To work or not to work? That question is usually simple to answer when considering a father’s role in the family.
But when we consider whether or not a mother should work outside the home, many factors make the issue more sensitive for Christian families.
Each couple must pray together and agree about the mother’s role in the home, considering the children’s well-being, the mother’s desire to work, and ultimately whether or not the mother working outside the home is God’s will.
At one juncture in my life, I was married, the mother of two children, and employed full-time as the editor of two parenting magazines. Several years later, I was still married, the mother of three children, a freelance writer, and a conference leader working only when I desired to accept an assignment. Fast-forward a few more years and I became a homeschool teacher at home with my children, and I no longer worked outside the home. In every scenario listed above, I was in the center of God’s will for my life at that exact moment. God has allowed me to sit in the driver’s seat of various states of employment and non-employment in which He has said,
“Trust me. I will provide.”
Once a family begins to feel the tug that the mother should leave her employment and be home full-time, the question becomes: “Can we make it on one income?” When my husband and I began to look at how our family income would be cut, the option looked impossible. But once we knew that God was leading me to quit my full-time position, faith led us to admit our reliance on God and accept the fact that He would not lead in a way in which He would not provide.
Crown Financial Ministries provides resources that help families prepare for mothers who wish to leave the workplace. They suggest that families:
- Begin living on the husband’s income.
- Consider part-time work to transition home.
- Pay off consumer debt.
- Use profits from extra assets to set up an emergency savings reserve or to pay off debt to reduce monthly expenses.
- Come up with creative family recreational ideas and gift ideas to reduce monthly expenses.
Crown Financial Ministries also suggests reading Larry Burkett’s book Women Leaving the Workplace to better prepare for such a family transition.
Although the thought of a mother leaving her full-time position to become a stay-home wife or mom may look totally impossible, our family’s experience strengthened our family’s faith. Our experience in all of the various employment positions in my history has also given me a sensitivity to the fact that God has many different plans for families. We do not live in a one-size-fits-all world when it comes to women and employment. We can learn to trust God and support our sisters in Christ as we all have unique paths that God calls us to live out in our various seasons of life.
We do not live in a one-size-fits-all world when it comes to women and employment.