Is It Wrong for Moms to Work?
This summer we are taking some time to discuss some current issues that are on our minds–issues that we do not know how to answer. So far, we have explored the likes of birth control, thyroid problems, and wealth accumulation among Christians. We are relying on you, the Keeper of the Home readers, to weigh in as we wrestle with these often complex subjects.
By Erin Odom, Contributing Writer
Today I’m addressing what is often another very heated debate: Is it wrong for moms to work?
Like breast vs. bottle, natural vs. medicated birth and homeschool vs. public education, this conversation of working vs. stay-at-home mom can lead to severed friendships and feelings of failure.
But should these subjects be so divisive?
I never wanted to be a working mom. My mother had stayed home with me and my siblings in the 1980s and 1990s. She was a full-time homemaker.
And even though we did attend Christian school outside of the home, she was available for us 24 hours of the day, 365 days of the year.
She made our breakfasts, lunches and dinners. She did all the cleaning. She carted us everywhere. She was the first face we saw when we woke up in the mornings and the last face we saw before we went to bed at night.
And I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. There was no doubt in my head: I would be a stay-at-home mom.
When my husband and I became pregnant with our first child, I was working full-time as an ESL teacher. The plan was for me to stop working when she was born.
But our plans don’t always pan out, do they?
image by Kai Hendry
To make a long story short, my husband was in seminary at the time, and although he had a part-time job at our church, it was mainly me that was–albeit temporarily–supporting our family. We were scheduled to leave for the mission field shortly after our daughter’s birth, so there would be no need for me to go back to work.
But…our plans to go to the mission field got delayed–by six months.
When I found out I would be working, I cried. I could not imagine leaving my tiny baby with anyone else to raise–even if it were just short-term.
It’s possible to find blessings in working–when you really want to just stay at home.
image by rankun76
Even though I hated saying goodbye to my baby girl during the time I worked full-time outside of the home, it turned into being one of the biggest blessings in my life. My husband was able to rearrange his work and school schedule to be able to watch her during the mornings, and one of the pastor’s wives from our church–who had just become a grandmother herself–became a surrogate grandmother to our baby and cared for her each afternoon.
I would nurse our baby as soon as I picked her up from the sitter’s house. The “adopted grandmother” and I would sit and talk–sometimes for more than an hour–and it turned into a mentorship of sorts!
I was also able to form some tight bonds with my Christian co-workers during that time, as we would gather together in the mornings for prayer.
image by burstingwithcolors
What does the Bible say?
When I’ve searched the Scriptures over women’s place in the workplace and in the home, I’m always led back to the Proverbs 31 woman:
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
We have no idea if this example of what the Bible calls “an excellent wife” and “a woman who fears the Lord” worked inside or outside of the home–or where her children were when she was working. But one thing we do know is this:
The Proverbs 31 woman worked.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
image by sumeet basak
What about work-at-home moms?
To pick up on my story, even though my dream was to be a stay-at-home mom, I have really only had a short time in my 5 years of motherhood where I was just a stay-at-home mom.
And I’ve learned that that’s OK.
During the course of the past five years:
- I’ve been a missionary. While in training my baby stayed in the missionary daycare center. (Yes! You read that right! We received wonderful training, with a daycare center right on campus!) While ministering, I sometimes took our baby with us and sometimes took turns with my husband watching her.
- I’ve been a stay-at-home mom who brought home no extra income.
- I’ve been a part-time work-at-home mom who wrote for several local newspapers (and I still do this–but now as a bi-weekly mommy columnist).
- I’ve been a part-time work-oustide-the-home mom when I tutored at a local elementary school and taught a group of homeschooled children Spanish. Then, my mother kept the one child we had at the time.
- Now, I’m a work-at-home mom as I balance full-time motherhood with getting up very early and staying up late and maximizing nap and quiet times to run my website, edit here at Keeper of the Home, write columns for the newspaper, write eBooks and organize eBook bundle sales. My mother now keeps our girls one day per week, and I work a lot on Saturdays at a local coffee shop.
My current season allows me to be home with my girls the majority of the time, but it takes saying “no” to lots of things–like extra playdates and being involved in a bajillion mom’s groups.
But, to be transparent, we need the money. Up until the past eight months or so, I’ve been a stay-at-home mom when we could barely afford it.
And this allows me to help bring in some income–by doing something I love (writing and connecting with readers!).
You never know why another mother is working.
Over the course of the past couple years, I’ve had people mention: Well, I’d love to blog or write like you do, but I just don’t have the time. I need to spend that time with my children. My family comes first.
Yes, that has stung a little.
Because my family comes first as well.
I have another friend who had to give up homeschooling to go back to work because her husband is in school.
And then there are those mothers whose husbands want them to work to keep up with the “Joneses.”
Or maybe a woman is working because the family is knee-deep in debt–from medical bills, school loans, or even credit cards.
Or, perhaps, there is the working mother whose husband refuses to work?
I personally think we can’t judge other moms for working when we have no idea of their circumstances. Everyone’s situation–everyone’s income level–is unique.
The answer is no. If a mom stays at home, works at home or works outside the home, then that is her decision based on her families needs.
Personally, I feel it is inappropriate to judge, at all. So, yes we should be considerate that people have diferent circumstances. We should simply support and empower other women. Regardless of whether or not we know another’s reasons for making choices, it is never our place to judge.
I completely agree with your article! We never know why someone chooses to return to the workplace rather than stay home full-time, but who are we to ponder someone else’s motivation? As women, especially Christian women, we are called to encourage one another! God will move a mother’s heart if it is His will for her to stay home, not anything we say. The love we share will hopefully move her to seek Him in her life and take His lead…whatever that may be or whatever it might look like for her particular family situation at the moment because as we all know, life is ever-changing!
Thank you for your on-line ministry, Stephanie. Receiving your emails every morning are a joy for me – truly!
I think you addressed this beautifully, Erin! I’m a stay-at-home mom who can’t really afford to be home with no extra income so right now I sub (yeah, former teacher, too) and am offering homeschool classes . I write a lot on my blog and for the local paper but it brings in no income, which is something that I’m pursuing. Often we’re compared to Proverbs 31 and it’s glossed over that she worked and every mom works at what they must for their family’s situation.
I love this post because it causes us to think outside of the box when it comes to reasons why moms work. I have done both – I’ve worked full time outside of the home when we had our oldest daughter. I used to work nights and weekends serving tables while my husband got his degree. Then, he finished college and I was a stay-at-home mommy full time while we had our son. I then went back part-time to serving tables at night just 2 nights a week. We now have another daughter who’s 2 and another daughter on the way in just a few months. I do not work outside of the home. But if we financially needed me to, we would find a way for me to do it. The bottom line is that each family’s situation is unique and as Mama’s, we need to support one another instead of judging one another based upon whether we hold a job outside of the home. Because in the end, we all have the common goal of taking care of our children and our husbands as our first priority!
