By Jill Molloy
A few days ago a man asked, “So are you just a mom, or do you work?”
“Just a mom.” I said with a smile, before I could realize my feelings were hurt.
I thought a lot about the way that question was worded. It temporarily wounded my pride but since I had just met the dude, I politely let him slide.
I’ve always been somewhat of a dreamer. I recently found a note I wrote to myself in 3rd grade, and I planned to be an Olympic gymnast before I entered the 4th grade. I was kind of a reckless gymnast, so perhaps these dreams were a bit ambitious.
Thankfully, as I grew older I managed to set more realistic goals. I look back at my 18-year-old, college-bound self, and see a girl full of life, dying to take on the world with the very important job that I would someday have.
Then I graduated college and started working in the pharmaceutical industry. It paid the bills but it was so unaligned with every dream I’d ever had for myself. Life just happened and I looked up and I was nowhere near where I wanted to be.
For the next four years, I would find myself in a constant battle within my own head.
Growing up a Christian, I heard over and over that God has a plan for our lives. It seemed to me that all the good Christians got a handwritten note straight from God himself that told them exactly where to go and what to do. From that day forward, they marched on living out the calling that God had for them and they were always so certain.
But here I was, just a confused drug dealer who had no idea what God’s plan looked like for me. I wanted desperately for my day-to-day life to hold purpose and meaning, but it seemed that each career path I turned to offered me nothing but an empty paycheck.
AND THEN I FOUND MYSELF SITTING UP IN BED, LATE AT NIGHT, HOLDING MY WEEK-OLD SON, TEARS FLOWING UNCONTROLLABLY DOWN MY FACE. POSTPARTUM WOMEN ARE CRAZY AND HORMONAL AND CRY A LOT, BUT THIS WASN’T ONE OF THOSE TIMES WHERE I WAS CRYING BECAUSE I NEEDED ICE CREAM.
I WAS LOOKING DOWN AT MY TINY SON, SO NEW TO THE WORLD, SNUGGLED TIGHT IN MY ARMS AND ALL I COULD THINK WAS THAT THIS WAS MY PURPOSE. THIS WAS MY MEANING. THIS WAS EVERYTHING I NEVER KNEW I NEEDED.
I’m not saying that you can’t find purpose in a career. After all, that’s where I imagined I would find it this whole time. I’m also not saying that this was my “handwritten note” moment and I never questioned this whole purpose thing again.
I’m just offering up the idea that perhaps for me, at this point in time, my purpose is found in being “just a mom.” I searched high and low to find purpose in the perfect career, and maybe it was by God’s grace that I never did.
My point is simply that sometimes the very things that give our life the most purpose and the most meaning aren’t at all what we spend so much energy searching for. I never planned to be just a mom. I planned to be a mom with a career. I was going to do “important” things, like be an Olympian, remember?
To be honest, I had to put aside a lot of pride when I started staying at home with my baby because to the world, I am either a spoiled brat, unimportant, a failure, or sometimes awesome, you just never know.
But one thing I do know is that I have spent many nights praying that I would know my purpose, and never did I feel like I found that until I became “just a mom.” So I would be a fool not to put down my pride and consider the fact that maybe this was the purpose I’d been searching for.
SO YES, KIND SIR, I AM JUST A MOM AND I THANK MY GOOD LORD FOR THAT.
**This article appeared originally on RelevantMagazine.com.