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Discovering Your New Identity as a Stay-at-Home Mom

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
September 23, 2021 6:00 am

Discovering Your New Identity as a Stay-at-Home Mom

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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September 23, 2021 6:00 am

Author Jen Babakhan offers encouragement to stay-at-home moms and women who are considering leaving the workplace to take on this role as she shares lessons she's learned from her own transition which have shown her why this is one of the best decisions her family has made.

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Hey this is John Fuller and Focus on the Family is looking for talented writers and editors to help reduce our audio programs and podcasts go to focusonthefamily.com/jobs to learn more about these and other job opportunities. Focus I went back to work for two months after my daughter was born and I quit because I couldn't stand being away from my baby. I was very determined to stay at home with my children because my mom had died when I was three my husband and I always agreed that I would work and I also had the benefit of my in-laws both being retired and agreed to watch my children from her first child is at home work from home as well as homes will might be that you been through that kind of decision and it's not easy to make today on Focus on the Family were going to be exploring the life of a stay-at-home mom with the challenges they face your hostess focus presidents and Dr. Jim Daly and John Fuller, Jon, I have such great respect for the women that would have been closest to me. My mom and then my wife, of course, and watching how the give up.

You know the things that they were pursuing for their kids, and I know most women have the struggle in today to talk about that that idea of the you need to make a decision and I know roles are all over the place in the culture today were some men are choosing to stay home to me that's good but there's nothing like a mom bringing home the show such tenderness and kindness and gentleness that comes from mom and I so appreciate the times that my mom who was a hard-working single parent was able to be home with me. You just gave me so much of a good feeling and watching Jane as a biology major, and then making a decision to hang up the career be home with her two sons. It was awesome and when you look at it and you really need to understand how important that role is and who it's underappreciated.

Like you said, but men raising the next generation. There's nothing more important in my mind, and were to discover that today you'll hear from you. Just who knows the joys and struggles of motherhood all too well. Jen Bob Kohn is with us and she is still the trenches of that that experience of being a stay-at-home mom with two young boys and she's written a great deal about the transition. The challenges going from career professional to stay at home mom in her book detoured the messy grace filled journey from working professional to stay at home mom and you can get your copy from us here at the ministry. The link is in the episode notes Jen, welcome to Focus on the Family, thank you so much and I'm excited to be here. I'm thrilled for you to be here to this is a big topic. I mean I think when women write or email or contact us by phone this one of the topics that is often race what should I do now.

My husband come dependent on two incomes etc. were having our first child, what your best recommendation intimidating right everybody stories a bit unique. Let's start by explaining how you never intended to be that stay-at-home mom know what the politically correct statement is a work at home mom, stay-at-home mom. I mean moms are busy when they decide to be home with their kids. There's a lot going on but you didn't intend for that. What happened, absolutely, so I resident third-grade teacher at the time and absolutely loved my career I worked really hard to get there and unit teaching as a profession, but you know it's also kind of a lifestyle. It it you know what you incorporated into so many aspects of your life. And so I had every intention of going back to work after my maternity leave and I told the parents of my students that I would be back at that wet and why is that when I gave birth to my first sign.

I realize very very quickly. Within hours of giving birth to him that I just could not leave him. It was this just this whisper in my soul and I cannot go back to work. I can't leave him let me ask you about that before you finish the answer because I think that's so amazing, that is a poll that is a tug or something beautifully simple and natural about that. But why do so many women struggle with that sense of know this becomes my number one priority right you know it. It is a struggle because in an instant your life changes you know you were pregnant and now you're a mom and you got this baby in your arms then and everything might my priorities. Everything shifted and so I think it just become so real. When you got that little person in your arms that suddenly there is this this struggle of what drives you. I have these this old life, this old set of priorities and and now I've got this brand-new life ahead of me and before me and especially if you were used to depending on two incomes that struggle internally becomes really incredibly difficult to navigate. Would you say that as you battled through that and you're considering it.