What about mamas who work because they *want* to?
I lived the SAHM “dream” for three years and was miserable. Even moreso because I had “everything” yet was slowly going crazy. My husband and I separated (long story – we’re together again, thank you JESUS) and I had to work full-time. Best thing that ever happened. To me AND to my family.
Why is it only ok for a woman to work if she “has” to? We now have the option for me to stay home financially, but I don’t. Does that make me selfish? No, it makes me a woman who is both a great mama and a woman who uses the talents God gave her to live her life abundantly. It helps my husband and me to be equal partners since we must share equally the kid/house responsibilities. It makes me a happier, better person, which is better for my kids. It fosters independence in my kids.
I am not a good mother in spite of working. I am a good mother BECAUSE I work. This is the best choice for our family 🙂
I have gone to school, worked out of the home and now am working at home, all while home schooling my kids.
That being said I think it *can* be wrong for mothers to work outside the home. As with everything in life, it comes back to the motivation in the heart. So, if it is more important to a mother to have a job rather than raise her kids, then yes it could be wrong. It may be fine for a season in life but wrong to continue in her situation.
In our society it is easy to get caught up in having a certain standard of living, of “needs” that aren’t really needs. I’m guilty of it as well. I think this all plays into the “have to work to make ends meet” mentality.
So, while it can be wrong for some people and in some situations that doesn’t make it wrong for everyone else.
But it is not up to anyone else to make that call. Important question for each of us to answer.
Great post. 🙂
What do you do from home? I would like to take up something part-time but have no idea where to start.
I wish I could keep my kids at home. One day before they are all too grown I hope I get the privilege of home cooked breakfasts on school days, volunteer time with their classrooms, PTA meeting and Mommy Clubs. However that must not be Gods will for us right now. Until it becomes Gods will, I’ll rejoice in the season that I am working. There is a purpose for each one of us Mommies to do Gods work in the field whether it be at home or in the office. Rejoice in the purpose that God has given you in the now. So I guess I should respond to the original question: Is it wrong for Moms to work? I feel absolutely not. Sometimes we have to. If you ever have the opportunity to make home your 40 hour work week you should take it…or at least that is what I would do.
Bloom where you’re planted, right? 🙂
I totally agree with you about us not judging people because we don’t know their circumstances! Some people have debt from student loans, some have more medical bills, and some people’s husbands just don’t make that much money.
I will say this though…I think it’s important for women to truly think about their reasons why they “have to work.” If it’s just to afford the latest and greatest, wellllll priorities might be a little mixed up. The working mom issue has been a source of conflict with my in-laws, because they believe all women need to work and that I should be putting my degree to good use! (I’m a registered nurse) My mom, on the other hand, stayed home with us for our entire lives and I am so grateful. I’ve been staying home with my son for the most part, working VERY part-time in order to make ends meet. It hasn’t been easy, and we’ve had to cut back a lot, but it is SO worth it!
I really appreciate you piece. I too have spent time as a stay at home mom, but found that I actually enjoy working outside of our home and contributing to the financial stability of our family. With that being said, there are some times that I have to miss events at school or may not be able to take one to their appointed extra curricular activity, and I feel a little guilty. What keeps me grounded is the example that I am providing for my two girls. They know that both of their parents love them immensely and that we work very hard to sustain out life. They also are learning the value of teamwork as we all work together to keep our house running smoothly. There are countless other awesome character traits that I think my working and managing the household displays for my girls. The most important is that none of this would be possible without God’s provision making and cover.
My husband (who serves in the Navy) and I work hard to provide for our family. There are still moments where I wished that I could be a stay at home mom, but for the majority I love what I do and where God has placed me. Until He says move, then I’m good 🙂
I am an RN and have been a working mom my daughter’s entire life. I was lucky enough to work 32 hours a week, which gave me kind of “the best of both worlds”. I have hopefully improved the lives of others through my work. My working allowed us to own a small home and pay for her college education with little debt. People should do what works for their family without judgmental statements about anybody else’s choice. Our daughter is a wonderful caring person, productive employee, and a good friend. She and her husband are parents of a new son. After a three month maternity leave, she was back to work. Our grandson will know…just as she did…that he is loved unconditionally by his parents, whether Mommy works outside the home or not. That’s what is really the most important, isn’t it?
I think it is wrong for women to work outside the home once they have children. I worked in daycare many years and was raised in daycare myself. Even at its best it is not half as good as a loving mommy at home and I could tell you some scary stories of what I have seen. But more than that, God tells us in his word that women should be “workers at home”. Titus 2. And in Proverbs 31 the excellent wife is working at home. I have had to work but then we made every effort for me to stay home. We live on one small income and make do. I have learned so many ways to make our money stretch and it is possible ladies! My family is well dressed, we eat nutritious food, and we have a nice home. “How do you do it?” I get asked all the time! Well here is what I do to make a 2,500 a month paycheck work for 6 people, 4 of whom are children in activities. Buy used cars and have no payments ever, no credit cards, buy everything used except underwear/socks/shoes at yard sales/thrift stores/craigslist all my furniture is used except our mattresses and all our clothes are brand names that I bought used, have a garden, have chickens for eggs, don’t take expensive vacations we go camping or on day trips, make most of my food homemade and buy in bulk, can food from the garden, hang my laundry out on a line which save major electricity, bake my own breads, do our own repairs and work on our house.
We do not live on a farm but a regular in town lot, I get tons of veggies from my garden and with our few chickens we get 8 eggs a day which is 56 eggs a week!
Many women who work don’t have to, many women who think they must work could stay home if they changed their lifestyle, and then their are women who really must work to survive. All our situations are different. But I think as Christians we must try to do what is pleasing to God. It is a struggle and many times I have had to just have faith that God will take care of us when tough times hit. But he always has!
I’m confused, Sarah. You said at the beginning that it is wrong for women to work outside the home once they have children, but then at the bottom you said that there are women who must work to survive. Do you condemn them, then?
I’m not sure you realize how self-righteous your comment came across. Let me share MY take on your most helpful suggestions, so that you can see what I mean.
What you said (with my thoughts in brackets):
Buy used cars and have no payments ever (we didn’t have the money upfront to buy a used car, even a thousand dollars, so we are making minimal monthly payments on a used car for commuting in order to save our mini-van from wearing out too soon, and save on gas).
no credit cards (we recently cut ours up.)
buy everything used (pretty much, yup).
have a garden (yup, did that)
have chickens for eggs (illegal in my area. darn by-laws).
don’t take expensive vacations we go camping or on day trips (HA! we desperately wanted to go camping this year but could not afford even that. the campsite fees, the gas money, a little extra food money… we couldn’t swing it).
make most of my food homemade and buy in bulk (done).
can food from the garden (didn’t get enough yield. small garden because it was my first time).
hang my laundry out on a line which save major electricity (yup. I do that too).
bake my own breads (we’re gluten-free. I bake other stuff though).
do our own repairs and work on our house (yup and yup).
