Q & A: Was the Proverbs 31 Woman a Career Woman?

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proverbs 31 picAfter I wrote this post, many of you commented asking about the Proverbs 31 woman. So, is there an implied endorsement in Proverbs 31 for a young mother’s pursuit of a full-time career outside the home?

Here’s the passage:

    An excellent wife who can find?

She is far more precious than jewels.

The heart of her husband trusts in her,

and he will have no lack of gain.

She does him good, and not harm,

all the days of her life.

She seeks wool and flax,

and works with willing hands.

She is like the ships of the merchant;

she brings her food from afar.

She rises while it is yet night

and provides food for her household

and portions for her maidens.

She considers a field and buys it;

with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.

She dresses herself with strength

and makes her arms strong.

She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.

Her lamp does not go out at night.

She puts her hands to the distaff,

and her hands hold the spindle.

She opens her hand to the poor

and reaches out her hands to the needy.

She is not afraid of snow for her household,

for all her household are clothed in scarlet.

She makes bed coverings for herself;

her clothing is fine linen and purple.

Her husband is known in the gates

when he sits among the elders of the land.

She makes linen garments and sells them;

she delivers sashes to the merchant.

Strength and dignity are her clothing,

and she laughs at the time to come.

She opens her mouth with wisdom,

and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

She looks well to the ways of her household

and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children rise up and call her blessed;

her husband also, and he praises her:

“Many women have done excellently,

but you surpass them all.”

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,

but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Give her of the fruit of her hands,

and let her works praise her in the gates. (Proverbs 31:10-31)

First, it’s interesting that this example so often used comes from a passage in the Old Testament. I love the book of Proverbs, and certainly every Old Testament book contains principles that show us the heart of God. It does seem that, if the Proverbs 31 mother was a full-time career woman and if God was exalting that choice of a full-time career outside of the home, we would find some exaltation of that choice somewhere in the New Testament. It is important to note that the Proverbs were never intended to legislate, even in the Mosaic age in which they were written. On the other hand, our clear passage, Titus 2:3-5, in the New Testament is classified by the Holy Spirit Himself as sound doctrine and is to be heeded so that the Word of God will not be blasphemed. It is sandwiched between the phrases “sound doctrine,” “teach,” and “that the Word of God be not blasphemed.” It is clearly legislation and it is clearly for our dispensation, the Christian age. We must find application of all of the characteristics of Titus 2:3-5 in our lives today.

Second, this woman did buy a piece of land, she had some merchandise that was good, and she delivered girdles that she made to the merchants. She did something productive to add to the family income. With that we cannot argue. I know many women who are able to do just that even as they raise their children in the home. Everything from Etsy shops to making clothing and selling to balancing the books for their husbands’ businesses from their desks at home, to keeping children in the home, etc., all while remaining keepers of the home. To take the fact that the Proverbs 31 woman did some buying and selling and morph her into a career woman, even as the context of the Proverbs 31 woman description is overwhelmingly given to her home management, is taking liberties with that text. To call her a full-time career woman is saying something that the passage doesn’t say.

Third, the New Testament admonition is still there in Titus 2:3-5. That word “homemaker” still means “keeper of the home, mistress of the house, housekeeper, stay-at-home, a domestic” (Liddell-Scott-Jones). Thus, whatever I am, I must be that first. It is absolutely possible, even probable, that many women may be able to do something to boost the family income in or outside the home and still be primarily a keeper at home. But it is very difficult to see how a woman can work full-time, put her children in full-time daycare, be absent from them during the vast majority of their waking hours and still be primarily a keeper at home, a worker at home, a domestic, a stay-at-home, etc.. The Proverbs 31 woman was a domestic. That is clear from the context. She sewed, she gave honor to her husband, she gardened, and good home management is all over that text. But we simply do not have enough in that text to take her outside the home and make her a woman devoted to an outside career. It is just not there.

Again, let me emphasize that I know many Godly women who do something on the side to supplement the family income. I’m thinking of women like my friend Beth, who monograms clothes, towels, and handbags in her spare time, or my friend Alissa, who offers occasional tutoring for homeschooled students, or my friend Jennifer, who runs her own Etsy shop selling cool homemade crafts, or my friend Emily, who keeps a few other children in her home in addition to her own on some days. All of these women are keepers at home, homemakers, domestics, etc., but can still be financially productive on some scale, just as was the Proverbs 31 woman.

Thanks for the comments and the question. Have a great rest of the week!


Whoosh! A Comment Tsunami!

