Is it hard to stay home and keep the hearth warm when wordly success beckons?


#1

In reviewing what needs to be done in my life in the “respect for my husband post” I realized that one great frustration I have is that I am not contributing to my own material well being by working outside the home (whther for the house or not). I have the ability, I have the training, I have the interest, but for now it is just not possible without going against my priorities.

I know I just have to deal with this and trust that my priorities are in order and that the time will come when it is possible for me But I thought it would be interesting ot bring it up as a topic.

I find that even in the most correct and pro family circles some women still maintain that they have to have their under 6 year old children cared for by someone else so that they can fulfill their desire to work outside the home. Often they say they need the money, but seeing as we have lived well off of under “the low income standard” for so long I don’t buy that idea. We don’t have an unusual amount of debt, we own our own cars, we have been able to travel, our children wear used clothes and but eat good healthy food. I know that it is possible to really need the money and have to resort to daycare, but I have yet to personally hear this argument from someone who trully needs the money.


#2

If a person truly needs the money, then isn’t staying home cheaper anyway, when you factor in all the gas, mileage and daycare bills? I have friends here who claim they “truly need the money” but the have two kids in daycare, one in before and after school care, and BOTH parents drive over 2 1/2 hours a day to and from work. Not to mention the two daycare kids are on expensive anti-allergy formulas. Their bills are astronomical!!!

Seems like if a family really wants to raise their own kids, three things can make one income very possible: cloth diapers, breastfeeding and mom-care (rather than daycare).

Then again, I have a dear sister who vowed she’d NEVER put her kids in daycare and now that she’s pregnant she’s actually leaning towards the daycare option…why? Because her hubby and she have spent their married life this far “living it up” and she doesn’t know how not to anymore. Shop at Walmart? No way! Buy generic? Not them! They are “high class, high style” people and I think she’s afraid she’ll become a low class girl again. ??? It confuses the heck out of me. I’d much rather dress Walmart style and enjoy my babies at home than wear heels every day and go to work while my babies are doing who knows what with someone else. Sorry, just ranting. :smiley:


#3

Many of the women I know who continued to work after they had children were in careers where continued practice is essential for maintaining their skills. Most of those who could scaled back their hours, though, even those who were college professors in the sciences.

Some women also grew up with mothers who worked outside the home at least part-time and feel their childhoods compare very well with their friends’ whose moms stayed home with them. These women do not consider being a SAHM the same as being a better mom.

Also consider that other families may have expenses, financial commitments, or debts incurred prior to childbearing that you do not have, such as providing support an elderly parent… something that, in respect for their parents, they don’t advertise that they do. Even though they appear to be better-off than you are, they may in fact need the money. Others decide that because their emotional health suffered when they tried to be SAHMs, their children would be better off if they worked at least part-time.

Others may just not be as good at managing their finances as you are. It is not uncommon for couples to assume that having two wage earners is a more lucrative arrangement, even though that is not always true. They may be working and be worse off than you are, but not know that staying at home could save them money! Whatever the case, it isn’t for us to judge.

You might want to reflect on your reported feelings that you still put a fair amount of value on one’s ability to generate financial income. You have reported that this is getting in the way of your respect for both yourself and for your husband. It may also be something that you unknowingly communicate to other women.

After all… why go out into the workforce when your kids turn six? Many women of my mother’s generation stayed out of the workforce their entire lives. When they found they had more time, they volunteered time to their parish and community. Would you want them judging your priorities because you desire to bring home a paycheck again some day? I would hope not.

Judge what is best for you, tell others what has worked best for you, but let others connect the dots for themselves and keep all in prayer.


#4

OKay BLB_Oregon!!! :thumbsup:

Thank you.

I needed that. I knew that my negative thoughts were not good, I just didn’t know how to turn it all around. You have certainly given me ways of dealing with this without getting angry and as you point out: judging.

Thank you again. God Bless you.


#5

[quote=marcsababa]…I realized that one great frustration I have is that I am not contributing to my own material well being by working outside the home (whther for the house or not). I have the ability, I have the training, I have the interest, but for now it is just not possible without going against my priorities…
[/quote]

Then it would seem you have answered your own question. Keep in mind however, that not all of us set our priorities in exactly the same fashion.

The most charitable approach would seem to be to stay true to your and your husband’s priorities to the best of your ability, and allow others to find their way and live their lives without condemnation or unnecessary judgment. Working outside the home while parenting young children is not a matter of sin nor does it require “grave reason” as a justification. None of us would appreciate being judged negatively for the number of children we have, for opting to stay home full time to raise them, for committing to a lifetime marriage in good times and bad, or conveying our values and lifestyle to our children. We should give similar deference to those who choose to do things differently than we do when there is no inherent evil or wrongdoing in their choice.


#6

My wife and I had a similar crisis to this about seven years ago after my first son was born. We were both working outside the home when he was born and had just bought a house and a minivan. I told my wife that there was no way she could stop working and we would have to put him in daycare. Having a degree in Finance and a career in finances, I couldn’t be wrong, correct?

My sister-in-law ran a daycare out of her house and we put him in there (no discounts, by the way). After a few months I could see my wife was miserable and something just seemed very unnatural about the whole thing, so I decided to crunch a few numbers. I figured out that after daycare, taxes, and other expenses, she was working a full-time job for only about 10 thousand a year.

