Friday, November 6, 2015

Let's Talk About Why Christian Mothers Work Outside the Home

So- on my last post- I indicated that I was not likely to discuss the WHY behind working mothering on social media. I still think that this is a good general rule because I don't want to open up my readers to hurtful words and judgment.

 But I was having a conversation with a friend and she really got me thinking. She said- "We are called to love our neighbors. We cannot love, if we do not KNOW- knowing is about names and stories. Shame silences. It is not concerned with knowing" Lisa-Jo Baker
I don't want any more wears me down- that is why I started this blog in the first place because I needed to talk about being a Christian Working Mother.

So- I want to start a conversation- just a conversation- because what we don't talk about can often become a place of silent fear, shame or guilt. And we all want to be known- right? Let's try to facilitate just a little of that here in this space.

 So let's talk... first about why it is hard to discuss WHY Christian moms work-

  • For those of us who work outside the home- we want to know why people feel the need to know why? Right? We secretly wonder- if they want to know WHY- it is likely because they don't approve or think that our decision is not the best one for our children and family.  A response to this is...maybe we need to be better prepared to answer the question without being offended.  Maybe we need to learn how to discuss our mothering and working status with more ease and maybe we can learn how to do that by first just talking about it in a safe place... 
  • If we are the ones asking the questions (maybe if we are a stay-at-home Moms)- it is because we love being home with our kids and truly feel that Moms who work outside the home are- hurting or neglecting their children- maybe we have even seen this to be true with someone we know personally. Maybe we sincerely worry that the kids are not being put first and that upsets us. A response to this...maybe we need to remember that choices women make about mothering are always accompanied with big feelings. We also need to remember that sensitive questions are welcome in relationships that are well-established and solid. So we need to tread gently into these conversations with people we have invested our lives into.  

There are also many women who do not question why another mom works but just does life with them, gives them love and support and no judgment which of course is awesome.

 I thought I could start simply by sharing from my experience-

These are the reasons that the women I know work outside the home:

·         They are the one who holds the health insurance in the family. Their husband is self-employed and healthcare is expensive. These women have been blessed with good healthcare at their jobs.
·         They have an injured spouse who cannot work.

·         They are single Moms.

·         They feel called to use their God-given gifts to serve in the workplace or in full-time ministry which is also their vocation.

·         In order to afford to live in a safe neighborhood with a good school system, they need two incomes to afford their home.

·         They are helping to pay for their husbands to go through school to reach their career goals.

·         They thrive in the workplace- they have personality-types that are best suited for daily work and the structure of working.

·         They feel that they are better mothers when they have been given the opportunity to work during the day. For various reasons- maybe they have tried to stay home- and have found that they struggled immensely with being home all day.

·         They have accrued debt-possibly due to poor choices, possibly not- possibly due to burdensome healthcare costs or unplanned emergencies. Whatever the reason- they need to work to become debt-free, which they know is honoring to God.

The list above all represent real women that I know. I am not saying that these are the only reasons women work...
Most of these Moms that I know do have moments of struggle with their working status.

They also have moments where they enjoy their work.

They have moments where they wonder if they are making the right decision.

They are mostly just trying really hard to do the best they can.

All of these women made these choices thoughtfully with prayer and much heart-work.
Again-these are women I know. Every woman is different, their stories are different.

Why do YOU work? You don't have to answer but if you want an opportunity to have a voice on this topic, to join in the conversation- speak up.
And stay tuned because my next post will be some stories about how Christian Working Moms are making it WORK for THEM.
Lots of love!