My Call to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom - A Letter from Danielle
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Dear Sisters in Christ,
There is much more to life than meets the eye – a saying we all hear, but don’t comprehend until we have the opportunity to look back. There is no better way to describe my first eye-opening encounter with Our Lord’s Divine plan for me.
My husband and I married a few months after I graduated college. After working two years as a full-time Paralegal, I began to hit a crossroad. Something inside of me was searching, as I no longer felt an overwhelming passion for my career. I was feeling burnt out. So, I began praying and searching for a new paralegal position. I loved law, everything about the Constitution and the legal process was fascinating to me, so I figured my exhaustion and restlessness must mean I needed to work in a different legal area.
Little did I know, God had a much more defined plan for me. Only a week after beginning the job search, we found out that we were expecting our first baby. It was a surreal moment for me. God always answers prayers, but in His own way and in His own time. When I prayed for a career change, I didn’t expect it to be out of the legal field and into the role as a stay-at-home mom, but God had other plans.
Now, I spend my days at home raising our four beautiful children and truly appreciate my vocation as a wife and mother. Yes, some days are difficult, while others bring a love I can find in no other profession. No vocation or career on this earth will bring true happiness, in fact, most days will bring frustrations, but those are small sacrificial gifts for God. There is beauty in finding joy even in the monotonous duties, something I have learned to value as a wife and mom. God has placed me in a vocation that perfects my path towards sainthood.
Sisters in Christ, God has a plan for you. He has a plan for each one of us. What a blessing that all our souls are intertwined in the Communion of Saints. It might take a while for you to find the right path, but in His time, you will find the Way of Divine Providence. So, be patient. Even though you may feel lost and helpless, you are not forgotten by God. He has a special mission on this earth as you travel the road towards sainthood. “As to the past, let us entrust it to God’s mercy, the future to Divine Providence. Our task is to live holy the present moment.” - St. Gianna Molla
Blessings through the Sacred Heart of Jesus & the Immaculate Heart of Mary!
Get to know Danielle
Danielle Heckenkamp is a 33-year-old stay-at-home-mom, writer and author from Wisconsin
What do the first two hours of your day look like?
The first two hours of my day are quite a whirlwind. Even though I set my alarm clock, my three year old is usually ready to tackle the day thirty minutes before the alarm even rings. If it's a school day for the children, the morning hours usually include morning prayers and then me running around trying to make sure each child has the correct uniform clothes, signing notebooks (because of course, the children always give me those sheets at the last minute), making lunches, and looking for another lost pair of uniform socks. So, when Saturday morning rolls around, I tend to relish those days. Even though the three year old makes his early morning appearance, there's always a chance that the older kids will help him prepare a bowl of cereal. Summer vacation is golden, in the sense that I don't schedule early morning activities.
Describe your favorite part of your current occupation.
My favorite part of being a stay-at-home mom is having the opportunity to watch my children grow. I love that they need me, even though I am thoroughly exhausted by 6:00 p.m., but my sweet children give me a beautiful vocation that I am grateful for each and every day. In some of my free time, I enjoy reading and writing. Four years ago, my first non-fiction was published, in which I co-authored with my dear friend and currently, I finished a novel while also beginning the first draft of a book about motherhood (part memoir).
Describe one fear or personal challenge that keeps you up at night.
My fear is that I might forget something. At any one time, I usually have several projects going on in my life. Whether, it's a fundraising project through my church or the kids' school, a writing deadline, or regretting that I didn't spend more time alone contemplating God. There is so much to offer up towards Our Lord during the day, but my mind tends to wander in the midst of those busy hours with the children that I often look back hoping I gave something to Our Lord.
Tell us about the first time you experienced a strong sense of belonging in the Catholic Church.
The first time I remember feeling a deep sense of belonging in the Catholic Church was on the day of my First Communion. As a child, we tag along with our parents to Mass and oftentimes struggle to focus, but the day I was able to receive the Eucharist, for the first time, is a day I will never forget. It was that day when I began to contemplate the Communion of Saints and how each one of us, even though we are all so different, were made by God in His Image and Likeness. What a truly remarkable act of love by God.
Tell us about a woman you look up to.
There are two women who had a resonating impact on my life as a Catholic woman - my mom and my maternal grandmother. Each of them, unique in their own ways, were examples of strong Catholic women. My grandmother had an outgoing personality and found extra moments throughout the day to say an extra rosary, spend time reading spiritual books, while also sharing her Catholic faith with friends, family, and even strangers.
My mom, who has a quieter temperament, was a strong role model of a devoted mother who strived to provide all of her children with a secure and loving Catholic family life while also focusing on teaching us the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Each woman, though different, lived her Catholic faith every day of her life. It was part of their very being and their examples trickled down to me. I am so grateful for my mom and grandmother.
Favorite character ever. Go!
Wow, I have so many favorite literary characters that it’s almost impossible to choose. This might sound cliché, but my all-time favorite would be Elizabeth Bennet in Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. I can relate to Elizabeth’s outgoing, independent, and opinionated personality in her very defined world of social classes. Yet, even with her strong personality, she is able to overcome the social class barriers and marry the hero. My other favorite literary characters include: Jo in Louisa May Alcott’s book, Little Women, Antonia Schimerda in My Ántonia by Willa Cather, and Nicholas Nickleby in Charles Dicken’s book, Nicholas Nickleby.