like I”m doing something wrong. Thanks for reminding me I’m not.

    • 9

      I don’t feel that the author was stating specifically it is NOT “wrong” to work outside the home. For a Christian mother, sometimes it really may not be the right thing to do to pursue a career. At the beginning of the post she wasn’t saying either way — so I wouldn’t really draw the conclusion that she is affirming the inherent goodness of mothers working outside the home. She does express compassionate, though, for those situations which may be out of a woman’s control. If you feel guilt over your decision to work (or any decision), investigate that further. God’s word offers guidance in this area, although not giving a black & white “yes or no”. Titus chapter 2 lists some priorities of women and mothers. There may be a reason your conscience is bothering you. It’s not always good to ignore a guilty feeling!! (I’m not saying you’re wrong either, Just saying that I don’t think the author was giving an opinion on the issue necessarily). If I have a nagging feeling that I am doing something wrong, I should try to glean some wisdom from God’s word or older, godly women to get input about whether or not I’m making a wise choice. I do agree with the author that you should not “live in” guilt, beat yourself up, etc.

      • 10

        How can she not live in guilt when people won’t graciously silence their “nagging voice” like this very one, WL? There’s a difference between making a career in detriment of your children and being a working mom out of necessity! And I guarantee that every working mom feels the same guilt, whether they work because they idolize their careers (which is a sin!) or they do so out of necessity! Please, do not speak of things which you do not know or/and cannot sympathize with.

        • 11

          Well said Tish…I think the “working out of necessity” part was lost on WL. It seems as though she is implying there isn’t “inherent goodness” in working outside of the home. Not every woman works to “pursue a career” and we should not be made to feel guilty by our Christian peers. I actually had a stay at home mom family member tell me that we had different priorities. My only priority is taking care of my family and it is a heavy burden to carry. I went to school and got my education never dreaming that I would be the breadwinner. This article made me cry like a baby not because I have guilt but because what I want the most I can’t have. Every single day is a struggle. Thank you for such a beautifully written post. It is just what I needed.

          • 12

            Completely agree AKD. I want more than anything to be home with my kids. I would LOVE to homeschool more than anything. I never in a million years imagined the economy would collapse (post children mind you) and I would not be able to leave the work force. My husband had an excellent job. Now he has a good job with great benefits we just don’t have the means for me to stay home. I am with the original poster very guilty daily with going to work. Thank you for the beautifully written post. Much needed as we get back into the swing of work this week.

      • 13

        Here’s yet another article, beautifully written. I am a working Mama. The beginning of this article is great, and I was going to share it with my friends, other working moms who could benefit from the first parts. I don’t agree with the religious undertones, but I was going to share it, until I came across this – the first of many comments, I’m sure and won’t be reading. You have basically used God as a tactic to guilt this poor woman. She’s already feeling guilty and you just had to add the guilt that she’s not following God’s plan and now … who knows, she may quit her job and then what? Is God going to feed her kids?

        • 14

          Ignore it. It is a beautiful post. I feel mommy guilt over a million things…including working but I have an important job to do that I love. I will give myself grace and remember this article that I will come back too. Thanks for reminding me that I am a great mom.

      • 15

        Actually, I will come right out and say it – it is not inherently wrong for a mother to work outside the home. And this is not a matter of “have to” vs. “want to” – since I think it’s safe to say that none of us would literally starve to death if we did not work, no one “has to”. It’s a matter of hundreds of small tradeoffs and considerations – how long are the workdays? how flexible are the hours? what do you do when your kid is sick? how long is the commute? how much of your income do you spend on child care & work expenses? how happy are you with your child care? how old are your kids? any with special needs? how many hours a day do you get to spend with your kids? vs. do you have medical insurance? do you have college savings accounts? do you live in a safe neighborhood? what happens if your husband gets laid off? do you have life insurance? what if someone in your family gets seriously sick? what if the car breaks down? are you constantly stressed and worried about money? do you need to use public assistance? do you rely on friends and family for financial help?

        Everyone’s definition of “has to” is different – I’m not ok with the risk that is inherent in relying on one job to support the family. I’m also not ok with not having savings to cover an emergency, not having medical insurance, college savings, and 401Ks, or living in an unsafe neighborhood or one with poor schools. Therefore, I “have to” work. Do people survive just fine one what my husband makes? Yes, many do. But people also lose their homes and end up in debt when the only income-earner loses his job and can’t find another for an extended time. I’m not willing to live with that risk.

        Every family’s situation is a little bit different, and so every family is going to weigh all those hundreds of little considerations in the context of their own family and different families will come up with different answers.

        And the problem is, there are significant negatives to either choice. The fact is, I do work outside the home and I don’t spend as many hours a day as I’d like with my kids. I feel guilty that they’re in after school care. I feel guilty that I am always rushing them. But if I didn’t work, I’d feel guilty that we lost our home. That we can’t afford to live in a good school district. That we don’t have college accounts. That I’m going to be a burden to them in my old age because I’m not saving enough. That if my husband got laid off we’d be destitute. There is no choice that I could make that wouldn’t involve significant negatives and therefore result in a significant amount of guilt. So how can I take my feelings of guilt as a sign that I am doing something wrong? Let’s put it this way – I feel less guilty over my current choice than I would over the opposite one.

        I don’t mind coming right out and stating my opinion that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a mother working outside the home (or a father being a stay at home parent) if she and her spouse (if she has one) agree that it is the best thing for the family. And she should not live in a constant state of guilt over the situation, or have to put up with people constantly questioning her choice or berating her for it.

        • 16

          I love love love this comment. And it’s exactly how I feel as I ponder going back to work while my family and friends wonder why I’d even consider it…

        • 17

          In trying to figure out why i work, you’ve summarized it perfectly. Its not always for the “now” but fir what may happen and definitely for future expenses. Thanks for helping me realize that…it helps with the guilt.

        • 18

          This comment is perfect. You have summed up my exact feelings. Thank you.

        • 19

          You don’t know everyone’s situation. YES, I HAVE to work. It is not a choice for my family or me – to do with just a little less so that I could be home. Not the case here, so don’t generalize that every mom that works really could stay home if she REALLy wanted to. NOT the case here

          • 20

            I have to work out of necessity. I also have felt that most Christian books try to approach working moms as if we should re-evaluate our decisions. Where in fact there is no re-evaluation. We have to work to provide. I was laid off, took 2 years to stay home and we had to watch our money. It has been so tight and scary. We had no health insurance for a year because I have been the provider of that for the last 16 years. We have had many scary days of no money in our account. Days where I really worried if I had money to feed my family. ( All this because mommy is not working) After many months of daily crying feeling my heart break that I must leave my kids again. The guilt returns. Us working women that work fir necessity still have to try to live the Godly wife life lime scripture says, however it pains me to know that I cant do it all. So we get up and dig deep in out hearts for strength to work and try to be the most present mom we can be with the time we have. We feel guilty because our desire is to be home, but we cant. So we wake up every morning asking God for strengh to endure all the responsibilites that a working mom has to do. We end up with such little time for ourselves that we wear out. This is reality. We loves our families so much that we head out everyday to earn money to provide!

  6. 21

    This post – these words – they’re just simply love poured out as understanding and encouragement for working moms.

    Thank you for bringing words that bless.


  7. 22

    I want to be home SO desperately with my children. Thank you so much for your words of grace… reading them with tears as I get ready to go to work again tomorrow.

    • 23

      One of my kids always used to come and find me in the wee hours and sit with me as I got ready. It was a benediction, a grace, a blessing. And even as I remember it it aches. You are brave. Much braver than you know.

  8. 24

    I just love you… How you make me feel normal & less alone. I hate the working mom guilt, the longing to be home with my kids. I try to focus on the positives, to remember how God is using my work to provide for us, but its easy to forget. Thanks, friend.

  9. 25

    Just so…thank you.

  10. 26

    This is fabulous. I’m passing it on …

  11. 27

    Thank you for writing this. There are really no other words but thank you. Now, if I could just quit crying so I can finish packing that backpack. :)

  12. 29

    Tears spilled from my eyes as I read this. Like Amy above, all I can say is thank you.

  13. 30

    I am starting work tomorrow after havingy first baby. I have been struggling so badly with guilt, frustration, anger, and all the emotions that go along with that inevitable return. You had me in tears and gave me the strength to face tomorrow. Praise God in everything.

    • 31

      said a prayer for you this morning, Jillian. i’ve been all over the board as far as my work schedule goes through the years. i have four tweens/teens, and work very minimal hours most weeks now, but i understand all those feelings. hang in there! you are a warrior :-)

      • 32

        Amen and amen to what Hope Unbroken said. And if I may add? Take all that frustration to the God who is never threatened or worried by it. He and I had many a hard and shouty conversation over the years and I was always the better for it.

  14. 33

    Thank you for posting. I am a first-time mom to a three month old, and am a working mother. This post made me cry because there are times I worry that I am not present enough for my baby girl. Thank you for the reminder that we are all trying to do what is best for our families. I really needed that.

  15. 35

    I’m crying, too. As I was leaving for my part-time job on Saturday, my tween asked, “Momma, can you just sit by me before you go to work? I never get to see you on the weekends.” I’m all they have, their dad checked out and we never hear from him with visits or financial support for the kids; I work full-time during the week, part time on the weekends which equals working everyday of the week. I try to justify working so much with the fact that it allows them to participate in a couple of activities they otherwise would not be able to do, but I get tired and worn down and the voices get louder than I can drowned out sometimes. Thank you!

  16. 36

    Thank you for the encouragement. Just finished packing up 2 school lunches, making sure lunch is ready for the toddler, then packing my own lunch for work. Your words refresh me as I prepare for the week of unwelcomed separations, reminding me to trust the One who made me AND them.

  17. 38

    Your post was shared with me by a friend. Now tears stream down my face as I type because I have only heard “Deserter” and words of tremendous guilt for seven long years. You so eloquently gave light to a deep place in my heart and mind that has judgement for the time I am away from home. Thank you for speaking these words.

  18. 40

    I unexpectedly started sobbing from this beautiful post. Thank you! For some reason I can’t even explain the guilt but you just summed it up.

  19. 41

    As a working momma who is heading back to work soon after the birth of my son, I thank you! That tearing of my heart is so familiar & yet without my income we could not afford our home, our bills, our food. I am grateful for your words today.

  20. 42


  21. 43

    Thank you so much for these words of faith and wisdom!!!!

  22. 44

    Great article! I appreciate your words very much! What’s even worse for me is actually enjoying your work as much as enjoying being a mom. Trying to balance that out is my own source of guilt. I feel bad because I don’t have that *longing* to stay at home. I feel bad because I love my job and I love being a financial contributor to the family. Like I am less of a mom because I *want* to work….

