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Your article helps to crystalize the issues involved and further challenges one to stop and seek answers to help oneself discover their own path. Your pointed questions, if seriously considered, aid this process. Sometimes we need to have someone else bluntly ask questions of us, ones we would so easily reason away.

I encourage you to continue to write. You are truly blessed in your ability to provoke contemplation of issues in an exceptionally candid but unfettered manner.
Lisa Streib
February 14, 1998
To Work or Not to Work (III)
( Stay-At-Home Mothers )
Apr 1997 Alan S.L. Wong
(1) Introduction   ::   (2) Working Mothers   ::   (3) Stay-At-Home Mothers

Stay-At-Home Mothers

The Case for Stay-At-Home Mothers

Among other things, older women are to encourage younger women to be "working at home" (Titus 2:3-5). The NIV translation is "to be busy at home".

Generally, stay-at-home mums are more committed than any paid care ... will provide more than physical care to include whipping up nutritious meals, engaging children in conversation, playing with them, stimulating their minds, developing their character, etc

It is a wonderful experience watching your child grow and develop ... you were there when your child took his first step and when he uttered his first word.

The Case against Stay-At-Home Mothers

  1. Lower income for the family

    Possible solution: Simplify lifestyle and adapt to a lower standard of living


  2. Disengagement from career may be costly ... the nature of their career or work is such that if they take a leave of absence, it is hard to return to the same line of work.

    Possible solutions:

    1. Part-time work in chosen career to maintain links in chosen career

    2. Plan for a shorter stint of staying at home

    3. Work at home / work from home / set up a SOHO - small office home office


  3. Lonely and isolated ... not enough interaction with adults

    Possible solutions:

    1. Mothers' support groups

    2. Part-time work outside the home


  4. Not enough time for self ... everything you do seems to revolve around the children and the house. Your work is never done. You clean up one mess and another mess appears.

    Possible solutions:

    1. Lower your standard of cleanliness ... concentrate on what's important

    2. Share household chores with your husband and older children

    3. Take time for yourself (daily or weekly) to do something you like ... a hobby or a course of study. Your sense of well-being affects your ability to take good care of your children.


  5. Feeling guilty for not enjoying time at home

    Answer the following questions:

    1. Why do you choose to stay at home with the children?

    2. What can you do to help achieve your goal in staying at home?

    3. How are your children benefiting from your decision to stay at home? Recall and tell others of the joys you experienced as a stay-at-home mother.

Conclusion

Can we have it all ... a career, the good life and parenthood? Someone answered, "Yes. But not all at the same time. You will have a second chance to pick up and develop your career but you have only one chance to bring up your children." But when does raising children end? After the first three years? After the children have gone to primary school? Or after secondary school? There is no one answer for everybody.

To work or not to work is an issue that is highly personal. Our circumstances may restrict our options and even dictate our choice. Whatever that may be, let us not be critical of the different route that may be taken by others but seek to understand, support and help them make the best out of their decision.

Note that I have not explored fully the impact of the decision on the development of children. There are a number of factors that affect a child's development and it is not possible to isolate the impact of any one factor.