Motherhood is my favorite job. It’s also my most demanding job. It’s also the job that, left unchecked, has a tendency to absorb every possible responsibility. And then it becomes the job that you can never win.
When I was a young mom, I scrapbooked (badly), crocheted and knit blankets (kind of badly), I made homemade bread, I paid the bills, I cleaned the house (that one wasn’t awesome either), I took the kids to the park, and I threw fantastic themed birthday parties (those were pretty great.)
And I felt like every single one of those things was part of my job of being a mom.
Then, in between babies 2 and 3, everything unexpectedly changed. I was no longer just the mom. My husband had undiagnosed health problems that made him unable to work full time. Literally overnight everything changed. We went to bed with our status quo. And I woke up the next morning with him telling me he needed to go to the hospital. It was a 2 year journey to find answers to his health problems. And it was a 2 year journey for me to understand that my definition of mother needed to shift.
During that transition, I felt like I was failing in every area of my life. The piles of laundry were surely a sign that I was a bad mom. My husband taking the kids to the park instead of me sparked an intense jealousy that must have meant I was a bad wife, which also must have meant I was a bad mom. It was a dark and dangerous spiral that started when life changed without my permission, and intensified with the hormones from pregnancy number 3.
One day, I had a meltdown in my office. I was tired, sick, and sick and tired of feeling like I was failing at every area of my life. In an epic tantrum, I told God that it was too much. He was asking too much of me.
The answer that came into my mind shocked me, “You don’t have to do any of it.”
“What do you mean?” I mentally yelled back. “If I don’t do the laundry, no one will. If I don’t work, the bills don’t get paid. If I don’t…”
The answer came into my mind again, only this time it was sharp, I got a spiritual spanking, “You don’t have to do any of it!” And I pictured myself getting into my car, driving away and never coming back. I was being given a choice. Find joy in your life, or leave it all behind.
I’m not advocating dropping everything that overwhelms you. I am advocating simplicity, and clarity so that you can find joy in your role of mother, wife, and whatever jobs you choose. That day I wrote out my job descriptions and it has been a source of peace in my life for the past 10 years.
How to write your job descriptions.
Step 1: Choose your jobs. Try to stick to 5 or less, definitely no more than 6. My jobs are: Daughter of God, Wife, Mother, Business Owner, and Household manager.
Step 2: Write your job descriptions
Department: (gives you a bigger picture for why this matters)
Reports to: (You do not have to answer to everyone. Get clear on who you report to and let go of all other pressure)
Consults with: (Only take advice from people who have successfully accomplished what you want to accomplish, and love you and want you to succeed.)
Responsibilities: (Keep the list short and concise)
Qualifications: (Only choose qualifications you actually have. I promise you are qualified to live your own life.)
Duration of employment:
Here’s my job description of Mother.
Department: Eternal Progression and growth
Reports to: God
Consults with: My husband Stephen, my dad, my aunt, a small handful of my friends.
- Teach my children to love to work and to work at what they love.
- Teach my children faith and values.
- Teach my children to live outside the box of societal expectations.
- Teach my children compassion and respect.
- Play and have fun.
- Honor who they are as individuals and help them develop their strengths and skills.
- Love them
- I am patient
- I love them unconditionally
- I partner with God to make the best decisions for my kids
- I am fun and playful
- They are mine
Duration of Employment: Eternity
How to live your job descriptions
Do you realize how much stress and energy goes into things that are not truly essential? My kitchen sink might be full of dishes, but it does not mean I am a bad mom. My husband and I might not have a date night because I’ve been traveling for business, but it does not mean I am a bad wife. When we get clear on your job descriptions, it gives us permission to let go of anything that isn’t serving us.
I invite you to do this activity! And then comes the fun part, you get to start saying, “That’s not my job!” It is so freeing to get rid of all unessential parts of your life!