    • 45

      Don’t feel bad. No one should feel trapped at home. I’m beginning to realize that I would be happier working part time (though that may not be possible for me due to logistical issues, and I don’t really want to work full time). For me the key is a combination of financial and personal. If I could return to the workforce to a job I loved, that paid enough to make it worth my while. As it is now, if I returned to work, I wouldn’t bring home much after taxes and daycare. I can’t imagine a job I would love enough for that. Never feel guilty for loving your work. Loving your children doesn’t necessarily mean you love being with them 24 hours a day. (I don’t love being with my kids all the time). I often wish I had a job I loved that much, that paid me enough that I could work.

      • 46

        Thank you Bethany. Yes. There are so many lies whispered by mother guilt; don’t listen to them. Sift through, with grace and peace as your barometer. You are loved, you mother, you are brave.

    • 47

      I feel the exact same way – most days. I like working. It makes me feel like I am making a difference outside my home as well as inside it. I also try for that elusive balance between home and work and personal time. I don’t have it, but to borrow a phrase from Lysa TerKeurst, I am making “imperfect progress”. This year, I have decided (and am trying to follow-through) on listening what my heart says about my life and not what everyone else thinks.
      Keep being true to your heart.

  23. 49

    Thank you for these words of genuine love written to ALL moms! I have struggled with reading so many blogs/books by stay at home…home schooling moms. We women judge ourselves and others so critically. Your reminder of Proverbs 31:15 is great. Most moms wake early…we have to. Full throttle, we dig a little deeper, it’s the only way we go. Inside of us is our sweet Father, calling us each to our journey! That call is the only call that matters.

  24. 51

    I read this as I’m getting ready for work….Thankyou so much.

  25. 52

    Thank you, friend. A hundred times over, thank you — for being obedient to the tug for this to be written. He is so good. And so gracious.

    This: “We practice dying to our own desires every day . . . We walk the hard path of trust. ”

    Oh, Amen.

  26. 55

    thank you for this. i shared it on facebook because a lot of moms need this! i have struggled and struggled for years with this guilt. the Lord has finally blessed me with something where my kids can be with me after school… but the guilt is still there with every missed in school event like class trips, my younger son’s gingerbread house making in school… so thank you for this. i get so focused in my own mess and guilt that i forget about the millions of mamas in my shoes- or even worst off than i am (moms in the military, moms who have to travel, moms who work double shifts, etc…). so i will commit to pray for all working mamas.- thank you again!!!

  27. 56

    This undid me. As a single mom(not by choice) who would love to stay home more than anything, I needed this reminder. I have only heard the lies of the enemy. Thank you, especially, for the scriptures you shared. You are such an encouragement in all of your posts.

    • 57

      Hold tight Susanna, the Father God has got your hand and He is always faithful. You are beloved as much as your children and you are covered in grace. Blessings on you today, friend.

  28. 58
    Joanne Viola says:

    Sitting here this morning having read this, with tears streaming. I am the Mimi (& daycare provider) to my two granddaughters. I forwarded your post to my daughter who works so hard & would much rather be home with her 2 babies. Thank you for sharing this & for encouraging ALL the working moms. May God richly bless you & continue to use you!

  29. 60

    This is what I read first thing, 5:30AM sitting here trying to wrestle with drooping eyelids and learning from God… My baby is 16 and yet every but of this rings try. And the lies I listen to, tell myself and believe they are still a struggle… But “drenched in grace” oh thank you friend just thanks you for speaking to this “I’m barely awake, I haven’t had my coffee yet and really I have to go to work?” mama…

  30. 61

    Thank you. This is what I needed to hear on this day. Gods hand is in your work.

  31. 62

    Thank you very much for writing this. I want so much to be at home, but due to my husband’s illness, I have to work. I am encouraged.


  32. 64

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

  33. 65
    Jen Millett says:


    I wish I could hug you and take you out for coffee. Your words ministered to this working mama’s heart this morning. I cried. Alot. Thank you for reminding me I am drenched in grace when I too often forget or worse yet, refuse to accept.

  34. 67

    As a mom of 5 who first stayed home for 11 years and have been a working 40 plus hours a week mom for the last 17 I am so grateful for this post and wish I’d been able to read this years ago. The guilt, sadness, conflict I felt met with the ungrace of all those stay at home mamas around me. So.hard. Thanks for gracing the ungrace with your words.

  35. 68

    I think that no matter our choice, we moms feel guilty. I feel guilty for staying home and watching the bills just barely get paid each month, wondering if there will be enough money to keep my daughter in pants and almost wishing my son wouldn’t be an early walker so we can save money on shoes. But when I begin taking steps towards returning to the workforce I am faced with the same lies written above. I find myself in a constant battle including the idea of giving up my dream of homeschooling only to send my kids off to a sub-par public school system (which is our only other financial choice). Grace to all of you working outside the home, those working from home, in the home, stay at home and every other combination in between. This is the season you are in. This is where God has called you for now. Take heart.

  36. 70

    Great post, Lisa. I really appreciate this!

  37. 71

    Thank you!! I so needed this today!! What a godly, beautiful blessing you are!!

  38. 72

    Also crying. Thank you so much. What a gift.

  39. 73

    Thank you a thousand times my Sunday Sister!

  40. 74

    This post brought me to tears, and after many tears of struggle yesterday and prayers to God to change my attitude about being a working mom, this was just what I needed this morning. Your words hit the nail on the head and put a voice to my feelings. It’s good to know I’m not alone in my struggle. Your words are a blessing, and I will return to them again and again when I am having a beat myself up kind of day. Thank you.

  41. 76

    Wow. I needed to hear this more than I even knew. I have a 6 week old and my deepest dreams and desires revolve around being able to stay home with him. I went back to work 2 weeks ago, and it has been super hard. Until I read this, I didn’t even realize that the guilt was there. Rooted so deeply. Thank you.

  42. 77

    Lisa-Jo…You Rock! You are a Proverbs 31 woman for sure! You are capturing what we are feeling, thinking, and doing! Keep it going! Love it!

  43. 78

    Exactly what my heart needed in this moment of struggle between the work / life balance. Thank you for giving me permission to grant myself GRACE, for ironically I’m much harder on myself than I realize. Life is a mixture of give and take, and I will embrace the Sunday night preparation knowing that it will be bring a tear-free, stress-free and yell-free Monday morning.

  44. 79

    Wow! A young mommy friend shared this and it is beautiful. What grace you have, and what beautiful writing. God bless you in your ministry!

  45. 80

    “We need grace from others because goodness knows we rarely get it from ourselves. And when the crackly static of the nagging dies down, there is another voice and He whispers, provider.”

    Lisa-Jo, I wept over this article. It was precisely what I needed to read last night, when an entire weekend had been ‘wasted’ away by doing the things that needed doing when I’d rather be holding my son instead. Making baby food. Laundry. Laying insulation in the attic, to try to make our home just a little bit warmer and just a little less drafty. The mantra to get through quivering muscles furious at me for making them go in places too small up in the attic was, ‘Because my Baby Needs This,’ and that’s somehow still not enough? Because it never seems to be enough.

    Thank you for telling me that the voice is a liar. Even when you know it, sometimes you just have to read it from someone else’s fingertips. To hear it. To read it. To internalize it all over again. I read a second and third time again today, just to give myself a little extra encouragement to get through the freezing rain and morning heartbreak.

    Thank you. /Thank you./

  46. 82

    Wow…I saw a link to this post on FB, and this is something I struggle with all the time. I was in tears by the end and couldn’t even see the words. I have already added your blog to my Google Reader list that I sift through on pumping breaks at work. What an encouragement!

    • 83

      Hey there Kwojo, it’s lovely to meet you. And women who pump at work? That is a special kind of courage and may you have peace in your days and blessing in your nights with your little one. Warm wishes, Lisa-Jo

  47. 84

    “You are no less and no more than the mothers who get to stay home. God did not give them a pass and you a punishment. You do not need to apologize for the fact that you work. You do not need to be embarrassed.” I need to read those words every day as I’ve struggled through so many why’s and so much guilt. This is the first time I’ve read a Christian post that doesn’t condemn me for having to work or suggest that I could do better by being a stay-at-home mom. Thank you so much for writing this; it’s a timely, encouraging word for this tired mama.

    • 85

      Hi there Micah (waves from the comfy bed) – yes, I’ve heard so many of those hard words in the past and I know enough now to know that mothering is hard without us beating up on one another. Praying peace on your journey and such a profound knowledge of the grace and goodness of God in all things. Blessings, Lisa-Jo

  48. 86

    Wow! I so needed this today…thank you for posting :)

  49. 87

    “And when the crackly static of the nagging dies down there is another voice and He whispers, provider.”

    Thank you for this post. I’m crying as I read it. Wow.

  50. 88

    “Trusting that the God who built our kids will parent them in our absence, will grow them in courage, and teach them over time that this is what love looks like.” Such truth and such encouragement for us all. Beautiful words!

  51. 89

    As a nanny, I can empathize because I’ve worked for a long string of working mothers who felt they needed to constantly defend or make excuses for wanting (or needing) to work.

    But without their careers, I wouldn’t have my career. And my career is the most life-giving, joyful, fulfilling career possible (for me.)

    I love working moms. They don’t love their family less, they don’t want “a break” from the house/the kids/the laundry. They want to provide the best possible life for their children, and they work so they can afford to do so. I have nothing but respect for all moms who work!

    • 90

      I love that you shared this, Jaynie. Thank you thank you. Even though I work from home now, I still work full time and couldn’t possibly do it without a nanny. She’s a gift and the biggest grace in my life in so many ways.

  52. 91

    My oldest is 9 and I have struggled with this all those years. I have an almost 5 year old and felt the guilt when I dropped her off at daycare. We have another baby girl in our lives now through adoption and while the guilt has gotten better it will still be hard in 4 short weeks when I drop her off. I think a lot of my guilt now comes from me not enjoying my job anymore and being stuck in it for now. Thank you so much for your words.

  53. 93

    This was a wonderful post. I struggle all the time trying to balance being a mom…wife…and work. I sometimes loose “me” in all of it.

  54. 94

    Thank you so much for this. My eyes teared up as I continued to read. My heart aches to be home with my child, but I know this is where God has me in this season. Thank you. Thank you.

  55. 95

    Taking my kiddo to the doctor tomorrow, partly to talk about seperation anxiety and speech issues. Seperation anxiety – from me, which he has continued to go through for over a year. My momma guilt is huge, and I wonder if his introversion and speech issues are caused by me being at the office. Even if it is caused by me, I work because I have to, so what could I do?


    • 96

      Pray, and hold tight to the hand of the Father who knows the answer. Then listen to see what could change, what you could shift, what small difference you could perhaps make that would be a big change for your boy. So many blessings on you both.

