To the Momma Who Works Outside the Home

Last night I broke.

I’ve been fragile lately, because we all get that way sometimes. The normal chaos of life has been compounded by a move across town. Packing and sick children and wrapping of memories and car pools and car loads of boxes have worn me down. My cracked places have been held together by thin strips of tape.

And then.

Prince Charming and I realized neither of us could go with our son on his field trip to the zoo in a few weeks. Like impossible. Like I would lose another paid day and my PE teacher husband is in charge of field-day on the same day kind of impossible.

And then

The guilt I feel because I haven’t been to a single event for the Court Jester all year, I can’t volunteer, and I can never be room mom, bubbled up and over the buried places of my heart.

And then.

My cracked places shattered and the ugly cry that came after still leaves me weepy around the edges this morning.

I’ve been a stay-at-home momma. Now I’m a full-time working momma. Believe me when I say SAHMs—you work. Hard. I know. Your job isn’t any easier because you don’t work outside the home. Anyone who says otherwise is blinded to your reality.


Full-time working momma? Our struggles are different, and it is your heart I want to cradle just for a minute or two.

Because whether working is a choice or not, our hearts will always break when we can’t be there for our children. A mother’s first instinct is to protect her children, guide them, nurture them. When work keeps us from being able act on our instinct, the internal conflict is palpable.

Yesterday, when I realized my son would be walking through the zoo without his father or me, it wasn’t okay. And nothing anyone can tell me will make it okay.

There are a million rationalizations we give ourselves just to be able to leave our children and go to work. We say remind ourselves of things like:

  • He’ll be having so much fun he won’t even think of me.
  • My friend will be chaperoning, so I know he’ll have a good time with her.
  • Times like these will teach him independence and self-sufficiency.
  • He won’t end up in therapy because I miss one field trip.

Most of the time these are accurate. They’re true. Most of the time they’re enough to keep us putting one foot in front of the other as we do our jobs, our important jobs (because they are.)

But sometimes, the truths we remind ourselves of, are not enough to ease the ache.

It just hurts.

I won’t tell you to suck it up. I won’t tell you it will be okay. I won’t attempt to ease your mind with platitudes that do nothing to bandage the wounds of our momma hearts.


I’ll tell you it’s okay to be hurt and cracked and torn.

I’ll whisper in your ear—You’re not alone.

We’re a tribe of mothers, whether we work outside of the home or not. We all hurt when we can’t meet the needs of our children. We’re never alone in that pain, because there will always be moments when mothers can’t fix the lives of their babies.

The burdens we bear as mothers are heavy and words on a computer screen will never be enough to lighten the load.

But we have a Jesus that will scoop up the broken fragments of our hearts and cradle them close. And it’s okay to cry in the arms of Jesus. And it’s okay to hurt. We don’t have to be strong. We have a Jesus that is strong for us.

So, today, working momma?

It’s okay to not be okay.

DSC_0521Linking up this afternoon with my friend Suzie Eller…If you would like to read more stories of women grappling with difficult moments of life so you are reminded you’re not alone, please click here.

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21 Responses to To the Momma Who Works Outside the Home

  1. Oh, Heather…this hit so close to home for me today. Thank you for speaking to my heart.

  2. Kelli Podracky says:

    Awww, isn’t this some parenting truth and honesty! Although I am a SAHM, I have 4 kids, one being a high needs baby who requires a lot of time and energy…often leaving me depleted for the other ones. And I can’t be what I want to be for all the kids, all the time. Parenting is a tough gig.

    Is there a grandparent, aunt/uncle, some special someone that could be the fill in for this day? I know it’s not the same and doesn’t help your hurt of wanting to be there, but just a thought I had. We don’t have local family so that’s not ever an option for us, but boy, I wish there were times that at least someone could fill the space in my absence.

    I so very much enjoy you and your writing and your transparency.

    No need to post this to your blog, I just wanted to reach out to you to let you know that my heart understands your heart this morning.

    • Of course I’ll post this! Thank you, Kelli. I know all momma’s hurt deeply when they miss being their for any one of their children. All of our family is out of town, too…though sometimes this has been an option for us. I appreciate your encouragement. Knowing we’re not alone always helps ease the hurt.

  3. Jennifer Moore says:

    I need to hear this today. Thanks. Humbled.

  4. Fawn Yoho says:

    As always, you nailed it! I struggle with this all the time! Thank you!

  5. Betsy says:

    Thank you so much for this! I can’t tell you how many times I feel guilt because I have no time to go on my children’s field trips with them!! I know they understand but my heart breaks every year I can’t go.

  6. I remember the SAHM times and the working part-time times as a substitute teacher, etc. while my husband was doing a lot of over night traveling for his company overs 32 years. My two sons made it through that time, and so will yours. I know your’re emotionally suffering with guilt. That is normal. Honestly, the field trips are so exciting and educational that the children often don’t even know their parents are there. They’re with their friends and don’t have to sit down on a chair! It’s not the same as a family trip. That’s my impression as a full time teacher for over 15 years. These children will be fine. My heart breaks for the children who are emotionally abandoned and just a number to their parents. Your children will never feel that way. Keep up your good work!

  7. Peggy Dale says:

    As a mom with a teenage daughter going to prom this weekend, this has hit home for me. Today was supposed to have been a day that we, mom and daughter, got our nails and hair done together. Due to illnesses last week, I am unable to do that and it has broken my heart. This has hit really close to home today specifically and I thank you for reminding me that it’s okay to be the working mom and not be able to be there for everything. Keep writing for all of us. Love your heart Heather!!

  8. Brittany Langford says:

    Thankful for your words. My husband is a full time student and we have an 18 month old and another on the way. My heart constantly feels this burden at work as well as at home when I am just exhausted from the day and need a nap! Thankful for Jesus today!

    • Brittany, it’s so hard to give all day and come home to instantly switch gears. So hard. Especially when pregnant and chasing an 18 month old. (HARDEST AGE EVER–for me at least…) Praying for you sister!

  9. Suzie Eller says:

    You are blooming in a place you don’t want to be as you give yourself permission to not be okay. That’s what I thought when I read this. How powerful is it to give ourselves that permission and then move on. I love your words. I love that you are a part of #livefreeThursday.

  10. Kristina says:

    I always love your words but this definitely hits the heart. Thank you ❤️

  11. Carmen Horne says:

    I felt your pain today. I have been both as well. What I can say is that we don’t understand the feeling of “knowing” that 40 hours of our week has been given to someone else with very little flexibility until we’ve lived it. I am back home now. My daughter is grown. I have a sticky note on my computer that says, “Never forget how it feels to be a women and work 40 hours a week, never.” Thank you for sharing in such transparency and for visiting with me over at

  12. Lorrie Benjamin says:

    PRAISE THE LORD and wowza for this great read!!!! It hit my heart from a Nana stand point ….my daughter is a 1st time Mama and she will certainly be getting this to read! God Bless you 🙂

  13. Beth says:

    Been there, felt that…it can be heart-breaking to feel so conflicted and torn. Someday you may experience the blessing of being able to stay home once again as I have…praying that for you. Great post. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Julie Thomas says:

    You always know just what I’m feeling – I too was a SAHM for 6 yrs. I was able to go w the kids on trips and be a room mom for both of them (not the same thing yr!). I went back to work this past October and when the first field trip came up, my youngest told their teacher that I come to everything and I would be there, w/o saying a word to me. She was heartbroken when I wasn’t able to be there that day and I cried and cried at work. Since then, things have changed (working part-time now instead of full-time) and I was able to be w her just yesterday on her last field trip of the year. Thank you for understanding my heart.