Now, let me start with a disclaimer: this is not supposed to engender envy, strive, pride, or agitation with the body of Christ between moms who work outside the home and those that work inside the home. Both are biblically permissible. And I believe that each couple has to work out their faith in fear and trembling, for this is an issue of liberty, not prescription. Neither group is supposed to flaunt its liberty. My idealistic thinking makes me wonder how the two options could work together in beautiful harmony within a loving community of genuine followers of Christ who are committed to laying down their lives. What would that look like? So, to moms working outside the home, no condemnation, in fact, I need your help. I need you to fight against the culture and their values, not against your practice.
Anyway, the genesis of this post was two newspaper articles (I still read a newspaper, behind the times, I know...) that demonstrate the culture's view of women and their role in parenting and in society and life in general. I know that I am also biased because my wife stays home. It is our choice, we are good with it. But the culture cheapens it, so I guess this bothers me. One article was titled something to the effect of 'Stay-At-Home Mom Takes a Stand' and the other talked about how women in leadership were making a difference and truly changing the world. I am not here to wish things were the way they used to be in the 50's, or preach that they should be that way.
I am simply saying one thing: our culture does not see the role of the stay at home mom as valuable, game-changing, or at least as much as getting out there and "doing something with your life."
Want some proof? How many young ladies graduating high school stand up in their churches or at civic organizations and say that their plans for the future are to be a wife and mother. What would be the reaction of the audience? Will they burst out in applause? Standing ovation? Cheers and shouts of affirmation? They should, but the culture says that path is inferior. How many valedictorians tell their class they have focused on studying home economics (is that class even offered anymore?) so they can better make the home a wonderful refuge, and be a better wife to her husband? Do you think that anyone will EVER stand at a commencement ceremony at any university and tell the new graduates to stay at home and be great moms? What would the conversation go like if you daughter told a neighbor that her goal was to be a wife and mother? "But no, honey, what do you WANT to DO?" says the neighbor. Just today I saw a county official who congratulated all the graduates on their accomplishments and on entering a new phase of life (two options), either continuing their education or entering the workforce...whichever you choose... they continued. Case and point.
I know this example is from the 1700's, but it shows the value of a godly stay-at-home mother and wife: The legacy left by the Edwards family demonstrates the effect of a gospel-centered home. Over four hundred descendants of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards have been traced. Of these, fourteen became college presidents, roughly one hundred became professors, another one hundred ministers, and about the same number became lawyers or judges. Nearly sixty became doctors, and others were authors or editors.
There is an unwritten cultural bias against being a stay at home mom. It shouldn't be so. At the very least we can work to change that mindset in the body of Christ. Let us lift up her value, not over and against those who work, but just because it is so.