You see – despite your brilliant ideas, we STILL cannot make ends meet on my hubby’s paycheque alone (which, yes, if you’re curious, is significantly less than yours). We are trying. We are desperately trying, every single day, to save pennies and retain our sanity. I give myself the third degree on every single dollar I spend, and we do our very best. At this moment, my hubby is finishing up a week of working from about 8pm until 7am every night (he’s a flight instructor and is doing night flying at the moment), plus staying up half the day so that I can get a few hours of work in (I work a bit from home). Money is desperately stressful in our home because there’s just not usually enough of it to pay the bills, or barely so. We agonize over each and every hour that is spent working, we agonize over each and every time the kids say they want mommy, but mommy is hammering out some more emails or writing. We agonize over each and every time my hubby goes to work for some extra hours to pay the bills and we see the effects of the kids starting to really miss him.
We are doing our very best to try to balance it all out and keep our little family of 5 happy and healthy and functioning and thriving… and yes, for us, that means that I (the woman of the house) work part-time. For the record – I also love it, and I’m happy to do it.
Please don’t make blanket moral statements about issue unless you are ABSOLUTELY sure that you have the market cornered on the Truth of the issue (hint: you probably don’t). Let’s build each other up and hear each other’s hearts instead of condemning and judging.
The one reason that often seems to be missing from the “list of reasons Christian moms may work outside the home” is that maybe she simply enjoys it. I’m not sure why that’s often ignored as a possibility.
Several responses above covered this quite well.
Great post! I am expecting my first baby. My husband and I had a wake-up call two years ago that we needed to get out of debt and adjust to living off one income. Many sacrifices and some generous job changes and raises straight from God later, and we are now at a place where only one of us needs to work. The plan was always for him to work and me stay home. We are both accountants so I envisioned picking up a few clients on the side but pretty much being a full-time SAHM. Well God had a unique plan. I tried to quit my job for after the baby comes, but my employer worked something out where they’re going to hire my husband and we’ll share my job from home together after baby comes! It was a hard concept to grasp at first…am I going to be less of a mother because I will still be working part-time? But my husband will be here. He gets the opportunity to be home with our baby now too. If I am too busy with work to change a diaper or have play time, that “bonding” experience goes to him! I am thrilled God has given us this opportunity even though it means I will not be a traditional full time SAHM. I had to let go of that stereotype to embrace what clearly is God’s best for our family. I like this article and totally agree that every family is different and every mom has her own reasons for working or not working. I think if at least one parent can be home with baby that’s such a worth sacrifice to make, but God sees the heart and knows what’s best.
Thank you for your post. Early in my career, I desired to be an at home mom, but it didn’t work out that way. The Proverbs 31 woman definitely worked and was respected for doing so. She brought honor to her husband. To work or not to work is something each marriage must discuss individually. I don’t think that we can judge a woman who decides to work or has to work.
Thank you so much for this post, it was very encouraging. I have been both a working mom (teacher) and a SAHM. Just recently, we moved to an area where the cost of living is much higher. This relocation was due to my husband’s job, so we had no choice. So, I am giving up homeschooling and homemaking for a part-time job to help support our income. I am praying for God to bring someone into our lives to keep my daughter, like you had. I know He has a plan and that will be even better than I am hoping for, but I still find myself struggling with guilt, pride and denial. Thanks for reminding me that I’m not alone.
I love this! I think the Bible does not have extremely specific instructions on this, though some people seem to think it does. It tells us to love our husbands and children, and to be “busy at home” or “keepers at home” depending on your translation. A lot of folks take that to mean that you have to stay within your home’s four walls to be a Godly woman. Well, I think it just means that God wants us to take good care of our families and our homes– not to be lazy, and not to shove our responsibilities onto other people.
Many women (like my mom) do that by not working outside the house, by homeschooling their kids, etc. For other women, though, it’s wise for them to work outside of the house. And they can STILL “keep the home” as God commanded them!
I agree that there are many foolish reasons to have an outside job, send your kids to daycare, etc. and they can result in neglecting your God-given responsibilities to the family. But there are also good reasons. I’m tired of people laying down laws that the Bible doesn’t support.
For the record, I am a work-at-home mama with one baby girl. 🙂
Titus 2:5 “…to be workers at home…” Proverbs 31:27 “She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.” I believe the Bible teaches women that our hearts (attitudes) need to be in the right place: our Lord first, husband second, then our children. My story? My mom was a sahm my entire life; she always visited the sick & elderly and took food to them. We were not poor, as in we never went hungry & we always had clothes, but we didn’t have extras – I never had a pair of jeans in high school & I wore the same pair of pants every other day. My parents truly sacrificed for my mom to stay home. I believe that’s part of the problem – families don’t want to sacrifice. I babysat for a family at church when my husband & I first got married. I remember asking the mom why she worked and she said, “If I didn’t work, we couldn’t have our pool & our camper.” Fast forward to now: neither one of those children are Christians. That was 20 years ago. I consider myself a sahm mom, but I volunteer at my kids’ school weekly (sometimes more), I have booths in a co-op antique mall, I do estate sales, and I volunteer at a museum here in town. I believe the Bible teaches I am to be a homemaker first. If my husband has something for me to do, or my kids are sick, I cut back on other obligations. It’s all about finding a balance. But just because you’re a sahm doesn’t mean you’re better. I’ve known many sahm’s who “…ate the bread of idleness…” I hope this helps someone. Amen to Christina Y “we need to support each other instead of judging..” Thanks for the thoughts. I enjoy your blog.
Thank you for this post. As a momma who lives in a community where most mommas stay at home with their kiddos it can be tough to work. But I graduated from high school and went straight to college, and then into an incredible job that challenges me and is incredibly fulfilling. I married and shortly after we were blessed with our first child. I stayed home for a three-month paid maternity leave and then went back to working full-time. While this wasn’t ideal, it’s what works for our family. Our daughter went to daycare full-time for awhile, and we’ve been able to get her days there down to just three a week. It’s not perfect, but as my career progresses I’m moving into private consulting and will be able to continue doing work that I love and spend more time at home.
It’s a balance for us, and honestly I would miss my work. However, we also pray regularly about our path as entrepreneurs (with my husband having started a new business recently) and my work outside of the home. In a few short years we should be able to both be supported by our new venture, allowing me to work from home while raising our daughter – no more daycare. but she’ll spend a day a week with grandma and grampy at their farm. So when judged that I’m not home right now, it’s tough. That’s where we’re headed. but all in God’s time – and we’re just not there yet.
The Proverbs 31 woman is and excellent woman for us to mirror our life with, however let us not forget also the Titus 2 definition of what the elder women are to be teaching the younger women. One of those teachings is to be a keeper at home that the word of God be not blasphemed. kjv. Other versions say work at home, etc. That is not the proper word. Keeper is to be a guard, to keep watch, etc.. In this day in age its easy to understand the pressures of income..and being able to survive in todays economy. But it is possible! As a mother to 5 children, I can most assure you there is no greater FREEDOM then to be at home teaching, training, and raising my children. No other person is capable of instructing my children like I am able. This leads me to say, be careful single women on one of the snares the devil offers. College education can be quite costly, which will bind you to the work force, once your education is complete. You will spend the next five to ten years just paying off your student loans, etc.. Be very sober..the enemy is crafty, and he is out to rob you of your Freedom in Christ. I pray this post can help those struggling with decisions in your life. Women can absolutely be that Proverbs 31 woman, creative and productive, all the while being the sole raiser of her children. God bless all you mothers as you seek out his perfect Will.
Please, let me be reading that wrong, and tell me you are not actually describing a woman’s education as a snare of the devil….
I whole heartedly agree that debt is binding and it is best (for men and women) to avoid it, whether in the form of student loans or anything else.
I completed my nursing degree debt free by working my way through school and living on a shoe string with my new husband. I have continued to work part time while having our 5 children (although for full disclosure, I have a full year maternity leave, which is wonderful). I can’t imagine a better path for our family. I’ve been blessed with the perfect job that allows me to work when my husband is home to care for our children, we were mortgage free at the age of 28 (in a VERY expensive real estate climate) and are now living on our 25 acre dream, growing our own meat, eggs, vegetables, etc, all the while renting our former home and maintaining our investment.
My family and my home are absolutely my first priority. However, that doesn’t mean there is no room for a job too.
I am blessed to be a SAHM to three wonderful kids! I have two degrees and do a few hours a week of business consulting, writing and editing for a non-profit I care about, and I am grateful that God has provided me the opportunities to be with my children and to select work projects I want, rather than need. I don’t want to go back to working to make someone else profit, ever. Life is too precious to waste it on things that don’t matter in the end.
This might come as a surprise, but there are some of us who are actually better mothers *because* we work outside of the home. Imagine that!
Agreed. I love my job. It is part of who I am and who I was called to be.
Ultimately, it’s not about whether “we” think it’s wrong for moms to work; it’s about what God tells us. The Bible instructs wives to be keepers at home. (This is not just directed at moms, by the way.) And what was the reason for this, according to the Bible? That the word of God would not be blasphemed. I’m always bothered that people are quick to embrace the other traits in the list in Titus, but not this one. And yes, the woman in Proverbs 31 worked and made money. But did she have an employer? I don’t read any indication of one. It’s always made me wonder who is the head of the family when a wife has an employer–seems the husband gave his rightful position to another.
We don’t know the situations of other women, to be sure, especially the wife that is being submissive to her husband’s wishes. But as women, we’re fixers and want to take care of everything and will do all we can do accomplish it, including rushing past God’s will at times. (I also wonder if wives are pressured into the “I have to work” option because the Church doesn’t look after its own like it should.) We are all fallen and don’t live God perfectly intended, and have to demonstrate grace and mercy to each other. But that doesn’t negate the need to study God’s perfect standard.
I don’t think many people in that era had “employers”. That is a fairly new concept (industrial revolution).
However, I don’t agree with your reasoning, especially the way you’re breaking down Proverbs 31.
The bits you pointed out (by bolding them) were “works” and “sells.” As you said, there’s no evidence that she did her “selling” away from home. There’s also no evidence she did her selling on a regular basis. Perhaps she made linens and sold them here and there, every few months, as people approached her at her door? The fact that she was at the spindle at night doesn’t have to have anything to do with her sales; when you’re trying to make enough clothing for an entire family, that’ll keep you at the sewing machine for hours upon hours. I would imagine it would take even longer with only a spindle.
No matter how you look at it, I don’t find Proverbs 31 as any sort of “proof” that it’s okay for a woman to work away from home…or even that it’s okay for her to work full-time *from* home. Typically, women use Proverbs 31 to justify their working outside of the home. Not only would that contradict Titus 2 where we’re instructed to be keepers AT home, but Proverbs 31 simply *isn’t* a way to justify a woman working away from home. And, it definitely doesn’t justify working away from home Mon-Fri from 8am-5pm (or whatever full-time hours). Even IF the Proverbs 31 woman sold her linens on a regular basis, there’s no reason to believe she went to a marketplace and stayed there all day long.
I love reading Prov 31. The Prov 31 woman is an excellent example to wives/mothers globally. We see a woman who is busy meeting the needs of her household; even reaching out to the poor. She works, sells, buys, cooks… but ultimately as Prov 30:30 states ” a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Fearing the Lord is the utmost priority! Loving others is a priority! The way we meet the needs of our household may vary from home to home, and culture to culture.
When my daughter was born during the recession, both my husband and I were unemployed and our landlord gave notice that she wanted to reoccupy her condo; we were asked to move. It was the perfect storm. When my daughter was three months old, I was offered a full time job and took it. Leaving her every morning was the hardest experience of my life. However, with the motivation of love for my family I went to work, and provided for my family. Months later my husband also found employment and my daughter was able to attend the preschool where my mother is a teacher.
I praise God that He provided, and when my daughter is a little older, she will be proud that her parents made sacrifices to ensure that she was taken care of in the best way possible.
What needs to be remembered about P31 is that she lived in a time when there was little separation between home and job for women or men (and often you and your husband lived with your extended family and not off on your own). You married into a family and that families trade – if you married a farmer you worked as a farmers wife by feeding workers and tending livestock, if you married a merchant you worked in the business that was often run from your front room. Most of us no longer live in areas with this non-devision of work and home so P31 needs to be looked at in a way that we can interpret how that woman was a great wife in her time and how we can model her same virtues in our very different society.
Thank you for your response Molly! Well said!
You’re welcome – I truly believe, particularly when we we read the poetry sections of the Bible, that time and place needs to be a major factor in interpreting what we read; just like we would reading ancient Greek Epic poems or even Shakespeare. Sadly, most of our husbands work for others and not every man has what it takes to be self employed. Most of us don’t even live in small communities anymore where the grocer (who was only a few blocks away and not 10 miles across town) took credit until payday or you had an uncle who raised all your meat. Most of us can’t even have a clothesline in our neighborhoods let alone a vegetable garden and chickens. Plus, it’s historically inaccurate (and P31 proves this back to the Biblical era) to say that women never contributed financially to the running of their homes. The idea that a wife and mother’s job is solely cleaning, cooking and child rearing is actually quite modern – something that changed with the advent of the industrial revolution. Pre-IR wives and mothers still worked, they just worked from their homes while overseeing the cooking, cleaning and childrearing (often with sisters, mothers, grandmothers to share the load freeing the hands of the skilled middle aged women, as opposed to unskilled young women or too old to work older women, to work a trade from home). Gone are the days when women could take in the wash from the big house, sell fruit during the season or the thousands of other little things women used to do that formed the “cottage industries”.