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A-comic-balloon-with-an-exclamation-mark-T-ShirtsA few days ago, my blog post (http://www.theheartofhannah.com/2015/02/02/a-stay-at-home-mom-five-hot-button-reasons/) was about the reasons I am, and love being a stay-at-home mom. Lots of you read and many commented and I am grateful for that. If I learned anything at all from this, it is that there is certainly a culture war going on about this subject. Whatever the outcome, the spoils of the war will go to or be taken from the children in our culture. Today I will share with you just a few of the comments from both perspectives. (Next up: Was the Proverbs 31 woman a career woman? I hope you can read that one, too!)

“Ugh. I thought the “Mommy Wars” were over. You made a choice; good for you. Other Christian women make a different choice; good for them. Stop trying to convince yourself that your choice is more “Godly.” Different things work for different families and it’s incredibly insulting for you to tell working women that they are blaspheming the word of God. If that is what you truly believe, fine, but keep it to yourself. You say you’re not trying to be judgmental but you’re still doing a pretty [word I don’t use-HG] good job of it. This whole post is smug and self-righteous whether you intended it to be or not. Basically, get over yourself. You’re not that special.” 

“Excellent post. For me, this job is sooooo much harder than I ever thought it would be. Sometimes do I think I’m not cut out for this? Yes. But, I know that this is where my children need me to be. It’s where I’ve always wanted to be and where God wants me to be. When I became a mother I had to learn to put my child’s needs ahead of my wants. It’s a hard job, but it’s so worthwhile.”  

“conservative evangelical Christian? Check. white middle class American woman? Check. Taking scripture out of context to prove your point and make other people feel inferior or less then you? Check. looking for an echo chamber of people who agree with you and not letting outside voices in to disagree or point out flaws in your otherwise perfect life? Check”

“A beautiful article. With some minor exceptions, before we decided to home school, I have been a SAHM for almost 23 years. My only full time job lasted 4 months because I just knew I was not where I needed to be, so I quit. I will never, ever, ever look back and wish I had spent more time “at work.”’

“Just read the comments:  

https://www.facebook.com/stuffchristianculturelikes/posts/10153692329013782

…Maybe you’ll learn that your God is bigger than you think and that what you so self-righteously proclaim is probably driving away more people from God than pulling them near Him. Oh, and get over yourself.”  

“I praise the Lord that you are wise beyond your years in knowing that this time will in fact be over in a flash! I am speechlessly thankful the Lord gave me an awesome man of God, allowed me to have my children, and to be able to stay home and to home school them. They grew up so quickly and left our nest. My baby boy is 21 today and my sweet girl is 22. They both love the Lord and they both are incredibly awesome adults – to God be all the glory! The goal was to be the example of Jesus and reflect that every day in my marriage and as a parent. You know – some days worked out better than others, but I kept the vision that I would in fact one day lay my head down at night after they were out of our home and KNOW that I did the very best I could and that I would have NO REGRETS. No, “what if’s”. And the Lord has allowed me that knowledge and that incredible peace. Thank you for your words. I want to encourage you that every single bit of it is worth it. God bless you and your sweet family!”

‘”I’m not writing this to be harsh or judgmental….”  Excuse me, but you said at the first of your list that you thought this was the biblical way. Whenever you proclaim something as biblical and imply that it is a sin to go against it, you are kinda being judgmental.”

“Being a mom is hard. I needed to read this today. Mine are 7 and 11 and I still need reminding of the true reason I am home and keep from getting caught up in what society thinks I should be doing. Thanks again.”

“after reading this, i am glad that i have abandoned the bible. anything that judges me so completely for making my own choice and not relying on words and men-shaped men to tell me how evil i am is something i think belongs in the trash.”

 “I greatly appreciate this article. My husband and I always knew I’d stay at home with the children. I don’t miss the almost 6 figure salary I could be making now. That salary won’t give me precious time with my children and husband. It won’t buy our way into heaven. I truly believe as you stated that God wants us at home teaching and training our children. It is so surprising the number of Christian women who don’t believe this. Unfortunately, I see their households and families suffer because of this. The money and time away from the family are not worth losing our children to the world. Thank you so much for writing this.”

 “these ideas somehow make it seem as though my personhood begins and ends with my submission to a husband person, with my being a mom, and nothing more. to want more is to be selfish and damn our entire household to some sort of spiritual hell. i am tired of carrying the life and spiritual safety of our entire family on my decisions. we each are people, we each have value. how that is expressed is between us, not some deity-shaped idea and a book of words.”

