When I think of the struggles my son (& my daughter!) might one day face, living in this fallen world, my heart seizes up and my almost trips over itself (if it could) streaming out prayer to God for their souls and their purity. The days that I forget what a place I have in my children's lives, God gently reminds me.
I have several working (some p/t, some f/t) friends who share, almost secretly and ashamedly, that their heart's desire is just to stay at home with their children daily. In a conversation just this weekend, I said, "And that would be ok. In fact, it was God Himself who put those desires there. That is what He planned for you to do." Society tells women, like my friend, pursue a career. She is actually working on a bachelor's degree right now. She's a wife, a mom, and a part-time working woman in addition to this. When questioned by her husband why she wants to continue to pursue her education when she ultimately wants to stay at home, she answers that she can use it with their children. She confessed that she used to be career-focused, but now that she's got a three year old that she drops off for childcare three days a week, she's realizing that career isn't the most important thing to her any more.
I remember during my senior year in college, I was in a panic that I didn't know what I wanted to "be" after graduation. Oh, I had completed all the requirements for a major (psychology) and a minor (human resource management), but I thought I needed to pick a career title as my ultimate goal. As it was, I had also taken all the classes beside "Elementary School Methods" for a teaching certificate in addition to my major/minor when I decided that wasn't what I wanted to do. When senior year got here, I was giddily planning a wedding without much thought to the career I'd hold after marriage. But when it came down to applying to positions at businesses in the town where we'd live, I became breathless with fear. I didn't know what I wanted to do. I was going to be a wife. Wasn't that enough? The job would come along. Or wouldn't it? I became panicked and began looking at graduate schools in the area instead of jobs. Maybe I needed more specializing before I picked a lifetime career. The Lord finally spoke to me that my "title" just needed to be His child and that my fear was ill placed. I went on to get married and obtain a position within the Human Resources field. Not quite so "coincidentally" my position had to be pulled back to part time while I was pregnant with our first child, after we had decided I would stay at home with the baby (even with hubs completing seminary).
Almost eleven years later, I have had a handful of part time positions at different locations/stages in our marriage. During those times, my mother (when we lived with them for six months) or my husband were caretakers for Lynn. Blessedly, we are (still) learning the best ways to live and manage what we have to allow me to continue to be home for the, now two, children.
I still have doubts on whether we can do it. I still have little nags that I need to be using my degree "for something." I still wonder if this is "all" I have been called to do right now. Mercifully, instead of pursuing work outside the home, my husband stays consistent with his encouragement and desire for me to be home and God brings me into conversation and counsel with yet another working friend who misses raising her children.
There's to be no shame in wanting to stay home to raise your child(ren).
On this topic, I found my way to the blog Femina, where Nancy Ann writes:
At the end of the day, it’s not prestige and a paycheck that rise up to call you blessed. Those things burn up. The things that last, the eternal things, have fat faces and messy hands.
Christian women must be counter-cultural and think like women of faith who take the Bible seriously and don’t mind who knows it. The flesh is weak, but God gives more faith. Cultural cliches come and go, but God’s Word remains our standard and authority for life.
This means that Christian women must accept the fact that God has designed them for a set purpose. Eve was created because Adam needed a helper. He was no good without her. A man needs a woman to accomplish all God is calling him to do. She is his glory. She is his crown. There’s no need to feel apologetic about being a crown and a glory. What an absurd idea!
So, young women, get yourself an education. Learn all you can because you’re going to need it. You want to be one efficient, brilliant helper so this guy you married can get it done. He needs a home and he needs a family and you are the means God has appointed to bring this amazing thing about. What a delight and privilege our calling is.
Are there exceptions? Always. But there is also a norm. Don’t be afraid of embracing the norm of God’s design. It is good.