Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Working Mama Wednesday - Our Family's SAHM vs. Working Mama debate

Some people think I'm a career woman.  They make that assumption I suppose because I have a career and because I have kiddos and I work.  I guess in the most basic sense of the phrase I am indeed a woman with a career but that doesn't exactly make me a career woman.  I sometimes have to reassure women who are struggling with their decision (or 'necesity') to work because they are surprised I have struggles with that decision myself.

In reality I'm a homemaker trapped in a working mama's body.  If I could do anything all day I'd be taking care of my kiddos, taking them to the park, taking them to the museum, playing with them inside and outside, cooking meals, cleaning the house (really!  I swear!), going to the library reading event during the day, gardening, scrapbooking, and pretty much anything else crafty.  I would LOVE to be a stay at home mom.

Unfortunately, that's not exactly how we've setup our life.  If you've been to our home you know our lifestyle could afford to be toned down, but I'm not really even talking about our financial situation though I am and always have been the breadwinner by far.  I guess that's part of it - I started working at 15...at 18 I was working full-time and continued to do that until age 20, when I graduated with my Bachelors.  During that time I held 1 primary job and sometimes a 2nd or 3rd as the opportunity came up.  And, if you haven't done the math, I earned a Bachelors in 3 years.  My intention isn't to brag - most people think I'm nuts and to some degree I am - I just have this knack for working at super speed and doing "everything I can" in my lifetime.  2 weeks after I graduated with my Bachelors I began working for my current employer - almost 9 years later I still work here, nearly tripled my income and in the world's eyes have a "successful career".

I don't really care about what the world thinks.  What I do care about is what God thinks and what my family thinks.  That's it.  And that's where my decision is made to be a working mama.

What does God tell me? (paraphrasing)
  • In everything I do I should do it as I would for him, and for His glory (trying to do this, though not perfect, has led to 9 promotions in 9 years - mucho favor)
  • A Godly woman works very hard (see Proverbs 31)

    So, I know as a Godly woman I need to work very hard, in everything I do I need to do it as I would directly for God, for his glory not mine.  Let me be clear to say that I think this does not exclusively speak to a Working Mom or a Stay at Home Mom - I think it allows for both equally as long as you are earnestly seeking the plan He has for your life.  I think the role of a mother is so important and a wife equally so if not more so and this is something I always need to take into consideration - God first, husband second, children 3rd, others afterward. 
What does my family tell me?
  • My son is incredibly intelligent and very social - though I think I could (and may in the future) decide to homeschool him effectively, so far it has been very beneficial to have him in preschool and, next year in Kindergarten.  So, if I quit my job today I wouldn't be able to stay home with him all day anyway (this may have been different in years passed). 
  • My husband works as a public servant and has a very limited income opportunity.  I'm very thankful that my husband loves his job but isn't a work-a-holic.  Though I think he'd be more than able and I'd be willing to give up our current lifestyle for something dramatically different, the pressure of having to provide for all of our family's needs is something that really weighs heavily on him and together we believe that wouldn't be the best thing for the health of our marriage and family, particularly in that we'd have to give up nearly 2/3s of our income that we've grown accustomed to and that would compound the stress seriously.
In addition, when we bought this new house we prayed earnestly for guidance in that we'd be either able to stay where we were and have me stay at home or move into the new house (which would set me to working for sure).  God closed the doors for us to stay at our old home and blew open the doors for us to buy the new home and, therefore, work. 

So, I am a stay-at-home mama in a working mama's body.  The good news is that I am extremely blessed in that I have a great job which provides me to do the best of both worlds - help ease my husbands concern without sacrificing all of our family time.  I get to take plenty of time off, I get to participate heavily as a very active foster parent, go to school with my son and visit his teacher and participate in special events.  I get to help our family save and spend a lot of time teaching my children and growing them to be who they will become. 

It's not always easy, but for now I'm trying to do the best I can to be the person God created me to be - whether that's a working mama or something else.

No comments: