Friday, September 28, 2007

Does God want women to stay at home?

How's that for a blog title? Got your attention didn't it. That question sure got my attention when it was the title of this article. This is a fair and reasonable question and one every woman needs to address if she is going to be married and have children. I began wrestling with this idea when I was in high school, though from a completely different perspective than the one I have now.

In high school I was dead set on being a career broadcaster. I was going to work in radio, and if I had my way, even own my own radio station. There would be no need to "stay at home" because I was not going to get married (I had no need for a husband, I would do it on my own thank you very much). By the time I hit my sophomore year of college, I'd decided to work as a director-type for a news program, calling the shots live. It would have been a good fit for me. But God had other plans...

Bruce became a Christian that year and when we started dating it took him less than 6 months to decide he might want to make our relationship permanent. So, he subtly started bringing up the subject of stay at home moms (SAHMs). Unbeknownst to me, he had a very definite view that a mother should be home with the kids unless it was not possible (and trust me, he had a high threshold for determining if it was possible or not), thus began our dialogue on this issue. To be fair, he bought me two books, Mommy Where are You and another one about balancing work and children (title is long forgotten, it wasn't as catchy as the first). I read both of them and became convinced that a mother's first obligation was to her family and the best way to fulfill that obligation was by being at home. Indeed, now I would stay home if it were possible.

I knew that staying home would mean a different lifestyle. No big SUVs or large fancy houses or new clothes on a whim. Nope, I was going to be a mommy martyr and stay home driving a Ford Pinto and wearing thrift-store finds. This idea of sacrificing all suited me too... but not really in a God-honoring way. Since I had decided to be a SAHM, Bruce decided to ask for my hand in marriage. I accepted and we were married 6 months later.

Fast forward... after 7 years in corporate America with a very well-paying job, we were ready to start a family. However, I was out of town ~22 days a month and knew I needed a new job in order to make that happen. So, I decided to become a school teacher. I was surprised to learn that I LOVED teaching and it turned out that I was pretty good at it (at least my principal said so).

After becoming pregnant, a part of me sort of secretly thought that I would keep working after our baby was born. Why not? Being a teacher is a great job for a parent. The hours are accommodating, not to mention June, July, and August. I don't really know why I thought this because over the years I really had come to believe that being a SAHM is what is best for children. I had even decided to home school my children. Okay, I take that back, I do know why. I was prideful. I liked being told on a regular basis that I was good at my job. I thrive on positive feedback. Just ask Larry my manager at Allstate. He knew that and gave it to me and I did great there. Where was I going to get positive feedback from an infant while I stayed home all day? It turns out after being a SAHM on maternity leave for 7 weeks that I do just fine receiving positive affirmations, from Charlotte and from Bruce. He knows this is something that I need as an ESTJ, and he makes an effort to tell me that he thinks I am a good mom and that he appreciates what I do around the house while he is gone.

All that being said, I firmly believe that being a SAHM is the best situation. And guess what, we are not in a position to make it happen quite yet. Once my maternity leave is over (date TBD), I am going back to school. Bruce and I started building a house in the beginning of 2007 right as the housing market tanked in Florida. Now, there is no one to buy our current house and we have two mortgages. I literally can't afford to not work until we are able to sell or rent out our current house. This makes me very, very sad.

As I re-read the article and comments from JClark and InternationalSpy, I've decided what I want to say is so similar to what they've already said it doesn't bear repeating. Most of the other comments are ad hominen attacks or have such glaring logical fallacies (as does the article) that they aren't even worth rebuttal.

I am still praying that God will make a way for me to stay home at some point, especially once our children are school aged. If you pray, I'd ask you to join me in that request.

She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
Proverbs 31.27-28

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