      • 97

        One more thought, Kacie, after reading your blog post – my Micah was a clingy one too. Terribly, desperately anxious without me. And he was the one in daycare earliest. I learned to just give myself to him totally any time I could. We gave up on the church nursery and I simply told the women who worked there that “kids need a Sabbath too.” Micah needed rest from being away from me. He needed as much of me as I could give the time we had together. He would sleep on my face, sit on the toilet seat in the mornings when I got ready, hold my hand, stroke my face. And I let him. I just let him. I surrendered as much of my time and my own space to fill him up as I reasonably, feasibly could and it made a huge difference. For both of us, I would say.

        So for your sweet Judah – if you can just simply decide to be his first and foremost for a season, I think this will bless you both.

        Praying for you guys tonight,

        • 98

          Thank you. I think this is my instinctive response and then I sometimes feel the pressure from others to ask him to be more disciplined, to push him into time with others so that he adjusts to it, etc.

          I think it seems to me he just wants his mom. Your words are encouraging. :)

  56. 99

    You know what part got me? The darn meals prepared to be eaten in our absence. It’s easier for me to just consider the fun and playtime I’m missing…but the tending to and caring for that I’m missing? That’s heart breaking.

    We all need more grace. Love. Compassion. And truth-speakers. Thank you, Lisa Jo, for being a truth-speaker.

  57. 100

    Wow.. it is so enlightening.. really helpful to know that working moms experience guilt too! As a stay at home mom I have felt guilty for years that I don’t provide for my family. I coupon, make my own soaps and such, but I don’t actually have a hand in making the money that I spread so thinly. I have experienced shame and guilt that I cannot afford to take my kids to Disney, buy them Gymboree clothing.. or even new clothing. God made it very clear to me that He wants me at home, but I always feel guilty when I can’t afford the big birthday party, or can’t afford ballet classes. Every family is different. Every family has its own calling. Every mom suffers from guilt. I will try to remember this post when that little green monster pops up.. Why trade my “mom guilt” for someone else’s “mom guilt?”

  58. 102

    Thank you for the encouragement. You touched so many hearts today that are deeply in need of encouragement and grace. I can’t tell you what your words meant to my tired and weary heart. Thank you. Thank you.

  59. 103

    I have not had a child at hone for many years now, however, reading this transported me back to re -live every word you wrote. I heard the deceiver guilt and berate me to the point of fear and desperation. But stand strong and firm, for the day came for me, as it will come to many, where humbly we can admit to ourselves we made it through the fire. Maybe not unscathed, but made it through none the less.

  60. 104

    Thank you for this…My kids are a bit older (11 and 7) but that guilt hit like a lead brick on my head as I watched their faces cry for me. Now, I still punish myself as I am facing to have my son tested for learning deficiencies this week thinking to myself “Maybe if I could have stayed home with him, I could have prepared him better, taught him better, read over things…” all those things that moms do when they feel their child is struggling or hurt. I don’t give myself grace but thank you for reminding me that I deserve it as much as anyone else does…..

  61. 105

    I am a working mama. My daughter just turned a year old. Going to work gets a little harder every day. Thank you for this.

  62. 106

    I really appreciate this! However, please don’t forget about us moms who love our jobs, and find incredible fulfillment in our professional careers. We also have the guilt of “Why do you love your job – you should feel badly about working!” in addition to the ongoing mommy guilt. My job makes me a better person and a better mother, b/c I am happy there.

    • 107

      It’s such a double edged sword, Beth. You’re right! I love my job and sometimes I feel guilty that it’s not drudgery. But I also want to be with my kids every moment that I can.

    • 108

      Hear you, Beth. I hear you. And I think the only answer is always more grace – more for the working moms, more for the stay home moms, more for the homeschoolers who worry they’re not getting it right and more for the women who worry over sending their kids out to school. There are a million myriad ways we can fall prey to the same guilt and tonight, tonight I pray a soothing balm of grace, heaven sent, for each one of us.

      Blessings on you tonight,
      (who currently LOVES her full time, happens to be work from home job very very much :)

  63. 109

    Thank you for this post – I don’t think I’ve read anything that feels truer as a full-time working mama. Most mornings, I leave before my little one has even opened her eyes. The guilt and the pain is oh-so deep. Everyone says it will get easier; yet, here I am a year and a half later, and it’s still so hard. Thank you so much for sharing!

  64. 110

    I am that Sunday night momma too. And it hurts…and it will never get easier…and that’s ok. Grace will make it ok.

  65. 111

    Lisa Jo, thank you for this! One of my coworkers sent me this link today, and it brought tears to my eyes. I can hear your soothing, grace-filled voice saying it to me as I read. It’s a little easier since my girls are in school, but I was always the one to be there when they ran out to the car in the afternoons. It is a blessing to have a job – but it’s tough.

    • 112

      Hey Sarah – yes, there aren’t enough ways to say how much mothers need grace. From themselves, their families, their communities, their churches. To mother is to change lives often starting with your own. And it unmakes us and puts us together again in unique and often painful and beautiful ways. Where would we be without friends to bring over the soup, cover the after school pick ups, remind us that it’s parent teacher day. We need each other. Because after all, we’re in this together. So blessings on you tonight, friend.
      Warm wishes

  66. 114

    Thank you for this post, it was such an encouragement~ I will keep it and remember it on those hard, guilt-ridden days when I would rather be cuddling up with my growing-ever-so-fast 14 month old daughter instead of working to pay all those bills *sigh*

  67. 115

    Before I read all the comments saying a simple ‘thank you’ for this… that was all I could think to write. I don’t know whether the post or the comments were more powerful, but simply ‘thank you’ Lisa Jo and ‘thank you’ to all of you. I feel so much less alone. again, ‘thank you’.

    • 116

      Amen and amen Melissa. It felt like a benediction -all these women sharing a shared heart break and a shared hope. How much wonder we can do when we listen gently and offer grace before anything else. Thank YOU.
      warm wishes

  68. 117

    Oh Lisa,

    I am a stay at home mom now but I have been that mom and I so wish someone had said these words to me in that precarious season when I begged my daughter’s caregivers not to tell me if she took her first steps when she was with them, to let me believe, when it happened, that it was for me first. I was the mom who cried every. single. day. when I dropped her off and hated how fast the weekends flew and how my phone would inevitably ring with some urgency 10 minutes before I was supposed to pick her up during the week. Even though I am no longer that mom, I remember all those feelings.

    I love that you get it, as you so often do, and are able to put it into such loving words. Thank you for speaking such beautiful mom truth.

    Blessings & hugs,

  69. 118

    As a single mom who first had to put my daughter in daycare at the age of 4 months and has been working shift work since, thank you for this. It has touched me more than you know <3

  70. 119

    thank you so much for this! It is just wonderful to read a Christian blog about working mums that isn’t telling me that I need to be at home all of the time with my daughter. This wrestle in my heart comes up every now and then, and was just peeking up again! We are blessed because she spends her time with her grandmother when I am gone, but still I wonder if its the right thing!! Thank you for the reminder that I am ‘no more and no less’ than my stay at home mum friends.

  71. 120

    Thanking you through thick tears! You have no idea how much I needed to hear this today. God has spoke straight to my heart through you!! :) saying a prayer for all of us working mamas right now! :)

  72. 121

    Thank you for this. It’s exactly what I needed right now.

  73. 122

    Lisa-Jo this spoke to my heart, someone understands ot heart. It was like you were listening to my heart on Sunday. Im a working mom and have had these thoughts nd thought i was all alone. But im not, shout out to all you working moms. God will se you through everyday. Im right here with you. God bless you LIsa and thank you for sharing and encouraging us!

    Sunday Nighter,

  74. 123

    Thank you for this post and the comments for fellow working moms. It is comforting to know I am not alone.

  75. 124

    Thank you so much for posting. You said exactly how I’ve been feeling. My girls beg for me to stay home and my heart breaks each time I tell them I can’t. I’ve also have received some hurtful comments. I will try to remember to have grace. Thank you again.

  76. 125

    You will never know of my need (today, right this minute) of grace. I needed this reminder and encouragement like I need air and water today. I am a new mom and only work half a day, but when your heart is at home, even 15 minutes would seem like eternity. A month and a half of daycare has created havoc in my heart – guilt, frustration, unhealthy comparison, anger and frustration. Every morning I get up in desperate need of the Lord’s grace and many times forget that He gives it freely. Thank you for faithfully posting hard things that turn out to be sweet reminders to sinners who forget to trust the Lord.
    Oh but He is so faithful. Praise the Lord.

  77. 126
    Shannon Goodson says:

    This post was forwarded to me by a member of an online group I belong to, after I had just posted about dealing with “Mom Guilt vs. Work Guilt”. It touched me and I still tear up every time I reread it. Thank you for giving me the strength to perservere and the confidence to know that others know the internal struggle that I’m going through. I am not alone in this!!

  78. 127

    This was perfect just what I needed as I sit here at work sad missing my baby. I feel a lot better now.. thank you!!!!!!

  79. 128

    These words were shared with me by my daughter, who is in law school. I am spending a month with her to help with childcare of my beautiful granddaughter. I was a single parent who worked full time and pursued a Masters degree & God made sure I also had a community to raise my 3 children when I worked Long hours to make ends meet and to create a better life for us all. For years I have carried guilt, especially when my children also complained about being latchkey kids. God did protect us through it all. I am happy that my daughter has found your message & perhaps she won’t carry the same guilt as she pursues an advanced degree. And thank you for providing scripture to support the mother’s dedication to caring for her family.

  80. 129

    Thank you so much for this; I really needed to hear it. My daughter (my first baby) is almost six months old, and not being able to stay home with her has been so hard, even though I know I’m providing things my family needs (food, health insurance, half the mortgage payment, etc.) by working.

  81. 130

    No one can understand the guilt we feel as a working mom that carts their kid off Mon thru Fri. I pray for Friday to come quick and.for Sundays to never end.

  82. 131

    I read this as I am preparing to leave my sweet 19 mos old and 4 mos old as I head back to work tomorrow after a fleeting maternity leave. Thank you for allowing the Holy Spirit to speak truth and life through your words. You connect the tender and ruthless hearts of mothers all over the world. Blessings!

  83. 132

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I stumbled upon this post on Pinterest a few weeks ago, and I have re-read it several times because I just need this encouragement so badly. I am 35 weeks pregnant with my first child, and I am already feeling the sting of having to return to work after my baby is born. I’d so much rather stay at home, but my family needs my income. My church gave me a wonderful baby shower yesterday, and I wanted to cry this morning as I left for work with all the wonderful gifts piled in the middle of the living room floor. I won’t have time to cut off tags and put them away today because I am at work. My heart breaks for my husband too because my desire to stay at home makes him feel guilty, like he’s not doing a good enough job of providing for our family since I have to work. It’s a vicious cycle, really. I think I’m going to print this post and put in on my bathroom mirror so it can be a daily reminder that I am truly doing what my family needs from me, even if it hurts.