Did you vacillate when you're looking at a tighter budget and then you're looking at the good things that are going on the fact that your home you're able to make that physical, emotional, spiritual contact with your child really important things absolutely and so for me that the vacillation was real. I mean, I went back and forth for the first probably 2 to 3 months of his life. I didn't know what to do. Although I felt that God was really really calling me to be home is fighting against it because I had worked so hard for my career and I thought I should go back to work.

It's the sheds that gets you right I should go back to work.

I have all the students that I'm responsible for. I promise that I would be back, but internally I just knew God was calling me to be home and then when my son was about three months old.

He developed a really severe dairy protein sensitivity and I knew in that moment that I could not allow any other child care worker to be responsible for feeding him because he had to be on a very strict hypoallergenic formula that really drove home for me that I had to stay home and we had to make it work financially. Somehow, at that point wasn't really a question that doesn't mean I didn't struggle with it. Still, because I really did, but I knew in no uncertain terms that the God was calling home and I think a summary that is go with that since the gods giving you that this is really critically important and that's what I took away from the book in that regard.

Let's move forward a couple years to three years.

You have a great story about fighting with your toddler them and I think this battle between staying at home or going to the park. What happened yes so I was hoping to get caught at Bryce in the car to go to the park and I was going to take them to local park that was absolutely beautiful.

All you know huge trees then and a lovely play structure and so it was a warm summer day and I had him in the car and I saw them were going to go to the park and he started screaming and stomping his feet into the car seat and digging his heels and every mom knows that you know there's that moment we are trying to work in the car seat and you couldn't get him to sit down. He was are you know and he kept screaming and I realize that he wanted to stay home and he wanted to be in our backyard where the grass was because that is what he knew to be fun right and so I was trying to convince them were going to the park as big trees has a big slide swings, you know we want to go to the park and he thought the entire time and the more he fought with me on it, the more frustrated I got an and it was like a hot summer days were both sweating you know it I'm just like I got to the park because I needed it to you. I needed more open space as I needed a break from being within our four walls you know and and and in that moment when he was fighting me and I was getting so frustrated. I heard the Lord speak to my heart. You are acting, no differently than your son and I can't stop me in my tracks and I stopped even trying to get McCarthy.

I just stopped and if you've ever had the Holy Spirit speak to you. That way the you know you know that okay this is a time that I need to listen and he just told me you are having a tantrum just like your son is about giving up your career. You know, I am trying to take you to a place that is beautiful but you only want let you know just like he only wants what he wants the backyard you want what you know you want your career because I just continue to try to find the loophole in God's plan. I just kept trying to fight okay. Can I work from home.

Can I work part time. I kept trying to find all of these different ways to hang onto that identity and that I had misplaced you know my true worth and after so long, you know it it's important that struggle is real and that you know one person solution may not be another person solutions were not trying to be prescriptive today were just trying to give you some perspective on how Jen faced her situation with her husband and how the result is very informative.

So that's the key here.

I do want to touch on that identity comment that you made you talk in the book about the importance of knowing your true identity. We talk about that a lot in this culture, and you know a lot of people are divided by their identity. So what you mean by mom hood identity. Why is that and what is no, I really think happens a lot for moms is that you know you have this baby and your life becomes all about the baby you know you're taking care of the baby. You're feeding the baby changing a baby your life is on their time schedule. Everything is wrapped up into your brand-new child and so I think when it comes to identity for me.

The struggle was that previously, I had really found my identity and my job. I really you know equated my work with my worth and so I really feel like I just took me through this time a separating those two things, you know what I did was not who I was and who I was with a daughter of the king, and so it was a really really difficult journey that he took me on but it was a necessary one. And so when I finally extracted my worth. From what I did and instead placed it in Christ. Fully you know I've been a Christian for many many years.

I had a relationship with Christ for many many years but it was really a time of breaking down Jesus just saying look, you know that's what you did.

Who you are is mine right out. That's what matters.

And so II really encourage moms to to realize that their worth and their identity is in in Christ and God and and not at what they do that, so good. And that applies to everybody does not mom if you only. That is a moment she wrote the bamboo shoots and everybody issue. Who are you in Christ and then moving from their gentle matches yet a funny story about being in the supermarket. I talked to my wife, Jean, as I was reading through the book and looking at the prep this morning about this and where life in heaven or coffee. This befriending of the supermarket checkout person ING. Did you have an example like that she was. Oh yeah I was trying to find a friend anywhere I can find it.

