While I was growing up, it was mostly with stay at home moms. My step mother stayed home. My grandmothers all stayed home. When I moved in with my mother at age 10, she worked. She had to work. It was only her and I so it was necessary. She thrives on work even today. She loves it; being around the other people, the camaraderie and accountability seem to help her feel appreciated. Growing up with her, I enjoyed going to work with her. I even participated in the company softball team when they were short a player. As I grew, I worked too. I was often able to find jobs at my mothers workplace, which made transportation much easier. I always enjoyed working alongside my mother. The older I got, the more I enjoyed taking up slack in the home even more. I can't say I loved doing laundry and I'll readily admit to hating washing dishes, but I enjoyed a sense of accomplishment for having everything done and setting down in the evening to a clean house. (Or more likely, being able to go out on the weekend without having to worry about a big mess when I got home!) Of course, my life and the situations I found my self in were very, VERY unique. In the six years I lived with her I learned a lot about housekeeping from all the women in my life; things I did and definitely did not want to do when I had a home of my own to care for.
I know other moms in similar situations. I've had friends come to me and say things like, “Oh wise married one...” Aren't they funny? One thing I know; the longer I live, the less “wise” I feel. I knew it all when I was 16. I've forgotten everything since then! I don't have a clue anymore. (giggle) I've decided being a full time Homemaker is a privilege I never want to take for granted.
Working moms have challenges I don't usually have.
- Limited time for housekeeping. (I can do ours any day of the week and any hour of the day.)
- Limited time for relationships. (I can stop what I'm doing at any point to deal with situations or give a hug or kiss.)
- Extra financial responsibility. (I don't make “my own money” therefore I don't make the decisions for where it goes. Hubby does consult me out of courtesy, but he has the last word. Limited funds makes for limited budget. We also don't rely on credit, because our income doesn't guarantee we can make a payment. We don't have a Wii or Nintendo, cable or satellite TV programing, junk food or the option to eat out on a regular basis...)
- More than one boss. (I answer to my one God given authority in my life, my husband. No other person can tell me how or where to spend my time.)
On the other hand, since I don't have someone else dictating my schedule, I have to do it myself.
- I tend to procrastinate on housekeeping until something NEEDS my attention.
- I sometimes take advantage of people who are with me 24/7 and miss when a little extra attention and consideration is needed.
- I sometimes get caught in the “comparison trap” of discontentment, wishing for “things” I know we can't afford. Sometimes there are genuine needs I have to rely on God to provide miraculously, which HE always does in HIS time, not mine; developing patience, endurance, courage.... and all kinds of character traits HE knows I need. (ouch!)
- Sometimes I forget to say NO to people. I want to help. Everyone thinks I should have time to help, since I don't have a “job”. I've learned (usually) to tell everyone, “I'll have to talk to Hubby about it first.”
We all have our struggles. Working outside the home has its benefits. Staying home has its rewards. Both have their challenges. I suggest today that we be understanding and considerate of those differences. A Stay-at-Home mom's problems aren't petty. A Work-outside-the-Home mom's issues are very real. Let's commit to pray for each other, because both of us are affecting our community. You as a much needed nurse, teacher, waitress, receptionist... truck driver delivering goods our family needs... I in raising a generation of children in creative simplicity. Both are an amazing Ministry.
God Bless you Working Mom, and God bless your precious family.