In the Absence of Affirmation

Jessica
Jessica Sorosiak

I have been struggling lately, and it all came to a head last night during a discussion with my husband after the kids were in bed.

Jessica Sorosiak
Laura
Laura

Sounds intense.  How are you feeling this morning?

Laura
Jessica
Jessica Sorosiak

Pretty misunderstood.  I was trying to communicate how I have been struggling with the lack of affirmation as a stay-at-home mom when I was so used to receiving affirmation from my previous 9-5 job. It was hard for my husband to understand me because of the difference in our roles.

Jessica Sorosiak
Michelle
Michelle

We have definitely had those conversations too. And I have often left the conversations feeling more baffled than understood. So I get it! #marriageisdefinitelyrefining

Michelle
Laura
Laura

Transitioning from traditional work to this kind of work is hard. I think our role as a stay-at-home mom is probably even misunderstood by our families… ourselves even!

Laura
Jessica
Jessica Sorosiak

You’re right. I’ve been praised for my “work” since I was a young child, whether by my parents, my teachers, my employers, my co-workers, and so on.  Now I’m an adult and my employers are two small children, one of which struggles to form words at this point (that’s a whole different story for another day).  

Jessica Sorosiak
Michelle
Michelle

That totally reminds me of that quote – “I live in a madhouse ruled by a tiny army that I made myself!”

Michelle
Laura
Laura

That quote is the story. of. my. life!!!! Being a mom is the hardest work I’ve ever done! It’s work you don’t get paid for. It has the longest hours ever!  It’s work no one sees.  It’s work that no one will even remember.  Not even you because you are so sleep deprived! 😴

Laura
Michelle
Michelle

Or maybe even appreciate, which I guess is at the heart of what we’re talking about.

Michelle
Jessica
Jessica Sorosiak

I’m left wondering when my kids are going to step up to the plate?!? 😉

Jessica Sorosiak
Laura
Laura

For real!  (Hmmm, did I ever step up to the plate for my mom?  That’s for another day too!) Anyway, it’s no fun feeling under or unappreciated! However, you chose to stay home for a reason.  I’m not saying that it’s the better choice, but hopefully it’s the better choice for you and your family.  It’s not an option for many moms–either because they don’t want to or can’t afford to…there are a lot of components here.

Laura
Jessica
Jessica Sorosiak

And I definitely made this choice! I think I struggle because I went from receiving feedback on a daily basis, whether it was positive or negative, to mostly receiving nothing.  

Jessica Sorosiak
Laura
Laura

Awww.  It’s so hard to not know practically how you are doing as a mom.

Laura
Michelle
Michelle

I can empathize with this struggle. I know for me, I basically always feel like there’s more for me to do. There’s always another pile of laundry, more toys on the carpet, or a tantrum to navigate. My job is never done. And sometimes I just need to know that all I do is seen and appreciated.

Michelle
Jessica
Jessica Sorosiak

I know…It’s like I expect my husband, who has his own job and doesn’t even really see what I do on a daily basis, to affirm me.  I’m not able to affirm him for his work (other than I know he’s working hard to provide for us)!  Why do I think he would be able to provide those “good jobs” that I am seeking?

Jessica Sorosiak
Michelle
Michelle

I think you framed our struggle correctly and what I’ve been praying about recently. Why am I looking to my hubby or anyone to tell me I am good enough?

Michelle
Laura
Laura

For sure. And it isn’t really a question of working mom vs. stay-at-home mom.  Anyone can put their value in the wrong place.  When you were working, was it really a good thing that your self-worth hinged upon a good report from your boss?  You were a valuable part of your company because you are valuable.  It hinges on nothing.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made came with no conditions.  It is just so.

Laura
Michelle
Michelle

What she said. 😉

Michelle
Jessica
Jessica Sorosiak

Good point! I’m probably guilty of placing too much of my identity in my role as a mom, and I am so much more than that.  

Jessica Sorosiak
Laura
Laura

You are a child of THE MOST HIGH! That is the best title you could hold. He sees your efforts as a mom.  He sees the spit-up and the messy diapers you clean.  He sees your best attempt to remain patient even in the midst of John’s meltdowns.  He loves you even when you lose it! And let me just say… I can tell you’re doing a great job! Keep it up, Jessica!

Laura
Jessica
Jessica Sorosiak

Thanks!  I just need to remind myself that God defines my value and worth. Not other people.

Jessica Sorosiak
Michelle
Michelle

Not even that cute little army “you made yourself.” 😉

Michelle

Soaking in the Truth

Scripture to encourage you:

  • Long ago the Lord said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.  With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” – Jeremiah 31:3
  • Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. – Isaiah 49: 15-16

Music to inspire you:

  • Live Like Your Loved by Hawk Nelson
  • Who Am I?  by Casting Crowns
  • Enough by Chris Tomlin

    Readings to come alongside of you:

  • “Live from an abundant place that you are loved, and you won’t find yourself begging others for scraps of love.” -Lysa TerKeurst, Uninvited
  • “Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.” Brennan Manning,  Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging 
  • “The soul’s worth, though, doesn’t come from earning or proving. Image doesn’t matter. Outrunning the emptiness doesn’t work for long. Every soul, every soul is worthy, because God made every soul, and because of His love, His Son came to the earth and walked among us, because God’s love for us is so deep and wide and elaborate that He wants to be with us, to walk with us, to teach us how to live in that love and worthiness. It is only when you understand God’s truly unconditional love that you begin to understand the worth of your own soul–not because of anything you’ve done…” -Shauna Niequist, Present Over Perfect 
  • When Life is Blurry by Girlfriends in God

 

Living Out the Truth

Ideas to try:

  • Take a few quiet moments to listen to the songs listed above and ask God if He wants to tell you anything about the truth about who you are to Him. Are you defining yourself as a mom? Or a teacher? Or a wife? Ask God what truth He wants you to see.
  • Affirmation from others isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s when we rely on that affirmation to define us that it becomes problematic.  If you feel like what you do goes unnoticed (whether at work or at home), have a conversation with your spouse or co-workers about what they think you do well and what they think you could do better.  If we want to be affirmed, we also have to accept criticism and take it as a challenge to better ourselves.
  • Spend some time journaling on what you think you do well at home, and hand those over to God as worship.  Give thanks to Him for giving you those talents.  
  • We know God see us, but who else knows what we’re going through?  MOMS!!! Give a little affirmation to good another mom you see doing well, especially on days that she might feel she’s not!

{These suggestions are ideas from novice moms. Sometimes our life situations need more. In that case, seeking out professional help is the right call.}

 

About Michelle Warner

The truth about me is that I love spending time with people–whether it be with moms in MOPS, students in writing camps, friends in my supper club, or family on our patio. And if you combine people and words, I am definitely in my happy place. One of my most favorite moments is sitting around a table with the people I love sharing deep conversations about life. Inviting people into our home and pulling out my fancy dishes invigorates me, though tackling the hand-wash pile in my sink does quite the opposite. (Sorry, Hubby. I’ll get to those soon!) I’m learning to enjoy the people in my life without feeling the need to prove myself or always make them happy. God continues to teach me that when I find what I need in Him rather than the perfectly-cooked chicken or the perfectly-timed word, I have a security that can’t be shaken. And that’s a good thing since my hard-working husband and I have two very determined little girls who keep us on our toes!

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