“After reading the other posts, I must add another thought. As a former worker-outside-the-home, I do not find this article to be any sort of attack. Also, I am saddened by some of the comments that, pardon the term, almost boast of how their homes are clean, kids are dressed, and they can even do other things. The whole point is to get our children to heaven. I mean this lovingly- if you choose to work outside the home, the goal would be to still make the time to train your child up in the Lord. Your home, clothing, and activities are irrelevant.” 

‘”The whole point is to get our children to heaven.” What a powerless god they serve, and how little they understand the theology of their own religion. Addiction is ugly, and they’re gonna seriously [mess] up their kids. No, I think the whole point is to raise the kids in a safe, loving environment…where they don’t ‘get to heaven’ anytime soon.”

“I’ve been a working mom. Busy focusing on a job and hustling around in the evenings to get bottles washed and packed back up for the next day when I would drop off MY child at daycare and cry myself to work. It was tough and I missed so much of John Michael’s first 2 years of life. I regret not working harder to find “things” to sacrifice to make a stay-at-home life work. I can’t go back and undo it or get that time back now. We decided when baby 2 came that I would stay at home. We began planning and sacrificing, finding ways to make a little here and there to help in any way. It was tough. Well, that’s an understatement. BUT, we have been living on 1 income for 2 years and our God has provided our EVERY NEED. As I look at my boys faces I sit back and say to myself “I’m thankful I gave up “X” for YOU!” I’ll never get the time back that I missed with JM. My heart really longs for that time often. I can’t go back for it. It’s too late. So for now I choose to make the most of everyday with my sweet boys, from the present onward! “ 

“After reading this, I am abundantly thankful I have walked away from religion; especially religion that tells says you’re a bad mother and living an un-biblical life if you work outside the home and don’t have a desire to fully stop. Also, what are single mothers supposed to do? How are they supposed to live “biblically” while staying fully at home and being the sole “breadwinner”? (IMO) To have that much pressure upon oneself simply to insure that you’re living according to g-d’s word would birth load of depression, stress, unworthiness, etc.”

 “Loved this. I’m hearing a lot about “choice” lately and doing what makes you happy (some people like to use the words “fulfilled” or “sane”) and I think it’s really sad. We shouldn’t make our choices based on what we think will make us happy (or fulfilled or sane). We need to base our choices on God’s Word alone. Something I’m SO glad Hannah found out much earlier than I did. It’s hard to express these feelings to people without making it sound like you are condemning them for their “choice” but I do think more moms need to be encouraged to make choices that line up with what God wants for us and not just what they think will fulfill them. One thing I’ve learned for sure in the 7 years I’ve been at home with my kids (and the 8 1/2 years of being a mom, 2 homeschooling) is that God uses motherhood to help sanctify us, He uses every bit of it. Every diaper change, every unwarranted temper tantrum, every spill, every scraped knee, every accident, every long long story, every Lego presentation, every late night feeding, everything, everything! And if you’re missing 3/4 of that time every day… You’re missing a lot.” 

“I love how she uses fake sweetness to judge and shame other mothers. Nice.”

 “I am not married or even out of school yet but I have had people pressuring me about being a working mom. Almost all my life I have wanted to be a mother and good wife, one who will teach her children about God’s word and help her husband to be a good Christian. I have never worried about money for as long as I can remember, I had always in my mind the thought that if we were faithful and good Christians the Lord would give us a way to obtain the things we needed. Your post really touched me. Many of the people around me don’t agree with my desire to be a stay at home mother, so all that you said has been very encouraging to me. I really appreciate your putting this post out.”

“Kinda concerned for that little guy. It’s not really healthy to grow up with someone hanging their entire existence and self-worth on your ability to prove they’re a good mom. Hint to hipster Christian mommy: you really need to back off a tiny bit.”

“We can try and believe that kids don’t need the same things they needed before America put women in the work place in huge numbers, but they still need the same things. I know that there are some who can work outside the home for a limited number of hours and perhaps still be keepers at home and Deut. 6 moms. I just do not personally see how a mother could ever choose to work full time, put the kids in day-care and still think she was giving the home all the spiritual benefits she could be giving it were she there more. That kind of thinking just has never made sense to me. If you chose to put only ten hours into your full time job, your boss would fire you or at least cut your wages because you can’t be as productive in ten hours as you can be in forty. I don’t get why we think that logic does not apply with the most important job. We can’t do the same thing with a few hours a week as we could with a larger quantity of time. That just has to be true.”

