Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Staying Home

The kids proudly show off their visors with bug stickers on them. These were their prizes for completing the reading program at the library this summer!

I overheard some ladies talking at swimming lessons today. One gal is about mid-fifties and works at a local public school. The other gal is about 40-45 and is due with her second child in less than 2 weeks and also works at that same school as a school psychologist. The first one was asking how much maternity leave the pregnant one had and saying she would miss her at work for the month of September. She made some comment about how the preggo mom would be "sitting at home enjoying herself" and then the preggo mom said, "It'll be so nice to get back to work. It's been nice having the summer off to do stuff and it's nice 'cause we can get out in the summer a lot but I couldn't be at home all fall and winter long. I'd go crazy. I have to work."

There I sat, feeling a little miffed and a little amused as I listened. These ladies, so typical of our culture, think being at home is "boring, unfulfilling, menial, and basically being lazy!" I chuckled to think how much work this mom will actually be doing once she has two little ones instead of just one to care for. I'm surprised to hear her talk about how her neighbor will be watching the kids all year, 40 hours a week, and how it's no big deal for her to drop her new, 2-month old off for the day and head off to work. I personally know the gal who watched her 2.5 year old daughter last year and I know that SHE was investing in this little girl as well as her own 3 kids and other babysitting charges, taking her to library, helping her go potty, running errands with her, feeding her, and watching her hit all the milestones while her mom was working.

How sad it is to see what a low opinion the world has of full-time mothers! I don't know about you all, but I'm certainly not bored and am busy as a bee! I think the sacrifices for staying home are infinitely worth it and that it's especially important in those early years. My parents drilled that into me as a kid. When my little brother would complain that we couldn't afford Nike shoes like his cousin wore my mom would say,"His mom works ALL THE TIME. You may not have name-brand shoes but you have a Mommy home with you all day." Years later, that cousin, who was raised by his Grandma and by daycare is now following in his mom's example by working all the time for material success and has a low view of family and marriage whereas my brother has forgotten about having Nikes and has followed my mom's example of pouring herself out for others as he evangelizes the lost in Honduras as a missionary.

While being a stay-at-home mom won't guarantee your children will be Christ-followers, I do believe it is a very, very important job with eternal significance and great fulfillment. While worldly women are chasing their own fulfillment in their careers and accomplishments, there are moms pouring themselves out to teach and to train their children in godliness and to "swim upstream" in our immoral culture. While there are days it might be overwhelming or days when we wonder if we will go crazy with screaming little ones or endless poopy bottoms, or days when going off to a job sounds nice, there are mostly days where I am so thankful that God has allowed me to be in this profession of full-time mommyhood because there is nothing I want to do more than this!

I guess I'd better finish this post so I can go put my feet up and eat Bon-Bons and watch soaps, after all, I'm a stay-at-home mom, isn't that what we do?


anna said...

although i am a stay-at-home mom, i must say that moms who work are not bad moms. some people (especially teachers and others in that line of work) feel that they are making a difference in the world by working. others truly enjoy working, and others may need to work to pay the bills or insurance. i doubt that they truly think moms have it made and have such easy lives, especially if they have their own kids they know how much work that takes. i would imagine that they were feeling like they had so much time in the summer because they are so used to working away from home all day, which makes for a long day when you have to get your kids ready, drop them off, get them home, and then finish the daily tasks at home. i worked the first year and a half of ryanns life and when i quit my job to stay home, i did find myself bored quite often. it took time for me to get used to being home every day, which i am sure those women go through during the summertime. anyways, women who work are not bad mothers. who knows what their circumstances are. also, after being home with ryann for a few months i found that i was craving some time with adults and got a job waitressing in town. i LOVE working a couple hours at night a few days a week. i love the poeple i meet and the time i have to be with adults. the extra money is nice, plus it means that brett gets to spend some alone time with ryann. just a thought from an opinionated reader.

The Three 22nds said...

I think Anna makes some good points. A lot of working moms I know think it would be a much harder job to stay home with their kids then go to work!

What if they didn't have stay at home moms themselves? Then they have no way of knowing that putting peanut butter and jelly on 13 pieces of toast every morning does not have to be menial. And they don't know that teaching a child to use the potty isn't just a chore. They don't understand that getting 3 little people dressed (and redressed), toileted (and retoileted) fed (and refed) doesn't have to be an annoyance, but it can be a challenge and a way to show love.

How would they know that if the people who did all that for them really didn't love them?

My husband knows it is easier to go to work, and some days I am glad to get out to work and talk to my coworkers!

Amy said...

I think that it is important for us mommies to take care of ourselves a little bit in order to be the best moms that we can be. For me that means taking a couple hours out of my day and going to work less than part time to have some adult interaction. That way when I do get home, my full attention is on my family and I don't get overwhelmed being at home all day long even though I am doing things all day. I don't think that makes me a bad or a less godly mommy. And like Anna said, I am also making a little bit of money to help with bills so that money doesn't have to be a stressor and to be able to save up for the all important emergency fund and my son also gets to spend time with his granparents. Not all families are able to have both parents at home full time and I think that sometimes those mommies need some extra support and love because have something extra on their plate. Another thought from an opinionated reader.

Anonymous said...