The P31 was highly industrious in her own time (and I believe that I read somewhere that P31 was a bit of biblical poetry about finding the ideal Queen for a King) making the best of her culture and society and I think we’d get further in the dialogue about working mothers if we looked at how her industrious, hardworking virtues translate into a different time and culture.
Just wanted to chime in and say that I liked your response!
Thanks for your input. I said we “can’t judge other moms for working when we have no idea of their circumstances.” I DO believe the Bible calls us to judge on certain things–like blatant sin (immortality, direct disobedience of Scripture, etc.), but how can anyone know another person’s reasons for working unless they tell them? I don’t think the mom working because her husband is terminally ill (as one commenter below is doing), the single mom (whether single because of divorced or being widowed) working, the mom working because her family is so low income on her husband salary that they cannot afford to buy groceries, etc. is something the Lord condemns. Should these women and families be taken care of by the church? Yes. Does that often happen? No, sadly, it does not. Until the church is ready to take care of these needy among us, I think many women will have to continue to work. It is sad that they have to feel condemned by those who should be serving them.
I was not using the Proverbs 31 passage as a justification of a woman working full-time outside of the home but rather as a point that, clearly, she did work to some capacity. To say it’s contrary to Scripture for a woman to make any kind of income is just adding something to the Bible that is not there. So often we make our ideals into “God’s Word”–when it really isn’t God’s Word at all.
Well said, Erin.
LOVE THIS! Yes, it is such a hot button issue, and I wish it wasn’t. So many of the comments hit the nail on the head – it is so often a heart issue, not a circumstance issue – and, as you mention, we typically don’t know the full picture for anyone. I’ve been a full-time work outside the home mom, part-time work out-side the home mom, part-time work at home mom, and SAHM (if you count maternity leave as SAHM 🙂 ). My husband and I have prayed through each and every transition, and while we may not always get it right (we are human after all!), our heart is to do what the Lord would have for our family at any given time.
Also, shameless plug, a friend and I just wrote a couple workbooks on this subject – read more on our website (linked to my name above). Our hearts are to help those moms who don’t want to work outside the home but still find themselves in need of making an income figure out how to make that work for their families.
I don’t normally post but this issue hits home for me. I work because my husband is terminally ill and unable to and because at some point in the near future I will be the only person taking care of and financially supporting my children. I don’t get to debate whether it was God’s intention for women to work outside of the home, I don’t have a choice. This was God’s plan for my family and do the best I can. Unfortunately I am sure there are many other moms in this position.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. And you’re right… At the end of the day, we each must do what is best for our families, whatever that may look like.
I don’t think anyone has the right to judge another person when it comes to this decision. We just don’t have all the facts about another persons’ situation. I happen to work outside the home. DH also works but he’s self-employed and it’s been rough the last few years. One year his income was almost nothing! Having a college degree I was able to have a job that supported our family and provided insurance. When it came to our kids, I was able to stay at home with my first son until age 5 months and then he was at home with my inlaws for another year. After that it was home daycare, then finally preschool. With my second I stayed home with him for almost 11 months, then he was at home with a nanny for another year. At that point he was ready to go to a daycare and he’s done great there. I was lucky to be able to have the support I did and find the caretakers I found for my kids. It worked out well for all of us. I don’t judge anyone who makes a similar decision and I admire those that are able to stat at home and homeschool, etc. No matter what you do, it’s hard to balance yourself, your kids, your spouse, etc. without anyone else judging your choices.
The only thing that’s *wrong* is judging any mom for her decision to work outside the home or not. As you said: You never know why a another mom is working. You also never know why a mom is NOT working outside the home. We also don’t know anyone else’s finances, their health needs, or their level of devotion. None of those is ours to judge either! And, as with you, many women go through stages of working, not working, doing odd jobs for extra money, being the breadwinner and so on. As long as a mom is doing what’s best for her family’s needs, how can anyone pass negative judgement?
Absolutely agree. Well said!
Thank you so much for this. I think especially in the Christian homeschooler sphere people can easily forget that families are in a huge range of situations, and even if we are able to make staying home work in our family, lots of our sisters out there may not be able to. What they need is support and encouragement, not petty comments and condemnation.
Thanks for the post, I enjoyed reading it. I approach this subject from a different point of view, in that in live in Scotland. Here it is more unusual for mothers to stay at home – something I’m sure that has to do with the widely secular society. One of the most common questions I get asked is “when are you going back to work?”. I answer that I’m not, that I plan on being a full-time stay at home mom with all my kids (15-month old and 4 months pregnant), to which people usually tell me how luckly I am that I can do that. This comment frustrates me – I do feel blessed that my husband earns enough that we can do this – but it certainly comes with sacrafices. We decided before we were even married that it’s more important for our children to have one parent around full-time than to have luxuries.
Please understand that I’m in no way judging those people who do actually have to work – I know circumstances dictate that many do. But over here people see me as a lady of luxury, a ‘kept’ woman who doesn’t need to feel guilty about not earning. Or worse, they see me as lazy (many a time I’ve had the comment “I would get so bored if I was at home all day; what do you DO all day?”).
I know I’m doing the right thing for my family – by my husband and by God. My challenge is that few other people here understand that.
Hmmm….I think the only thing that is wrong about working is the reason behind it. I have worked full time, well more like 80 to 90 hour weeks with young babies. It stank. We did it because we wanted the $ and hadn’t taken the time or effort to see if we could cut our excess to stay at home. So, if you are working to keep up with the Jones family next door or so that you can have amazing tropical vacations every six months or so that your Christmas tree can resemble a toy store, then yes, it is wrong. Those priorities are not biblical. But the Bible clearly honors women who work to support their families. When people say “I don’t have time” that usually means they don’t make time. For example, I have 40 lbs of peaches to can, but I am reading a blog. I have time, I just need to be judicial and intentional about how I spend it. Do we spend it watching mindless tv or on FB for hours or at the gym for 3 hours to get a perfect body? Women can work to contribute to their families. The Bible honors such women. The Bible does not honor the pursuit of “stuff” which is why so many of us work.
I am a work at home, homeschooling mother. Before our children were born my husband & I decided that I would stay at home. As the years past our expenses steadily increased (take a look at food prices in the last decade) With my husband’s blessing I took a leap of faith and began raising a companion breed dog that I was sure would become very popular because they had a great personality and would make an ideal family dog. Needless, to say with all glory to God, this was and continues to be the case. I have been able to stay at home with my children for twelve years and the money we make goes toward the extras like home school curriculum, clothes and even family vacations. It’s not always easy because we are dealing with living creatures, we are not always able to “leave the office” but I wouldn’t change anything, we love raising puppies and making families happy and we are so grateful to God for providing this opportunity for me to remain at home with my children.