 Again, here are the two key passages:

“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so 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.” -Titus 2:3-5

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” -Deuteronomy 6:4-7


A Stay-At-Home-Mom: Five Hot-Button Reasons

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me and ezraI recently overheard a conversation between two Christian grandmothers who were talking about their daughters’ struggles as working mothers. It went something like this:

Grandma #1: “Well, Kristen really had a hard time for the first week or so after going back to work at the bank. For a while, she would cry after leaving the baby screaming with the sitter. She would text every couple of hours to check on her. Now, she’s a pro. It’s a lot easier now for her to get through her day without constantly thinking about and worrying about the baby.”

Grandma #2: “Yeah, it’s hard for every mom at first, but it’s important for her to get back out there and feel like a real woman again. My daughter found this great Ethiopian woman who kept babies in her home. It was obvious the woman had tons of experience caring for infants, so Janie felt fine leaving the baby with her, but it was hard at first, especially when the baby cried as she was leaving, but she knew it would make little Annie strong and independent in the end, and it would mean she wouldn’t have to give up her career.”

Hearing this dialogue made my heart ache for those sweet babies as well as for our culture as a whole.

I am a stay-at-home-mom. Just saying that out loud would make some women feel uncomfortable. Our society has convinced so many women that being a stay-at-home-mom means you aren’t a real woman—that you aren’t reaching your full potential if you allow yourself to “waste your talents and abilities by keeping yourself locked away from the world at home.” This breaks my heart. I believe there are many misconceptions floating around about the reason someone would choose to stay at home with her children. These misconceptions may be why the stigma exists.

Now, let me just say that I know this probably won’t be a very popular post. I know that if I were to say any of these things on a public talk show, I would probably never be invited back (not that I’d ever be invited to a talk show to start with). I’d be ridiculed and belittled. I’m not saying any of this to be liked. I’m saying it because I think it’s important and I wish more people who believe it would stand up and say so. Also, if you’re going to read this, I hope you’ll take 5 minutes to actually read to the end, because if you’re angered or bothered by my opinion on the subject, the end may offset your desire to throw rotten tomatoes at me.

My husband and I have known since before we were married that I would only work outside the home until we had our own children, and then I would stay at home with them at least until our nest is empty again. We have our reasons for that, which I’ll include in this article. But let’s set the record straight first. I have my list of reasons for being a stay-at-home Mom, but none of the following are on that list:

1. Because we can easily afford it.

While we consider ourselves abundantly blessed by our God, we are not at all wealthy by America’s standards. We live in a smallish three-bedroom house and we drive old cars. We are well aware that we could live in a nicer house in a nicer neighborhood and drive nicer cars and use nicer appliances if we were living on two incomes. But we just knew early on that my staying at home would mean sacrifice. It wouldn’t be easy or convenient. We always knew that, even if it meant living in a one-room apartment, sharing one car, and never eating out, it would be totally worth it if it meant I could stay at home. While we are richly blessed, staying at home isn’t the easiest financial choice. That’s not why we do it.

2. Because I’m lazy.

It’s so ironic to me that people say to me, “You don’t work, right?” It’s a loaded question. I know what they mean, but nothing could be farther from the truth. In actuality, I work constantly. I think people have this idea in their heads that stay-at-home moms sit on the couch and watch TV all day. Maybe it’s like that for some moms—I don’t know—but for me, I’m constantly either feeding my son, changing my son, cleaning my son, playing with my son, reading to my son, etc. The only times I get “a break” are when he’s napping, and those are pretty much my only times to catch up on personal hygiene (yes, I’m actually proud of myself when I get a daily shower), housework, laundry, cooking, writing, or sometimes,  if I had a night like last night, collapsing on the couch to re-fuel after being awake all night caring for my child (I’m choosing today to write this blog during nap time instead of catching a nap myself—let me tell you, it hurts. Ha!). So, do we do it because I prefer to spend my day lounging around doing nothing? Nope. Not even close.

3. Because I’m not educated enough to do something else. 

While I don’t consider myself particularly smart or talented, I do believe I’m capable of doing a few other things with my life. I obtained a Bachelors degree in English, and went on to teach high school English. I’ve been a newspaper columnist. I’ve worked with special needs adults. In any one of these fields, I could have chosen a career, I think. But nothing in the world could I ever find more fulfilling than investing all of my time, energy, and passion into raising my son and any future siblings he may have.