I think there is a balance. My child goes to a very good day care where they provide so much fun and education. My 2.5 year old LOVES to go and play with her friends! At the same time, we have a very rich home environment and the focus is on her. Lots of baking cookies and "rough-housing" on the floor. She feels VERY connected and loved at home.

We cannot afford to have one person at home. At first, it was to our dismay. But now, after personally living the "working mom" path, I think it is a wonderful balance for child and mom.

There will always be moms who are terrible parents, but that can be stay at home moms and working moms. There are plenty examples of both.

Anonymous said...

I agree...I worked a lot with my son. I missed so much. God really put on my heart to stay at home with my daughter. My son; who is a teenager now really loves the fact I'm at home also. Others in my family do not understand my decision for staying home. I hear my Mom, Dad and mother-in-law say, "If you worked you could afford this or that." or "Why don't you just put them in daycare and get a job? It would make life a lot easier!" If we are willing to make the sacrifice, what difference does it make?! Ugh! Sorry! it is a sore spot with me...how they assume I am at home doing nothing. It is a hard NEVER ending job. No time off, no vacations, no weekends off...you are a Mommy always! Love your blog! Love your insight! Thanks for sharing! May God bless you richly!

Josh & Laura said...

I do want to weigh in some of my thoughts.. first of all I agree (and disagree) with Anna's thoughts. (Loved your post deary!)

My mother had to work when all of us kids were very young, as my dad was in school full-time getting his degrees. That meant day-care for us until 2nd grade! This was a necessary thing for us back then, as there would have been no other way to make income for the family!
I remember loving day-care and never knowing that I was settling for "second best".. although I have very few memories back then that involved my mom. Kind of sad...

Yet, in my own personal opinion, staying home (if you can afford it, etc) is better for the CHILDREN than daycare, etc. Let me explain.... There are days I desperately want to go to work and leave behind all the chaos, mess, cleanup, whining and chores! I wish I had a part-time job even! Something to make me feel adult again! Yet, I don;t NEED it, we are very financially fit right now, and it would sacrifice so many of the happy moments with my girls I have in the day.

I believe being a stay-at-home mom is the biggest challenge out there. It's far easier to be a working mom (on us moms anyway) I think who we really can hurt is our children, by not being a big part of their lives when they need us most.

Mrs. Gunning said...

It's easier to be a working mom for those that want to work outside the home - because you're getting what you want anyways, regardless of how it effects your children.
If you're working outside of the home without wanting to, because you feel you "have" to for whatever reason, I actually think it's harder than if you wanted to be away all day. Your emotions are pulled apart because you know you should be with your kiddos, but feel that something is keeping you apart (whatever the reasoning is).

But at the end of the day, I see full time home keeping as much harder than working away and coming home for a few brief hours every day.
At each moment we must guard our words, so our children do not hear cussing or gossiping - at a paying job outside of the home, we can "get away" with those things.
At each moment, we need to be ready to teach and train them - at a paying job outside the home, someone else can do that for us.
At each moment, we need to keep our eyes and ears open for the needs and emotions going on within our family unit, husband's and children - at a paying job outside the home, we can get a "break" from that, and "deal with it" when we get back home, to look for comfort from paid counselors and pills if we didn't catch problems soon enough.
Staying at home keeps us thinking of others constantly, really, for the benefit of all.
Cooking healthful, home cooked meals is for all eating to be healthy, rather than slapping a continual stream of processed foods in front of them.
Cleaning so that our house feels like a home, calming and inviting not only to our husband's who work a long hard day, and our children who we want to have fond memories of home growing up, but for moments of hospitality, when strangers and friends may come and feel the warmth and attention not only to our home, but that our family gives one another and others.

I've met far too many moms that couldn't "stand" to be at home and/or with their own children all day. Those are the women that sadden me... why would they bother having children in the first place? Couldn't the baby-sitter have just had another baby instead - then she could watch her own child, rather than a strangers, for pay.

I have also met mothers who stay at home and don't even try to keep it up. They are a disgrace to the commands of God. He wants us to keep our homes and families, but that requires diligence! He loves hard-working people. And that can CERTAINLY be from at home! Even without children.

anna said...

