No Paycheck

Money is so big in our world. Our lives revolve around it on some level, whether we want them to or not. Everything we do, eat, or use costs money, and therefore our lives are tightly tied to making and spending it.

As a stay-at-home mom, I’m obviously not paid. I don’t make any money to contribute to our family. Living in a money-driven society, being an unpaid worker is hard. Yes, I chose to have children and yes, I choose to stay home with them. Are those choices contributive to society? Yes, I sure think so!

Without children being brought into the world, the human race would die out. There are also benefits of having a stay-at-home parent for a child’s development, and regardless, a child who stays home with a parent is not using an outside resource for childcare, which leaves those resources available for others who need them.

But according to my non-existent paycheck, my work is worth zero dollars.

At times, it can be hard to not internalize this.

One thing that makes it even harder to believe in my value as a stay-at-home mom is the pressure to make money from home. SAHMs (stay-at-home moms) are frequently presented with opportunities to convert to WAHMs (work-at-home moms) by “making money from home.”

There are a seemingly unlimited number of businesses geared towards SAHMs, such as selling kitchen tools, clothing, cleaning products, essential oils, specialty skin care products, e-books, and more. There’s also blogging, life-coaching, virtual assistance, book-keeping, tutoring, and providing childcare to other children alongside your own. I have tried and failed to make money doing several of these things! And I’ve known many moms who have spent a lot of time and money investing in businesses like these, only to end up closing them because they don’t make enough money to cover expenses.

Many of these business models are actually predatory, designed to make most of their profit from the “momtrepreneur’s” startup costs, rather than their actual products. They basically know that most WAHMs won’t end up with a profitable long-term business, but they sell the idea of making money from home to moms who already feel undervalued by society. Diabolical!

Of course, we SAHMs constantly fall for it. I constantly find myself feeling the urge to make money, feeling distressed by the fact that I can’t, and then reminding myself that it’s okay because that’s not where my value comes from.

Societally, my value comes from what I contribute, which right now includes raising children who are healthy and capable and have good values, supporting my church by giving my time and managing my family’s tithing, helping families in crisis through the ministry Safe Families for Children, writing, providing a home and care for animals, and contributing to the economy by buying things my family needs and wants (with my husband’s income of course).

But beyond what society thinks, or how I contribute, I have an even deeper value, and that comes from God. Whether I lift a single finger in life or not, God sees me as priceless. He doesn’t value me for how hard I work or how much I contribute, and he certainly doesn’t value me based on how much money I make.

God calls me priceless because I am his creation, his daughter, and bought with the price of his son Jesus. He calls me valuable and gives me a job that is immensely more important than making money or “contributing” to the world I live in; that is sharing the love of Jesus with those around me and living my life to glorify him. I can do my part to help God’s family continue to grow and point more people towards Jesus, so they can have an eternity with Him in Heaven.

Ultimately it comes down to a choice. Do I want to have an earthly perspective and focus on making money and chasing “happiness” in this life? Or, do I want to have an eternal perspective and focus on living out my mission for God, and finding my joy in the Lord?

The truth is, I do care about having a nice life. It’s human nature to want that. I want that for myself and for my husband and for my kids. I don’t think that it’s wrong to want that, or to work for that. I am thankful that my husband has a great job and can support us comfortably, and I can afford to stay at home with my kids. But whenever I start to feel my money-driven-nature creeping in, I strive to remember that money isn’t where my value comes from, and contentment is so much more valuable than more income anyway.

As a stay-at-home mom, I would love to have a paycheck that reflects my value. But that isn’t the world we live in. Maybe someday it will be, but for now, at least I know that what I do is important, paycheck or not.

1 comment

  1. I came here looking for your eggnog recipe and this was the first thing I saw on the home page. I’ve been feeling the same way recently, very pressured, feeling like I’m not contributing to the household. Truthfully though, my role as a SAHM is the glue that holds it all together and I think I need to step back and realize that more often. Miss you guys!

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