Polls are in: staying at home is a bad decision

I read recently about a poll, released by Gallup, in which they stated stay at home moms suffered more anger and sadness than moms who work outside the home. Then there was an article written on the poll, which is most of what I saw on the topic, and the author went on to list all of our mundane activities, such as doing laundry, washing dishes, changing diapers, and caring for kids. And I wondered if Moms who worked outside the home ever had to do these things too and why it doesn’t make them sad, depressed, and angry. The article went on to admit that the reason why is because a moms work at home is never done, but when a woman leaves her out of home workplace, she is finished for the day feeling more accomplished. I have to admit that there have been times I have daydreamed about sending the boys to school and going back to work, many, many times. Being a full time parent whose work never ends is a lonely, tough job, but it is extremely rewarding and fulfilling other times.

I began to see that the tone of the article was very much a decision validating tool for women. And the way it was written seemed to set up 2 choices. Would you like to take your kids to school and daycare and be a happier person, or would you like to stay at home with them and be depressed and angry all the time? I think the author must have been confused into thinking that those are our only options.

Then I began to think about the results of the poll and how they fit right in with our world’s nature. I once went to a women’s thing at a church. There was a Christian woman on stage encouraging this group of women who were listening to her, to go back to work. She encouraged us and said that it was okay for us to want to work for things like “expensive jeans” and to put our little children in daycare in order to do it. I began my own inner monologue after that and tuned out of her crazy message. It wasn’t necessarily the content that made me a little angry. Just as in the poll and article about the poll, it seems okay to encourage and validate a very specific way of life and it sheds being a stay at home mom and a homeschooler in a bad light. I wondered about the backlash if a homeschooler ever publicly talked about the benefits of staying at home with the kids and raising them all day long and figured that it would be huge. I am sure it would be seen as an attack on the the moms who work, but it’s okay to talk about the benefits of leaving.

I had a Mom tell me once that she could never stay at home with her kids all day and she was happy to be a working mother. I learned later that she had broken down and cried because she wanted to stay home with her kids so bad. I wondered why she would say such a comment to me and realized that it wasn’t meant to attack me so much as it was in order to help her validate her decisions. I thought for a long time about my answer the next time I was told that. I have always been so afraid to offend another mom with my choice to stay at home and to homeschool. I have always been very quiet about my kids successes when with other Moms who have gone overboard talking about how smart and spiritual and well behaved her kids are, if that Mom is not with her kids all day. This blog is really the only place I feel safe speaking about the benefits of our lifestyle.

This is my official response to the poll, to the author of the random article and to every Mom who validates her decision to work by putting down my choice to be obedient in my convictions by staying at home:

God places extremely high value on children, on having them, nurturing them, raising them, teaching them, training them, loving them, and investing in them. Godly motherhood as a career is a very high calling and a noble profession. And as such it can be very fulfilling. Because of our fallen nature, we are not perfect and children do not naturally do right. They aren’t born with a desire to make our lives easy. I sure as hell didn’t for my Mom and my kids are 10 times worse than I was- God help me. My kids don’t appreciate the sacrifices Chris and I make by having me stay at home. We have one income and are constantly playing catch-up financially. I never got to become the nurse I wanted to be when I got pregnant the second time. I spend one weekend a month planning our unit study, which I don’t mind, but it leaves Chris to find things to do to keep them out of my hair so I can “work”. “Children, especially young children, are naturally messy, noisy, selfish, demanding, and needy 24/7/365. So motherhood is a big responsibility that can be tiring, and spiritually draining 24/7/365.” (- Kari Lewis)

Fortunately, I have a Christ who lives within and just like He says outwardly in a little book called the Bible, He says pretty much the same things in my heart that He said in the good book. Christ has called me to love my husband and my children and to be the keeper of my home. When doing this I will experience negative emotion and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ as I turn to Him. I cast my cares upon Him as I rest in Him. I believe that caring for my children full time will never be easy, but it is my high calling in life. I see the results and benefits already and we are only just getting started. I don’t need to brag about how much they are learning because it’s immeasurable. If we spend the day at home “off” from school, I guarantee that my child is learning more than what a child in any public or private school is learning. I know this because I set it up that way when I put Christ before all things in my full time job- which is parenting. It’s not because I homeschool or stay at home though, it’s because I am forming habits in my home that don’t get interrupted by a teacher. I don’t need to undo any one else’s work. When I am faced with a negative comment, article, or poll, I remember that there is a reason this person is making these thoughts and polls known and it’s to validate the choice to go into the workplace and NOT be a full time Mom. I have been made secure in what the Lord wants for us and my children are best raised by me, and not a teacher, even the most caring of them. I struggle and I have bad days, weeks, and get impatient, but that doesn’t mean that the Lord’s Word has changed in my heart. I will know it when and if it does.

I am proud to be a homeschooler, but unfortunately this is the only safe place to express that. We live in a world that praises and defends moms who work outside the home, lest I ever make a public comment about how great I think being a stay at home Mom is, I will be engaged in a war.

I find strength and solace in my online groups and homeschool magazines, as well as a few homeschool moms I keep in touch with. I have a lead on a homeschool group in town and hope to find a home there in which I don’t have to hide my joys and struggles in my lifestyle, as well as listen to how wonderful someone elses child is doing being in school for most of the day. If I am having a bad day the comment makes me want to take the easy way out and enroll my kids, if I am having a good day I have to hide my joy otherwise I seem like I am playing tit-for-tat.

{End of my official response}

I have tons of respect for mothers who work outside the home. My Mom was one of them and she did an amazing job loving me. Although she does tell me that she always wished she could have stayed at home with us. I have respect for Moms in general. I am not totally unemployed myself, as the kids and I run a family business doing daycare book fairs. I count it as “business class” for their records. I have found moms who homeschool with bad kids and moms who don’t homeschool with really good kids. This blog is a response to the need to validate the decision to work by putting down my lifestyle to stay at home. This is my rebuttal and this is the other side that I have never been able to say, because I have never wanted to hurt a mom putting down my life’s work simply because she was insecure.

Being a Mother is the hardest job on earth, if you’re doing it right. Raising well behaved, respectful children is unyielding in this day and age. I offer nothing but love and respect to all the Moms I know. If you work, if you stay at home, it doesn’t matter, a Mother’s work is never done. We should stick together, not let any poll or group of old men in suits or bitter women with something to prove, divide us. We should never validate what we do by putting down another. Hopefully you are finding peace and joy in whichever you are doing today, inside the home or in the workplace.

Thanks for reading!

Love,

Jackie

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3 thoughts on “Polls are in: staying at home is a bad decision

  1. How do you respond to a poll that basis its findings in a small percentage of the population? I have been both…I have been a wife & mother that had a career in corporate America and chose to stay at home, because frankly, I knew that my children were just more important to me than my career. Did it make my life easier? No. Did it validate my womanhood? No. Did it make me feel accomplished? No. But then, I did not become a mother for any of the above reasons. I have been a stay at home wife and mother for 18 years now, and I have yet to regretted. m.

    • Thank you for your comment, I don’t know how I missed it! I have been a stay at home mom for years. It began before I even became a Mom. I was a home-maker in my parent’s home and learned to clean, cook, bake, and care for a home before I ever had one of my own. I am very happy doing this. There have been times in which I have had to get a part-time job. Right now I work for a major book distributor putting on book fairs and (mostly) selling my books online. I really enjoy it, but my kids are a part of it. I would not want to leave for a full-time job. It’s not who I am or what I believe the Lord wants from me. I appreciate your response and like you, I have not regretted it. Have a wonderful day M! ~Jackie

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