I have to add that I was not saying that stay-at-home moms are in the wrong. Obviously, I am home with Ryann and only work 3 nights a week for 3-4 hours at a time, in which time she is with Brett at home. (So I'm a bit confused as to what you disagreed with in my first post, Laura) What I wanted to say was that I doubt the women Lindsay overheard talking thought stay-at-home moms have it made. I am SURE that they know how hard it is to be home with your kids. I was saying that they may prefer to work, or may need to work for financial reasons. It didnt sound like they were criticizing stay-at-home moms AT ALL. I wish people wouldnt judge others by their conversation in public and assume that they think moms who dont work are lazy. If anything they may be jealous that people have the ability to stay home with their kids. Obviously, I agree that staying home is best for our kids, or I never would have quit my job to be home with Ryann. But I also know that I must take care of my own needs in order to be a good mom. By working minimal hours waitressing, I allow myself some time to get out, make a little cash, and also give Brett time with Ryann at home. It has been a very good situation for us. And i in NO WAY am sacrificing Ryanns childhood by allowing her to be home with her Daddy.
Also, I have been there and done the working mom thing. It is hard work. It is NOT easier than being a stay-at-home mom. You have to get yourself and kid(s) ready every morning, drop them off at daycare, or wherever, get to work, pick them up after work, and find time to do the housework at some point. It is always stressful to be at work worrying about your kids all day, trying to get time off when your kids are sick or have a dr appt, and even saying goodbye to them at daycare. It has been WAY WAY WAY easier for me to be home and my heart goes out to those moms who do have to work. We needed my income when Ryann was first born and i HAD to keep my job. Luckily, Brett was able to become Asst Manager shortly after Ryann was born which allowed me to quit my job. But many people dont have that luxury. Either way, it is not a breeze to be home with kids all day, OR to work all day. I doubt either person is trying to take the "easy way out" by working or not working. We all try to do whats best for our families and moms in either position are not any better than the other. Please try to be open minded about why people work and dont judge them, or assume they are judging you. We are all trying to do our best and give our kids the best experience in life.
And as far as daycare goes, sometimes kids like playing with other kids. I know Ryann does and we go to her old daycare often just to play (our old daycare provider and I have become good friends). It does NOT hurt Ryann to play with those kids, with or without me being around. Daycare isn't evil!!
Sorry about my opinionated self lately-it might be the pregnancy hormones, or maybe just me trying to help people see that everyone has their reasons for doing things. God is ultimately going to judge us on how we lived our lives, so why should we judge others??

Mrs. B, a very peculiar person said...

I've have "walked both sides of the street" with the working mom / stay at home mom thing. I worked for the first 17 years of my eldest child's life (he's now 24). I never felt guilty for working and I enjoyed my jobs. However, for the past 7 years I've been a stay at home mom. Since coming home to my other children, and developing the type of relationship with them that I never new could exist between parent and child, I am overwhelmingly disappointed that I missed SOOO VERY much of my eldest's life and childhood. I am disappointed that I didn't get to know him (like I do our other children) while he was a child AND that he didn't get to know me during his childhood. The contrast between my relationship with him and the others is drastic. He and I are close and love each other as much as any mother and son but we don't have the "connection" that is present between the younger children and I.

It saddens me that so many of today's mothers are blindly missing out on all the things I missed out on for 17 years. So many have been deceived (like I was) into thinking they can have it all, when in reality, they are loosing what's most important to them, their children.

Mrs. Jo said...

Moms who work aren't bad moms. But moms who choose to work mainly to fulfill themselves while they let others raise their kids are selfish moms (in my opinion). I think it's God's plan for moms to be home with their kids and studies have shown that kids do much better with at-home moms instead of in day-cares full-time. Why do think countries like Germany pay moms to stay home with their kids?

I realize that some moms enjoy a little part-time work or activity to get out of the house each week and some moms split some of the childcare and working with their husband to up the income, and that some moms who would LOVE to stay home don't have the option and they do the best they can. My mom-in-law fits into that category. She was like a stay-at-home mom in the amount of time she invested in her kids, but she had to work to help keep food on the table so they didn't starve.

However, the woman I was talking about has chatted with me daily for 3 weeks straight at swimming lessons and I have gathered that she doesn't have to work, she WANTS to work. She probably didn't have a stay-home mom (as 3 22nds pointed out) and normal for her is being fulfilled in her career and not spending her days full of childcare. It is easier for her to work outside the home because that's where she gets her value and fulfillment. She wasn't saying that she couldn't work at home because it's harder or she's just not a kid-person or needs the money. She was saying in the conversation that she couldn't be at home because it's BORING. That's why I wrote the post. So many women today think of homemaking as dreary and boring. I can't tell you how many times I've been made to feel like I have a "simple" and boring life because I "don't have a job."

It's so true what Anonymous said about how there will always be bad mothers who are both at-home moms, and working moms. One's attitude is really crucial to your situation. You can still be selfish as a stay-at-home mom. We need to be Christ followers in our roles of wife and mom.

The world is drilling into our daughter's heads that their fulfillment is in their accomplishments and career but we as Christians should be teaching our daughters the wonder of fulfilling our God-given role in the home.

When people ask me if I work, I try to remember to say, "Yes! I do work very hard as a full-time mom!" instead of a pathetic, "no" that makes me sound like I sit around all day watching soaps and being lazy!

Anonymous said...

From what it sounds like here...it seems that us moms are thinking that people assume we are lazy because we are moms. We have been continuing and continuing to put that idea onto ourselves. Did anyone (who has children & understands) ever say to any of you that you are lazy to your face? Lately it seems that we have perpetuated the stereotype ourselves. Lets stop saying the negative words altogether. Why is it that the only time I ever hear people talking about stay at home moms “being lazy” is when it is coming out of one of our own mouths. If you believe in what you are doing then you should never be allowed feel "simple". Why do we allow others opinions are making us feel this way? As a strong Christian woman I never allow myself to even venture down that thought path. I can not imagine that anyone was thinking that we are lazy, they do not know us, and we in turn do not know them. If you overheard someone’s comment and assumed they must think you are lazy because they chose to work while we raise children? These things do not have anything to do with each other. You can not assume one from the other.