This post was extremely edifying and encouraging. Thank you so much for writing it. It’s not fun to endure the disapproving, cliquish opinions of some SAHMs who act as if walking out the front door equals not loving their children. A good number of the SAHMs that I know spend half the day browsing the internet (is that good, for our kids to see that they don’t have our attention?) or accept welfare because “their budget” doesn’t allow them to feed their own families. Um, but having only one income was your choice . . .? Sorry, but that’s not cool. Of course, most SAHMs are doing a wonderful job, but staying at home does not automatically make you a better mother than you would be if you left for a few hours a day. I would LOVE to be a SAHM but know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my husband has made the best decision for our family to have me work a little right now. Whether we stay at home (which I do think is ideal when possible) or work, we need to be keepers at home and keep our families as the top priority. You are right that the Proverbs 31 woman’s value was in her heart for her family.
I loved your post! I am a mother of three age 20, 13 & 11. I have just became a stay at home mom after all these years. I am adjusting to being a full-time mom but I am loving every minute of it! When I worked, all I could think about was being home with the kids, I always had guilt being away from them and a little jealous that my husband go to do alot with the kids (Dr’s appointments, bus pick-up, fieldtrips & homework duty). I am thinking that now that I am at home I am NOT wishing I was at work then I must have made the right decision! Every person is different and I think try both ways and see what one works for you.
First, being a SAHM is a full time job that is demanding and exhausting. The Pr. 31 woman is industrious. That aside, I do not condemn my friends to their face and try to be supportive, but to say none should ever judge is part of the “all things go” and “there is no truth” philosophies of this world. We have to be very, very careful because we can justify just about anything and even say that “God gave me peace.” Our hearts are very deceitful. Now sometimes moms must work. I totally understand that and my comments are not about that. However, aside from husbands getting laid off, single moms, unusual financial circumstances, etc., that necessitate a mom to have to work to provide income, I believe that Scripture instructs us to lay down our lives for our families. For example, I have a dear friend who is an attorney and she likes her work. She told me that she chose not to have children because she felt it would not be right to have kids just to stick them in day care or use a nanny. She decided to choose a career. She knows deep down that to have kids would be to sacrifice herself to be there for them and to be the one to raise them. I live in a community with lots of SAHM, but those who work do it mostly for personal enjoyment or to have that extra money for more things. I do not agree with the worldly philosophy that “I’m a better person for my family if I am fulfilled in the work place.” For one, God is your identity. Two, I’ve seen too many families fall apart because a working mom simply can’t do it all. Heck, even the secular community is saying that the working mom and have it all philosophy that was fed to them isn’t true. Really how can you be a friend and lover to your husband, spend time with God each day, exercise, help kids with homework, disciple your kids, not make life one big rush, make your meals from scratch to avoid processed food, clean your house, do laundry, manage finances, etc. and work full or near full time? Something has got to give. I listen to work outside the home moms wish they could go to the zoo and do fun summer activities with their kids, but they choose to work because they like it. Stop it and enjoy the fleeting moments with your family. The daycare worker may act like they love your kids, but they don’t. I listen to the mom who works because her husband doesn’t like his job, so they are uncertain about the future. She talks about the fights with her husband because she is stressed and how she yells at her kids because she is stressed. Etc. Is this living in peace and freedom that God intends? If you don’t know what to do with yourself while at home with your kids, then go volunteer. Lots of opportunities there. Seek what ministry opportunities are around that God could use you in. But ultimately, it’s not about you, mom, and how “fulfilled” you feel you are. You are called to sacrifice yourself, not seek fulfillment. That is not Scriptural. To wrap up, my mom always said, “If the shoe fits, wear it.” If you have to work, as my sister who is a single mom does, then this doesn’t apply. Otherwise, really examine your heart. Put the work of family first before you seek out a career because you just like it.
I have never met a “MOM” that did not work. Making money does not somehow make work more legitimate! I have been a stay-at-home mom, full-time working mom, and in between. I have made money and I have reaped fruit from the labor of my work raising my family. Women should empower and encourage each other to do what is best for their family, not what pleases others. The decision for a woman to work outside the home, work from home, or be a stay-at-home mom (still working!!) is between her and her husband. Regardless of the choice, there are always sacrifices and rewards. The right answer is the answer that is right for your family. I will go one step further – if you are a stay-at-home mom and you have a friend that works outside the home – lend her a hand. If you are a working mom and you have a friend that is a stay-at-home mom – lend her a hand. Love and appreciate each other not by judging but by helping.
It is not our place to judge or condem, Gods ways are diverse and more than we can ever comprehend, as long as our heart is God and Kingdom focused, we must constantly evaluate this, sometimes the enemy subtly shifts our focus. And please correct me if I am wrong I certainly do not profess to know everything, and I say this humbly, the Proverbs 31 woman, is a wish list from a mother to a son, we are not sure if this woman ever existed, and if she did the mothers saying came from a mother of a king supposedly? So while it is noble to try and emulate these virtues, this woman is fictitious, there is no way to even guess what she did or did not do. That seems to be lost as we try and compare and justify our own unique individual path with God. Is it not the enemies work to divide and conqor, are we not easier to break seperated from the body. I find the most judgemental and hurtful statements have come from other mothers, my sisters in Christ. I am a full time stay at home homeschooling mum and I am secure in that, I have no need to make myself bigger at the expense of others, every day I fight for a humble heart. With love Tara.
This is a difficult topic because there are such strong opinions for either side. Personally, I have sacrificed a lot in order to stay home with my children. Sometimes, it wasn’t “just” staying at home, but we have made a point for one us to be home withi them. My children are now a little older. Both are in school all day. I still feel I need to be home when they are, so I passed by jobs that I would absolutely adore to find one that is thru the school system they attend. I only work a few hours a day, but I have off when they are off; and I am able to get them on and off the bus each day. I can still attend all their extra curriculars, too. This is huge to me! But it might not be such a big deal to someone else. I know this because I have friends who work crazy hours and their kids are in daycare most of their waking hours. My priority is my own family not judging someone else’s. That is God’s job and His alone.
This post was wonderful – thank you so much for publicly stating we shouldn’t judge others because they work or not work, whatever the case may be.
To others who said a mother should be at home because kids shouldn’t be in day care, I would really like for you to consider that may not be the same for some. I work full-time, my husband works full-time and we care for our child *all by ourselves.* Is it easy? Hecks no. Is it doable? Yup. We’re living proof. My daughter never has and never will step foot in a daycare or be cared for by another.
Some people are sadly limited in their scope of all the different scenarios that exist. I would really question how much you are ministering to others if you can’t imagine all these different scenarios.
