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

Check out Katie Warner’s exciting book, Head and Heart: Becoming Spiritual Leaders for Your Family (Emmaus Road Publishing, August 2015).

Here’s what some other Catholic authors and leaders are saying about Head & Heart: Becoming Spiritual Leaders for Your Family, foreword by Bishop James Conley (Emmaus Road Publishing):

"Read this book now and your children will thank you later." (Steve Ray)

"Warner has drawn up a map we can read and follow, so that we all arrive at the goal [heaven], together with our families." (Dr. Scott Hahn)

"Head & Heart will help you take small steps toward building a vibrant Catholic identity in your home." (Dr. Edward Sri)

Katie Warner

Katie Warner is a Catholic wife, stay-at-home mother, speaker, writer, and evangelist who is passionate about taking small steps toward a more meaningful and spiritual life, and helping others do the same.

Katie writes and speaks about a variety of spiritual and practical topics, and has presented in venues like the National Catholic Bible Conference and numerous Legatus chapters, the Eucharistic Congress of Atlanta, EWTN radio, and on EWTN television. She is also a presenter for the Symbolon RCIA and Opening the Word programs produced by the Augustine Institute. Katie is one of the original contributing writers for The Integrated Catholic Life and a correspondent for the National Catholic Register.

Katie works very part-time (usually during toddler naps and late at night) as the Manager of Communication and Evangelization for Catholics Come Home, a national Catholic evangelism apostolate working to invite fallen-away Catholics and non-Catholics home to the Catholic Church. She holds a graduate degree in Catholic Theology, specializing in Evangelization and Catechesis, from the Augustine Institute in Denver, Colorado. Her favorite ministry work—and day-job—is family life, and she enjoys homemaking and mothering in sunny Southern California, where she lives with her husband and son.

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