We are all different & this is how God continues to make the world go round. If we were all the same, there would not be enough room for all of us on this earth. Keep your focus on Gods path for all of us which is obviously to raise our children, and do not continue to bring yourself down by putting these ideas onto ourselves & other mothers. How would a young mother who was given the gift to stay at home and raise her children feel if she found out that her sisters were allowing these negative words and thoughts upon their own lives?

Please keep the sanctity of raising our children free of the negative attitude and words! Be positive! You would never want your children to hear this kind of talk. The woman who was working as a teacher has obviously found her path as a female teacher teaching our young women to be educated, strong, and lead fulfilling lives in what ever path they chose whether it be to raise their children at home or to work. Something they may not be getting at home. God has given her a gift and she is following her path, so let’s continue to follow ours positively!

P.S. From a anonymous reader, I love your blog. It motivates me to no end!! Keep up the good work

The Three 22nds said...

We are each responsible for our own actions, not the actions of others. Stay at home moms can be just as judgemental (or more in a lot of cases)as working moms. In fact, I think it is kind of interesting how defensive stay-at-home moms are about what they do.

My mom stayed home with us and I loved it. In 7th grade she started selling some Mary Kay so she could get the discount etc. I freaked out! I was so black and white I almost made myself sick over her decision. I never imagined that I would one day be a stay-at-home mom with a part time job (which I do not NEED to have).

But my conclusion is this: Balance. Read Proverbs 31. That woman works, but she also takes care of her home, children and husband perfectly. Some women can balance it, some women can't. We are not supposed to neglect our domestic tasks, but it is clear from this passage that the woman does do some "buying and SELLING"- and she is commended as a "wife of noble character".

So, a lot of working moms probably don't have the balance thing down, but I would venture to say that a lot of SAHMs don't either.

Mrs. Gunning said...

The Three 22nd,
I completely agree with you when you said, "So, a lot of working moms probably don't have the balance thing down, but I would venture to say that a lot of SAHMs don't either."

It's why I said it's a disgrace to see SAHM'S who really DO do the bon-bon and soap-opera thing (my Mom was one of them... she'd do a load of dishes once a week, but it really was up to my Dad, sister and I to keep the house looking good. And no, she was not disabled.). I love each woman equally, but that love doesn't negate the fact when we do something wrong.

I think we've all seen "bad" mothers from both side of the fence - mom's who can barely stand to spend the weekend off with their children, and mom's who stay at home but do nothing to keep it. I think there's a balance - exactly as you said. I see God's commanded balance (yes, a command, in Titus 2) to be keeping active and working hard to keep a home ordered, to keep pure and love our family as such a perfectly orchastrated event for the entire family.
Those people who had mother's that stayed at home and actually DID keep it - they always have such fond memories when I hear them, of how their Mom was there for them when they needed a cry, was there when they came home, made them delicious meals and yummy snacks - there's a reason for those great memories! She actively lived out a life of love for the family, and kept hard at work to do so. :)
God commands it of us, and calls it blasphemy to do otherwise, but really, just as lying or stealing is also commanded to not do - we still have a choice to make. He doesn't puppet us around. We can choose to obey or to disobey.
How much bigger of an effect will being away from our family have, than that of lying or stealing? We can see the effects of it today. :(

Anonymous said...

I had a stay at home mom who always kept the house up, but as far as warm memories of her being there for me I have none. She was very godly and still is, but her mothering was far from kind or gentle. As an adult I can understand and respect her, but as a mother I want no part of it for my family.
People put so much emphasis on having a clean house and the work that goes into keeping up a household. They think that this somehow relates to their self worth or how good of a mother they are. I would hope that their relationships with their children would come first. Nurturing a young child is so much more important than how clean your house is. If I find myself short on time and my kids are clamoring for my attention, I leave the cleaning for another day. Their young minds will only be young for a short time, where as I have a long life of cleaning ahead of me.
I have seen many people die while working in nursing homes and not one of them talked about how clean there house was, or how satisfying their careers were. All they mostly wanted was the warmth and comfort of the ones they loved the most, their families. Use your time wisely, in the grand scheme of life these young years are short, but the overall impact on a child life is immense.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully worded (above comment!)

Mrs. Jo said...

Just wanted to add that if it seems like we stay-at-homers are ultra sensitive, it's because we get a LOT of comments about our profession that aren't always uplifting! It's not that I'm trying to perpetuate a stereotype against my own profession or be offended at the slightest comment that wasn't even directed at me to my face. I'm not trying to just judge others needlessly as being judgemental of me or dwell on the negative all the time.

The reality is that there is a negative view of staying home out there everywhere we go, in our communities and churches and social circles and women who choose to stay home are seen as quite odd by many (at least in my town)! So often I've heard the excitement in someone's voice as they talk about their college studies or degree or job only to have them say in monotone as they turn to me, "So, are you just staying home right now?" This happens at church too! Then the conversation ends as if what I do is just too boring to talk about. I have also been called a "babymaker" by relatives who somehow think I'm settling for such a menial life and they say that every time they see me I'm pregnant AGAIN as if I'm absolutely nuts.

Someone mentioned that I should never let other people's opinions make me feel my job is simple or boring. That's true! Christians are supposed to be a peculiar people and just because others think my job is boring doesn't mean that I start to believe it is or feel bad about myself. I'm doing the job I love and feel I was created for! I'm excited to be bearing little ones and I know that staying home with them is of infinitive importance even if they are leaving their kids in daycare to jet-set around Europe chasing a glamorous career, etc.