  84. 133

    Dear Lisa Jo,
    You inspire me to hope, love and real, authentic motherhood! Thank you for writing and sharing your heart. I am a working momma of 3 little ones, 2 girls and a boy (ages 4 going on 5, 2 and a half, and 5 months). I am tired. I grow weary. I feel the full weight of that guilt at times. I have never ever seen it written so eloquently as you did. It is almost like you shared the heaviness of my heart through your words. I am full of joy. I love mommyhood, I love writing, and I love my job teaching 2nd graders. Your blog post came to my email box on a Sunday night and I wept. I shared it to my facebook page. I printed it out and read it every chance I can get. I love your heart. I wish I could meet you in person. I feel like I already know you through the journey of your writing and your photos. I want to encourage you to keep on. You are making a difference. I recently entered the blog world and I am going to work on mustering the courage to carve out the 5 minute space to join your 5 minute Friday. I hope you are having a good weekend, my sister in Christ! <3

  85. 134

    I just wanted to thank you and the other moms who have posted here. I am so fortunate to be blessed with two little ones ages 1 & 3, they are by far the best things that have ever happened to me. I am also so fortunate to have a job that allows me to provide for them, but it requires me to work 60 hours a week and for that I am guilt stricken. I feel like a terrible mother. I get home in time to fix dinner give baths and put them to bed. I leave hours before they are awake. Last night was really hard because I felt like I spent the entire time I had with them getting on to them for mischief. I laid them down in their beds and wept. This morning I am still very upset but you all gave me a little peace. I live for Sunday’s the one day I do not go to work. I am often afraid that my children will resent me for not being there, but I have no choice and hope they will see in the future I do this for them. Again, I just wanted to say thank you for giving me a glimmer of peace.

  86. 135

    I am a stay at home mama, and I also thank you for this post. It made me feel the ache of my sisters (both literal and figurative) who work so hard to provide for their families. In the daily, persistent, illogical demands of toddlers and utter sameness of routine regardless of the day of the week- it’s easy to lose perspective. This brought it home for me. Thanks.

  87. 136

    I am a full time working my since the day my son was born. I see so many of my friends and woman I know staying home with their children. I want those days where I just didn’t get the laundry done to walk on a sunny day. My line of work there is no weekend or night time solace. I work those as well. This made me cry because of just how true this is. Most of what those single mom’s say is not mean but more that I am jealous. The ones that can attend ever game or practice, bake cookies on a whim, have a spontaneous beach day, or just lay around with a pajama day. Thank you for this. I know without my job there would be no ice cream trips at all, no lunches to pack for a picnic and no vacations to take at all.

  88. 137

    I have cried with this post so much. I have been very depressed about having to go to work. I worry that because of my work, my boys will not have an opportunity to enjoy sports, play dates, or other things. I’ve had the sense that my focus has been on my work primarily. Just the other day, I sent my son without his school uniform to school thinking it was his ‘casual day’…well, I mixed up the days. I did this on his birthday! How could I do this? I’m so exhausted that I lack everywhere around the house. I’m praying that Jesus will bless me with enough energy to do the laundry, fold it, and put it away. Thank you for your post; the Proverbs 31 verse made me cry. I always tell my husband that I can never be the Proverbs 31 woman because I work outside the home. I never related to it until today. Thank you for blessing me.

  89. 138

    This is beautiful and so deserved. I am blessed to be primarily a stay at home mommy, I dabble in working here and there for a little cash to take off the edge but Its rare. My mommy worked all my life though, she became my beautiful mother at 14 and she continued to fight through school and working to provide for us (she was homeless or the breadwinner since she was 8) and graduated valedictorian with three babies. after that she worked 2 jobs and night school for college, and after she got her associates she worked 3 jobs until she could get one that paid more than minimum. she became a CNA, and later a paralegal when she realized she couldn’t handle the medical field emotionally and she was always bringing home sickness from the nursing home. she had 4 children by the time she was 20, she had some very very low points, she was always far too dependant emotionally on men until I was old enough to tell her she didn’t need them, she is my hero. Do I wish I had seen her more?? hell yes. but she made all the time we did have together meaningful. I am in awe of you women. you are heroes

  90. 139

    Wooooow , just what I needed to read. Thank you thank you thank you.
    I only really see my beautiful two young children 3 hours a day, of which half of it is trying to get them ready to leave the house and the other half homework and trying to tuck them in bed in time, in between I still a cuddle or two. This article was brilliant.
    feeling heaps better than 10 minutes ago :o)

  91. 140

    Well I really liked reading it. This post procured by you is very useful for proper planning.

  92. 141

    A piece of perfection. This is precise and also relevant.

  93. 142

    Thank you so much for this. I am a working mom with 2 children. I also make more money than my husband, so the option of me staying home is not there. I would love to have more children, but the fact that I work a lot makes it a very tough decision. I am sitting at home tonight, feeling guilty, tired, and frustrated and I Googled “being a working Christian mom” and your blog came up. God knew I needed this. Thank you

    • 143

      Britton – I am in the SAME boat as you, and have the exact same thoughts/concerns over more children. So glad to know I am not alone. :) Stay strong!!

      • 144

        Me too!! :) Slowly learning to lean into this work God has called me too. Keep looking up, ladies. It’s so good to know we are not alone!

    • 145

      I am the main bread winner in my home, too. It’s a struggle knowing you want to provide for your family, but also BE THERE for your family. I have been traveling with work a lot the past almost year now (even a 3 month rotation to Afghanistan) and I just keep praying God will let me find grace in this or provide me a new job which I can be home every night with my family.

      Keep your head up! You’re not alone and I hope the Lord can provide you the comfort needed to get through your days. :)

  94. 146

    Thank you… though you wrote these words MONTHS ago, a friend shared your post with me today. So wonderful how God gives us just what we need at just the right time. Left my sick baby girl at home today because I had to come back to work, leave is low… I am usually so strong, but days like today made my heart ache. Your words renewed my soul and encouraged me to remember why it is I do what I do … thank you.

  95. 147

    Thank you! I needed that piece of encouragement!

  96. 148
    Linda Moberg says:

    I love this! Your words are beautiful, like music that some of us hear and others prefer to pretend they don’t or simply block it out. I was lucky as a kid, my mom was home every day when my sister and I got home from school. She helped out in our classes and on trips, even a couple times while I was in high school. I never really had to work, but there came a time, when hubby was in the Army that I started volunteering on post and then got a part time job. Throughout our now 42 yr marriage and 2 kids, a daughter, 37 and son, almost 34, I did work, but I think all of us have benefited from it. When I was home all day, sometimes you get so caught up in the day to day, mommy come here, mommy help me, mommy let’s do this, not that it isn’t wonderful, but you need also something to make you feel good about who you are and not JUST a wife and/or mother. Those jobs and not being a grandma are jobs I would never completely give away, but working allows me to sometimes rejuvenate and come back better than before. To hear someone ask if I worked, meaning a “paying” job irritated me to no end! Mothers work 24/7, 365 days a year, no pension, except the love of those around us, no insurance, in many cases, yet the pay will last a lifetime. I have gone back to work after 10 yrs and am now 63. My daughter and grandson live with us and our son and my other grandson up the road. I love them all and wouldn’t change a thing. I ask someone if they work outside the home, not do they work. When working mothers come home, many are cooking, cleaning, getting ready for the next day, etc, often while daddy, if he is there is asleep and so are the children. Sometimes that is the only time she will get just a moment or two alone. God bless you moms, whether you gave birth, raising a grandchild, adopted, or foster children. We are gifts, most of us, to our children as they are to us. Just remember how precious the time is we spend with them for we never know when it will end. If you work outside the home, be proud!, at home, be proud!, because it is we who are there that give our love and time to those so precious to us.

  97. 149

    I was sent a link to this list by a friend that knows how much I struggle being a working Mom. Thank you so much for letting God use you. No one has any idea how much I needed those words! I feel like I’m constantly judged by those around me who truly don’t know how much it breaks my heart to leave. It truly is a constant sickening guilt. I feel encouraged to keep doing what is necessary to provide for my sweet family. What a blessing.

  98. 150

    From the bottom of my soul, thank you. Years ago, I thought it would be a wonderful idea to become a lawyer because, in the event that anything should ever happen to my husband, I would be able to provide for our children. The loans that I took out to get that legal education are the very reason that I must say goodbye to my children everyday and go to work. For years I have viewed my working outside the home as God’s way of punishing me for not trusting him with my future and relying on my own abilities. I have cruelly beaten myself up over my decision to become a lawyer. Your words are literally balm to my soul. “God did not give them a pass and you a punishment.” – Those words are for me and God used you to deliver them. I can never thank you enough for allowing God to use you to bring me such peace.

    • 151

      Oh Rebecca! I have those same law school loans and struggle with those same doubts and fears and nagging guilt-ridden questions. And that last line, that line came from many painful conversations with stay home moms who told me, “Well, God knew I couldn’t handle being away from my kids…” and it was so hurtful to imagine that somehow they’d had a pass and I hadn’t. Until one day I really thought and meditated on it and I was certain I just knew the Holy Spirit was telling me that was a lie. There is no meanness in God. He is grace and love and He equips and He gives and He cares for us as tenderly as we care for our kids. So yes, that line? It was a gift to you and me both, sister.

  99. 152
    Anna Shmukler says:

    What a wonderful post. I was working mom all my adult life. I raised 3 incredible children while working full time. I felt guilty every time my kids couldn’t go somewhere because I was at work and my husband was at work too. But now I can see the results of the struggle you discribe in your post and I have to tell you: it was worth it.
    Dear young working moms, you doing great service to you kids. NO MORE GUILT.
    I admire all of you and I pray for all of you to stay strong.

  100. 153
    Priscilla says:

    Thank you so much for this! I have a 5 month old baby and every morning I feel like I walk away from my heart as I leave him at daycare. It takes everything out of me to drive away. I was lucky enough to stay home with him for the first 3 months but in my heart I feel I needed more time.
    I do feel guilty for working. Sometimes, I wish I could have it easier but I have to work. We need the additional income. I thank you for this beautiful message. I pray it will get easier.

  101. 154

    I found this on Facebook and it has helped me today. I have a 9 week old son and one more week at home with him before I must return to work. I also have a daughter that started kindergarten this fall. I had a repeat c section when I delivered my son and a tubal during the procedure. So this is my last baby and I’m struggling with all the feelings of my first baby growing up and leaving my last baby. All I can think about is dreading returning to work and how I will handle it all. I will keep this post for future reference when I am feeling down again. Thank you.

