As we continue our Story Series, we’re meeting working moms all across America — moms who are working hard, serving their families, and loving God. Jennifer Davis is one of these moms. Jen is a faithful reader (another online friend through Chasing Superwoman) who sends me notes of encouragement and blesses me with her simple yet powerful words.
Jen, please introduce yourself (and tell us the many hats you wear).
My name is Jen. I am a mathematician working as a software engineer for an aerospace and defense company. I am mother to two young daughters. I am married to a wonderful man who shares my passions for God, family, friends, and biking. I am the older of two children, and (maybe as a result) my greatest strengths tend to be seeking achievements and continually learning.
What key events have marked your journey?
I will talk specifically about my journey as a working mother. In high school, through my own elementary reading of the bible, I came to believe that God wanted all women to be stay-at-home moms (SAHMs); so that became my plan. I didn’t date anyone in college, so upon graduation I went off to graduate school to pursue my passion for mathematics. Through observing and talking to a female professor with young daughters, I became comfortable with the idea of being a working mom and having my future children attend day care. I realized God had gifted me with some special skills, and I wanted to be a good steward of those skills and use them in the marketplace. I met my husband (whose skills are on the creative side where the jobs don’t pay so well) in graduate school, and he agreed with a plan for me to keep working after we had children. I completed my Ph.D. and landed a job as an engineer for an aerospace and defense company.
Four years later we had our first daughter. After eight weeks, I went back to work half days and loved it. It was great to see all my co-workers again and to use a different part of my brain. After a month of half days, I went back to full time and my heart broke. I missed my baby so much during the day. I wondered if God really did want all moms to be SAHMs and if my emotional turmoil was a sign of that.
I Googled “Christian mom working,” bracing for a list of articles condemning mothers of young children who worked outside the home. Instead I found encouragement. I found Kimberly Chastain’s Oasis for Christian Working Mothers and her article “What does the Bible say about Christian Working Moms?” I forged onward. My boss, who has been very supportive, told me I could go part-time if I wanted and choose the number of hours to work each week. I went to 35 hours per week (what we could afford) and arranged my schedule so that I could be home with my daughter on Wednesdays. This made the emotional difference for me to have more time with her during the week.
I continue to evaluate how I spend my time, but I am in a place of peace about work and family.
How do you integrate your faith, home, and work?
Work and home are pretty compartmentalized for me. I tend to leave work at the office. I try to live out my faith both at work and at home. At work this means caring for co-workers, avoiding gossip, and being a diligent and responsible employee. At home, this means teaching my older daughter about Jesus, telling her I love her every day, and living out a life of faith for her to observe. It means prioritizing my husband before my daughters (as difficult as that can be), doing date nights, and learning about God together.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
My dad once told me “Sometimes there are little inconveniences in life, and you just have to deal with them.” It stuck with me. So often I can become frustrated when things aren’t going my way or are not going as expected. When I remember these wise words, I take a step back, breathe, and try to think of the best path forward given the new (albeit unwelcome) circumstances.
Jen, thank you so much for your example and your story! You encourage us to use the resources and talents God has given us – and to be a steward of our skills and our relationships. And thanks for sharing another great resource — the Oasis for Christian Working Mothers.