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Hey, working mum, it’s not how much time you have ... image

Hey, working mum, it’s not how much time you have ...

... it's what you do with it.

**You can hear more about parenting from Ruth Baker at MU Sydney’s annual Seminar on Friday February 24, from 10am–1pm. Ruth is one of four speakers addressing the topic: ‘Seize the Day: Work and Rest in the Light of Eternity’. You can attend this FREE event at St Andrew’s Cathedral or watch the livestream. Register here.**

At least twice a year as we get towards school holidays, I will be asked what I am doing for the holidays. I try and mildly laugh away the assumption that I am a stay-at-home mum, or in a traditionally female occupation that leaves school holidays largely free.

‘I’ll be working.’ I smile.

I’m generally met with an uncomfortable look, and I end up apologising or rambling on about something or other to cover an awkward moment.

I’m not sure why we still subconsciously assume that mums don’t work. The NCLS data for 2016 showed that nearly 50% of church attendees were in some form of employment with only 8% in the home caring for the family full-time.1 So I am confident in saying I am not alone in my employment status!

For working mums there can be the pressure of fitting everything in. There’s the basic parenting (feeding, clothing, wiping, cleaning, shopping, cooking, being a sleep consultant, diplomat and so on), and then the working and then the Christian parenting. When you only make it through the door in time to throw dinner together and get everyone into the bath, it can feel like an impossible task.

First, let’s acknowledge that everyone finds the Christian parenting difficult, whether you are working full-time, part-time or are a full-time stay-at-home mum. The difference between all of our contexts is time. Time is a resource like our money, and like any resource, we need to use it wisely, whether we have much or whether we have little.

Second, when we talk about Christian parenting, we aren’t talking about teaching our kids things like reading the Bible and praying. It may encompass those things, but the aim is a relationship with God, not a list of competencies that they become proficient at. We are simply creating space for God to do his work in them. 

So how do we create that space when we have so little time? How do we do that when we often come home from work exhausted? Here are five principles I think are helpful for Christian working mums:


When we are time and brain-space poor, whatever we are able to do should be done consistently. Even if this is just going to church, going to kids’ club or youth group and saying grace before dinner. Whatever it is, making sure we have those regular anchor points is really important. It is helpful for the kids to have these as part of their routine. It becomes their normal.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24–25)


If we want our kids to have a relationship with God, they need to see us having and enjoying our relationship with God. They should see us reading our Bibles and hear us praying for anything and everything. If they hear us giving ‘popcorn’ prayer and praise points (little prayers that pop up) then this will seem normal for them and they will naturally join in: ‘Dear God, thank you that it’s sunny today. Dear God, please help Nanna get better. Thank you, God, for freeing up that car spot.’ It’s very   hard for kids to develop those habits if they don’t see them modelled.

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)



Get help! Your kids’ minister, youth leaders, Bible study leader and Christian friends can all help. It is a village after all. Whatever you need support with or whatever skills you lack (or don’t have time to develop as quickly as you would like), seek the help of those you trust to invest in your kids—and invest in you as a parent. We can often feel like this is a roller-coaster. It just goes up and down and you can’t stop it or get off. The truth is, it’s a journey. Journeys go fast and slow, we go alone on some stretches and sometimes we have the company of others along the way. God has placed us in a Christian community, and we should lean on those he has placed around us. 

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4:10)


Never give up. Being a working parent is hard. It’s tiring. Some of us work in physically demanding jobs. Some of us work in high-stress environments. There are deadlines, difficult work situations, tricky colleagues, long hours (or normal hours that come with brain strain, high intensity, emotional and mental energy). On top of that, kids don’t always respond the way you were hoping when you try that new devotional book or start a new prayer routine. Or maybe what was working doesn’t work so well anymore. Don’t be discouraged and don’t give up. Remember, it’s not a list of things to do, it’s simply creating space for God to do his work. So try something new, seek advice and keep going.

We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3–5)


It can be hard after a long day at work to feel joyful about reading your Bible, praying, going to Bible study or going to and serving at church. But remember—we are modelling behaviour whether we mean to or not. Meeting with our Christian community and meeting with our God in his word and prayer should be the source of our joy and our kids need to see that. They will see just as clearly if we treat our Christian habits like chores. 

We can start by simply changing the way we talk. Instead of expressing annoyance with those around you and the busyness of your day with statements like ‘Can everyone just leave me alone a minute, I have to read my Bible!’, perhaps we could consciously show that we take joy in our relationship with Jesus: ‘Oh good! I get to read my Bible now!’

There is a beautiful truth in Peter’s words that we should remember and express in our words and deeds:

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. (1 Peter 1:8)

Don’t forget, work is not something we should be ashamed of. Whether you work because you have to or because you want to, it is part of our individual   context and will influence our parenting. As we learn to use the time we have wisely, we are also teaching our kids how to be working Christians in the world. This is something that will be invaluable to them as they grow up and enter the workforce themselves. We can show them that it’s not how much time you have, but what you do with it!

[1] https://www.ncls.org.au/articles/employment-changes-things/
**You can hear more about parenting from Ruth Baker at MU Sydney’s annual Seminar on Friday February 24, from 10am–1pm. Ruth is one of four speakers addressing the topic: ‘Seize the Day: Work and Rest in the Light of Eternity’. You can attend this FREE event at St Andrew’s Cathedral or watch the livestream. Register here.**


Ruth Baker is a single mum of two boys. She blogs at ‘Meet me where I am’ and is the author of Are We There Yet? (ArkHouse Press, 2020).


The God Who Is For Us

Paul, the ‘apostle to the Gentiles’, wrote to the Roman church with 25 years of ministry under his belt. His passionate proclamation of righteousness only through Christ and the foundational truths that flow from this are brilliantly argued in this letter, and it remains key reading for healthy churches and thriving Christians today. Experienced preacher and pastor Reg Piper shares his infectious love for Romans and his insights into Paul’s message in these engaging daily reflections.

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