The reason I brought up this subject is to point out that though the world often sees stay-at-homers as lazy or unmotivated, we have a very important job/role and can encourage one another in it. We know it's one of the hardest jobs ever and isn't about lounging around!

As some of those moms who have worked full-time have pointed out, they regret it and wish they hadn't. I think it is sad that my preggo acquaintance at the pool is sacrificing years with her babies for her own fulfillment at work. She will no doubt regret that and pay for it in lack of memories/bonds with her children as they go straight from the womb to daycare (and probably summer school from the way she talks), and into the school system and off to college.

So, I'm sorry if it seems like I'm highly reactive about this but most of us who are stay-at-homers get this so much we need to be reminded that the idea that staying home is just laziness or boring is a lie!

Just today, one of my closest friends, who is a working mom, made a comment about how she would be so bored if she didn't have a job once her kids were in school. This was after she said she wished she didn't have to work during the summer because she could have more fun if she didn't have a job. ('Cause being at home means fun, fun, fun all the time! Right?)

Making a home for your family, and being a "keeper at home," are seen as frivolous pursuits or an uttainable luxury even by devoted Christian women today. Some see the benefits of being with their kids in the early years but then they plan to work again once the children are placed in school. Few women today, even in the church, see the benefits of cultivating a home that is beautiful, peaceful, orderly, a training home (homeschooling), a ministry-centered home, a haven for their husband, a place of hospitality for the believers, etc. whether or not they have kids and not just for the early years but throughout the child's life. I probably needed my mom more at home during my teen years (especially during the two years I attended public high school) than ever before! I'm so grateful she was there and that home was a safe place and a refuge for us even if we were older and in school.

Do I think women should never work? Of course not! I have done various at-home money-making things in the past like cleaning for my parents while the kids napped, babysitting for ladies, or selling leather shoes. I think women are smart and capable to juggle many tasks at home and in business and they can be income-earners like the Prov. 31 women in certain stages of their lives.

But (and this is not popular thinking) I think a woman's role is at home, raising her children, loving her husband, and being a keeper at home, first and foremost. I do not see my role at home as something temporary or "just for the kids" but a lifelong calling/role that's more important than any career or business goals I may have for myself. I've talked to enough moms to know that trying to work full-time (and sometimes even part-time) even if the kids are in a public or Christian school is stressful and chaotic as they juggle activities, homework, schedules, and special events like field trips or sick days, etc. I feel like there is PLENTY of work to be done in a day at home that even if I wasn't planning on homeschooling I would stay unbelievably busy and not need a job to keep from being bored!

For more info on a woman's role, check out Carolyn Mahaney's awesome book, "Feminine Appeal."

*Just a note*
In MN,where I used to live, almost everyone I knew or was friends with was a stay-at-home mom or wanted to be. Even all the non-Christian gals I used to work with wanted to be one if at all possible. WY is a totally different culture where it is not okay, not the norm, and not at all easy!

The Three 22nds said...

I agree with your "just a note" comment. That is probably why this whole "debate" makes little sense to me. Moms I know, Christian or non, consider it a privilage to stay home with their kids/homes either part time or full time and I can't even remember 1 single negative comment that has been made to me.

Suzanne said...

You have expressed my feelings on this issue so well, Mrs. Jo.

As a SAHM, I get a lot of negative comments,too. I was suprised by this, since I'm a Southerner and we're usually very "traditional roles" here, but that has definitely changed. It is a *huge* debate here. I was recently at a wedding shower where, out of 20 women, old and young, I was the only SAHM. Even the older ladies had not been at home. I left there pretty discouraged by the comments (and immediate dismissal) I received.

Thank you for your posts and your honesty here.

SamAndHisFam said...

Amen, Lindsey! I agree with you completely!!!!

anna said...

though i have probably already said too much on this post, i have to add one more thing. Being at home is WAY more fun than working, WAY easier, and WAY more enjoyable. I am confused as to why you think being home is so difficult and so much harder than going out to work. I have worked full-time, part-time, and not at all since Ryann was born, and I know that being home is much more enjoyable. WHy do you think it is so hard to be home all day? It does get old, doing the same things every day, but honestly, I love that I can go see my other SAHM friends any time, make appts anytime, stay in my PJ's if need be. I'm not saying being home is the most cushy job in the world (obviously, since I got a part time job to balance things out) but its for sure easier than going to work every day. I guess i wanted to post this because I am confused as to what makes being home such a difficult job.
And PS - I am NOT one of those lazy moms you may be thinking I am. I keep a very orderly house, play with my daughter and teach her every day, and also decided to take on all of the budgeting/errand running/etc when I quit my job. Brett and I felt that since he works full-time, I would run the house full-time. And even still, its much easier than having a full time job.

Suzanne said...

I know you probably weren't talking to me, Anna, but I'll answer. :)

For me, staying home is harder because I *don't* have other friends who are at home. I've got a few SAHM friends, but we have a hard time organizing ourselves to get together! :) I don't have any extra money to do the things I enjoyed about working (like going out to lunch, being able to shop any time I wanted, etc.) I feel like I've had to "give up" some things to stay home. I don't have a gym membership anymore, something I got a lot of pleasure out of. I can't read a book during my lunch break. I don't get the "respect" I got as a professional at work. I miss those things. Yes, they're petty and minor, but I miss them sometimes.