Have an adult conversation with tells about your check out yet so I point in time. You know I had turned in my resignation letter I had. I was only seeing my friends that I used to teach with you during Christmas break or Easter break or whatever. I really had no friends that were stay-at-home moms first in Google garden yet.

That was it. I know my husband would come home in an idyllic talk to me in meetings all day. He talked out and so no one one day it was during Christmas time. I was going to make some kickball. I have this every year and they take forever to make it so I had all the ingredients for kickball on the conveyor belt at the grocery store and I was in that line for the checker that she might have some conversations on previously and she had this great sarcastic sense of humor which I had to do and so I just always thought we would be the best of friends. Now you know we would be such good friends and so as she's checking through my IMC and she says policy. What how you make them so you know I'm I'm telling her I'm going to the steps of how to make that by the stuff after I get off work and I make I thought what this is my in I'm good. Let me give you my phone number and if you run into any issues you just call me and I will walk you through the kickball steps and cheeses okay so I pull up his crumpled receipt and write my number on it and I leave in walking to the parking lot that's over me that I just did a really really desperate thing you know is a new low, even for you Jen like this is that all for now. The kickball fanatic that's trying to make friends of this woman is just doing her job, and I'm over here like you to be my BFF.

So it was, it was really one of those moments. I thought okay I am got to find some friends, so I'm not just you know reaching out to strangers and and you know it, but it's so important for moms to have friends with and that's the next question. Why is it so important and what's a healthy way to go about doing yeah it's so important because you need to have an outlet that that isn't your children and isn't your husband. You know you need to have other moms that are in the trenches get it that understand what it's like to have a toddler that's tantruming, while a newborn is crying you know you need to have kind of that community around you now as I say that I want to be very very clear that that's not always the easiest thing to do is much easier to stay home and just think, you know what is too scary to try to put yourself out there and now it's easier to just sit and scroll on Instagram all day. Then go out and and make friends on but what I found. Personally for me was that you know all the social media can get a bad rap.

It's also a place where you can find community. I had a group of moms and mom group on Facebook that our babies were all born the same month and so we had community that we just online and chatting with each other and you know finding friends where you can you know through a Bible study or even you know, just even if your friends live far away.

I think text messages and phone calls and face time and all of that can do wonders why would you say to husbands if you want to good marriage. I would encourage you to take the kids on a Saturday night. Let your wife go up there with her girlfriends and be happy about it.

Don't complain and don't know put up all the negative stuff that you had to deal with with her being out of the house for a few hours.

What a great relief. And what a great way to encourage your wife to have those friends outside the home and let her have some adult times point absolutely, you know, Ed has always been so wonderful. I thought he was truthfully the one pushing me out of the house as you need to go need to spend some time. You know, and so I mean because I really, really sad place and you have to be honest and execute come home from work and I would just cry. I don't even know what to DO.

You know he got out his phone. He said let me look at my calendar working to find one. We one night every week that you can go and I will make an effort to be home early so that you can get out of the house (he did it. I mean it.

Get it without fail every week like Wednesday nights or something. He was home.

I was able to go and have some time to myself just illustrates the importance of being together as a couple. If you have a stay-at-home mom situation. Jen Bubba Khan is our guest today and she's written. This book detoured the messy grace filled journey from working professional to stay at home mom.

Click the link in the episode notes or call 800 K and the word family. Jen you urge moms to find something special that ignites their passion, so I would ask you why is that important. How did you find that yourself, you know, because I feel that God has created us to be multifaceted, being, you know, we are never just one thing we are daughters we are mothers we are friends, sisters, cousins, whatever. We are so many other things than than just mothers and so I think that it is important not only for our children but for ourselves that we you know, look at something else that we feel God has gifted us to do and so for me, I've always loved to write. That was there was something only I could do. You know, and didn't require anybody else. And so I encourage moms to find the thing that God has gifted them that makes their soul come alive that likes their eyes back up again and start small. It doesn't have to be big but.

