Saturday, May 22, 2010

Why Not Stay At Home?

I recently read this article at Ladies Against Femininsm and it struck such a chord with me.  I have heard many similar conversations from women around and about me and it simply makes me sad.

My husband and I have known many friends, relatives and aquaintences say to us; about having more children or having mama stay home to care for the children; "We can't afford any more children" or "We just can't afford for me to stay home".  Having known some of these families very well, then we would be of the opinion that they certainly could!  We feel that what they are really meaning to say is; "We can't do that and maintain our current lifestyle".  Many of the same families, who uttered the above statements to us, have two foreign holidays every year, fashionable store-bought clothes, his and her new cars (in Ireland it is something of a humiliation, if your car isn't above a year 2000 registration!), X-boxes and nintendoes...etc!   Truthfully they are not prepared to 'do without' and 'sacrifice' those things for their families sake.  My heart is heavy when I think that those 'things' don't bring true joy and contentment.  Not to mention that we are biblically instructed to lay our treasures up in heaven, not upon the earth!

Alot of the time I am 'justified' to stay home with my children, by 'well-meaning' ladies because our family can 'afford it'!  I can assure you that we are not rich except in each other, and though we are financially stable, we must still monitor our spending carefully and we do make sacrifices to enable me to stay home full time to care for our family!  Please don't misunderstand me, and think I am saying that those luxuries are bad, period!  No, we just must not let them, take our primary focus off our families or allow us to misjudge what is really important!

Additionally there is another side to this story and that is the mama's who sadly do not wish to be around their children all day.  This I think is the saddest issue to be raised.  I feel in my humble opinion that most of these mama'a, lack biblical direction or any direction at all; also there may be scheduling or discipline issues with the children that leave mama feeling like, she alone, could not accomplish all that needs to be done to sucessfully raise her children!  We, in the nature of Titus 2 must encourage these women as much as possible; and show them that it is possible to do most of what a mama needs to do for her children and that it will bring sheer joy, happiness and contentment!  Though I do have one or two aquaintences who continually express their displeasure of having to stay home with little ones and that they cannot wait for school age to pack them off so they can get on with something more exciting, when trying to encourage these women I get so disheartened when they praise me as some sort of super-woman (quite far from reality!) and so that somehow excuses them because I am seemingly somehow just more capable than they!  This is the part that is so frustatring to me, as I work darn hard to learn to cook for more people so we can demonstrate hospitality, discipline consistently so my children are mannerly and well behaved,  I feel the responses I hear from these ladies are simply excuses for not trying.

I do not have everything under control at all times, I mess up dinner, my laundry is overflowing, my children are not perfect...I am not perfect.  But ladies we were given this sacred role by the Lord and we must embrace it and strive to do our best; and if we are lacking in skills then we must try earnestly to learn all that we can from others mothers who are more experienced. 

I would love to hear some of your opinions, on the article at Ladies Against Feminism, in particular what advice you yourselves give to mothers who ask you "How do you do it?" or what replies you give to ladies who will put you on pedestals and put their own abilities in mothering down?


Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

There are two reasons that I hear when we mom's talk about SAHM's vs. working moms.

1) The wife works for the health insurance. I hear that more than anything. I am so THANKFUL that my hubby has great health insurance so that this is not an issue in our situation.

2) I do hear sometimes that they can't stand to be stuck at home with the kids all day and they don't know how I do it. It is sad to me. Why did they have children if they didn't want to be with them? I understand longing for a break every now and then, but if you are longing for a break everyday day, something is wrong! Her feet are not at home. She is a wandering and discontent mother. I've been there early on in my parenting years. It was a scary place to be. I was a mother who was surviving each day. No joy, just longing to get away from the constant neediness. Oh how God changed my heart! Nancy Campbell from Above Rubies magazine wrote a wonderful article called "The Flourishing Mother". I was so convicted and recognized myself it that article. I now consider myself flourishing and bearing much fruit in my home. It is a good place to be.

I've missed you Sarah!

Sarah said...

Thank you Stacie! I have been blogging less...simply because I've been rather nauseated and haven't been up to it! Though it seems to be passing now over the last few days!

Thank you for your insight into this topic Stacie. I have never heard of the health insurance issue, most probably as not many places of employment here in Ireland offer it! Most families pay for private medical insurance, though it is expensive, I have heard that it is not as expensive as the U.S. Our family do not have medical insurance...we pay cash for our doctors visits and medicines when we incur them and our maternity treatment is provided for 'free' as our taxes pay for what we use.

I find this topic so hard to comprehend and it simply makes me sad. I usually end up feeling rather cross at the comments, that are made by some ladies in regard to their children, though I am aware that my own inward reaction is the wrong attitude to have. I simply must learn how to respond...though I'm not sure what to say; though I'm sure I will learn either through maturity or experience.

God Bless

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

When talking to women who feel this way, I think the most important thing is to not come off judgmental or self-righteous. Empathize as much as you can, without compromising Truth.

It is funny. I just heard a comment last night at my Mothers of Preschoolers meeting. A friend of mine is finding it really hard to be a stay at home mom. I think the real issue is lack of contentment. I know she loves her children, but she wants to go back to school and get on with her career. In order to do that they would have to move, something her husband doesn't want to do. She is submitting outwardly, but inwardly she is getting a little bitter. The lack of contentment is what breaks my heart. I don't know her well enough to speak into her life yet, but I'm watching and praying for the right moment. I'm praying the Holy Spirit will use me and others around her to point her to the true source of contentment, Christ. Thankfully, she is a Christian. I think the best thing I can do for her at this moment is not complain about being a mom, but make sure to point out the good in being a mom and a SAH mom. Point out that these years are fleeting and will be gone before she knows it. If only mothers could learn to embrace these years instead of waiting and longing for them to end quickly. Great topic!

...they call me mommy... said...

Very good post, Sarah!! I get the same thing about being a "supermom" is so frustrating as I struggle each day just as much as the next mom!

Congrats on your new little one coming! HOW EXCITING!