  102. 155

    I am in tears right now because this touched me in such a way that you may never know. A good friend of mine sent this to me because she knows how much I struggle with not being able to stay home with my girls & this has helped me a lot. Thank you so much for this!

  103. 156

    I cannot say thank you enough! Your words spoke straight to my breaking heart. I’m a teacher and must return to work on Monday. I had my little girl in June and and my son will be two in a few days. The thoughts of missing so much while they are so young weighs tremendously on my heart and mind. Thank you again for speaking God’s words of grace.

  104. 157

    Thank you. It’s so refreshing to read a piece dedicated to working moms. Beautiful words. Thank you.

  105. 158

    Just what I needed! I am the mother of a six, three and two year old twins. I find myself torn between motherhood and career every minute of everyday. Thank you for the sweet reminder that God sees the endless effort and love that is poured out every single day. Grace is a beautiful gift!

  106. 159

    What an encouraging message. I am in tears and can’t stop just to even see that there is someone who could put into words exactly how I feel. Thank you for the reminder of us being drenched in grace. What a loving, beautiful Heavenly Father we have. Your words have touched many. Thank you for sharing as the Spirit guides.

  107. 160

    I so needed this today. I feel so guilty that I have to work outside the home and cant be there for all the things my kids want me to be there for. Something as simple as picking them up from school…and I cant because of work. Thank you…

  108. 161

    Thank you. <3. That's all I can say now.

  109. 162

    I saw this posted on Facebook and was reminded again of how encouraging this post is. Just this morning as I was rushing around trying to get ready while my sweet 2-year-old was crying because I couldn’t play with the flashlight in the closet with her, I was thinking to myself, “Why, God? Why do I have to tell her every morning that I can’t play because I have to go to work?” It breaks my heart to have to leave her in the care of others every day, even though I know she is well cared for and loves her time at daycare, even though I myself grew up in daycare and turned out just fine. It doesn’t make it any easier. I think of all the little things I am missing, but I know that God sees them all, and He is watching her even when I can’t. On days like today, that has to be enough for me. Thank you so much for this post and for your blog. It is one of my must-reads because your words always speak straight to my heart. Blessings to you.

  110. 163

    I read this when you originally posted this and it spoke to me then. But you reporting it on Facebook, tonight, when I have to return to work from a 6 week maternity leave on Monday, is like God reminding me that there is a reason he has me where he has me. And even though I’m dreading that alarm going off at 5 on Monday morning, and leaving my 2 year old and my 6 week old, I know God is in that. Thank you thank you thank you.

  111. 164

    I can’t thank you enough for this post! I am a teacher and today was my first day back to school after being with my little boy all summer. It was extremely difficult for me to go back but after reading this, it made me realize that everything is going to be okay!

  112. 165

    Thank you for sharing this again. I have been leaving my babies since they were each 6 weeks old. The oldest is now 22 and the youngest 10 and I still feel guilty about having to leave them to go to work. Blessings!

  113. 166

    I may not be a mother…. But as a father who so wishes he could give the ability to stay home to his wife who wants nothing more….I say thank you for your words. I will never feel the exact sane emotions as a mother, because my burdens were obviously lighter during the months before birth and that innate physical connection that mom and babe have is never something I will be able to claim.. But my guilt at times is just as suffocating. But if He provides for the sparrows….. my son is in His hands. So thank you. You brought tears to my eyes…. And a reminder of His grace and provision to my heart.

  114. 167
    Working Dad says:

    I think what you wrote is truly beautiful and absolutely needed by many, many Moms. Thank you for your thoughtfulness. However, can I share a secret with you? It starts with a question from legions of men. What about me? Do you moms and wives know how much it hurts us working dads to hear you say so often , “I don’t want to do this. I want to stay home with my kids”? I’ll tell you. It hurts a lot. It hurts because, except in very, very rare occasions, we don’t have that option. We can’t say how much we would rather stay home than trudge off into the work world every Monday. And do you know why that hurts? They’re our kids, too! Oh, how we would so much rather stay home and have that time with them. Oh, how much we would love to teach them to brush their teeth and tie their shoes; how much we’d rather take them to the dentist or do craft projects with them to help them learn their shapes. But we dads can’t do that. We have to go to work. It’s expected of us and because it’s expected, we can’t even allow ourselves to give voice to our preference to stay at home. So we read your Facebook posts and your blog comments about how you’d so much rather stay at home and be with your kids and we wonder, what about me?

  115. 168

    Thank you so much. Tears are streaming down my face this very moment. I SO needed this.

  116. 169

    I can’t even tell you how much this means to me. You’ve written the words of how I feel, but cannot express. Thank you. You are a blessing,

  117. 170

    I needed to read this article. After a blessed year and a half maternity leave, I’m heading back into my classroom next week. I haven’t been able to sleep thinking about how to manage drop offs at school and day care, before and after school care and missing taking my Kindergartener the first day of school because I will be welcoming other people’s children into my classroom. Conflicted and sad.

  118. 171
    Lindsay Brinkley says:

    WOW. Tears streaming down my face. in my office this morning Not only am I, and have I been, a working mom of a 2.5 year old, but my husband passed away this past Jan. SO the achy-ness and weight of working is so even more ever present. This post was so right on and what my heart needed this morning. Thank you!

  119. 172

    Thank you for speaking truth! I have to work In order to pay off student loans. I desire to stay at home and I wrestle with envy. I envy those women that get to. I lack grace for myself but it is so nice to hear these words. Thank you for letting God speak through you on this subject!

  120. 173
    Aimee Woolverton says:

    Thank you so much for this word. I had no idea anyone else felt the guilt that I do. God used you to break through the years of torment and help me see a truth that has been buried by years of judgemental religiosity intentionally or unintentionally heaped upon me by other Christians. A guilt made even worse because I love my job too. Thank you for the whisper of grace so gentle that it could slide in under the burden and set my soul free. A thousand times thank you!

  121. 174

    I’m reading your blog for the first time because a friend shared this on Facebook. This morning was the first time my little boy cried when I dropped him off at daycare and I’ve gone through the cycle of beating myself up again, as I have so many times before, for not being there with him instead of at work. God’s timing is so perfect, because I needed this TODAY of all days. Thank you so much for sharing and I’m sure I will read this over and over again. God bless you!

  122. 175

    Prayer does comfort us during any difficult time. I have 5 grown children. I kept my Mother’s Prayer book next to my bed and prayed each day for the grace to disipline my children correctly and strenghten me to be a better, calmer mother. there are prayers in the Mother’s Prayer Book for yourself,your husband and all events that crop up in bringing up children and marriage. You’re amazing and keep telling yourself that. It helps if you have support,this can come from husband,your family or close friends. Good Luck ladies and stay strong!

  123. 176

    I truly needed to hear this today.. I, too, am a working mother, single to boot. I have to trust my children to get themselves on the bus and get home from the bus after school. Yesterday was the first day of the school year and it was a total disaster, late buses, missing children… I sat here in my office thinking “I shouldn’t be here, I should be home.” I do this often, and the stress can be unbearable. I am not like other women in my life who get to stay home with one full-time job. I have to work two full-time jobs and find time to take care of myself in the process. But I continue to do this everyday, continue to provide what little I can for my 4 children and just pray that one day peace will enter my life and things will get easier. And you are so correct. I beat myself up daily and feel that I fall short and I am not doing enough. That I am never good enough! But God tells me that is a lie. I am good enough and He has me in this position for a reason. Because, of all His creatures, I am the one that can handle it. Love to my sisters! Be strong! I love you!

    • 177

      Nina, you have to trust you are raising your kids correctly and arming them with the tools necessary to manage themselves and their safety in your absence. Think, those late busses, messed up schedules and temporarily misplaced children would have happened whether or not you were home or at work. Don’t let Satan convince you that your inadequate, your not, God created you and loves you and He will guide you and protect your family.

      • 178

        Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words.. You are absolutely correct! Whether I was there or not, the incident was still going to occur. My children are so smart and helpful, more than anything I just beat myself up that they have to fend for themselves for a short while. I wish to make life easier for them, but I trust there is also a reason for these situations. Thank you again for this wonderful article and response! God bless!

  124. 179

    Thank you. As a full time working mom of 4 amazing children, I know and feel this guilt everyday. Thank you, you reminded me that this too is part of Gods plan.

  125. 180

    This is such a powerful written piece! I worked till my daughter was 1 year, then stayed home. On one hand I worry about bills and money, then on the other hand, I know those feelings you talk about and worry about that too. Worry worry worry, guilt guilt guilt. Bleh.

    Good luck to all working and stay at home moms!

  126. 181

    I choose to work; for my children to Steve a s a provider and a role model. I highly respect those who stay home because they choose to, because I know I am personally a better mom when I can challenge myself, surround myself with coworkers who are my friends and supporters, and still be there for my kids (just not 24/7).

  127. 183

    I was a working mama/ daycare teacher/stay home/ back to work mamma for years.
    Just want to encourage you working mamas- the ones you leave your children to love them too.
    We love them and care for them just as you would, I was blessed to know one child all through his school years- he became a class mate of my daughters and graduated with her. i have taken care of other peoples children for over 30 years now. My children say – She doesn’t just have 3 kids she has hundreds of kids. Each child became a part of me and I often wonder where they are and what they are doing. When our children are small we think- I shouldn’t do this -=working thing- I should be home with my kids. But you know what i often think letting someone else take care of my children for ever a little while each week has helped them become better people than just me and my husband taking care of them. Treasure each moment because soon they are 19 and out the door- My wonderful daughter just left to spend her last hours home before going off to college to be with her friends, when I jokingly wined about it she kissed me and said – Ah ma I’ll be with you in the car all day tomorrow! don’t worry.
    Life is short Kiss your kids and share them with others.

  128. 184
    Brianne Strong says:

    Thank you so much for posting. Tough times have forced me to work, and I’m occasionally working 2 jobs just to make ends meet. My husband is a student, and this will all be over in a few years once he graduates, but for now, it is so, so hard. My heart breaks every day having to leave my son at home. We are so blessed to have my sister come and watch him every day. But it still hurts my heart. Thank you for this post. It is beautifully written and spoke to my heart. Thank you.

  129. 185

    Everyday I beat myself up. Thank you for this.

  130. 186

    Brings tears to my eyes and solace to my heart to read these words. I need to read them daily. I am a single mom, who never intended for things to be this way, but they are. And I struggle every day with feeling inadequate. Thank you for these words. They bring me peace.

  131. 187

    Thank you for writing this! It’s an approach to the feelings of working Moms that I’ve never seen before. It’s so amaingly true and I’ll need to break this out daily!