I think, for a lot of us, staying at home may be harder emotionally. I really love being with my daughter. I don't want to go back to work. It *is* easier and more fun. But I miss being a part of the "outside world." Sometimes I'm desperate for adult conversation! It may depend on the support network around you. If I had a good group of SAHMs around me, it would probably be different.

Anonymous said...

In addition, Anna, you may find that the job seems more challenging when you add additional children to the mix. I also did not find it "hard" to be an at-home mom to one little girl. We prayed for more children, and now have three. Balancing three personalities, wants and needs with your own...plus the sheer volume of laundry, dishes, meals, cleaning, and teaching "each" (plus the slow end to naps as children grow) to be done makes the job increasingly more complicated. Mrs. Jo is in a much more complex season with two young kiddos and another on the way. It can also be more challenging when one child is in a tricky "season" or has a more difficult temperament.

Finally, my resentment comes from comments like the one I hear frequently...that working moms have to do "just what you do", only all in the evening. That is simply untrue. They AREN'T doing "what I do." Someone else is rearing their children ALL DAY and their home is untouched by sticky fingers, messes, meals, etc. They come home and do exactly what I do...prepare dinner, ready their family for the next day, clean and do laundry, spend time with husband/children.

I have never, ever, ever found the job of the at-home mom to be boring...demanding and sometimes tiresome, yes, but boring it is not...especially if you are always trying to do better in your role.

Bless all you sweet mamas out there.

SamAndHisFam said...

Yes, Anna, i would have to agree with Anonymous -- you may find staying home to be MUCH more difficult when you add more kids to the mix!
When I just had my first daughter at home, things got to be pretty easy after we got through the intense baby stage and I had much more time to do certain things. When I added #2, things got interesting quickly! And a heck of a lot harder and busier! I think you'll find that to be true when you have more kids and you just might change your viewpoint about it being easier to stay at home then. It's a huge adjustment going from one to two! The more kids you add, the more difficult the job gets. Just some thoughts for you to consider

SamAndHisFam said...

While I'm here, I felt the need to address the phrase that I hear so often from working moms and that is this: "I need to take care of myself in order to be a better mom." I agree with this idea TO A POINT. I don't, however, think that running out to get a part-time job just because we are feeling discontent at home is justified.

I understand needing "mommy breaks" and that I need to take care of myself physically, mentally, and spiritually in order to be a better mother. For me this includes things like going out to lunch with a friend while my husband watches our girls. It means getting enough sleep at night. It means eating well. Or, when I "crave adult interaction," I may take an hour to call up a good friend and have a nice, long, un-interrupted conversation while my hubby plays with the girls outside. Or I take an hour or two and get some shopping in. Either way, if I'm feeling bored and discontent at home, then I think the first thing I need to do is to go and seek my Father and ask for His help in being the wife and mother he created me to be!

Let us not underestimate our Lord, my friends and fellow moms! If you struggle with the idea of being at home full time, but can do it financially, then I would encourage you to seek the Lord because He can change, mold, equip, help, and transform any person and I firmly believe that if we are striving to be obedient to HIS will for our lives (and not our own!), that He will not leave us to flounder. If God wants us at home with our kids, and I believe He does, then I KNOW he can make it possible and can even change our attitudes, thoughts, and feelings on the whole thing.

Trust me -- he can because he changed me! I used to want to be a career woman and not have kids at all and here I am with two precious girls and a baby on the way and LOVING IT. God can provide fellow SAHM's for support, He can help us to be more patient with our kids, and He can even make us content to be at home with them! But we do need to ask Him!

I'm not saying it's always easy to stay at home because of course I know it's not. I'm just saying I think something is missing in this discussion and that is the question : "What do YOU, God want me to do?" I believe the answer is to raise our children ourselves and train them up in the Lord. And I believe it is one hundered percent possible if we are are being submissive to God and always open for Him to change us.
(I want to add that I know there are certain situations where it is truly a MUST to work because of financial reasons or because you're a stay at home mom, but again, I think God can enable a woman to eventually stay at home if that is truly her desire and she is asking Him to make it possible)

I am not being legalistic, I am not being extreme, I am just saying that God is God and that if we are obedient to HIS will, then amazing things can happen. I've seen it in my own life and in many others. God bless all of you moms out there and may you see Him always. :)

SamAndHisFam said...

Correction: I meant to say in my exception paragraph at the end, that sometimes SINGLE moms have to work out of necessity but I accidentely wrote stay at home moms. Forgive the preggo brain! :)

Also, I meant to say in the last line to SEEK God always, not see him. Ooops :) Should have proofread better!

Nicole said...

I haven't read most of the comments but I do agree that everyone's family dynamics are different and each family's situation is different and that gives us all a different perspective.

I do agree it's much different when you have one vs. having 3 or 4.

I don't want to get into the SAHM vs. working mom debate. I will only say that for me personally I believe the mother's responsibility should be in the home if possible. And if not possible you should do everything you can to make it possible.

