I recently read a post on a blog titled “Does wanting to work make me a selfish mom?” I was interested in what the author’s conclusion would be so I read through the article. While I do agree with the conclusion she came to (i.e. no…it doesn’t necessarily make you selfish) I was concerned with the reasons she used to justify her desire to work outside of her home. Perhaps some of her reasons are cautions that stay at home moms should be aware of, but they aren’t necessarily good reasons to get an outside job.
“Working mothers displayed a greater ‘maternal sensitivity’, or responsiveness, toward their youngsters, had a higher income and were more likely to find higher quality child care”. (The author of the post I read referenced this quote found here.)
It can be easy to lose sight of the responsibility of raising children and thereby becoming less “sensitive” to our children’s needs. When you live with someone (especially people who need so much from us) it’s easy to become “desensitized” to their needs. However, that does not excuse stay at home moms. If you realize that you are not being as sensitive and loving as you should be to your children, take actions to fix the situation! Spend time in God’s Word, pray for His help and seek friends who will encourage you towards this godly goal. (A good book that will give you a vision for your relationship with your family is Passionate Housewives Desperate for God by Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald.)
A working mom may bring home more money, but does it really benefit her children? True, if the family needs the money to put food on the table and pay the bills then definitely needs are being met. However, if the mom wants to work simply so her children can have the latest technological toy, is that really a good reason? While my boys are still young, I have seen older children who are bored and are constantly wanting to watch a movie or the tv or play on the Wii. (We actually do see this in Drew. When he sees a movie, that’s his constant request for quite a while afterwards…all he wants to do is watch another movie.) Their creativity is stifled. They need to be entertained. Is this really in the best interest of the children?
As for working moms finding higher quality childcare…stay at home moms don’t even have to look. They stay with their children and teach and train them at home.
“I enjoy working.” Work can be found at home. 🙂 House cleaning, grocery shopping, organizing, menu planning, child training, decorating, budgeting, yard work…sometimes the to-do list can seem insurmountable. 🙂
“I love being able to ‘use my brain'”. I do admit that some days it feels as if my brain has stagnated. I spend my days with a two-year old and a one-year old, neither one has mastered the art of talking. However, I’m realizing that if I want to “use my brain” I need to make the time to do just that! I’m currently working/studying to become a childbirth educator. I blog (this post definitely required some brain work). I teach high school biology for homeschooled students. You can use your brain as a stay at home mom…it just requires planning and forthought.
I want to be “creative on a daily basis”. I’m finding that there is no limit to the amount of creativity I need as a wife, mom and homemaker. I have to explain new concepts to Drew in a way that he understands. I have a new home to decorate. There are leftovers in the refrigerator that need to be remade into a (delicious!) new meal. I crochet blankets for friends who are pregnant and remake clothes to suit my style. Creativity can be found at home. And, perhaps, can even be fostered more by a stay at home mom than a working mom because there are so many facets of her “job” that require that creativity.
“I love feeling like a productive member of society”. There are days when I feel as though all of my efforts are just swallowed up in a big black hole. No one notices. No one thanks me. And I feel as though I’m accomplishing nothing. However, these are just my feelings. And my feelings do not reflect reality. The reality is that I’m spending each day training and raising up two sons, who have amazing potential. I have no idea what God has in store for their young lives, but I know that they will impact other people. They will impact them for good or for evil. I am being productive by being at home every day with my boys.
“Instead of being cooped up at home with my kids, feeling stir crazy because I can’t always keep them happy…” My job as the mom of my boys is not to keep them happy. Constantly striving to please my sons would turn them into selfish spoiled brats. My job is to teach them self-control, kindness, thoughtfulness, gentleness and so many other things. Are my boys always happy? No. And that’s fine. Real life doesn’t always keep you happy. But my boys are learning at a young age how to deal with unhappiness…how to respond when they don’t always get their way. And those are lessons that will serve them well in years to come.
“Working mom weekends are the best, because you really appreciate the time at home with your family.” There is something to this point. Absence does make the heart grow fonder. 🙂 And yet, once again a deliberate plan can help you to appreciate your family. Plan fun activities for the weekend. Encourage the children to look forward to having Daddy home and being able to do fun things with him. Plan special meals. Go to the park…or a museum…or bowling…or for a walk around the block. Make the weekends special. Make plans to help you appreciate your family.
“I think that my KIDS prefer the structure (and playmates) that daycare provide.” It is true that children do better on schedules. I know this and so I’ve made a schedule for our days so that we have the structure my boys need. Playmates can be found in more places than daycare. Church is a great place for friends. Plan playdates. Have neighbor children over to your house to play. Visit with cousins. Again structure and playmates can be had for your children if you make a conscious effort to provide your children with them.
“If we’re not out and about doing things, my five-year-old daughter is constantly telling me how bored she is. I cannot be a full-time entertainer.” Just like it isn’t my job to keep my sons happy, it isn’t my job to entertain them. Tim and I want our boys to be creative. To be able to play by themselves without constantly having to be entertained. And they do. They play together. They enjoy looking at books. I build “forts” for them out of blankets and chairs and they have a blast. They enjoy helping me with housework. They work puzzles. Build train tracks. One of my favorite memories as a child was time spent by myself reading books. Tim has fun memories of playing with legos with his brother and sister. These are memories that we would not have if our parents had been constantly trying to “entertain” us.
“We could use the money”. This is a valid concern. Times right now are tough economically and extra money is helpful. (The money I received from teaching helped pay for Carter’s birth last year.) (Although there are ways for stay at home moms to make and save money…for more information on how to make and save money check out these two great websites…Money Saving Mom and Money Saving Methods.)
I’m not saying that a working mom is sinning (although she might be depending on her motives). When I read this article, I feel sympathy for this mom who is torn between two decisions. (I’ve been there…done that! :-)) But as I was reading through the reasons she is choosing to go back to work, I realized that all of her reasons could be found/met by a stay at home mom.
It is a tough choice. And it’s a choice that a couple must make after spending time in prayer and in God’s Word. What is best for their family. Each one of the reasons the author gave can be met by a stay at home mom. It requires work. It requires thought. It requires motivation. It isn’t easy. But it is a fulfilling job. 🙂
~ Carrie ~