  132. 188

    What a great post! I am lucky to have my husband be a stay at home dad, so my little one isn’t in daycare. I am an RN who is also in school to build my career. My daughter sometimes pretends to be sick so I’ll stay and take care of her instead of taking care of my patients. The guilt can be overwhelming, but in the long run I know I am making a better life for our family and also installing the importance of education in her. It’s always nice to have it reaffirmed by others! Thank you!

  133. 189

    This is just what I needed to read today. Thank you!

  134. 190

    Thank you. In July I gave birth to my first child, an unexpected blessing for my husband and I. I will be returning to work in 5 more days and I cry about it daily. Financially there is no other option. My husband works third shift so thankfully I have the comfort of knowing that during the day my husband will be home with our son.
    I thank the Lord for his timing in providing this encouragement for me, as well.

    • 191

      My daughters are 18 and 22 years old. I worked most of the childhood to provide for them along with my husband. God guided us in choosing daycare; they helped raise my girls…our families didn’t live close by. It is like the saying is “it’s the quality of the time you spend with your kids, not the quantity of the time” We are foster parents too, he is now 19, and we are considering another teen placement. Our house is the loudest on the block, many friends of my girls come here because their parents aren’t there for them. Our eldest just married three weeks ago and her husband was part of our household for three years (separate rooms). Don’t ever think you are inadequate…your not! To measure why you are not is simply; you worry that you are not adequate enough…when you stop worrying about it that means you stopped caring…then you most likely at that point NOT adequate. Remember don’t fall into the supermom syndrome either, too much time doing too much, leaves no time for you (and spouse). You are fine..my girls are wonderful, strong, dependable young women!

  135. 192

    I am sobbing as God hugs me with these words. Thank you!

  136. 193

    As a mama of an almost 9 month old, I struggle with the fact that someone else is raising my daughter during the day while I am at work. I was blessed for the first few months that she was cared for by her grandmothers, and I am also blessed to have her at school with me (only 2 rooms over) now. It’s a battle within myself of taking her and dropping her off. I just want to stay home, snuggle with her while she’s little, watch her grow and learn, teach her all the things that she will need to be successful in life. This post really hit home to me, and I thank you for that …

  137. 194

    THANK YOU! It’s been many years for that I experienced those emotions, but I loved the lyrical way of putting into words how I felt every morning.

  138. 195
    Aphra Bolyer says:

    Such beautiful words that ALL mothers need to hear and to share. Thank you!

  139. 196

    I am a young mother with two full time jobs,thank you

  140. 197

    I am a mom and a grandmother. I wept as read this and picked at the scabs on my heart which bleed every time I hear and read “stay at home mommy” as if the not “stay at home mommy” is somehow inferior, which was supposed to be a way to make moms who didn’t have a “career” or “occupation” feel better about themselves. Instead it has become a way to further bemoan women who work outside the home. When women in the church put up walls which divide and do not unite, we defeat the purpose of Proverbs 31. You have correctly stated the obvious. I am sad for younger women who feel they must define themselves beyond being a mom.

  141. 199

    And a word for Beth, because I am a grandma. Consider this my dear. No matter how much you want to just take your beautiful baby home and snuggle–she will take naps a good portion of the day and you will need to keep your home in order, cook, clean, etc. and so that will diminish some of the snuggling time. Make sure you can work in plenty of snuggling time during your time off. Even hire someone to clean, if you can, so you can snuggle more on weekends. I’ve seen many moms who stay at home and play on Facebook, read and snuggle with their children. Meanwhile they don’t cook, they eat junk food and eat out, their homes are a mess, and their children are undisciplined. But they brag about staying at home.

  142. 200

    Thank you…

  143. 201

    Thank you so much for this post. I recently have birth to a beautiful baby boy who returned to Heaven just three short hours later. After walking this journey I find myself holding onto those I love just a little harder. I am planning on going back to work mid-September, and I am already not looking forward to it. God thinks I’m a lot stronger than I do. Thank you for reminding us working moms that even this may be God’s will for our lives.

  144. 202

    Thank you so much for this beautiful post. I told myself I would NEVER work when I had a child. I wanted to be a SAHM so badly. Well, after suffering 5.5 years of infertility, we were finally blessed with a son through the miracle of adoption. After waiting so long and the struggles, I hated that I had to now leave this one whom I had prayed for. But, I am blessed with great caregivers. Yeah, there are mornings when I hate it (like this morning) because he cried. I wanted to cry, too. Thank you for the reminder that God does see us and He knows.

  145. 203

    So beautifully written. Thank you for this. It brought tears to my eyes!!!

  146. 204

    You can have no idea the impact your words have made on my aching spirit. I am the woman you describe day in and day out and sometimes it feels like no one really “gets it”. But you do and you have reminded me that so does He. Thank you.

  147. 205

    I was a single mom when my oldest was 2 and had the gut wrenching guilt of leaving him when i went off to work. Then there is the hurry up “we will be late guilt” and the “impatience cause you are tired guilt”! Then when my oldest was 5 I met a wonderful man, got pregnant, and got to be a mom who was able to stay home – both are equally hard – your patience wears out either way, “mom, mom, mom,…”, won’t take their nap, “wait till your dad gets home” – as a stay at home – thru my own fault – I felt to keep a spotless house, spotless kids- that that was my job! My husband’s job gave me the ability to make the choice to stay home . Whether we work in or outside the home, whether we are lucky enough to choose – we shouldn’t make judgements because maybe the mom who stays home “isn’t lazy and unmotivated” and maybe the mom who chooses (or financially has to) is not “a mom who has other people raise her kids” we don’t know that she isn’t a better mother cause she is doing what fulfills her , or like me in the beginning putting food on the table, providing a home and trying not to feel she can’t possibly do it all. God doesn’t say one is better than the other – I think there is a lot to be said about not judging, lest ye be judged. Thank you for this blog!

  148. 206

    This is absolutely exactly what I needed today. Thank you so much!

  149. 207

    Titus 2: 3-5 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

    Workers at home – so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

    Proverbs 7:11 gives a definition of a prostitute. This is what it says, “She is boisterous and rebellious, her feet do not remain at home.” She’s not content to be at home, she’s not content with that domain with that man, she wants to explore other options.

    Certainly some women must work, though that’s only a secondary effect of other brokenness in our world – divorce, which God hates, the church not taking care of widows that should be fully supported, men who aren’t doing their jobs and supporting their families (and who are therefore worse than unbelievers).

    Working outside the home should never be a first choice for a woman with children. Being a full-time mother is your calling. Don’t give that up. Fight for your family, heal your marriage, encourage your husband, love your children. And most of all – honor the word of God.

    • 208

      I think you missed the point, crazy lady (or man) . . .

    • 209
      Emily Miller says:

      THIS. This is guilt. This is guilt brought on by someone who came to what should be a safe, grace-filled space where we don’t have to be judged by others or ourselves for the choices we make for our families and tells us we are wrong and dishonoring God.
      I am proud to be a working mother, but it aches my heart every day. I do not work because I am rebellious. I work by choice, because I love it, and with my husband’s full support. My kids are well adjusted, loving, kind, social, happy, healthy kids. They love us unconditionally and we love them the same back.
      I came here and read an article I very much needed to read that helps me to understand that I am too hard on myself. I certainly don’t need someone thumping me upside the virtual head with judgement.

    • 210

      “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)

      And you wonder why people run from Christianity with as much haste as possible?? I’m a Christian and I think it’s terrible when we sinners (sorry, dude, you’re a sinner like those you’re throwing egg in their faces) use the Bible to make other sinners feel guilty!! Every woman here has said it has been a struggle for her to go to work and be away from their children… don’t make it worse. That’s not what Christians do for others and certainly not how you get people in the pews and saved! Jesus teaches grace, love, and compassion not guilt, anger, and hatred. Show some to your fellow man and woman…

      • 211

        How does that verse apply to what this poster wrote? If it was a woman working outside of the home who was saying that other women shouldn’t- then she should pull the beam out of her eye.
        It says- For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged-

        So if you judge others on something, you will be judged on the same thing. If the woman is not being a hypocrite, then there’s not an issue.

        We are also told that a tree is known by it’s fruits. How are we to evaluate that if we never judge anything? We are told to avoid evil. How can we avoid evil, if we make no judgements? We are told to avoid angry people- how can that be done without making judgments on whether or not someones behavior fits the bill?

        Please stop taking that verse out of context.


    • 212


    • 213

      (by “YES” I am agreeing with “Workers at Home.” If you have little kids and can make it work at all to be home the majority of the time — your kids need you. That guilt you feel is legit. Go home. Be a mom & wife full time. The career can wait– the kids cannot.)

  150. 214

    I was searching for some kind of encouragement today as I spent precious time with my baby girl today, dreading the work week and being away from her. Helps to feel like I’m not alone in this and the encouragement from a Christian perspective. I pray every day for strength & hope…

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  152. 216
    Elizabeth says:

    I realize I found this post late compared with its post date… But thank you! I am a working mom of two and have spent the last few weeks listening to my friends talk about going in to help at their kids school and how wonderful it is to stay home and be there for their kids. I want to do that so much but know that if I did we could not afford a place to live or health insurance. I’ve been feeling so lost and inadequate… Like I’m letting everyone down in some way. Thank you for this post… It’s what I desperately needed to read tonight.

  153. 217

    Words can’t express how you have hit home in my life!!! I only work part time and I still can’t stand it. The guilt eats me up and every time my 2 year old asks for daddy ANd not mommy a piece of me dies ! Thanks for the encouragement .

  154. 218

    everytime i read this, i cry again. and every time i read it, i needed it. apparently, i need it quite often because i read it all the time.
    thank you. i have this bookmarked on my favorites page. thank you.

  155. 219

    Thank you. I have never beaten myself up so hard as I have reading the comments on Matt Walsh’s blog. This made me cry. Thank you for appreciating what I go through and knowing that others have been there. I work part time and have a very involved, motivated and helpful husband and I still can’t always fit it all in. So thanks.

  156. 220

    That was beautiful and just what I needed.

  157. 221

    I recently came across this post and I am so thankful to you for writing it. I went back to work about six weeks ago. I had a stay at home mom growing up, so that has been my model and that’s what I thought I’d do. Ultimately, though, my husband and I made the decision that it is best for me to work. I am also going through a career change into something that I love, so that takes some of the sting away, but it is still hard. There is always this model of a Christian family where the mom stays at home, and I am thankful that your blog shows that you can be a working mom and still have a strong, Christ-centered household. I am lucky that all of my mom friends work and I have a support system, but saying goodbye and being away from my 4.5 month old little girl is really hard and I still find myself fighting back tears many mornings.

  158. 222

    I leave my 10 weeks old daughter to go back to work on Monday. I’ve dreaded this weekend for 2 months. Nothing about being away from her feels okay. I’ve done this before with my son, but I can’t remember what magic got me through. I hoping that as your words sink in a little a more, the thought of putting down the baby and going to work might hurt a little less.

