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Location: Allentown, PA

I'm a Christian wife and a mom to three daughters and two sons. I'm a member of the board of directors of EmPoWeReD Birth. In my "spare time" I'm a doula, and a certified childbirth instructor.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Women working outside of the home will stray?

Recently I read an opinion on women working outside of the home. The writer was very much of the position that mothers should not be working outside of their home. As a mother who does work part time outside of my home as an occupational safety & health specialist (and up until my 4th child was born I worked full time), I do read these articles to check myself. Is what I am doing the right thing?

My husband and I feel that we need both incomes. We make sacrifices to make this happen. My husband works second shift. For several years this meant an overlap in our working hours. His parents cared for our daughters during that overlap for a few years, then we started using an in-home daycare in our neighborhood. He got laid off just before we found out we were pregnant with our 3rd child. He went to school nights for a few years, before re-entering the workforce before the birth of our 4th child, this time working 6 pm to 2 am, so we get a brief dinner together before he is off to work. This can be difficult on our marriage, but at the same time, it is good. We are very aware of the challenges we have, so we know that we have to work to keep our marriage strong.

So anyway...back to those thoughts on working outside of the home that I read. The writer postulated that one of the reasons mothers should not work outside of the home is because in the workplace they will be exposed to men who are "younger, stronger, thinner, and have more hair" than their husband. They would then be tempted to stray.

Huh??? Does this only apply to mothers, or should all women get locked up at home for their protection? Are men not also succeptible to meeting women whow are "younger, sexier, thinner, and blonder" than their wives? Or is it just that women have so little self control that we just can't be trusted to restrain ourselves? To think that writer was a woman herself...

I have to say though, locking women up in their homes is not going to protect them. My husband quickly knew where I was headed when I brought this discussion up with him and started with the thought "it's not just physical affairs that we need to consider, what about emotional affairs?" He quickly filled in that many women who stay at home get hooked on soap operas...I added the issue of Harlequinn romance novels. These forms of entertainment can quickly lead to a type of emotional affair and a woman who judges her husband against the unrealistic portrayals of men that they make. I had in mind one couple I knew who had a decidedly unhappy marriage, with a wife that often rebuffed her husband's efforts to please her--nearly every time I entered her house I found her on the sofa reading a romance novel.

Yes, I look forward to the day when I am able to stay home with my children full time. I regret that I had to spend "quality time" with a breast pump to make sure my infants get the food God designed for them. But I will not flee the workplace out of a fear that I will be unfaithful to my husband because of my employment.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good thoughts Jenn.

Gave you a mention on my website, since Blogspot doesn't have trackbacks.

Keep up the good work.


9:38 AM, January 24, 2005  
Blogger Goldie said...

Good post, Jenn! (great site, as a matter of fact). IMO, the writer in question either had an assignment to prove that working outside of home is wrong and took it too seriously, or she has never worked outside of home. Otherwise, she would know that "straying" in the workplace is nearly impossible these days, and can cost you your job.

I appreciate your support of the working moms. So many people these days try to dictate us exactly what our familiy lives should be like. It is very refreshing to meet someone that has an open mind about this.

Take care,

6:25 AM, January 25, 2005  
Blogger TulipGirl said...

I think it is very easy for people (Christians seem particularly prone to this) to understand the proper function of something (ie, mother functions as nurturer) and then quickly prescribe a specific form to it (ie, must not work outside the home.) When we latch onto a particular form, it's easy to become legalistic and lose sight of the function.

When I blogged about your previous post about the problems when we pit kids against the marriage, martha commented, when i hear that a christian family has to look like a certain interpretation, i cringe. my rigid legalistic background left far too many scars for this attitude not to provoke that response.

Knowing that martha is very Titus 2 qualified as an older woman and knowing she's walked in the faith for decades leads me to take extra heed to her words.

(Btw, this form vs. function idea was one I read about in a book KatieKind sent to me. . .)

10:21 AM, January 25, 2005  

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