Today we have a guest post from Diana Doré, a working mom of three in Redding, CA. Are you interested in sharing your story? We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My husband and I have three beautiful children. I have a sixteen year old son who is involved in both athletics and music. I have boy/girl twins who are 11. They both participate in sports, and one loves to participate in drama while the other participates in the school band. My husband works nights and wakes up in time to pick the kids up from school and cart them around to their various activities. I work full time and I work days. Our life is FULL. It often happens that people comment on the fact that I’m a working mom. I don’t know why people do it. I’m sure I say things that are obnoxious to others. But, the general public seems to feel the need to share their opinion on my employment and parent status. The truth is what they say doesn’t matter because I’m only responsible for what God has said. When I read Proverbs 31 I see a hard working woman. She works at home. She works with the public. She serves her household (servants, children, and pretty much anyone else around). I’m not really sure how we got to the point where so many people think that a woman must choose if she will stay home with her children or have a career and be a terrible mother. The two are not exclusive. I’ve met some terrible mothers who stay at home all day and some amazing mothers who work 40+ hours a week.
I am a list person. So, here is a list of 4 things I’ve heard about working moms that others believe and sometimes (a lot of the time) we start believing as working moms and my opinion about them.
1. Working moms don’t have any time for their kids and they have others raise them.
I make a huge effort to set time aside in my schedule to spend with my kids. As my kids have gotten older I’ve discovered that people are shocked how much time I actually spend with my kids. We do nearly everything as a family. We all attend games, concerts, and plays. We support each other. Just being together doesn’t mean that people have time for each other and sometimes the more time we spend – the easier it is to ignore each other. Whether you work or stay at home there has to be a conscious effort.
2. Children of working moms feel like their moms put their careers at the top of the “Things That Are Important” list.
I am sure it’s possible that some mothers do put their jobs first. But, there are also lots of moms who work because they need to help support their families. A lot of moms work because they are GOOD AT IT. They work because they enjoy it. I haven’t seen anything in the Bible that says that women can’t be good at their job and they can’t enjoy their work. The reality is that we live in a society that most families cannot survive on one income and that makes many women become working moms. But, they will drop everything to attend a school performance or stay up late at night making birthday treats for 60 little people to enjoy. I’ve noticed that my children have learned to appreciate my time as they see me working and balancing our family obligations with my work obligations. I’ve coached basketball and held practices at 6am just so I could work in the afternoons when there were no games. I’ve used PTO to fulfill my obligation to help backstage in the school drama production. We all choose what we care most about. But, my children can actually see me trying to balance everything and I’m open and up front with them as much as possible.
3. Working moms expect too much of their children.
It’s true that I expect a lot of help from my three kids. They all have chores, and they all help. But, I think I would be that way even if I didn’t work. My honest opinion is that most kids today don’t know how to work and don’t understand the value of work. Dishes, laundry, and bathrooms are an easy way to learn about hard work. I also expect my children to make their own lunches. They are perfectly capable of building a sandwich or putting chips in a bag. I had a friend complaining that her children were throwing their lunches away and complaining that they didn’t like the food she was packing. She was saying how much time it took her to grocery shop and to make her boys lunches daily. Her oldest was 16. I could not believe she was still packing his lunch. What benefit was he getting from being helpless? None. And, he wasn’t learning to value her effort either. I think this falls under the ‘train up a child in the way he should go’ category. Working moms just get more opportunity to see where they can train their children to help out because there is a need.
4. Why can’t women who work feel fulfilled simply by loving and raising their children?
My children are probably the most amazing thing I’ve ever been involved with. And, they fill a part of me that nothing else could. The truth is that no matter how much I love my kids they are not meant to be the center of my world. Christ should be the center of our lives. Then, we are wives. After that we are called to be mothers. And, trust me – I know parenting takes a lot of time and a lot of work. But, parenting doesn’t exclude all other things in our lives. We are still allowed to be hard working members of society. We are allowed to enjoy our jobs. We are allowed to be good at our jobs and take pleasure in that. I believe that in doing our best and being a help meet to our husbands we are glorifying God.
I’ll close with this. We are servants of Christ. Our center of focus should be Him. And, all that we do should glorify Him. Our choice to work or stay at home with our children is between us and God. Ultimately, we are to be witnesses for Him in all we do. I love this verse because it reminds me that it doesn’t matter what I’m doing – as long as I’m glorifying Him – my light will shine: “In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.” Titus 2:7-8 NKJV
Diana Dore is a 38 year old native of Redding, California. She grew up in a large family as one of 7 children. She has been married for 18 years and is the mother of a 16 year old boy and 11 year old boy/girl twins. She attends Grace Presbyterian Church of Redding with her family. She works full time for a global environmental engineering firm and also helps her husband run his small business.