  159. 223

    I am crying right now so I can’t type much.
    “And when the crackly static of the nagging dies down there is another voice and He whispers,

    He sings over you.”

    …I didn’t know that Psalm and I have been feeling the guilt for 4 years now (she’s 4.5). God bless you for this message today.

    Thank you.

  160. 224

    “Proverbs 31:15”

    Oh, it’s a proverb- couldn’t tell through my tears.

    Again, thank you.

  161. 225

    Thank you very much for this beautiful piece… it’s a great reminder that I’m not abandoning my daughter when I drop her off to daycare and she’s screaming, crying, and reaching for me like I’ll never see her again. I hate it. I hate every second I don’t get to spend with her because I have to work. I wish I could be a “stay at home mom” just until she starts school, but it’s not possible and I do beat myself up almost daily for it.

    The worst was having to deploy to Afghanistan for 3 months with my work… I struggled so much with it! Was I making the right choice for God and my family or was it a selfish decision so we can stay in the same financial “comfort” we were in? I need that grace daily from God because I hate missing every second of the day I’m away from my daughter.

    I said all of that just to thank you for providing these words. It means a lot to know I’m not alone and it’s a great reminder God is always there.

  162. 226

    As a single mom, with no financial support from the father of my kids, I struggle to make ends meet. As I’ve applied for a second part time job this week, I’ve been eat up with guilt over the time sacrificed at my children’s expense. Thank you for these words. I needed this fresh perspective and the peace that accompanied. My God is capable of rearing my children in my absence! Thank you!

  163. 227

    I too am in tears. Thank you! Many days I feel wonderful as a provider but others I feel horribly guilty for leaving my children.

  164. 228

    Today was my third day back to work teaching music after having my son only 9 weeks a ago. I drop him off at 7 am and don’t see him again until after 5 pm. It is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to experience. This post really helped put it all into perspective. Thank you!

  165. 229

    You have no idea how much this has meant to me on this Sunday night as I prepare for the week ahead. Many a Sunday is spent with a heavy heart with what is inevitably to come on Monday morning. When so many times I tell myself how horrible I am for being a working mom, I never stopped to think of it in this way. Thank you for the comfort and support in a time when I feel so alone.

  166. 230

    I just want you to know that I have this bookmarked on my favorites bar. I think I probably read it once a week. And I cry every time I read it. I have shared it countless times. Thank you. Thank you for a little bit of grace and for your scripture reference. It does give me some peace when I read it. Thank you.

  167. 231

    Thank you for writing this. The enemy has been tormenting me with thoughts that I am not a good enough mother because I work outside of the home. It’s exactly what I needed to hear right now. Thank you.

  168. 232

    I am a stay at home mom, not because we can afford for me to stay at home, but because we cannot afford for me to work. It cost more for me to send my child to day care than what I would get paid. Some days I long to leave and can’t for we only have one car that my husband has to use for work. At times I feel trapped. Just know that God gives each of us the things we need whether it me working a job outside the home or staying home with the kids. Neither are not a walk in the park. This is what I have been given at this time. May the Lord continue to strengthen all of us working moms and stay at home moms to do that tasks He is sending us to do. :-)

  169. 233

    I had a really rough Thanksgiving. I’m a new mom to a 7 month old boy and I work 12 hours a day and leaving him is the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with. I had walked in and joked around with my son saying “and who are all these ladies in your life?” when everyone was so excited to see him and someone snickered “the ones that are here when you’re gone all day”. I was so upset, because I didn’t know her, and because of how sensitive I am about it. Not only that, but his excitement to see one of the women that he spends quite a lot of time with during the day (I appreciate her but it still hurt) broke my heart and I found myself outside crying in my husbands arms. Both things just hit me the wrong way. I looked up encouragement and this came up…. and you have made me feel so much better, and I thank you for that. May God bless you the way you’ve blessed me today. Xo.

  170. 234
    Elizabeth says:

    I know this is an older post, but I just wanted to say thank you. I have been a working mom and have been beating myself up over it for more than 2 years. I came across this post, and I sobbed. I have lived every day with that voice in my head: deserter. Now I have a new word: provider. Thank you for bringing this message of hope to so many hurting women. God is using it mightily in my life.

  171. 235

    For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

    • 236

      How blessed are you whenever people insult you, persecute you, and say all sorts of evil things against you falsely because of me! Rejoice and be extremely glad, because your reward in heaven is great! That’s how they persecuted the prophets who came before you.

  172. 237

    I just had my first child almost 4 months ago, and had to go back to work about 3 weeks ago. I’m a police officer and work shifts. I came across this post tonight, while working night shift. It’s the answer to something I’ve been praying about for a couple of weeks, whether I should continue to work (I have to for financial reasons right now) or even continue doing a job I’ve worked hard for and do enjoy (a couple of other job opportunities have presented themselves to me recently). Tonight, on my way in, I asked God for a slap in the face answer. I started crying because your words are exactly the answer to my prayer, letting me know why I still work: to provide for my family right now. A huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and while it may not be the answer I wanted (I’d LOVE to stay home with my baby), I just know this was the answer from God , especially because all doubt and worry was erased from my conscious. My husband (also a police officer) and I have been blessed with friends who offer affordable child care and are available with our schedules, which are by no means conventional. We also have whole days off with the baby that are not just on the weekends.

    Anyway, I just wanted you to know how your words have touched me.

    P.S. Proverbs 31 is one of my favs!

  173. 238

    It is different for mothers who are breastfeeding and leaving infants. No other First World Country does not help those mothers (or father if the mother is pumping) stay home for at least 6 months to a year.

  174. 239

    Thank you for this post! I am a teacher and today was the first day back from Christmas break. And to leave my precious angel at home was awful. I stayed home with my older two over a decade ago. And now with my little “surprise” I find myself as a single mom and working. I feel as though I AM missing so many “moments”….but this post allowed me a moment to exhale and realize I am not the only one with the Sunday Night Blues. THANK YOU!!!

  175. 240

    “You are no less and no more than the mothers who get to stay home.”

    I don’ take issue with what is said here, but I don’t appreciate this phrasing. I stay at home with my kids, not because I get to, but because we’ve made decisions to sacrifice what a lot of other families have in order to have me be with our kids. In your effort to make outside the home working mothers feel better, please do not make the choice of being a stay at home mom out to be a luxury.

    • 241

      The problem isn’t in the phrasing. The problem is that you’re reading through your own bias. (Just like I am. Just like we all are.)

      We won’t hear each other; we won’t relate to each other; and we won’t be able to support one another in grace and love until we can control our own insecurities and biases. We also need to learn the difference between a comment that really is an attack versus something that just made us squirm with our own doubt and pride.

  176. 242

    I am crying through exhaustion and constant guilt. I was in a Christian marriage for 11 years when my husband left me nearly 4 years ago for someone else. I only ever imagined bringing up children in a family. Now my children have to be so independent as such an early age as I leave for work early in the morning and get home way after they come home from school. My son looks so sad in the morning when I leave and I feel ill with guilt but must work to keep us with a home and food. I feel desperately lonely as I have no family near by. I have some good friends but they have their own family lives. It will be easier at the end of the year when both my boys will be at the same school and my youngest won’t be left alone to get himself to school in the mornings. But sometimes I don’t know how to carry on. I do so as the alternative would be too awful for my boys but it is so hard. I have no friends in the same situation as me although they have other worries of course. When I read this post it brought some comfort. As a teacher of young children the presence of them in my class brings waves of guilt about my own children. There is no way out of my situation at the moment and I cope on a day to day basis. Today I have not coped very well. I extend my thoughts to others across the world who are in the same sort of situation as I and let us all support one another as best we can.

  177. 243

    I wish I would have been able to read this years ago. I am now the mother of a 30 year old and a 21 year old. I went back to work 5 weeks after both of my children were born, it was the hardest thing I ever did. I have held guilt for so many years and feel like I have missed out on so many wonderful times with my children.

    Its great to have support for working moms.

  178. 244

    I just commented on another post, the one about your mother, but must comment here. I saw this post the other day and just wept. You have a way of breaking the stoic mother, the one who pretends that everything is okay, but it’s not. You have a sweet way of breaking past that artificial smile that many working mothers put on each day, the one that says “I’m so happy to be at work!”, but she secretly is dying to see her babies at home. She secretly wants to go and get them from daycare and run away with them! I love that you mention grace, especially for those of us who are the primary breadwinners, those of us who pay the mortgage and the grocery bill, the gas and the other utilities, but who feel terribly guilty and frowned upon by stay at home moms. I love that you said that we feel, just sometimes, that stay at home mothers do get a free pass, while we are being punished. You hit the nail on the head. While I do love my job, I pray daily going to work, when I get up in the morning, at work, on the way home from work, and everything in between that God will grant me the serenity, and that I may not look back years from now and completely regret the fact that I have to work. Thanks again my precious new friend!

  179. 245
    Mommie Sunshine says:

    A friend posted this link. I can’t begin to tell you how this touched me. I have a 9 month old and have to go back to work (yes…”have to”…another poster mentioned not starving but no, we will if I don’t work). I fear my daughter, who is attached to me, will feel abandoned, unloved, and stressed and I feel like a total failure. I’ve even had thoughts that she deserves a better mother than me: someone who can afford to be home with her. Thank you for writing this. I must remember to take my feelings to GOD.

  180. 246

    Oh this made me tear up! This was beautiful. And much needed. I am a working mother in the middle of divorce. A friend sent me this and it blessed me. Drenched in grace! Amen, sis!

  181. 247

    I broke down and sobbed as I read these words. God knows how much I long to be home with my babies–raising them, shaping them–in these early years. My three siblings all have children and each family has one parent or the other stay at home with the babies. I get so jealous. Plus, I am so often reminded by those I love most how important these first few years are in shaping my children and encouraging me to try to stay home. Due to circumstances absolutely beyond my control, I must work. While I beg God to change those circumstances, for now, I must spend every day hugging my babies goodbye while they cling to me and cry at the door of the daycare classroom. I sit at work dying inside. In these circumstances, I find it very hard to accept grace.

  182. 248

    I specifically came back today to read this again.
    I drove to work crying with the knowledge that I had to tell my 2 year old, “I don’t have time to hold you more.” I drove to work crying after seeing her tear stained face pressed against the window, her mouth screaming “Momma!”
    I have never felt like a worse parent, because much I want to stay home with her, it honest to goodness is not possible this year. And, it breaks my heart, just as much as it did when I had to leave her at 3 months old.

    I needed this again and I’m sure I will come read it again and again, until I finally get to stop saying “goodbye”.
    Thank you for your words and encouragement.

