Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Stay At Home Mom Verses Working Outside the Home

As I started thinking about this post regarding stay at home mothers (SAHM), I found a bunch of blog posts over at Desiring God Ministries on the topic. I knew there were some mixed feelings on the issue (SAHM verses a woman in the workforce) but enough for numerous posts? Yes, indeed.

I am a SAHM. I homeschooled my youngest children for five years. Currently, they attend a private school and I have gone back to university to get my bachelor’s degree so I may attend law school. (So, I guess I am also a full time student.) My children are getting older and I would like to be able to transition as smoothly as possible back into the workforce once they graduate (if not sooner, depending on circumstances).

I have to admit, for the most part, society does not question my decision. Though, I have run into one person who did not agree with me homeschooling my kiddos. He was pointed but not aggressive on the matter. (He was very much pro public schools.) Another time, I was involved in a group discussion when one of the other women present mentioned how she was working part-time. A man at the table replied, “Oh, so you have a real job.” And, I have been asked a few times, “So, what do you do all day long? Sit on your butt and eat bon-bons?”

Um, not quite.

I feel very fortunate and blessed I have been able to stay at home with our youngest children for this long. (I actually stopped working outside the home when our oldest children were in their early teens. I noticed a difference in their behavior when I was home verses when I was not and it was important to me to be available to them whenever/if ever they needed me.)

I feel the subject of stay at home moms covers a span of other affairs, as well. It’s not just about finances. It touches on beliefs, sacrifice, pride, identity, social standing, what is wanted now verses what is desired most (discipline), spousal support (emotionally, physically, financially), self-control and household management, serving the family verses being of assistance to the world, contentment, and the heart.

Jesus said that those who live for themselves will actually have an unfulfilling life, but those who lose for their lives for His sake will really experience life. As parents, our self-death for Christ’s sake not only produces fruit in our own hearts, but produces fruit in the hearts of our children, fruit that grows by the power of God. Let us, then, choose to joyfully give of ourselves for our children. (Christine Hoover. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org. http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/the-everyday-question-of-motherhood.)

The valiant woman, commonly known as the Proverbs 31 woman or the “excellent wife,” is noble. She is respectful to her husband, she is trustworthy and kind, she is brave, she takes initiative, she works hard with her hands, she works inside and outside of the home, she is wise and respected. She is generous and thoughtful. She is blessed by her children and her children blessed her.

In his commentary on Proverbs, Bruce Waltke writes, “The ideal wife in this Hebrew heroic poem . . . is diligent, ‘take charge,’ is engaged in profit-making ventures, and is also a wise teacher and philanthropist.”

Most importantly, the Valiant Woman is a woman who fears the Lord (Proverbs 31:30). And that is what God desires for us. God wants our hearts. He wants to give us a new heart and a new purpose (Ezekiel 36:26–28). When he changes us, he changes us to the core. God’s desire is that we love him with all our hearts and love our neighbor as ourselves (and I’d argue the closest neighbor to me is my husband and my children). As we rightly fear God and honor his design for femininity, the details of how that gets worked out in our homes will look differently for each woman.
(Trillia Newbell. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org. http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/femininity-june-cleaver-clair-huxtable-or-the-valiant-woman)

Did I make the right choice for my family being a SAHM and homeschooler? I am not going to lie, it has been quite a struggle. I believe it was best for our children and if I had to go back, I would definitely do it again. It has, however, been very trying. I did have a support system of other Christian women and SAHMs for most of the time (thankfully) but I also met harsh opposition within my family. There were a handful of “loved ones” who strongly opposed and it was very draining at times. I was told things like, “You are not smart enough to homeschool your children,” and called names like, "lazy". Further, I do not have very much of an income so I feel limited. But, needless to say, it was more important to me to do as I felt called rather than listen to man (Psalm 118:8). And God has ALWAYS provided!

John Piper stated the following:
What I want to honor in this message is the biblical calling on a woman’s life to weave a fabric of family life out of commitment to a husband and his calling, and commitment to her children and their training, and commitment to Christ and his glory. In other words, I want to honor the biblical calling that makes marriage, motherhood, and home-management, in the context of radical Christian discipleship, the central, core, dominant commitments of a woman’s life.

There are millions of single women, and many will stay single. There is a grace from God for that—a very special grace and for some even a calling. There are women who are single mothers and the marriage element in the calling I just described is painfully missing. Jesus Christ has a grace for that. There are women who are married and cannot, or, with their husbands, choose not, to have children. Jesus has a grace for that.

And there are mothers who weave together their mothering and their marriage and home management with part-time or full-time employment outside the home—some because they may have to (like single moms), others because they see it as part of their calling and have found creative ways to interlace schedules so as not to compromise their core commitments at home, and others, sadly, because they don’t have core commitments to supporting the husband’s calling, and pouring their lives into their children, and managing a home for the glory of Christ. They’ve simply absorbed the values of the world from television, media, friends with no biblical framework….

[What I want to honor in this message is the biblical calling on a woman’s life to weave a fabric of family life out of commitment to a husband and his calling, and commitment to her children and their training, and commitment to Christ and his glory.] This is a very high and holy and crucial calling that many of you embrace, with little understanding or encouragement from the world. You are the ones who have heard Titus 2:4-5 not as oppressive but as liberating. Paul said to Titus that the older women should “train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” You have heard that calling as rich and deep and precious and high and holy and confirming your heart’s longings, and as absolutely essential for the shaping of a God-centered, Christ-exalting church and culture.
(By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org. http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/honoring-the-biblical-call-of-motherhood.)

Goodness, I could go on and on with this one. But, another day. I’ll end here. Be encouraged, ladies…SAHM or not.

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