I don’t need to be successful by the world’s standards to achieve a feeling of self-worth. I also don’t wish I could go back and save all that money spent on my education. If, God forbid, something happened to my husband and I were left alone to provide for our family, I believe I would be able to support us and thus I am grateful for my education and experiences.

cici's

I also use lessons learned from my education daily in our home and in my relationships. So I will keep on being grateful for the education—a definite blessing from God.

4. Because I’m paranoid about my child being exposed to THE ELEMENTS.

While I do try to reasonably protect my child from unnecessary illness, I’m not so paranoid that I’m afraid for him to be anywhere besides the safe confines of our home. I’m sure there are all kinds of germs all over the place in my house. If only I were a good enough housekeeper that I would never doubt that my son was perfectly free from any harmful bacteria after licking my kitchen floor. But we actually live in this house. Our reasons for keeping me at home have nothing to do with my fear of allowing my son to leave the house and be around other people, which brings me to the next false reason for staying at home:

5. Because I don’t trust anyone enough to ever leave my child with her. 

I trust several people in this area who I know would make great date-night babysitters for my son—people who will love him and protect him and cuddle with him and laugh with him—and I plan to take advantage of them very soon for said date nights (my son is only 4 months old, after all—we’ll get there!).  There’s a difference, however, between date night sitters and all-day every day sitters. Although I trust several women to babysit my child, none of those women is my son’s mother. No one else on this green earth knows him and wraps her life around around his needs like I do. I didn’t have a child so that I could give him to someone else to raise during the majority of his awake time. That’s my responsibility, my privilege, my joy. Trust another to do a great job? Yes. Abdicate and let another do MY job? No. Now for the 5 reasons I do choose to stay at home with my son:

1. Because I believe it’s Biblical. 

Bringing up children in the Lord is more than a part-time job. I believe the Bible teaches this. Titus 2: 3-5 says,

“…the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things, that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”

In other words, if I’m unloving, indiscreet, unchaste, disobedient to my husband…and if I’m not a homemaker, I, by my own actions, may cause the Word to be blasphemed. Directly or indirectly, I partake in this sad and sinful scenario. Other versions of this text use the words “working at home,” “keepers at home,” and “busy at home,” in the place of “homemaker.” But, according to the Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek Lexicon, in the original Greek in which this passage was written, the word is “oikourous,” which, translated, literally means “keeper of the home, mistress of the house, housekeeper, stay-at-home a domestic.”  This word was even sometimes used to contemptuously describe a cowardly man who stayed at home instead of going to war with the other men. But in reference to women, it was “used in praise of a good wife.”

In Deuteronomy 6: 4-7, God instructs His people in how they are to raise their children:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

Is there any time of the day that we aren’t sitting, walking, lying down, or getting up? Is God saying that every word we speak to our children is to be a Bible lesson with no time for fairy tales or nursery rhymes? Of course not. He is, however, saying that teaching your children about the Word is to be a daily, all-day long effort. Just as we are to be a people who “prays without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17), we are to teach our children about God without ceasing, constantly taking advantage of every opportunity to show them how to love and obey Him in everything.

So many households today look something like this: both parents work a secular job all day or most of the day while a sitter/daycare/public school cares for the children without any thought or mention of the Lord; then when everyone’s finally home, there’s just enough time for dinner and a bath before going to bed and starting over with the same routine the next day. I just don’t see how either of these passages I’ve mentioned can be truly applied and executed with that kind of frenzied, spiritually lacking routine.

 2. Because I’m forced (in a good way) to depend on my husband and respect him in his God-given role.

I Timothy 5:8 says,

“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

Transitioning from living on my own and earning my own wage to living in a one-income household, I’ve had to learn to humbly lean on and depend on my husband who obeys God by working hard to provide for us financially.

oreoThat means we share a family budget, and, with the delegated authority he lovingly gives me, I try to respectfully use the money my husband earns for the physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being of our family. There’s no such thing as his money and my money. We share everything, keep no secrets, and I reverence him as the provider and spiritual leader of our home.

3. Because I will never get this time back.

Despite this devastating heartbreaking lump in my throat and sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think of it, my sweet baby won’t be a baby long. I know that in the blink of an eye, these chaotic days of diaper changing, frequent feedings, rocking and singing and cuddling will be a vague bittersweet memory. I have heard and fear it is true that it will only feel like a few days between teaching him his ABC’s and bidding him farewell as I drive away, leaving him to spread his wings for college and beyond. There will be a last time he nurses. There will be a last time I sing “Baby Mine” to him as he falls asleep in my arms. There will be a last time he wants to hold my hand while we walk. There will come a day when I’m no longer the only woman that matters in his life.

