Donna Ashton
God at Work: Being Mum

Since giving birth to the first of our three children in 2011 I’ve been on the most challenging and the most rewarding period of my life. I’m a stay-at-home-mum.

My husband, Matt, and I decided that if the time ever came, I would re-orient my career to focus my time with our children. It took a couple of years of trying, including some medical operations along the way before Joel arrived and my journey as a stay-at-home-mum began. I always knew it would be a counter-cultural decision but I wasn’t quite prepared for just how much.

In an affluent society, which prizes success and recognition, I soon realised that choosing to work as a stay-at-home-mum would be challenging for two reasons: 1) there’s no immediate reward for the role, and 2) it’s often not recognised as ‘work’. Let me un-pack that.

Bringing up children is not like a sales job with immediate rewards for securing a sale or a medical role with its immediate gratification for saving a life, quite the opposite – parenting is a lot of hard work that provides little immediate rewards. Instead, after a day of utterly giving yourself to loving and supporting your children it still ends with not being listened to, food on the floor, brother hitting sister, water everywhere but in the bath…you get the idea!

Secondly, through the said and unsaid messages of friends, including acquaintances, the work of a stay-at-home-mum can be frequently overlooked. Comments like, ‘I couldn’t be a stay-at-home-mum, I need to keep my mind engaged’ or ‘I need to get back to work so I feel like I’m valued and achieving something’ are often said. You wouldn’t believe how many friends have sent me jobs to apply for to ‘fill my time’ during the day.

All that being said, I wouldn’t want to ever change the decision we made. Why? Working as a stay-at home-mum blesses me with ample time to invest and enjoy an adventure with my three beautiful children. My first priority as a mum is to be on mission with my children. I get to disciple them and point them to Jesus in whatever situations we face – even if it is asking them for forgiveness and to show me grace because I messed up.

I get to drop them off and pick them up from school every day, patiently care for them when they’re sick, be around for the holidays, spontaneously go to the park or beach with them on a sunny day, read and write with them, cook homemade food, read parenting books and put into practice what I’m learning, voluntarily serve the church and bring them along . . . I could go on.

Investing in my children, teaching and showing them how to be a disciple of Jesus, far outweighs cultural pressures on stay-at-home-mums and while there are no immediate rewards, I know the eternal ones reign supreme. I’m very thankful to Jesus that I get to work as a stay-at-home-mum.