Marissa Mayer is the newest CEO of Yahoo. A woman with two Stanford degrees in computer science, one of the first employees and executives at Google, and a long list of professional and personal accolades, Marissa was a shoe-in for this top position. So why would this announcement throw the media and many bloggers into a full-fledged battle of the “Mommy Wars” between stay-at-home-moms and working moms? Why, because Marissa Mayer is not only the youngest CEO of a fortune 500 company, Marissa Mayer is pregnant with her first child.
Headlines from, “Focus on Marissa Mayer’s brain, not her pregnancy” to “Do Marissa Mayer’s maternity plans make her a fit role model for women?” along with “Can Marissa Mayer really have it all?” have re-engaged people in the ongoing debate of who is a better mother; a stay-at-home-mom or a working mom.
It reminded me of my own journey through the early years of motherhood as I traversed the “Mommy Wars” of stay-at-home-moms vs. working moms. It began when I was dating my husband, Mark and we were discussing our values on marriage and parenting.
Both of us came from divorced homes where there was little stability and rarely a parent in sight (due to the circumstances of absent fathers, single mothers, and work situations), and so we adamantly agreed that “one” of the parents should stay home with the children and the other should work. It seemed black and white to us at the time. Our belief, birthed out of our experiences as children, was that unattended children do not develop self-esteem without the stability of a “Leave it to Beaver” style home and therefore, make poor choices which can lead to a lifetime of regrets and negative consequences. And neither of us wanted that for our children.
But if you have ever noticed, God does not live or work in black and white. God lives and works in color.
Mark and I were married and had two handsome boys. In the first few years, I could not imagine leaving them to go back to work and was confident in my stay-at-home decision. But then God began to speak to my heart about other things He wanted me to focus on. The question He kept posing to me was how I planned to express my relationship with Him to the world. Of course, raising strong Christian children to be leaders in the next generation is one way of answering that question. But the answer became broader as I felt God’s calling to continue my education, grow through volunteering, and eventually accept a part-time position helping women discover not only Whose they are but who they are! My black and white world had turned to color and I was still a good mother. In fact, I was a better mother because I was becoming a better Angela through all that I was learning and experiencing.
What I have learned through this process is that it is not our purpose is to be a stay-at-home-mom nor is it our purpose to be the CEO of a fortune 500 company. Although, both are “purposeful” and can shine Christ’s light on a dark world, I believe as Christ-followers our purpose is to be the glory of God. Our identity should be founded in Christ, not our motherhood or our profession.
I am not the glory of God when I am judgmental, jealous, or self-righteous in my thoughts or actions towards other human beings. I am also not the glory of God when I do not allow people the dignity to choose their own path. After all, isn’t that what God has done for me.
So today, I wave the white flag on the line of the “Mommy Wars” and ask each of you to give honor and dignity to each woman in your life to choose her own path. Offer her a supportive hand and your prayers and trust God to do a great work in her life. After all, isn’t that what you would like?