Thursday, April 7, 2011

Working In the Home...PART ONE

I work in the home. Nothing offends me more than to hear "Oh so you just stay home?"

Insert incredulous look here. I won't go on about how much work "this job" is. I've vented before, and any one who has spent a week caring for young children knows, it's can be a soul sucking and exhausting undertaking.

And honestly, I don't have time tonight. I've been in a funk all evening and "escaping" from my family (on the computer) and I need to plug back in and get the girls in bed and spend some time with the hubbers.

To quickly get to my point, I was reading this post on another blog earlier and this was my response:

The commenter who said this, "You might be fine trusting god but I'm not."

For me, it's definitely not as simple as this. It's not a matter of just trusting God to be our "safety net". I firmly believe that some seasons of life, that is what He calls us to. But I also know He lays out in scripture principles for being good stewards of our money. We're not called to horde money, or promised that we'll always live in prosperity or comfort. But we do our family and our testimony a disservice when we just live by the skin of our teeth. Especially if we're setting up our lives in such a way that that is how it's going to be, scraping by for the rest of our life. Savings is important (in fact it's KEY). Living with in your means is important. Having a legitimate budget that is prepared to handle an accident, a lapse in income with out breaking the bank and setting your family back is important.
For some families setting up life in such a way (to have a buffer/safety net) that means Mom has to work for a while. Unfortunately it's not just black and white. It's not just a choice. Life happens. Dynamics, backgrounds, incomes, schooling, what age they got married, when children came into the picture (expected or unexpected): it all plays a heavy hand in what a family can legitimately swing. STUFF HAPPENS. And you do what you can with what is on your plate.

That said, I do work in the home, domestic engineer. I am home all day with my 2 small children. We do live in a smaller apartment (and we lived with family for 3 years because it was THAT important to us that I stay home). My husband goes to Bible school online and works over-time on the weekends. We do have debt due to some unfortunate circumstances and just foolish planning on our part. We do make sacrifices, cook from scratch and do with out/ think outside of the box. I HAVE worked several months outside the home with small children, but we did it so that my husband was home in my place. Was it ideal? Not for us. Was it hard? You bet. But we were convicted that extra income was especially important for us to have some savings so that we could really pay down our debt, and keep it at bay.

You asked, "What am I missing? What is work offering moms that I don't understand?"

I just don't think it's as simple as that. I don't think it's always about being fulfilled outside the home, or not being willing to tighten the proverbial belt. Some times it is, but that should be respected and accepted. We should walk the path we've been called to walk and keep our eyes there. I completely agree with your feelings, I feel very similarly. But judgment (which I know you weren't trying to come across that way)is unproductive and just causes unnecessary strife.

If I could add, I would say. Why are we worrying about this? Why are the "SAHM" judging the ones who work? Why are we more righteous? On the flipside, and I rail against this a lot, I don't think Mom's who stay home (be it by choice or the fact that the family can't afford childcare for her to work!) get nearly enough respect in our culture. Not an iota of the respect that this profession should get! And some times, I think that's why we boost ourselves up a little with the "well it's what God tells us to do" (I don't think God is as black and white and simple as that, sorry). and the "Well, I really care about being the one to teach my children every thing."

Do I believe children benefit from having a parent at home at all times? Absolutely, Yes. But that's the ideal. And as we all know- we don't live in an ideal world. Raising children, unfortunately can't always be weighed by what's "best" (I wish it could!). It's about what is really workable and legitimately going to keep balance in the family. Can belts be cinched? Can long-term goals be pushed back. Many times they can. Some times it's just not worth it, for that season.

Can we re-evaluate what is really necessary to raise children?I think it's important for every parent to do so. They don't have to do any thing with it, but it's good to get a reality check now and then.

So here it is, our kids don't need all the fancy toys, video games, they don't need to ride in a new minivan (or SUV what's that Toyota Highlander commercial- oh that one drives me nuts!). Kids won't remember that they couldn't take the special expensive classes. Or that they were fed cool looking pre-packaged (or for that matter from-scratch organic etc) food. They don't need much more than lots of hugs, some firm boundaries and gentle guidance. Some comfortable clothing to cover their body, and lots of fresh air and time outside.

What will they remember? That you met their eyes when they asked you a question and you were overwhelmed and busy. You stopped and listened. How you rubbed their backs when they were sick. How you stopped what you were doing to play with them. That you took them on adventures and enjoyed them. That you were there when they couldn't sleep and needed comfort. That you had silly special jokes with just them. That you tried really hard, and you admitted when you were wrong. That you were more worried about how they felt or where they were at, than how it made you look. That you apologized when you handled things badly. That you were there, when you were there, as much as you could be.

We can judge (secretly I hope!) that some might need to think outside the box, that some "could stay home if they wanted to" . We can judge their kids (outside behavior) and how, "off they must be because their mom doesn't stay at home". But I think that's just sad. What we need to do is find ways to support families to spend as much healthy time together as possible. To find balance for their unique situation. Yes, to think outside the box. Being frugal isn't bad. Cinching the belt, pinching pennies (whether we need to or not), can't hurt to model good habits of frugality and simple living for our children. But we're wasting our energy asking selfish questions (even if we don't mean them that way) about what other parents choices. Let's focus on where we're at, and what we need to do to make our experience the best it can be.

All that said...And like I said, I have to run.

More in part two!

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