Tuesday, February 7, 2012

passionate, joyful homemaking: why do moms pursue careers at the expense of family?





being homeward focused is biblicalit also has many benefits to mother, father and children.  knowing this, why do many women still pursue a career at the cost of their families?  are these legitimate reasons?



the curse of childbearing (its hard!)
bearing children is difficult.  just like many men try to get women to bear their burden, women too want to get out from under their burden.  some women choose to work outside of the home so that they can outsource their job of raising kids to someone else.
furthermore, not only do some women want to abandon their burden, they want to try to take over their husband’s role.  both of these motives are sinful, and lead to destruction of the marriage and family.
the temptation of money
probably the main reason that women choose to work outside of the home is because their family “needs” the money.
'Money' photo (c) 2011, 401K - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
i can’t find the exact statistic, but a working mom has to earn a significant amount of money to make it worth her time, once you account for expenses like commuting costs, business dress (and dry cleaning) costs, day care, after school care, increased tax bracket, increased eating out, hiring a housecleaner etc.  some of these costs are hidden, but need to be taken into account.  

it is important to keep in mind that stay at home moms provide tremendous services to their families for free, but the actual value of their work is quite high. some estimates place the value of a stay at home mom's work at $115,000- $135,000 per year (once you add up the value of childcare, plus housecleaning services, plus laundry, etc). (source)
furthermore, when a woman is being an excellent wife to her husband, she frees him up to focus on work and become better and more efficient at his job.  this could lead to more promotions and upward movement in the company, which would lead to greater pay in the long run.

moreover, what is this “need” for money?  it is very likely that you can cut down on your budget in many ways if you see the importance of being the keeper of your home.  alex and i have lived on a shoestring budget for most of the time that we have been parents.  it has often been hard, but well worth it.
ultimately, it comes down to a decision between investing in your present life (owning an iPad, the latest cell phone, a daily starbucks drink, a nice car, a fast computer, etc.) and investing in your children’s future.
improper role models 
some will say, “well i know ___ who worked and her kids turned out fine” or even the converse: “i know ____ stayed at home and her kids didn’t turn out well”.

proverbs 22:6 says, “train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it”. this is a truism, not a promise.  it is usually true that if you invest well in a child, they will turn out well.  however, God is sovereign over everything, even the outcomes of our children, and he will ultimately determine what happens.  
God makes it clear that the best thing for a mother is to focus her attention homeward.  he does not make any guarantees with this, but we can trust that the Creator knows the way he created his creatures to function best! 
titus 2:5 instructs that godly older women are to teach younger women to focus their attention to the needs of their household.  the burden is on older women to lead by their example and words in this area.  
the temptation of (temporal) prestige
do not love the world or the things in the world. if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. for all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. and the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
1 john 2:15-17
i have heard some women say “we don’t really need the money, but i want to work so that i can continue to advance in my career.”  the temptation of prestige is huge, especially in certain careers.  but the bible points out that “the pride of life is not from the Father but from the world” (v 16).  furthermore, it reminds us that “the world is passing away along with its desires” (v 17).
on the other hand, there are things that are going to last.  in 10,000 years, your career will not matter.  the respect you got on earth wont matter.  the size of your house will not matter.  your possessions will not matter.  but you can work now to build up as much happiness in the next life as possible, and that happiness includes eternal investment into your family.
however, that is not to say that you should not pursue greatness.  i think that the bible DOES encourage christians to pursue greatness.  consider these words of jesus:
and they came to capernaum. and when he [jesus] was in the house he asked them, “what were you discussing on the way?” but they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. and he sat down and called the twelve. and he said to them, “if anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” mark 9:33-35 
the disciples were clearly ashamed that they had been talking about who was the greatest.  but does jesus rebuke them?  no, he just points out that their definition of greatness is incorrect.  they are defining it by the world's standards, but jesus gives them a different definition: “if anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

pursue greatness that will impact eternity.  this will be the toughest job in the world, but the rewards are everlasting.


culture

our society screams out its values from every facet. the internet, TV, magazine advertisements all tell us: get more stuff! buy this and be beautiful! pursue what makes YOU feel fulfilled!  get people to like you!  secure your future!  be the best you you can be!
outside of the church, no one will encourage you to be self-sacrificing, putting aside your needs to focus on others.  you will be told that the “professionals” at the local pre-school can teach your child better than you, and that the best thing for you is to focus on your job, so that you are getting fulfillment.

be counter-cultural.  don’t give in, and don’t let your family suffer the way that too many families in our country are currently suffering.

not trusting God/your husband
i like to be in control.  during the times i have worked for pay since we have been married, i have enjoyed knowing that i am contributing to our finances, and that i am helping to control of our finances.
it can be hard for a woman to trust God and her husband to provide for her, most especially if you come from a family where your dad chose not to provide.  however, this is an important act of faith.  your husband will feel loved that you trust him to provide.
and ultimately, our trust is not just in our husbands to provide, but in God (as he is the one who provides through them).  do you fear to focus your attention at home?  your motive may be a sinful lack of trust in God.




did i miss anything?  what do you think distracts women from their work of keeping the home?


go on to part four...

4 comments:

  1. I am looking for a house husband who will stay at home and raise the children I bear him while I work outside the home. I just don't have a maternal instinct and don't really like kids. He needs to be good at cleaning in particular as this is my weakness. Do you know where I can find such a man pet?

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  2. I get your point about trusting God, but sometimes mothers work not because they are bad mothers or selfish or not trusting. But because they love their jobs, don't have a husband, or their families need the income. It's extremely difficult to live off of one salary in the US, despite your argument to the contrary. I'm happy that you're happy and your family is doing well, but what is true for you and for God is not true for all women everywhere. It's not at truism that all working mothers are sinning, not trusting, and disobeying the Bible.

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