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"Stuck" as a Stay-at-Home Mom in a Leader's Body?

It’s possible to develop leadership skills while folding the laundry

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Well, this laundry isn't going to fold itself, I remember thinking to myself with a sigh just after my first child was born. I sat staring at yet another load of burp cloths, onesies, and miniature-sized jammies. As I began to attack the huge mound of blue, I felt listless. What was the point of folding these? I would put them back on my son Michael, he would spit up on them again, and I'd be right back here on the couch staring at the same pile of baby clothes. Again.

Don't get me wrong—I adored my son. My pastor husband Geoff and I had been thrilled with the news of our first baby boy. We played the name game, shopped for our first crib, and joyfully bought that first pack of diapers, having no idea how much money we would be investing in the diaper industry over the years to come.

I was thrilled we had figured out a way for me to quit my first teaching job to stay home with Mike. I had only taught for a few years and loved it, but now it was time to be a stay-at-home mom. Anticipating my time at home, I dreamed about how my day would go. It would allow me extra hours to bond with my son, and I could really devote myself to keeping a tidy house and planning out nutritious meals. I could finally attack those messy closets, and make my way through what seemed to me an endless list of stay-at-home mom projects.

The novelty of this carried me for about two months, and ran out about the same time as my list. I had tackled all of my major projects, and now found myself searching for ways to engage not just my hands, but my intellect as well. I wasn't having doubts about my time at home with my precious baby boy. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I was thankful. But I wasn't prepared for what was happening to my brain. I felt uninspired. I felt tired, as if my supply of never ending mental energy in the classroom had completely drained away, never to return. I felt bored. I felt guilty.

What was wrong with me? The self-condemning thoughts kept me up at night. I should be loving every minute of being a stay at home mom. I have more than enough to do, so why am I feeling so restless and bored?

I soon realized that I had a war going on between my mom heart and my leader brain. I knew in my heart I had made the right decision for our family in this season, but this didn't mean that I had ceased to be a leader or could shut off the craving to learn and grow and lead. My thoughts went back to a conversation with a mentor friend who talked about seasons, and how I was now in the "mommy season," and I needed to enjoy the unique opportunities it brought. In my heart I knew she was right, but my head wasn't following. I craved the stimulation of the classroom and the challenges it brought. I wanted to think hard and bump up against other leaders who invigorated my creative spirit.

Sherry Surratt

Sherry Surratt is the CEO and President of MOPS International. Connect with her online at SherrySurratt.com or follow her on Twitter at @SherrySurratt.

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"Stuck" as a Stay-at-Home Mom in a Leader's Body?