But do something just for you and the difference that it makes in your family is astounding and thought about it quite like that. But with pleasure talking. I was thinking of intensity moms because of all the demands on the emotionally you can have this intensity about everything. I would think of destruction of doing something for yourself or pursuit of your desire helps reduce that intensity or that tenseness around the home gives you an outlet. Oh, absolutely. I wasn't the finest person to live with, you know, prior to taking up writing feel guilt and anxiety you feel guilty feel shame you know you know that your kids are seeing you grumpy all of the time and nobody wants to be.

I say in the book that that moms are kind of the temperature gauge of the home and so you know, if it were not taking care of ourselves. It's really really difficult to then take care of our families in the way that God intended us to where we were not meant just to poor hundred and 10% into them.

We need to to refuel ourselves as soon as it like a tank of gas right three quarters of the packagers being a mom like 1/4 of a type figure what to do, including all the household chores and everything else in the course husbands: on your for certain know emotional and physical demands right so you're down the like films yet and that's when your guest lectures got 2 miles to go in the destinations 3 miles away yes and and everybody knows when mom is flashing red and so yeah there's.

There are women who are saying I want would just said but I can't get there and their husbands and even kids were saying your mom's not there.

She she needs something. What hope to have it doesn't happen overnight. You don't find your desire and suddenly feel free right right know you know it's one of those things where it really is a process and so I would encourage moms to ask God what he has for you. It really is that that simple to just you know be honest with the Lord and say you know what what is it that you have for me in this time because I am losing it. You know, quite, quite frankly, it it a lot of moms just come to that point where they are just so run down and exhausted and so I would start there. I would start with prayer asking God what he has and then just taking very small steps. Research what it is that you think you might like to do.

You know, I encourage moms in the butt to think back to what they enjoy doing his children because a lot of times what you enjoyed as a child is is kind of the key to what your gifting is and what you'll enjoy. As an adult you know as a kid I loved writing essays.

I was the one in class but that will that all the other kids groaned about writing. I was the one sharpening my pencil and you know getting all excited about so I would encourage moms to start their start with prayer and then really just kinda reflect on what you've always enjoyed. You have a story about a mom who I think the way our interpreters, rescued you the target parking wondering how many of these parking lot. The recovery stories are out there. I'm pretty, it's quite a few. Anyway, the ideas that she saw you in some distress.

What happened yes so it was my very very first target trip with both of my okay so I had been dreading this trip for you know a couple of months. We need organ music so Bradley Mason Bradley with only three months old Bryce at that time was three and I was just a white knuckle. This trip we needed diapers and dish soap so I was like, this is a nonnegotiable trip. I have to go and so I got them out of the car. Bradley was asleep. I put them in the front little carrier that I had that I want the front of me and he hated the carrier so that's that's very important. I knew that I had alluded I like this guy amount of time with this kid on the front and so I'm holding Bryce's hands and I'm pushing a cart and we get inside the store and I feel Bradley start to shift a little bit like a whole.

This is not to be good and right at that time Bryce asked to write inside of the cart which ordinarily is not an issue but now I had to lift up my tall for his age, three-year-old into this cart with the baby on front of unit on the front of me picks a lot of deltoid muscle yes is think and so I get him into the cart standing and I'm trying to instruct them on which foot to put in which leg hold in the cart and so I'm telling okay but he put this one through this one and he would put it to the opposite, you know, and he was getting frustrated because he couldn't figure out every time the opposite leg was going to the opposite, whole, I was getting more and more anxious. You know, I could feel myself start to sweat, and I thought I just need to head for the deodorant aisle before I do anything else because I was really freaking out so we did this I mean me begging him to put his foot through the right hole, probably a good three minutes until this woman.

I called her an angel of mercy. She came and she had a 10-year-old son so clearly she was out of the phase of life. I was then, and she just grabs each of Bryce's legs and plunked them through the holes and says thought you could use some help and away she went and I was just think Eli guy nearly cried because it was just so much emotion penned up.