I don’t want to miss a single thing. I want to be there for his first words, his first steps, and every other new discovery. I don’t want to ever look back and feel that I’ve squandered—lost—this precious, special time. And by the way, children spell love “T-I-M-E.” I want my son (and subsequent children) to look back when they’re grown and remember that their mother made it a priority to spend lots of real, quality, cell-phone free TIME with them every single day because they were the most important priority in her life besides the Lord and her husband.


upsTime management is hard even if you don’t have an outside-the-home job. I do my best with the housework, but at the end of the day, if I’ve given my all to love and care for my son and there’s still a pile of laundry and a load of dishes waiting to be done, I try not to be to hard on myself, because, as my mother used to sing to me:

 “The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow

But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.

So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!

I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.”

4. Because the rewards are endless.

Listen, y’all. I love being a mom. I mean I really, REALLY love it. We wouldn’t have decided to have a child if I didn’t expect to love this life. But we believed what God said said in Psalm 127 when he called children a “heritage of the Lord” and a “reward.” And, indeed “reward” is the perfect word for it because the rewards of parenthood truly are endless. Watching my son grow and learn and explore and love me in return has filled my heart with more joy than I ever imagined possible, and I know the swellings of pride and joy I feel in my heart will only grow as we continue raise this amazing child, and (Lord willing) his siblings to come.

happybaby

Being a mom is a job. An exhausting, 24/7, no-breaks, all-encompassing career with no check at the end of the week. But the honest truth is, even if God hadn’t expressed his desire for women to stay home with their children, I still wouldn’t trade this job for anyone else’s in the world. My heart is with my family, and I’m so so thankful I get to stay where my heart is. I’m so happy I get to be the one who will have watched my son grow and develop and flourish in knowledge and understanding. I’m humbled and terrified and excited about the opportunity to shape his worldview, encourage his passions, embolden his strengths.

Like nothing else ever has, being a mom has given me an overwhelming sense of responsibility, empowerment, and humility all rolled into one big sappy emotion that makes me cry when I pray with my son, when I read to my son, when I watch my husband play with my son, when I watch Disney movies, etc… (I don’t think there’s medication for that kind of emotion.) As a breastfeeding, baby-wearing, stay-at-home mom, I’ve never in my life felt more like a “real woman” than I do now.

There’s no salary in this career path, but the perks and bonuses are out of this world (literally).

5. Because I’m guilt-free about the time I spend with my family.

I’m doing my best to live right now in such a way that when I’m 80 (if I live that long), and looking back on my life, I will have no regrets about failing to savor each moment of my kids’ childhood.

BedtimeCuddles

I will long to go back to this time, yes, but hopefully not regret wasting it, because it will have been savored, it will have been appreciated, it will have been cherished. I hope to know in my heart that, while my journey as a mother was strewn with various mistakes (I’m already there now), I did my best to be there for my children in every possible way.

Before you stop reading, let me just say that I know and respect lots of moms who are not stay-at-home moms. I literally grieve inside for the mothers who work outside of the home because they have no other choice. I understand that there are circumstances for some that inescapably mean that, in order to get food on the table, they cannot stay home with their children. I am truly sorrowful for your plight and can imagine the sadness you feel being away from your kids every day. This post is not for you. I also understand that there are lots of Christian moms out there who simply were not raised by stay-at-home moms and may not have thought about the importance of it. You may never have sat down and evaluated which material things you might have to sacrifice in order to make this work. You may have even told yourself that you “have to work” because you “can’t live on one income” while, in reality, you could be living in a smaller house, sharing a car, or making other small sacrifices (small in the grand eternal scheme of things, anyway) that could make this idea a reality for your family. This post is for you.

I’m not writing this to be harsh or judgmental in any way. I’m writing it to give you a little food for thought and to encourage you moms to reject the stigmas, as I have done. I have decided to ignore the labels and stereotypes the world gives stay-at-home moms and that decision has been incredibly freeing and joyful on so many levels.

In terms of eternity, it doesn’t really matter if your family is gluten-free. One day, it won’t really matter if you were into breastfeeding or Babywise or co-sleeping or baby-wearing or cloth-diapering, or baby-led weaning. What will matter is that your family is in heaven.

Kick the labels to the curb. Love your God. Love your family.

…And if you’re in my station of life, do what I’m about to do—go squeeze that baby. 🙂

sweet dreams