There are times I think about getting a part time job to "get a break" but I really feel for myself that I can get a break here and there without needing a job and that when my husband gets home from working all day I know he'd rather not have the responsibility of watching the kids, preparing dinner, cleaning up, etc. and I don't expect him to really either.

I really think it would be easier in a lot of regards to work than to stay at home. Staying at home requires tremendous amounts of patience, seeing teachable moments and then actually using them to teach, and being there for all the little, cute things that I'd otherwise miss.

If I went to work it would be a lot of work getting them up and out of the house but I can't imagine any "real" job that would be harder to go to for 8 hours than parenting. I really can't.

I've really never had many negative comments made to me in terms of staying at home other than I did have a working mom say to me one time, "It must be nice!" and this lady works BECAUSE SHE WANTS TO. I thought, if you think it would be nice than DO IT.

We live on 1 income and make less than $30,000 a year with a house and 3 kids. We have our little luxuries and we could have more but that would be at the expense of me getting a job.

I know so many people who think they can't afford to live off 1 income but they could if they'd get rid of their luxuries.

And then of course there are people who really can't afford to stay at home and I'm not talking about them. I'm thankful I can afford to stay home and I wish everyone had the option if they wanted it.

Anonymous said...

As a mom and wife with a deep faith, who has many years of life under her belt, and the wisdom that comes from that, let me offer some thoughts for you all to reflect on.

God may reveal to you that, in addition to being a mom and/or a wife, she wants you to use the gifts she's given you to serve others (teaching, nursing, doctoring, non-profit work, caring for the elderly or the poor, legal advocacy, volunteering).

Please remember that God has put loving, caring, wonderful people in our lives who can also love, teach, nurture and care for our little ones. Our children do not belong to us, they belong to God.

God wants us to surround our world's children with the things they need to become more of who God wants them to be. Those good things CAN come from others.

Nicole said...

I agree anonymous and I could see myself going back to work when my kids are older! :)

The Three 22nds said...

As a mom of 3, who works part time in a stressful job (ICU nurse in an urban setting)- it would be TONS harder to work full time and take care of my family then staying home. Yesterday I cleaned up my house, had a bunch of friends and their kids over and hung out with them. The day before we went swimming. Yeah, I had 3 young children with me but I was still spending the day outside in the sun! I can do my shopping during the day without crowds, I can go to a women's Bible Study during the day. I can work out several mornings a week. We can use my husbands PTO time to do family stuff versus having to spend it to stay home with sick kids (cause I am home taking care of them!) I can let my kids set the pace in the morning, if they are tired we all can sleep in. I get to play in the snow, play in the leaves, play in the pool. i can make every day as fun or as boring as I want it to be. I can go to all my doctor and dentist appts during the day. I can take a road trip without worrying about working...

If I worked: I would grocery shop with the kids after work, I would have to have everyone dressed, shod and fed and out the door by 6am. I would have to constantly be figuring out what to do if the kids were sick. I wouldn't be able to work out or go out with friends because I would be spending all of my time juggling the things I HAVE to do. I would constantly need to be evaluating the needs of my patients versus the needs of my kids...does that sound easy? It doesn't to me?

I will admit that I often will accuse my husband (while laughing) about how he doesn't work at work. He spends all his time going out to lunch with coworkers and goofing around while I am at home eating PB&Js. But then I remember...I surfed the internet today, I got to "play" with my friends. I got to read a lot of good stories. Yes, I did deal with some behavioral problem, but there are days at my husbands job that he deals with those too! (At my nursing job I deal with behaviors every day!)

I admire and try to emulate in my children at least some of the characteristics of my working mom friends kids: they are more independent and they do not scream when they are left! I firmly believe that children have to learn that they are not the center of the universe! There are bigger things out there then them! They need to learn that there are other adults in authoritative positions that they need to listen to.

When I tell my kids I am going to work, I tell them that I need to go and take care of sick people. I love them, but the sick people need me too (we are called to take care of the sick, the widows etc) When I work out I tell them that mommy needs some exercise, I love them, but I need alone time too. (God gave us bodies, we need to take care of them). When we volunteer at church, we are telling them that church and service is important. When we help out family, it teaches them that it is important in our family to help others. What do we teach them if it is always about them? We teach them that things are always about them. And they aren't.

I love my kids, and I would do anything for them. I don't ignore them or not attend to them. I teach them, I have fun with them. But it is VITAL to Noah and me that our kids know there is a bigger picture then just our family.

Sorry, I have been babbling an moving from topic to topic but I get so frusterated! I am afraid of my kids growing up amongst kids who think the world revolves around them, and it scares me to be in a world where people have such little self confidence that they refuse to even consider that even a slight variation of what they consider "the right blueprint for home and family life" could be ok. Thanks Anna and some of the anonymous comments for adding some balance! By the way, Anna...things do change with more kids, but you seem like you have a good head on your shoulders, and I bet you will be just fine :)

Nicole said...

It sounds like you're implying that if you stay at home you're teaching your kids the world revolves around them.

For hundreds of years a mother's role was solely in the home and I think we can all agree that kids today thinks the world revolves around them much more than ever.

