The Christian culture is a bit bizarre, especially among women. I think we put all kinds of pressure on ourselves to be some kind of model Christian wife.
It used to be that women stayed home and looked after the house and the children while the husband went to work and provided. And if the wife did work, it was either as a teacher or a nurse. Because those are good career choices for christian women, that allowed you to be at home with your kids more.
I remember thinking in my 30s – I was raised in a Christian home, why didn’t my parents tell me I was supposed to be a teacher or a nurse? I felt like all the women in my circle of friends and the other moms at church were all stay at home moms and if they did work, they were either teachers or nurses. Did my parents forget to teach us this? because they taught their three daughters that they could be anything they wanted to be? (I have a business/computer degree and my sister is a civil engineer).
But I always knew I could never be either a teacher or a nurse. I literally pass out at the sight or even thought of blood. And I certainly couldn’t be in a classroom with noisy children all day!!
But it seems the stakes have been raised in recent years, and the pressure is even higher. The trends of homeschooling, having large families, adopting, fostering are all beautiful ideas – if this is what God has called and equipped you to do. We are called to look after the orphans in James. So the fact that adoption and fostering have become such a common thing in our churches is really beautiful.
And my daughters are currently addicted to watching ’19 Kids and Counting’. And while I love the Duggars and all that they stand for, and the life style and values that they promote, I was starting to feel a bit weighed down by it all.
How come I only have 3 children? And why don’t we make our own laundry soap? and did I ruin my children by abandoning them to go into the workplace? And how come every word that comes out of Michelle Duggar’s mouth is so darn kind and sweet!!
While there are many times in my life that I wished I could have been a stay at home mom, being a working mom meant that my husband and I both went out of our way to intentionally stay connected with our kids and to remain a very close family. We both worked and we both wanted to spend time with our kids. So guess what? Our house was/is messy. But now we BOTH have very strong attached relationships with each of our kids.
While the years when they were young seemed so hard and so exhausting, I see how they have turned out, and I feel so blessed and priviledged to be the parents of these three kids.
I believe they greatly benefited from having strong relationships with both their father and mother. When we are all finally together at the dinner table, we enjoy each other’s company and can laugh and have fun together.
They’ve grown up with their father being there for them after school and cooking dinner (he leaves very early in the morning in order to be able to do this.)
My oldest daughter wants to go to school to be an optometrist.
And she wants to get married and have 7 children someday.
And possibly be a missionary.
and we say – great! You CAN do all these things! If this is what God is calling you to do – go for it!
But I am finally realizing that I can give myself a bit of grace. There is no specific direction in the Bible that states that a women must not work outside the home. In fact, the Proverbs 31 woman was pretty busy and profitable. Rachel was a shepherdess, Lydia sold cloth etc. There are lots of examples.
I am trying my best to live the life God called me to live. I am right where He wants me to be. And if I can continue to ‘abide’ in Him, He will be able to use me for His kingdom, right where I am.
My encouragement for other mothers who for whatever reason work outside the home would be to keep intentionally doing things to strengthen your relationship with your children. One of the good things about being a mom working outside the home, is that if both parents work outside the home, then both parents do the work at home – the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry is all shared. But make your kids your priority. While you may look back on the time when they are little and be proud you keep a clean house, you will never look back and regret the time spent being WITH your children!