You know, here I was on this first track, and of course Bradley started crying so I basically did like the Indy 503 target card every mother's murder with its troops is reserving for the landing here let me close with your thoughts about all of the sacrifices and serving that moms have to do this one thing is changing constantly giving, giving, giving, giving you describe a profound moment where you were crawling on the kitchen floor under the highchair. But what happened and what was God showing you in the moment you know so Bryce is at the stage where he thought it was hilarious to throw his head up hotdogs over the edge at the highchair I even throw whatever I put down off his plate and onto the floor because mom would write what I write exactly, you know, and so I remember you know it had been a tough day already and I was not finding his antics funny. You know, and he tossed them over and he was giggling and having a great time and I guy got down on the ground to pick up these greasy hot chunks up with the macaroni and cheese and whatever else was. It was down there that that had been on his tray and I just thought in my in my head you know it was it was a prayer because I wasn't brave enough to to yell at.at that point, you know, and so I just thought, is this what I went to college for that I worked so hard for you nice feeling so overqualified in that moment you know this is not what I work so hard for, and I heard God whispered to my heart. This is serving you are serving me. This is loving me and it was in that moment that I realized what I was doing was so much bigger than just picking up hotdogs off the floor. I was serving God.

We truly can serve him in what ever we do and said that was a moment for me, for you, but Jen you point to the Old Testament story. Garments are so many ways you can derive a lesson about how do you see the lesson of Hagar and how it applies to this topic of motherhood.

You know there are so many applications that I found her and I got you and said I found it. The Holy Spirit showed me as I was reading it and you know how car was in the desert alone. You know facing death. Basically with her son and she felt God. You know speak to her and and God told her that he was going to you know create generations from her and I think a habit sounded like really God right you know about her in the desert, barely surviving. And so I think the rejection that she felt from Sarah and that she felt Tina pretty friendless and lonely in that moment I did.

That's really applicable to him to moms and any other thing that I really really love about that story is that God she names God. She's she's the first person to name God in the Bible and she says URL rely the God who sees because he saw her and so I would just encourage moms that God sees you he sees your details. You don't have to be out in the middle of the desert for him to speak to you in every moment of your day he sees the bad that your drawing.

He sees the lunch that you're making. He sees all of those things and so when you realize that I just I just feel like God just draws us closer into a hug and and we can feel his presence that sees all those things you he is the God who sees good caregiver. Yes, I think of that mom absolutely caregiver the Lord's heart is all over the gym.

This is been great women and we cover everything. It's a great book for moms who prepared for careers and then you know they end up marrying and having babies and decide what why do so if you're in that spot. This is a book for you resource for you and you know, as we often say here if you can contribute to Focus on the Family in any way a monthly contributor. It's a great way to do it.

John you and I do it that way if you can't do that one time gift of any amount. Either way will send a copy of Jim's gradebook detoured as our way of saying thank you to one's resources you need. If you can afford it.

Just contact us will get it in your hands and trust others will cover the cost of that beautiful way to describe the Christian community. But this is one of those mommy resources that you really need to get in touch and donate.

As you can either monthly pledge or one-time gift of any amount will make sure to send this great book to detoured the messy grace filled journey from working professional to stay at home mom. Click the link in the episode notes or call 800 K and the word family generally also mentioned to the moms you know if you're struggling in its more serious than the lighthearted approach were taken here if you're really in a tough spot. Call us with current Christian counselors. You can talk with you maybe provide even more resources for you, or at least give you some guidance and direction. Pray with you. It can be overwhelming and we recognize that general lifted Jean my book so we get it and if you need that, help don't hesitate. That's why were here just get in touch with us. Jen, thanks so much for being with us. Thank you so much for having you reach out to get her number is 800 K in the word family help set up an initial consultation with counsel and coming up next time teaching your kids to appreciate racial and cultural diversity can be celebrated joyed and so if child points out difference technology we go home looking half of Jim Daly in the entire team here. Thanks for joining us today for focus on family. I'm John Fuller. Funny back as we once more help you and your family thrive fine on your kids just a click away seeing the adventures in Odyssey club find trusted faith building entertainment safe online club features almost every episode ever plus special monthly club only episodes and content and Oak Focus on the Family clubhouse magazine subscription.

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