Remember when the Apostle Paul talked to the church in Corinth about jealousy and strife? He was discussing division in the church, of course. But I think a similar thing happens with women regarding careers versus staying at home to raise a family.
I’ve been a wife and mother since 1990. Since 1989 if you include my first pregnancy, which I do. I’ve been a grandmother since 2012. I was married at seventeen, to which some people said “It will never last.” It’s just what you say when the bride is a teenager, I think. A little over a month later, I was pregnant. So that made me a mom by age eighteen and two months, almost exactly. When my first baby was five months, I got pregnant again, much to the chagrin of even a few fellow church-goers.
“Don’t you know what causes that by now?”
That’s what a few –cough– kind, noble souls asked.
Of course I do. And I bet I do it better than you!
It was an off the cuff comment, clearly, but words can be daggers. I only laughed at the time, but I was sassy in my thoughts, and hurt in my heart.
Even back in the 90’s, women were marrying later and having careers was very much in vogue. Having kids was out. Climbing corporate ladders was in.
Perhaps I’m just rebellious, but I’ve never had career goals, except to perhaps blog my brains out and get a book deal because I’m so witty and theological at the same time, haha. Ha. My main plan in life, since as long as I can remember, has been to marry, have children, raise children full-time, hopefully have grandchildren, help raise grandchildren, die.
I talked about The Great Commission in my last blog. What better way to fulfill that calling than to produce offspring and spend as much time as possible teaching, instructing, and loving little people into an ever growing relationship with Christ? Discipling, contrary to modern day methods, is not merely meeting at Starbucks and discussing a passage of Scripture. It can consists of that, sure — but that’s not all it is.
If Jesus is our example of perfect discipleship, then it consists of finding people willing to follow us around day and (maybe) night, or somehow deeply embedding others into the fabric of our lives so we have the time, energy, and means to teach them what it truly means to be a Christ-follower. Discipling, in other words, is living a good portion of life together. In my mind, being at the office eight to twelve hours a day is not leaving ample time to disciple my children. That’s leaving it to the school system and the babysitter to disciple my children.
Hillary Clinton wrote an entire book on how “it takes a village” to raise a child. But I think her village and my village would look drastically different. My village would involve the church. Her village would involve mostly government, so as to obtain complete control and brainwash small, undeveloped minds.
That’s what the church does – brainwashes their little ones!
True. But the church brainwashes with truth. Not propaganda meant to turn children (our country’s future) away from Christ and His ways.
So there’s a slice of my thoughts on being a wife and mom. In no way am I saying it’s a sin to work outside the home. I’ve done it myself from time to time, when money was tight. And in today’s society, where it is not the norm for a household to operate off of one income, it often becomes absolutely necessary for a wife to work.
I believe women bound and determined to pass the ERA got all women into a pinch. Some women wanted the freedom to work outside the home, and they got it. But their freedom, in the long run, has put a burden on those who wish to remain at home. Women working, and therefore two household incomes, became the societal norm, which affected the monetary norm, and eventually made it very difficult for moms to stay at home.
His goal was to instruct the Corinthians to stop being divisive on which theological giant they preferred to follow. “I am of Paul!” Or “I am of Apollos!”
In today’s Christian realm, one might say “I am of John MacArthur!” Or “I am of Charles Stanley!”
Break Paul’s thought process down to modern day mom clans, and you’ve got something like this:
“I am of the work outside the home clan. No way am I going to dress frumpy and sit on the couch all day eating Reese’s peanut butter cups and (not) wiping boogered noses.”
“I am of the stay at home mom clan because to leave your child in the care of someone else for eight hours a day is basically a guarantee your baby will end up in prison.”
“I am of the stay at home with my babies, but when they’re napping (haha), I sell Mary Kay, Juice Plus, LulaRoe, and Doterra essential oils clan. You have pimples needing covered, have low energy, need a date night dress, or catch a lot of colds? I’m your gal pal.”
“I am of the work all hours of the day and weekends too clan, because I’ve got three car payments, two house payments, and vacations to Nova Scotia I need to take. Oh, and a nanny to pay.”
None of the mommy clans do anything perfectly. We’re all human, and as a result, sinful. Staying home, not working for monetary gain, and focusing most of our time and attention on rearing children are not sins. Working inside the home isn’t a sin. Working outside the home isn’t a sin. Working for nothing but fancy cars, vacations, and nannies, I believe, is a sin – usually of covetousness, which leads to other sins such as child abandonment. But the point is: I wish we could stop saying one way is the ultimate, right way. That whatever clan we choose doesn’t have to be the same clan the mommy next door chooses in order for her life to be significant.
My personal conviction is that stay at home moms tend to produce the most secure, adaptable, mentally solid children. But I’ve known children who have come from horrible, abusive homes who, by God’s grace, turned out to be solid members of society – and vice versa. If my conviction is not your conviction, it’s all good. I don’t find a verse in the Bible that mandates mothers be at home full time (although the Proverbs 31 gal, bless her heart, definitely has everything at home under control). But I do feel at times that moms who choose to stay at home are looked down upon in our culture. We are made out to be bon-bon munchers sporting Don King hair and see through yoga pants while our children run around being neighborhood bullies and generally wreaking havoc during our favorite episode of As The World Returns.
Okay, okay. So there was one year after my son was born that I got hooked on a soap opera. I confess. How is that different than a working woman’s Sex And The City, nighttime soap opera? Both are bad. Very bad. And we should all repent.
Strife and jealousies. Paul admonishes us to stay away from them in the church, and I’m admonishing we stay away from them in our culture. If you’re a working woman, great. I sincerely hope you are able to balance it all, and I commend you if you can. The question is: if you’re a working mom, are you able to commend a stay at home mom?
I rarely, if ever, see that happen.
I don’t write any of this to stir up strife. Just to get us thinking about whether we are accepting and supportive of one another as moms. Or whether we’re merely accepting and supportive of the moms in our clan.