What do you do? I hate that question. Because every time, my answer is terrible. I never say what I want to say. Because what I want to say feels too bold. Too big. Too much. But I’m trying to retrain my brain to believe what I want others to believe about me. To say what I mean. To acknowledge my own value.
How do I usually answer? “I’m just a stay at home mom.” Period. End of story. Shut mouth. But here’s the narrative in my head. The one that’s fighting to really acknowledge my value. But that still, even in my innermost thoughts, is flush with minimizing words:
I’m just a stay at home mom. Just a stay at home mom with a little business I run while my kids are asleep. A small thing that pays for my kids to go to preschool. A little side hustle that brings real value to families. No big deal. I’m just a stay at home mom who loves to write, and chips away at a blog in the middle of the night and in car line and when I get out of the shower. Stealing moments here and there as they become available. Begging friends to test new ideas with me and let me coach them through their own ideas. I’m just a stay at home mom with three little girls. Less than two years between each one. Trying to make lunches and do crafts and teach letters. Look up new recipes they might actually eat. But no eggs - one is allergic. Nurse the baby. Find the other shoe. Buy tutus and plan birthdays and read books and hold close. I’m just a stay at home mom cleaning toilets and taking out the trash and scrubbing accidents out of car seats. Just a stay at home mom rocking and singing and soothing at 2am. Snuggling and warming feet and getting water at 3am. I’m just a stay at home mom.
Just. Why do I do that? Belittle myself and my good hard work as a stay at home mom. Downplay my business and the value it brings to my family and to the families I serve. Not mention my blog that I pour my whole heart into and believe in so much. Why do I hide? It’s not because I feel like I need to do more. I’m like most moms I know. I have literally zero free minutes. I can accept when I’m maxed out and trying my best.
So what it is for me? That keeps me small. Keeps me just? I know. It’s fear of rejection. That my work as a wife, mom, entrepreneur, writer, isn’t good enough. Isn’t as good as another’s. And that I’ll be found out - that I don’t have all the answers. That I’m afraid and figuring it out as I go. Because I’m a people pleaser. I get along. I hate when others disapprove of or dislike me or my work. I want to smooth it over. Explain. Or back down. Until I’m liked again. So I minimize as kind of a judgment shield. Like an acknowledgement that I know what I’m doing isn’t good or important, so don’t bother to judge me. Because I can’t handle your rejection. But you know what I’m finally learning to accept? This is a gem I stole from Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. Here it is: Other people’s opinion of me is none of MY business. It’s their business. I can’t please everyone. I can do my best. I can produce good work. And how it’s received is up to others. They can choose me or choose someone else. And that’s their choice. And I can choose to believe and trust that I’m using my God given gifts to glorify Him and to love His people. And that’s enough. But if I busy myself with smoothing over and explaining, I’ll never go anywhere. I won’t use my gifts. I can’t focus on love first. So I’m trying to learn to do good work that I’m proud of without busying myself with things that are just not my business.
So if I truly believe that my work as a mother, entrepreneur, writer, is how I’m living into what God created for me, the what am I afraid of? Nothing. I’m committed. Committed to saying, “Here I am, Lord.” Even when it’s hard, and slow, and criticized. Because it really doesn’t matter. When we do what we were created for - when we follow Him even when it doesn’t make sense? It might not be easy. But it will be right. It will feel right.
Do you know that feeling? When you choose the hard way that nobody else understands, but it feels so right. And even though another way, another choice, another way of living would be easier, your soul is alive and content because you are living deep into what God meant for you?
It’s a terrifying and wonderful feeling. To just trust. To look beyond the world and to become who you were meant to be. It’s scary. Hard. Frustrating. But I’m telling you, it’s worth it. Worth the hard lessons and the tears and the late nights. It’s worth the failure and the rejection and frustration. Because living into your gifts? Your dreams that God placed on your heart? It’s how you are meant to live, how you are were meant to give, and how you are meant to shine. So look ahead and look to God and use your gifts. Chase your dreams. Don’t look to the side. Don’t worry about what people think or say. It’s not your business. Your business is you. Your heart. Your gifts. Your dreams. Your life.
I say it to my kids every day - “Don’t worry about what she’s doing. Worry about what you’re doing.” And I’m learning to practice it myself. To focus on what I’m doing. To be proud of it and own it. Because I’m not just a stay at home mom. My business is not just a side hustle. My writing is not just an outlet. These are the ways I’m living into and using the gifts I’ve been given. How dare I? How dare I not share what God meant for to share? How dare I not give freely and fearlessly. How dare I minimize what God intends for me. Being a mom, an entrepreneur, a writer? This is me loving and giving all that I have to offer the world. And that is not just anything. It’s everything.
Are you hiding a dream? Ignoring a call on your heart? Wasting your gifts? Why? We need you to live deeply into what you love. Only you can offer your gifts. Whether it matters to one person, maybe just to you, or to a million people, your gifts were meant to be shared. It. Matters. So please stop minimizing what you are and who you can become out of fear. Mind YOUR own business and share your gifts with us. It could motivate a friend. Inspire a daughter. Uplift a struggling sister. It could spark a movement. Start a conversation. Unite a community. It could change you.
It could change the world.