  183. 249

    Dear Lisa-Jo. Thank you. I have been a working mom for most of my children’s very short lives ( 4 and 6 years old). I work out of necessity and it was never part of my parenting plan. I still cry some mornings when my little girl gets taken from me, crying because she wants her mommy . Or when my son looks at me with those big blue eyes ,wise beyond his years and says mommy but I want you. If I did not work there would not be food on the table, clothes on their back or money for the occasional treat. No I did not choose to work and it is hard, But God loves me and He loves my children and He knows the grief and struggles that a working mom deals with. And His grace is sufficient

  184. 250

    GET to stay home!??? How about CHOOSE to stay home!?? Let’s not pile “grace” on those who are making their own lives difficult.

    This from a mama who nannies for a single mom so she can work. I KNOW she has no choice– but she is the first to say the reason she has no choice is her own poor choices in the past.

    Most moms in the US don’t need grace to keep working. They need the guts to stay home.

    • 251

      I think many are missing the point of guilt. Guilt is a signal that something is amiss. Something is not right. Something is ruined by sin. Something needs fixing and Grace needs to flood in because we can’t fix it.


      Guilt can’t be ignored, swept away or quieted with cheap “grace.” If you want grace, you have to need it– you have to admit something is wrong and either repent of it (if the sin is yours) or grieve it and take it to Jesus (if the sin is someone else’s and out of your control). Only very rarely is the guilt inappropriate (an overly tender conscience).

      So if we feel guilt at leaving our children, the answer should be to ask why. And then, if the source is our choosing to work for personal fulfillment or some misguided desire for a certain standard of living, then we need to take steps to resolve that; either work less or different hours or not at all, whatever sacrifices or creativity that entails. And we need to repent of mishandling what God entrusted to us.

      If we see that the source of the guilt is out of our hands- if we are working because we sinned years ago (getting pregnant before marriage) and have repented & are living in faith now; or if the sin was someone else’s (an unfaithful husband, a rape, an oppressive boss); or if the sin is more general- a result of the Fall (a depressed economy, an accident meaning a husband can’t work, a death); THEN we need grace– grace to press on and know this is not ideal but one Day God will right all wrongs.

      There is no grace for the mom who chooses to work just because she wants to and ignores her guilt as her children cry for the only Mommy God gave them. That isn’t a position asking for grace– that’s arrogance, and God provides no grace to the proud.

      • 252
        Elizabeth says:

        I understand what you are saying. Guilt can mean that sin is present and changes need to be made. It can also mean that we are being attacked by the enemy, who is bent on destroying our peace. It can also mean that our heart, which the most deceitful of all things, is piling on condemnation that God never intended. There are many moms who feel guilt for staying home, and not drawing a full-time paycheck. Is that guilt misplaced? Should they return to the workforce, based on their guilt?

        When God convicts His children of genuine sin, He does not rely on guilt to do so. We may feel guilt, but that guilt does not come from God. His correction is present, it is persistent, but it is also loving. The guilt spoken of in this article is the nagging, destructive guilt that obliterates peace and speaks lies into our lives. Such things do not come from God.

        Where God calls (and he does call), He will also enable. Working mothers are not sinners paying for their past mistakes. They are women of God walking their own unique story.

        God’s grace, His love, and His mercy are available to all who are humble enough to receive it. There are no prerequisites to grace. And it is only through that grace that any changes can be made, if they are needed.

        And by the way? Children “cry for the only Mommy God gave them” at home, too. Constantly, in fact. :)

        • 253
          Christina says:

          If a mom is feeling guilty for not gathering a paycheck, and follows that back to Scripture and finds no basis for such a guilt, she should assume that is an overly tender conscience… or a drastic underestimation of her contribution to the family WITHOUT a paycheck. The previous poster mentioned things being amiss– well, in our world today moms are greatly undervalued and salaries are greatly overvalued! Yet God’s word never commands a paycheck or values a salary. If we feel guilt yet we are doing what God’s word says then we can dismiss the guilt as an attack from Satan.

        • 254
          Christina says:

          I’m a stay-at-home mom who also works part time mostly from home, and I assure you that there’s a difference in my kids’ cries for a mom they know is there with them and a mom they know is usually not.

  185. 255
    ConnieCristion says:

    We are not called to condemn one another, but to walk along side one another in support and love. Praise God for the variety of gifts and talents that he gives to all of us. Be grateful for the Christian nurse, teacher, etc. that may participate in your life. We are all called to be light in the work place.

    Instead of judging let us pray and love one another and the variety that God has created.

    • 256

      We are called to judge each other within the church, lest the world judge us– or even worse; God. We are responsible to call out the sin we see, or even an “off” way of thinking– like calling for grace to assuage rather than actually address guilt.

      • 257
        Elizabeth says:

        Yes, you are correct, within the context of *relationship.* Relationship, genuine love, and an interest in someone else’s spiritual well-being are usually the only effective precursors to successfully doing this within the church. And, if you are drawing this view from 1 Corinthians 5, you should also notice that it involves major sin. It was was not meant to justify heated, condemning blog comments, like the original comment above regarding guilt. We are called to speak the truth in love.

        • 258
          Christina says:

          I think in blog-world relationships are not really an option. :) If someone makes a public statement– in this case an entire blog post assuring working mothers that they don’t need to feel guilty, with no caveats, no relationship with the hundreds (or thousands) of readers, no knowledge of whether they actually should or shouldn’t get a guilt-free pass, and no mention of repentance, conviction, obedience or searching God’s Word for His Will of Precept (“how My People ideally should live/things should work”)– then there isn’t much fairness in saying commenters must have relationships with people before they critique that viewpoint.

          • 259
            Christina says:

            Oh! And as other commenters have pointed out, there are many many other passages regarding “judging” or “making a right judgement” besides the 1 Cor 5 you mention. Also, there is plenty of room in love for speaking bluntly, even heatedly. Jesus called the Pharisees whitewashed tombs (and more); He often referred to those around him as a “perverse generation”; John the Baptist called the religious leaders “you brood of vipers”; Paul told the Galatians he wished they’d go castrate themselves; Jesus used “potty language” when dismissing the notion that cleanliness/impurity came from outside instead of inside… All that to say, any time the Gospel is being obscured, love demands that clear speech be used to call out the error. Often with passion (“heat”). Most of the commenters have replied with heated joy — it doesn’t seem surprising that some would respond with equal dismay, especially as they seem to all deal with a perversion of understanding Grace.

  186. 260
    Mumoftwo says:

    I have been praying so long about this guilt. I also have been praying for someone who really understands and can speak Jesus to me. Words can’t express my thankfulness. I have cried all morning about this post and I know God is speaking to me through it. Thank you.

  187. 261

    This was something I needed to hear today, especially when I just to got to work, my Sunday to work and it happens to be Mother’s Day. So I left my family, who was getting ready to head to church. The last few days I have felt sad, almost depressed-ish, about having to work outside of the home. I got this part-time job (with almost full time hours) at the end of the summer last year to help out with extra $$. Turned out to be a life-saver when my hubby was laid off from his job that he had held for almost 5 years, being able to work from home. He went 3 months with no income, this part time job was all we had, along with the little amount from unemployment. He was hired on with an awesome company, but now has to travel a lot, fronting a lot of the expenses. We are still under tremendous financial burden, and it has put strain on me, feeling guilty for not wanting to work part time but knowing that right now, I need to. I knew that the evil one was pushing these feelings on me, and this post really is what I needed to hear, thank you for sharing these words.

  188. 262
    Rebecca says:

    I am struggling today with this very thing and I know it is a trust issue. My daughter is 13 and I am only going to be working part time. I start on her awards day and it is crushing me. I ….

  189. 263
    Brenna Wolfe says:

    I work a full time nursing job and a full time photographer on the weekends. I juggle paying bills and keeping food on the table with these jobs and it hurts my heart to see my little one standing in the driveway as I pull out on the weekends. Thank you for this and knowing that God is watching over both of us is something that isn’t ever associated with the working mother and her children. So thank you!!!!! (Now I’ll go dry my face )

  190. 264

    This is probably the BEST thing I have ever read for the Christian Working Mama! I love, love, love the sensitivity and support that radiates from this article. I have shared it on my FB page and will definitely link it onto my blog. Thank you Lisa-Jo for writing this. It is a very healing and comforting word for us CWM’s!


  1. […] http://lisajobaker.com/2013/01/grace-for-the-working-mother-and-her-guilt/ Share this:FacebookTwitterEmailGoogle +1Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged working mom by Madison@ Belly Questions. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  2. […] me with an ache in my head and a pain in my back all day. And then this afternoon I came across this post on Twitter from Lisa Jo Baker. It couldn’t have been more timely. Thank you Gypsy Momma. […]

  3. […] Grace for the working mother and her guilt by Lisa-Jo Baker […]

  4. […] they get up at 4:30 to provide for those kids. Until they cut and bleed to deliver that baby. Until they serve in the homeroom year in and year […]

  5. […] that is beautifully written has been marred by comments by the followers of God. The beginning of this article really spoke to me as a working mom and if you are one, you should read it. Here’s the […]

  6. […] read this blog post the other day and it really got me thinking about being a guilty working mom. So let me […]

  7. […] Grace for the working mom and her guilt. […]

  8. […] the Sunday night before I was to return to work full time, I just lost it. I sobbed like I have never sobbed before (and […]

  9. […] Never heard of her before last night. But she wrote an AMAZING and UPLIFTING piece titled “Grace for the working mother and her guilt” and I caught a glimpse of it on a friend’s facebook wall.  Well, shoot, down here in the […]

  10. […] tell me that Gospel doesn’t sound like a working mother who rises while it is still dark to provide for her […]

  11. […] You working moms, you get a medal for the long hours you will commute before the rest of us get up. You get a medal for the courage it takes to keep home a place of food and warmth and security. You get a medal for bravely bundling sleepy kids up against cold and homesickness, for the trust it takes to share your children with someone else’s care. You get the hard won reward of trusting that the God who built our kids will parent them in our absence, will grow them in courage, and teach them over time that this is what love looks like – to lay down our wants for the needs of our families. […]

  12. […] You working moms, you get a medal for the long hours you will commute before the rest of us get up. You get a medal for the courage it takes to keep home a place of food and warmth and security. You get a medal for bravely bundling sleepy kids up against cold and homesickness, for the trust it takes to share your children with someone else’s care. You get the hard won reward of trusting that the God who built our kids will parent them in our absence, will grow them in courage, and teach them over time that this is what love looks like – to lay down our wants for the needs of our families. […]

  13. […] Is this year still penalizing us with working mother’s guilt or do we measure the grace we’re learning to give […]

  14. […] You with the nagging guilt for that job that keeps you long hours away from your kids? Me too. […]

  15. […] {Comments left on my post Grace for the Working Mother and her Guilt}. […]