Motherhood,  Priorities

My Thoughts on “Working” Moms…

The following article is an excerpt from ‘The Good Wife’s Guide: Embracing Your Role as a Help Meet‘ (edited to fit the blog)

Fifty-plus years ago, when parents were raising twelve children or more, a woman’s place was in the home, while her husband was the sole financial provider. In today’s world where many families rely on the income of both parents, many women are saying they have too much on their plate.

Having a family and a career is common, but hard to achieve. Combine that with a passion to raise a healthy, close-knit family, and you have some decisions to make. What do I cut? What do I keep? How can I be a good wife?

Titus chapter two exhorts women to love their children and to be keepers of the home. My hope is to enforce that message while teaching you how to do it with joy.

Now before you jump to the conclusion that this blog is for the “stay-at-home mom,” let me say this SAHMs and working moms alike can both take joy in serving their families and glean from the lessons herein.

My passion is to encourage women to love and serve their families in hopes that we will all strive to keep our priorities straight. In doing so I offer you reasons for achieving a well-managed home backed by scripture and gleaned from experience, and provide you with detailed schedules for practical application.

My goal is to encourage you to make faith and family your first priorities from a place of sacrificial love. Whether that means that you are working inside or outside of the home will depend on the choices you make according to your own set of circumstances.

For the past sixteen years I’ve been blessed with employment opportunities through which I can set my own hours and work from our home office. But this is a blessing and I understand that it’s not feasible for every mom. Unless I’m walking in your shoes I can’t say what is driving you to choose your path or where your priorities lie. I can only hope that your decisions are grounded in faith.

Here is a letter I received from a reader along with my thoughts on “working” moms…

Dear Darlene,

Daily you inspire women to draw upon the Lord for their strength and defy recent conventions by being submissive (NOT the same as being a doormat) and serving.

My marriage was a world filled with abuse and adultery, which was obviously difficult, but I also got to be a stay-at-home mom for a few years. While it was never an ideal situation, I did not realize until I went back to work, and left my husband, how much of a difference it made in their lives and mine that I got to be with them those years. I miss the time with them desperately, but single mommas don’t get to stay at home (unless they’re remarkably fortunate).

I have a theory. I think we have developed a society where a majority of mothers are caught in a “catch 22” of permanent mommy-guilt. If we choose to stay at home, we are scolded for not contributing to the household income and may have a tendency to feel under-accomplished. Should we choose to maintain careers outside the home, we must constantly feel the guilt of knowing someone else is raising our children for us while we miss out on their most precious and formative moments. I’m sure it’s quite apparent which choice I would make if I had one…but I don’t.

I might not be a wife now, but if the Lord wills it, I would like to be one again someday. I know the next time around I will choose a man with a strong faith and Christian values, and whether I work outside the home or not, I want to serve God and my family by fulfilling the roles of wife and mother to the best of my ability. Therefore, I will continue to read and glean inspiration from your daily efforts.

Sincerely,

Single Mom

Dear Single Mom,

Thank you for your encouragement, and fellowship in the faith.
This was heavy on my mind when I went to sleep last night, as I received a letter from another reader, also on the topic of moms working. She wondered why I didn’t support working women more than I do:

You don’t seem to blog about moms who like raising their children, but who also enjoy working outside their household in their chosen profession. I’m a mom and a professional, in that I work outside my home in my chosen profession because I like it… Perhaps there is room for stay-at-home moms and professionals who respect the stay-at-home choice, and also vice versa?

That’s a good thought, and one to be considered.

For me the bottom line is that I encourage women to make family their first priority and to serve them with joy, whether that means that they are working inside of or outside of the home will depend on individual families according to their circumstance.

In some cases, like yours, it’s not possible to stay home, as you have a responsibility to feed your children and put a roof over their head. We aren’t all blessed with the traditional situation of a working father that is able and willing to provide for his family. In fact since the women’s liberation movement we’ve seen an increased number of women in the work force, and as a result men are competing to get good paying jobs.

If a woman chooses to work because she has a passion for what she does, I don’t see anything wrong with that situation providing that her primary passion is to her family. If we send our children off to daycare because we want a bigger house, a cabin, a boat or more spending money, then we may be prioritizing those things over the value of spending time with our children. We should all search our hearts when making important decisions like this.

I could never stand in judgment of working women because I am blessed with a work-at-home job. Unless I’m walking in their shoes I can’t say what is driving them to choose their path or where their priorities lie, nor would I want to.

Looking to scripture we see the Proverbs 31 woman selling fine linen to merchants, buying a field, and planting a vineyard. What we also see there is a woman who rises early to feed her household and whose children call her “blessed.”

I won’t stand in a position where I pat either side on the back for the purpose of stroking one’s ego, as I’m sure there are a large number of stay-at-home moms who would rather sit down and watch soap operas then cuddle on the couch with their kids or pick up a broom.

Being a stay-at-home mom shouldn’t be a badge that anyone wears with pride. I would rather that moms would take pride in quietly serving God and their family.

All I can do is encourage women to love and serve their families in hopes that we will all strive to keep our priorities straight.

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
~ Colossians 3:23-24, KJV

You are loved by an almighty God,

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This is an excerpt from my book, The Good Wife’s Guide: Embracing Your Role as a Help Meet

2 Comments

  • Alexis

    I am called to my career, teaching. I am blessed to have kids that I serve at church, at school, and in my home. I love the Lord and respect what all moms do. I consider us all, “working moms.” I’ve never felt loke someone else is raising my children because my career choice was guided by the Lord. Certainly not all of us are working in the fields we are called to, but I truly believe that those of us working outside the home can find peace and avoid the mommy guilt when we allow God to call us.

  • Anne

    Thank you for this post, Darlene, and the comment, Alexis. I have been on a journey from SAHM to teacher for 14 years, just now reaching the point of earning my teaching credential. It has been very difficult for me to balance being a wife, mom, and teacher candidate as being a teacher requires a great deal of dedication. My husband wanted me to start teaching years ago but we lived in areas without suitable care or access to a teacher credential program. I found an online program and my kids started school, so I was finally able to work towards my credential. However, my husband’s desire for me to help support our family financially, even when our kids were very young, while also being a perfect wife and mother has created a great deal of resentment and guilt on my part. He rarely helped with the children while I worked towards my credential unless I had to go somewhere for an exam. Asking for assistance only irritates him as he expects me to do everything without inconveniencing him. I have explained to my husband that I can’t drop everything when I am a teacher to spend time with him. We have to manage our time better to create time for our marriage instead of taking it for granted that I am always available for him.

    Alexis, how do you manage being a wife and mom while being a dedicated teacher? How do you prioritize your husband’s needs and wants before your children’s and students’ needs?

    I don’t have any family members that have had lasting relationships so I have no model to follow other than those in the Bible and of kind and helpful strangers such as yourselves…

    Thank you.

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