A brief look at why mothers may or may not want to work outside the home from a Christian Perspective.
Many mothers attempt to find a compromising balance between working at home while their children are preschool age and reentering the workforce when their children reach school age. Some mothers, especially single mothers and divorced mothers, must remain in the work force in order for their families to be financially secure. The proverbs 31 woman was an industrious woman who bought and planted a field, and who made linen girdles and sold them in the market place. Lydia, the seller of purple spoken of in Acts 16, evidently balanced her career and family life, with the spiritual well being of her family of highest priority. When a Christian woman considers her place in a very materialistic society, she should always let the Holy Spirit guide her decision whether or not to enter the work force.
The question that mothers must answer for their own peace of mind is whether or not she is choosing to work for her family’s benefit or is it purely for her own selfish motives or the selfish motives of her family. Another question a mother may ask herself, if she believes she is working for her family’s benefit, is whether she is working for her family’s true needs or is she working for the bigger house and newer car. If her husband’s income is sufficient for her family’s needs, it may be that she simply needs an outlet for her personal creative energy and her waning self-image. There are many volunteer positions available that can fill this unmet need in a woman’s life, when she finds an excess of time and energy on her hands. Many women decide to pursue or complete their own education at this point in their lives.
Any mother with preschool children should prayerfully consider the effect on her young children before entering the work force. She must make important decisions like in whom she will entrust her children; and whether leaving them to enter the workforce would be more beneficial or detrimental to her young family. If she does decide to enter the job market, she will have to decide whether leaving her children with an individual or a daycare in her absence would be in the best interest of her children. Many churches provide daycare options and there are also individuals within the church setting that may provide the needed services.
Though it is ideal that mothers of preschoolers be able to remain home with their little ones, in an imperfect world this is not always possible. Christian mothers who find that they must reenter the workforce must carefully and prayerfully consider her options, while trusting God to help her make the right decisions for her family’s well-being. When a woman works outside the home based on need and not on self-serving desires, and if God’s will is always her top priority, she can rest assured that she is doing the right thing for her family and need not feel guilty about her decision.
A Christian woman should always consider the desires of her family, yet determine to let the will of God be her ultimate authority. She should be truly led of the Holy Spirit in her decision, whether to enter the paid work force for the financial stability of her family, to take on a volunteer position in her church or community, or to remain solely on the home front. Furthermore, she should never let a helpless or lazy attitude in her family control her decision; because they inevitably would rather that mom stayed home, while continuing to do everything for them. She must decide whether her family will genuinely suffer for her absence, or whether she will simply be untying the apron strings of dependence on her by helping them to become more mature self-sufficient individuals. Nor should a mother be pushed into the work force against her will and better judgment by a materialistic husband or a selfish family who simply desires the added income for pleasure pursuits. When a mother enters the workforce, she should ultimately make the decision herself with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Though all mothers are working mothers and desire what is best for their families, those who choose to work only at home deserve the same respect as those who choose to work outside the home. Christian working mothers, whether homebound or in the workforce, should not be judgmental of each other, but should always strive to understand and respect the others’ choices.
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