Being at home full time for your family is the ideal that the Bible gives us. It is God’s perfect way. But we live in a world of sin. And as in so many other areas of life, Living the ideal biblical way does not just magically happen. I don’t want to work. I want to put all my energy an Time into raising my kids, making a home, and giving to those who need a loving hand. Unfortunately, my husband and I both work less than full time, making incomes less than most single income families. We can’t afford daycare so my husband works nights. We never see each other and it is killing our marriage. This is not because we want to “keep up with the Jones'”. We trust that God will open the doors we need to live the way He desires us to live. Until then, we work diligently for God and thank him for what we already have. The Christian life is not easy . And what we all need to remember is that God giveaway our lot- what we do with it determines our faithfulness. Some are blessed with opportunities that bring peace, some must struggle- for whatever reason. Like the author said, Don’t judge- thinking you can assume why someone’s life isn’t the way you think it should be.
Personally the title itself puts me on edge, “Is it wrong for mom’s to work?” Of course it is okay for mom’s to work! I am proud to have an education (I worked hard), and to contribute financially to our home, and have a career. I am able to show my children what education can do when you work hard. I have a career that contributes to society and our family (I am a special education teacher). I have some SAHM friend’s that want so desperately to stay home, only to be so financially strapped that it puts their family into unpleasant situations (complaining constantly about no money for their family, children, meals, etc). Of course money isn’t everything, but I am happy to be able to do things with and for my children, go to a special movie at the theaters, lunch/dinner out, the zoo, vacations, etc. Yes my kids are in daycare! I have been fortunate enough to find wonderful nurturing people to watch my kids. They love my kids, and my children love them. Their lives are enriched because they are exposed to different people, kids, and situations.
I think the biggest thing which I commend this article for mentioning is we shouldn’t judge. You can only relay what is right for you and your family and give your experience. For those that have experienced daycare situations that are not great, I feel for you. I experienced that situation once, thank-goodness it was only for two days. I didn’t feel right about the situation and was able to quickly find another daycare provider.
Don’t feel guilty if you are working, it is OK and you have nothing to feel ashamed of!
I think it is interesting and even a little sad that many who believe it is wrong to work outside the home take the perspective that the woman is seeking to be fulfilled by working outside the home. The opinion seems to be that the woman needs to simply decide to walk away from the workplace and stay with her children because to do otherwise is selfish on the part of the mother. What is missing is that in a biblical marriage this is not a decision made entirely by the mom. The opinions have the tone that the woman is to stay home no matter what and sacrifice. In some cases women work outside the home to honor their husband. The biblical order of things is spouse before child. Often the husband may be uncomfortable because of his life circumstances, fear, etc. As wives we discuss the matter and pray with our husbands, but ultimately we are to submit to his authority. He will stand before God one day and account for his household and the wife will account for herself and her submission. I am very thankful my husband and I were able to meet a compromise and that my employer was willing to let me work a 24 hr workweek where I am able to retain benefits. God is good in all circumstances, but I must honor my husband.
It is not a bad thing to judge. We are to judge righteous judgement. The same chapter from which people take the ‘don’t judge’ mantra clearly states just a couple verses later we are to be wise and discerning, and sort of like fruit inspectors. All situations are not the same, however, God never changes. His feelings and words about a subject transcend cultural shifts, belief systems, situations, etc. God wants us to follow His Word, not live our lives by means of situational ethics. While I do agree the Proverbs 31 woman was industrious, is an example to look up to and emulate in many ways, and embodies the goals of many Christian women, and my intent isn’t to downplay that, I also think some can twist that situation to back up their own preconceived ideas, notions, decisions, feelings, etc., disregarding the context, intent, and cultural background stated there. At the very least the Proverbs 31 woman was wife of a wealthy man. Many scholars believe this was a composite picture of a good woman, citing snapshots of different stages or eras in her life; not all these things at once. (She had servants, where children are not mentioned throughout, only a couple of times, etc.) Most of all, she worked with local merchants and was home to do her business within the boundaries of performing her wifely and motherly duties first.
All women face different circumstances, yes, but God’s Word is clear in repeatedly stating plainly and showing by example that it is His intent for the woman to stay home, keep the house, have the major role in day in day out parts of rearing children, etc. It is also repeatedly stated, implied, and shown by example throughout that the man is to be the bread winner, protector, provider, leader, final decision maker, etc. No abrasiveness intended, those are just the facts. Yes, God meets us where we are, and that place is often nowhere near the ideal, but, He meets us there in order to move us to where we should be. God has special instructions for the care of widows as concerns His churches’ treatment of them, He is ever concerned with the state of the widows and fatherless, children, weak, maltreated, etc. but that doesn’t change His model for the family and each gender’s role, regardless our feelings or perceived allowances. Some circumstances that seem like ‘exceptions’ are a direct result of many bad decisions previous that disregarded God’s principles.
it would be nice if you would reference the “repeated” biblical scriptures of how women are to stay home. Maybe this is a meat issue and you should do what it appears you are “fully convinced of”. Also lets be careful. 2 Timothy 2:23
“Don?t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.” So God bless you in your endeavors.
Amen! Scripture certainly teaches that. Titus 2:3-5 states a woman’s role as clearly as it could be.
One of the most important questions to ask regarding this issue is “Who will train your children?” Is the person who trains your children discipling them in God’s ways and God’s Word? Is it worth it to gain the world, but lose their souls?
Excellent point and the reason I work part time evening, while my husband works full time days. One of us, is always with them.
I have also been a work at home mom, stay at home mom and now I am a soap maker and a blogger. I am also working on ebooks. You said it well! It is hard to get everything done, and I also know this is my season to be a work at home mom. Times are tough and we don’t know what each other have on debts and obligations. I also have read the same things out of Proverbs 31. She worked! Whether that was being a homemaker or more, we may never know but maybe that detail wasn’t so important as we make it. Maybe the point was she was busy working for her family. 🙂 Thanks for being honest with this post. You did great!
Thank you for your post. I was privileged to be an at home mom, later when kids started school I worked in ministry part time. The Proverbs 31 woman definitely worked and was respected for doing so. She brought honor to her husband. To work or not to work is something each marriage must discuss individually. I don’t think we have the right to judge a woman who decides to work or has to work.
Loved this article, thank you for touching on this often touchy subject. I am a mother that works part time, I am blessed with a job that offers insurance even though I only work part time. My husbands company is small and does not contribute much for insurance premiums, so mine is much cheaper. I’m also blessed with parents that watch my children the couple of days a week that I work. I certainly do not work so that we can have all the frills, in fact we struggle to make ends meet. It is frustrating because some people I work with seem to think that I sit at home and eat bon bons on my days off. I tell them over and over that I work harder on my “days off” than I do when at work. They don’t understand that it’s my desire is to be with my kids as much as possible, regardless of the fact that we have to make many sacrifices to do so. I appreciate your comments about not judging because we never know what the circumstance is and why a Mom has to work ect. I don’t think it’s anyone’s place to say if a woman should work outside the home or not. It should be a decision between the Husband, Wife and the Lord.
No. Not sure why there is such a debate. We should support each other, not criticize or judge.
