By Betsy Bailey
After almost eight years in the medical device world, I decided to retire to be a stay-at-home mom. In 2014, I had a miscarriage, lost my father to cancer, and also had a baby who spent her first two weeks of life in the NICU at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Life was very out of control, and I started praying hard about what God wanted me to do. Actually I had been praying about staying home all the way through my pregnancy, but I tried hard to ignore the signs God was giving me. I think sometimes he has to press hard on some of us—shake things up to really make us listen to him and surrender our own agenda.
It didn’t make any sense on paper why I would walk away from the generous salary, the perks, the rush of being in surgery, my sweet patients, and my amazing customers who are also my friends. But I had no peace and couldn’t ignore HIS voice or the signs he was giving me. So, I walked away from the “working world” to become a “stay-at-home mom.”
I don’t know what I was expecting, but this is harder than I thought! I laugh because I am still a “working mom.” It never stops and whoever thinks we sit around reading People magazine and watching Judge Judy all day is welcome to come spend a day at my house. And yes, the stay-at-home part is true. I do stay at home—pretty much all the time. The times I have ventured out alone with both girls, someone almost gets run over by a car or kicked out of the library for screaming and pulling all the books on the Sprout display down. Or the minute we walk in the door to the jump place, someone has a diaper explode. The times I have traveled to Birmingham to see my old friends with the girls, I leave exactly after everyone eats and during nap time because thinking of having to take both girls into a Pilot truck stop gives me severe anxiety. My two year old, Mari Wilton, is fearless and also loves to clean out the toy aisle everywhere we go. So, as I am holding Vivi, a very chunky six-month-old, I am also picking up everything MWB has pulled off the shelves. So far, I don’t let her watch TV in the car or play on an iPad and so it’s best we travel when she is asleep, if you know what I mean. However, I am getting less judgmental all the time about the TV in the car.
So I am a stay-at-home working mom unless I am asleep, thank you very much. I wouldn’t trade it for the world—but I have learned that working, either outside or inside the home, is hard in different ways. When I worked, I could catch up with a friend as I was traveling around my territory. These days I have about 90 minutes a day where both girls are asleep. That is the only time I can do laundry and pay bills and—oh yes, take a shower. LOL. If you are a husband reading this, don’t ever walk in and ask your wife what she did all day unless you want the nine dirty diapers in the diaper genie thrown at your face.
As I was cleaning out my “office” to convert it into a bedroom—which still hasn’t happened—I realized as I was going through all my trophies and awards I had put my identity in the wrong things for the last eight years. I honestly worked for Men before I worked for the Lord. I constantly got caught up in the mentality of, “What can I do for myself today?” and at work lost who I was. I chased titles, awards, cash, and trips—and at the end of all of this, none of the things or trophies means a thing to me anymore. I was just a number and none of those things got me closer to Jesus. I remember taking Vivi to an appointment soon after I retired, and in the paperwork had to fill in my occupation. I honestly felt a twinge of inferiority when I couldn’t put “medical device rep” in the blank. I may or may not have lied.
I think this thought process is a common trap for us as females. We find our worth in so many places—our careers, our accomplishments, our kids, our appearance, and associate ourselves in groups. Stay-at-home or working mom Married or single. Kids or no kids. When you take all of those categories away—who are you?
It’s so important that our identity be in Christ. That the things we do each day be for him whether that is running a meeting or driving carpool. It is Christ alone who gives us meaning and distinguishes us from the rest of the world. If you are waking up every morning to please a manager, get the promotion, or even outdo all the other moms in your circle—you will constantly be disappointed. And worn out.
So how will you respond next time you are asked, “What do you do?”
“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1: 11-12).