I Went to School for Years! Now I’m a Stay-at-Home Mom…?

Mother and Child

Mother and Child

The other day I was reflecting on a common frustration among stay-at-home moms—the seemingly “wasted” years of higher education that apparently get tossed aside when children enter the picture. Admittedly, I had moments leading up to the birth of my son when I felt that way. “I kicked my butt in undergrad and graduate school, just so I could change diapers all day?” Then, my son was born, and my view slowly but profoundly changed.

Essentially, I came to realize that my life, like a book, has chapters carefully constructed and laid out by God, who has a time and place for everything. He ordered the chapters in my novel, and just like it would be absurd for chapters in a carefully plotted book to be out of order (imagine Frodo journeying to Mordor before he acquires the ring…what? or Elizabeth falling in love with Mr. Darcy the moment she meets him…boring!), it would be equally disappointing if I desired and tried to live my life out of order from God’s intended story for me.

Don’t get me wrong. I have always wanted to be a mom. But before I became one (and still occasionally now that I am one), the thought of giving up some of my career aspirations seemed daunting. That is, until I realized that I wasn’t giving up any career aspirations at all. I was entering a new chapter with a new and incredibly challenging career: professional motherhood. I think it’s a mistake when many of us fail to see motherhood as it really is—a professional career.

To be a true professional at any career, you must have focus and passion. Right now, as a stay-at-home mother, I’m called to be laser-focused on how to mother well—extremely well if I can help it—which is hard, professional work. I’m also called to do that work with tangible passion. After years of focus and passion, I will hopefully be rewarded with children who have the virtues, attitudes, and capabilities that reflect the professional mothering they experienced in their childhood and adolescence.

Then, maybe God will call me to a new chapter, perhaps a chapter that involves that workaday world that I once belonged to and went to school for. Until that time, however, it is my vocation to embrace this chapter, offering every bit of talent, creativity, and knowledge that I have gained through the valuable education and life experience He intentionally equipped me with in previous ones.

Fellow stay-at-home mothers: your years of schooling are not wasted; your professional life has not been put on hold. You are using them right now, engaging in the hardest and most important professional work there is.  Do not spend these years wondering what else or what more you could be doing, what other chapters you could be writing. Never take a moment of this chapter for granted. It will end all too quickly!

“That is how mothers are made. Nature had to prepare for them through millions of years by begetting a love that would freely desire children, a love that would educate them, and a love that would sacrifice for them because of their sovereign worth as persons endowed with immortal souls…that kind of love is a gift from God.” (Venerable Fulton Sheen)


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About the Author

Katie (Peterson) Warner, Communications Manager, Catholics Come Home, Inc., has spoken at Catholic and secular venues on topics ranging from media and the culture of life to evangelization in the 21st century, plus a variety of apologetics, theological, spiritual, and practical topics.

She has been a speaker at the National Catholic Bible Conference and numerous Legatus chapters, an emcee for the Eucharistic Congress of Atlanta, and has appeared on EWTN radio and an EWTN television mini-series.

Katie currently works for Catholics Come Home, a national Catholic evangelism apostolate working to invite fallen-away Catholics and non-Catholics home to the Catholic Church.

Katie holds a graduate degree in Catholic Theology, specializing in Evangelization and Catechesis, from the Augustine Institute in Denver, Colorado. Katie also has a degree in Communication and Professional Writing. Since her youth, her passion has always been to use her speaking, writing, and teaching skills to serve the evangelization mission of the Church.

Katie is a core member of a growing youth ministry program in Santa Clarita, California, where she lives with her husband, Raymond. In addition to her work in the parish and with Catholics Come Home, Katie writes for online Catholic magazines and is working on her first book. She plans to devote her life’s work entirely to Jesus, His Church, evangelization, and the sanctity of human life.

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4 Comments

  1. I’m one of ten children. My dad once told my mother that he didn’t see much point in sending the girls to college. Mother’s response? “An educated man is an educated man; an educated woman is an educated family.” Amen to that and thanks mom for your perfect grammar and knowledge of literature. It made the verbal SAT a breeze!

  2. Katie, you have it exactly right. There is no more rewarding job than that of being a mother and raising your children, with the help of your husband, to be productive, virtuous, faithful Catholics who will then have the foundation to do the same with their children. You will be blessed tenfold for doing this – the most important job there is. In the scheme of things, mothers actually have relatively few years in their average eighty or so years to devote to raising their children well. We are talking about maybe 25% of their lives. A job outside the home can still be had down the road after the most important job, raising good children, is done. Feminism has sold many women a false premise in its promotion of a career as the most important thing a woman can do.

  3. “Anyone who studies history will know that the mother-as-homemaker/father-as-breadwinner set-up was never the norm. The narrative that the increasing number of women in the workforce is part of a linear societal decline just doesn’t add up.”

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