I work full time outside the home and am the sole breadwinner right now ( my husband is unemployed). And in response to Stephaine above, I do all those things you mentioned. I cook almost everyday (and mostly free of preservatives/artificial junk/dyes/etc.), my house is clean, the laundry is usually caught up, I volunteer at the kids’ schools weekly, I co-lead my daughter’s Girl Scout troop, I have free time with my husband, I help with the homework, I discipline and teach, we do family outings, I manage the finances, I go to grad school, and I read for leisure every night. All stress free and I enjoy every minute (well, except for mopping the floors :). Life is NOT one big rush and the balance is good. I am not bragging, just pointing out that it CAN “all be done” effectively. Personally, I think I am a better mom because I work. It makes me cherish time with my kids so so much and helps me keep a healthy perspective and not swaet the small stuff. I also am far more productive and happy when I keep busy. For about a month this summer, work was slow and I was working one less day a week. Guess what? Things at home started falling behind, I got lazy, and I found myself to be stressed and cranky. I would not be a good SAHM. I love my job, and my kids love to hear me talk about it and tell their friends. I grew up in a home where both mom and dad worked full time. My maternal grandmother worked full time outside the home from 1940 until 1980, then she worked part time until she was 75. I have a great aunt who was an army nurse during WW2 and worked full time until she retired at 65. I guess it’s in my blood! And they both inspired me to become a nurse. For the religious folks, I like to say that I do God’s work everytime I walk thru the doors of the hospital and care for the tiniest and most critically ill humans as they fight their battle with life. It is so amazingly rewarding. And it makes me oh so grateful that my kids are happy and healthy.
I have started these comments 5 times and now I just give up and say what I feel. All of us are faced with decisions and most Christians I know struggle deeply over their choices. If you are faced with these choices, pray, seek God’s word, ask Godly friends/family for advice. And then go do it. The rest of us should stand by and support each other and keep our mouths shut. We do not know your circumstances, we do not know your family’s history, your experiences, and what God has planned for you and your family. I am so tired of the little barbs that go both ways. If you have time to spend discussing someone else’s choices or you need to put someone else down to feel better about yourself, then you have some work to do with God.
There is a hurting world out there who needs the hope of our Saviour. We need to stop hurting each other, get our eyes off ourselves, and start to minister.
Personally I believe that Titus 2 calls women to be at home. I believe that God’s perfect design includes women being keepers of the home. However, I currently work full time outside of the home. My husband lost his job in December. It took him nearly 6 months to find a new job and the pay is terrible at the moment. My husband and I have cut back on every bill we know to and live in the cheapest and safest apartment we could find and yet we cannot afford to live on his current salary. I am blessed with a man that desires to provide for his family and not rely on the government. He wishes for me to be home full time but until the Lord provides he has asked me to work. We live in a fallen world. Do I think it is sin for a woman to work? No. We are called to live our lives to bring God glory and obey His commands. He knows each of our situations and gives us hope that one day, if we are His, we will live in a perfect world.
One thing I think I haven’t seen yet is God could call you to work outside the home. I was first a nurse than a mother. Because I married young, I had to put dh through school on my salary. (he did it first for me) Except for one year that I was laid off and pregnant, I’ve worked mostly part time but sometimes full time hours.
Honestly I believe I am called to be a wife and mother first. I also believe I have a calling as a nurse. Most of the time my husband or I care for our children. Sometimes it’s a babysitter or my mother. I agree with the people who said it’s a heart thing. Working outside the home doesn’t mean that a woman can’t be a “keeper of the home” and to me being a keeper more means a keeper of your children and husband’s hearts. The housekeeping in the end won’t be compared to the Glory of knowing I’ve spent quality time with my family
I agree that while it is ideal for Moms to be at home with their children, it is not always realistic. If there is no other way to support your family then I feel it’s absurd to think that God would want you to become destitute in order to be at home with your kids 24/7. Maybe I’m way off, but I feel that if God doesn’t want me to be working I will find myself in a situation where it isn’t necessary. I am currently working my way up as a work at home mom in hopes of creating a good income stream so that I can provide for my children along with my husband AND be at home with them. All you can do is continually talk with God and walk down the path you feel is right. I do not think we should “judge” other mothers for their decisions, we do not know what God has led them to.
I feel blessed to have had the best of both worlds, I work every weekend as a nurse and get paid for 3 days and have fulltime benefits for my family, My husband has the kids on weekends and I have them all week. My only regret is that I can’t attend my church on Sundays and try to get my fellowship time in on Wed. nite bible studies. Some days I wish I could stay at home but I also feel blessed to serve in different capacities since I enjoy my work.
Where are the real men? What are they doing? The Bible says that he who doesn’t provide for his own is worse than an infidel (unbeliever), 1 Tim. 5:8. What does God’s word say our place should be? What’s the title of this blog? Since this is an issue for Christian women and not the world’s women; just look at His word and you’ll see it is not an issue at all. If scripture is sufficient for every area of our lives, 2 Tim. 3:16, and it absolutely is. We need not be supersticious and say our circumstance is special because we have a “leading”, “calling”, or “God has blessed me with this ability”, or “God just put everything in place for me to get this job”. It doesn’t matter what century we are in ladies. God speaks to us through His word, the canon is closed. If it weren’t than just make up your own bible, there is some self-justification for you. The people of God, if they really are His, are getting so numbed by the world. We are no longer a peculiar people, 1 Peter 2:9. We are bearing the curse of Adam and the curse of Eve, Genesis 3:16-19. Where are the real men of God? If you’re convicted than let God work repentance in you, don’t look for a pat on the back from the world and make yourself proud. Humble yourselves, don’t wave a feminist banner in the name of modern christianity. 2 Corinthians 12:19-21
Not Judging a person’s family situation is key here. Let’s not condemn one another and remind ourselves that a husband and wife is a team. There will be seasons that will challenge us. We think we have our perfect little plan and then God shows us that we don’t. I am now ending a season of being at home for full-time for 7 years. This is not what I wanted or planned, but God had to reveal the judgments in my own heart towards homemakers. I also needed to be an anchor for our family. It was difficult and stretching but I will never regret it. I am not transitioning to part-time and honestly I feel more fulfilled and happier as a person in this. It’s always been in me to work outside of the home and this new season just confirms that. And I believe there is nothing wrong with that.
Late to the comments, I know.
But I couldn’t let this one pass. You cannot know what the future will bring. I especially want to say to “Tara” that I hope she never finds herself in the Valley where I was – widowed with a minor child, thousands – well, 10s of thousands – in medical bills and insufficient life insurance. My husband was a hard working, Godly man. In fact, one of the best of men. But I was glad that I have skills that the marketplace needs and will pay well for. I did not choose this path, except in as much as I loved that man. I figure that the Lord was true and opened doors for me after my husband’s death, but it was (and is) totally MY responsibility to step though them in faith. It is up to us to be able to raise our children, regardless of what life throws at us.