So I don't think there is any correlation whatsoever that staying at home full time will teach your kids the world revolves around them. My children do not believe they're the center of the universe and they've never been in daycare before. They also easily submit to the authority of other adults in their lives, their Sunday school teacher, their gymnastics coach, etc. and it doesn't take putting them into daycare to achieve respectful kids.

I also don't lack at all in confidence that I've made the right choice. I consider myself very open minded and don't see many things as a black and white issue. Surely not staying at home vs. working so I have no problem with a "slight variation" of what I believe is right. Because what "I" believe is best for my family isn't necessarily true for someone else's family.

I don't want to work part time right now but I have no problem with someone that does want to.

I have to say I find it slightly ignorant to make the assumption that you have to work outside the home in order to have well rounded kids who realize it isn't "all about them".

Nicole said...

I just wanted to add that maybe ignorant isn't the right word. I do think it's unfair and untrue though.

SamAndHisFam said...

The three 22nds: If you're implying that I have little self confidence and that's why I say there there IS a God honoring way to do things, then I'm sorry, but you're very wrong.
It is because I AM self confident that I am doing what I'm doing in a world that constantly undermines it.
I agree with Nicole: you don't have to work outside the home in order for kids to know the world doesn't revolve around them. My kids WILL know, however that family is a priority and very important and that I WILL put their needs before my wants or anybody else's as much as I can.
Have you ever considered that there is a "right blueprint for home and family life" and that it is biblical???? (and it's not called balance) Of course there are various situations but there is a right and a wrong way to do things that applies to any and all situations. It may come out in different ways, perhaps but we still need to be obedient.

anna said...

three 22nds: AMEN!! Thank you for your statements. I am actually expecting my 2nd child this fall and I am aware that things get harder with more kids. I completely agree with what you said about WHY being home is easier than working. its exactly how i felt when i worked (i was the supervisor of a group home and it was very demanding - being home has been MUCH nicer) And to SamandhisFam, I agree that it is biblical to raise your children and be a SAHM, but are you saying it is UNbiblical to also work? Why do so many people think that it is wrong to do things for yourself? God created this world to be enjoyed, and I dont think that when you become a mother He expects you to sacrifice all enjoyment to only seek enjoyment in your children. If a person enjoys working, or working out, or going to dinner with friends, how are they disobeying god? Why shouldnt we enjoy life and teach our children that WE have lives as well? Are we really expected to live every moment of the day serving our children and husband? Can't we go out and do something for ourselves on occasion without feeling guilty?

I don't know why I continue to post on this topic. I guess I feel like some people on here are being way too critical of moms who work, or take time for themselves. This debate has obviously turned sour and I apologize if I had a part in that, but my point is only that we all live different lives and have different circumstances in our lives. The differences are what make the world interesting! I really feel like God wants me to enjoy my life. Obviously, I put my kids and family first, but God also created me and I know he wants me to enjoy my life too. Even if that means working. It saddens me when Christians criticize so easily and don't accept that some people live their lives slightly different. Whether someone is a SAHM, a part-time working mom, a full-time working mom, a single mom, or whatever, they are probably doing what they think is best for their family. It is not fair to criticize them or make them feel that they are living unbiblical lives or not training up their children in the way of the lord. They may just be doing it differently than you.

The Three 22nds said...

I laughed ruefully as I read the comments after mine. I think this is the first time I have found myself on the "more liberal" side of a debate. I am a very, very conservative person morally, politically etc.

And unless there were no other options, I would never put my kids in daycare. Ever. I work part time because I have a nearly perfect work situation and a grandma/husband who cover the kids while I am at work.

I do tend to generalize. I am sorry about that. comments on a blog are a tough venue due to talking to a large audience that you do not know at all. I think a lot of SAHMs do a remarkable job teaching their kids to be well rounded and that the world doesn't revolve around them. BUT the reason I mentioned it is that in my experience it is more of a struggle that SAHMs have to be aware of. We are with our kids so much that we actually have to WORK to make sure they have other influences. Working moms on the other hand have to WORK to make sure the other influences that their children have are not influencing them too much for the negative. Does that make more sense?

As far as the self confidence thing, prehaps I was harsh. I just always think it is a little strange when people get so upset over comments made to them about their decisions. I get comments (on blogs and other places :) ) about child rearing, home schooling, etc but they don't upset me. God's approval over our family and home life is what matters. I believe that family and homelife is VERY important and if we neglect our families in pursuit of other things, that it is a sin. I believe that the Bible is clear on teaching our children and the importance of passing along Biblical truths and heritage.

My heart just goes out to women that are struggling to balance and juggle so many things, including a full time job. I think that we need to come alongside them and help them however we can...not focus on their comments about SAHMs. Who knows? Their comments could be said out of pain, sadness, jealousy, hurt, no knowledge of a different way of thinking, guilt. Why would they want to become a SAHM if all the SAHMs they know are critical of them?

We all want our actions to be justified. Even working moms. I have a friend who talks about her job and acts like she really loves it etc., but then I found out that her husband is making her keep it even though she wants to be home. But you would never know about those kinds of situations until you are willing to dig a little deeper...

That paragraph above is what I wish i would have written from the beginning and kept myself out of the rest of the debate... but I love debates...but I have used up enough of Lindsey's space! Don't tell Becki to make me quit commenting on your blog! I love it! But now I need to go tend to my own blog!

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