Wednesday, October 23, 2013

In Defense of Stay at Home Mothers

Last week, I wrote a post defending working moms - in response to other people's harsh words towards women that parent and work outside the home. In that post, I admitted that I wasn't pro working moms or pro SAHM's, just very pro today I will be singing the praise of SAHM's because it's  tough to be a SAHM! (If you need to ask anyone about the difficulties of SAHM's, talk to my mom -- my 3 siblings and I are quite "spicy" and being home with us daily was no easy task!)
Some thoughts in defense of SAHM's:
(1) SAHM's get very few breaks from kids. I realize that many working moms (and dads) feel they get very few breaks - with full work days plus time at home, there may be few nonbusy moments!! But when life is busy at work, I (not a parent) can close my door or put my earphones in- and so can most other working people. SAHM's get lots of quality time with their kids -- but we all know that kids aren't always happy and fun. There are tantrums, whining, the question "WHY?" 1000 times a day, etc - and SAHM's can't just close the door like those at work can. Working hard at all that needs to be done at home is difficult enough --- add a fussy two year old to the mix and you have a stressful day!
(2) SAHM's often sacrifice a career and other goals. Many moms who stay at home with their children once worked in offices, hospitals,schools, law firms, etc. Many have degrees, maybe multiple degrees. Several women developed a skill set from working for several years pre-babies. And these women gave that up for the time being because that's what they feel is the best option for their growing families. Even though I fully believe that you use your degrees and skills in a different way as a SAHM, the fact remains that sacrifice was made. Even if a woman loves being a SAHM and believes that its what is best for her family, giving up a career she worked so long to obtain is a difficult decision.
(3) SAHM's receive a lot of criticism too. I mentioned in my previous post that working moms receive judgment and criticism....this sad fact is true of SAHMs as well. Many people downplay a SAHM's responsibilities, assume these women don't have goals or ambition, or believe that they sit at home watching TV all day. Not only do you get judged by some for staying at home, you get judged by some for what you do while staying at home - allowing kids to watch tv, spending a rainy morning in pjs, not always having gourmet meals, etc. The reality is, that in a "working" world, I rarely have to justify what I do during the day to anyone other than my boss. I may have to justify my career choice and one day I may have to justify working while I have kids, etc, but I don't have to justify what I do during a work day.
(4) Many SAHM's feel called to stay at home because they believe it is best for their family and (5) Many women make sacrifices financially to live out this calling. I mentioned this in my post about working moms and my sentiment is the same when applied to SAHMs. If someone feels that this is what the Lord called them to do, who am I to judge that? I have great respect for anyone that is choosing to obey God in their actions - particularly when it's at a cost to them. Losing a second income can be financially difficult for a family and requires careful budgeting and smaller expectations --- it's no easy feat, so it's incredibly sacrificial that women who feel called to stay home do!
(6) Being a SAHM can be lonely. Staying at home involves a lot of interaction, but very little adult interaction. Certainly there are some areas of the country where many many women stay at home -- and there are play groups, bible studies, etc where women meet during the day. This is great, but in some cities, staying at home is not the norm and its much harder to meet other SAHMs and have daily interaction. My two months as a SAHW (Stay at Home Wife) made me incredibly lonely.  I couldn't even try to connect with SAHM's because there aren't very many in this area. This made me keenly aware that many women stay at home to raise children even if it may cut them off from the social world!
I've said this before so I will avoid being repetitive - but being a mom, no matter what, is a full time job - and each mother has her own unique challenges. We, as women, are shooting ourselves in the foot if we can't support and appreciate eachother and the hard work it takes to be a good mother! It's a temptation to throw our identity into our work and relationships (and as a result judge ourselves and others too harshly) - whether that be working as a SAHM or working in an office, whether single, dating, married, kids or not kids, but in reality, our identity should rest in Christ and Christ alone.
Can you be a SAHM that glorifies the Lord and is doing whats best for your family? YES!!! Can you work outside the home and glorify the Lord and do whats best for your family? Absolutely! What a comfort that we can all differ from eachother and still glorify the Lord in our actions!

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