Being a mother is beyond the commitments of a full-time job. It’s a never-ending, always-on, nonstop job. From the moment you welcome your first child into the world, you’re forever a mother.
Most people would never consider working two full-time positions, yet a working mama is expected to do this and more!
When my children were growing up, I spent part of their childhood working. Keenly aware of the important role I played in my four children’s lives – and the limited time I had with them – I often felt overwhelmed at the impossible mountain of being a picture-perfect mother.
And this was before the pressures of social media!
I’d like to share five tips I gathered amidst the journey of working motherhood to help shift your focus from being a successful mother to a mother of significance.
I’m delighted when I hear young, professional mothers encouraging each other in their parenting journey. What a joy when women champion one another! Let me reassure you, in whatever challenge you currently face as a full-time mom and full-time employee – YOU CAN…with God.
My mother, Jeannette, loved to remind others of this truth. You see, those last two words are vital to the realization of the first. You were not created to climb the mountain of being a working parent without guidance from the perfect Father. Where you fail, our heavenly Father carries your burdens, speaks truth to anxiety, and covers you in grace.
Your children may not always listen to what you say, but they are always watching what you do. When my children were young, I realized my actions taught them far more about my faith than words ever could. As a working parent with limited face-to-face interaction, it’s critical what your children observe of your actions is reflective of Christ. The key is consistency. Seeing a mom and dad live out consistent integrity – both at home and work – sets the course of a child’s life. It sends them out into the world firmly rooted in faith and courage to be the godly men and women they were made to be.
Time is often the biggest obstacle for mothers in the workforce. Squeezing a lifetime of lessons into the minutes before bedtime or amidst the morning rush is overwhelming. Maximize the moments you already have through purposeful conversations in the car, being vulnerable during difficult days, and including your children (when appropriate) in big decisions your family is facing. My parents modeled this through intentional times during dinner where we were encouraged to ask questions and learn from the life experience shared around the table.
About the time I graduated from high school, my father – who worked long hours my whole life – asked, “Trudy, what will you remember most that I did for you?” My response surprised him: “I will always remember the times you sat by my bed at night and asked to hear about my day.” You will never regret giving your children priority. As a working parent, it may be tempting to rely on material items to convey your love. Yet, what matters most is not the things my Dad bought me or the vacations we took. Receiving a parent’s full attention and affection – no matter how brief – live on in the memory of a child.
The purpose of parenthood is to launch a new generation of healthy, secure, loving, intelligent, Christ-centered believers into the world. Mothering is hard but holy work…and so is your career. Both carry a calling of importance and opportunity for impact. Allow the significance of this season to fuel your commitment to serve those your life touches with excellence. The Lord is your source of strength as you run the race set before you.
Proverbs 22:6 issues every parent a challenge with a promise: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it” (ESV). The challenge, of course, is to train our children in the way they should go. But the reward is clear: when they’re old, they will not depart from it. Does this mean our children won’t wander at times? Unfortunately, no. Yet, in remembering you can…with God, living a consistent life, using everyday situations to teach life lessons, and being intentional with your children, you can trust that you’ve laid a solid foundation in their lives—a foundation of legacy your family will build on for generations to come.
Trudy Cathy White is a native Georgian and the only daughter of Jeannette and S. Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, Inc. Trudy has held various roles within Chick-fil-A, including that of a restaurant operator, and she and her husband, John, served as missionaries in Brazil before co-founding Lifeshape and Impact 360 Institute. She is a dedicated wife, mother of four, grandmother of 15, speaker, and author of Climb Every Mountain. Follow along with Trudy at TrudyCathyWhite.com or @trudycathywhite on Facebook and Instagram.