I told her to quit her job and pull our son out of daycare and we would just see what happened. About a month later we were at Church and I remember praying to God to give me an answer and I was getting scared. After Mass I was looking through the bulletin and saw that they were looking for a part-time bookkeeper for the Church. It was only about 10 hours per week and had flexible hours. I decided to apply for it, and what do you know? It happened to pay almost all of what I needed to make up for my wife quitting her job and I was the only one who applied, so they had to hire me. The job only lasted about a year and a half, but it was just enough time for me to find a better paying full-time job.

Well, that was seven years ago and we are still doing okay. I’m not saying it’s easy, an that we do not still make sacrifices, but it’s worth it. Sometimes it can be very scary to trust in the Lord, but He will provide.


#7

It may not be a matter of grave sin, Island Oak, but it is a matter of common sense. Why would God desire you to have children just to hand them over as infants for someone else to raise? While I don’t have a problem with single parent families who HAVE to work and put their kids elsewhere, I DO have a problem with double parent families who 1. Won’t try a one-income situation to even see if it’s worth pursuing, 2. Don’t think it’s necessary to try and 3. Feel no guilt about not being home to raise their own kids. I get tired of hearing the “it’s better for the baby to be socialized” excuse and “well, we really need the added income for the second car.”

Poo.

Your children are your responsibility, no one else’s, and God is not going to judge you on how much money you made for them, but how you raised them.

I know many families around here that work at minimum wage, have one income earner, and at least 3 kids. They make it just fine. It’s a matter of priorities.

Sorry, this is just one of my anger points.


#8

I have felt a strong pull to go back to work, but not for the money. I am a nurse and would love to care for the sick again. My dream job would be in a hospice, caring for the dying. I was blessed to be at the side, praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, for several people as they passed from this world. I would love to pamper those members of society who are viewed as worthless and even a waste of resources. How lovely it would be to care for them and listen to their stories! However, I know that my job now is to care for my son and all future children we may be blessed to have.

I read the book “A Mother’s Rule of Life” by Holly Pierlot, and she ended up going back to work part time for a little while. She said that she felt like she needed to do something important and fulfilling, not just be a “babysitter” and a “maid.” Eventually she realized that the most important, fulfilling thing she could do was to be the best mom she could be for her kids. She gave this analogy: We all know that the weeds have to die. But sometimes the flowers have to die, too. Your job and career might be like a beautiful flower. But now it’s time for that flower to die. There will be others that bloom, although it is sad to lose the flower of your career. But it’s part of life. This is something we can offer up to Jesus.


#9

Thank you, IanS., for that post.

It has been promoted lately, and it is a great way to approach things, that if one is looking to help out at home financially there are ways in which one can do that without having to leave your children. It won’t be a high powered career but the ways are there to do work out of the home that will bring in the extra bucks.

I also think there has to be a true definition of ‘wordly success’. In the eyes of many, I am not successful. In my eyes, in my heart, I am a great success. If one can define, in terms of the Holy Mother Church and the Catholic Values you hold dear, what true success is then you may have already achieved that success.

There is another thought to examine, however; if a woman is trapped in a marriage that is abusive and is afraid to leave or seek shelter because she is afraid she will not be able to provide for her children there might be a need to expand her horizons so that she CAN provide for them if the need arises. If a woman is in a wonderful marriage, but her spouse dies, she needs to be able to support her children so as not to end up getting into another relationship/marriage for financial security only.

My grandmother - dead now since 1974 - was from Italy. She was left with two small children, speaking little English, in this country when her first husband died. She had worked since the age of 9 as a ladies’ maid in a wealthy household. There was no call for a ladies’ maid in Stanislaus County. She went to work as a cook on a walnut ranch and dairy. She met my grandfather. They married and had three more children - out of her five children, four of them were girls.

At a time when it was far from fashionable she insisted that all of her girls continue their schooling after high school in what today would be considered a junior or business college. Her philosophy was that, while it was wonderful to be a wife and mother, one must be able to support oneself and one’s children if the unthinkable happens. And she wanted her daughters to be able to do something OTHER than manual labor. As a result, my mother and her sisters were all ‘career women’ before and during their marriages…able to go back to work when their families needed the extra income or to support their families if their husbands died, disappeared or became disabled. One died, one was disabled for awhile (fireman - hurt on duty) and my father left us when I was six and my brother two weeks old.

All the women in my family raised their children in the Church.

Define what you mean by success and plan as best you can for whatever life can throw at you - but ultimately, trust Our Lord to keep you safe.


#10

[quote=marcsababa]OKay BLB_Oregon!!! :thumbsup:

Thank you.

I needed that. I knew that my negative thoughts were not good, I just didn’t know how to turn it all around. You have certainly given me ways of dealing with this without getting angry and as you point out: judging.

Thank you again. God Bless you.
[/quote]

Do not heap your troubles all on yourself. The devil tells lies and the world tells lies, and the lies are this: our worth comes from what money we make, our worth comes from what good we bring into the world, our worth comes from how hard we try.

This is all backwards. Our worth comes from our being beloved of God. We try hard, we bring good into the world, we do dignified labor because the grace of God flows through the Cross of Jesus to us. It is all Him. All we can lend is cooperation, and that, too, is His grace in the end.

When these thoughts come into your head, remember that you are being assaulted by the Liar, by the Accuser, and being encouraged to take up his evil work of spreading lies and accusations. I have found that the best way to combat this is to rejoice in the glory of God, to give thanks for His many wonderous works, for His generous mercy, for His rich kindness. Whenever you are accused about that empty spot inside you or inside others, remember that it is in those empty spots of poverty that God chooses to dwell. Do not let yourself be persuaded to fill them with useless things.

Also, do not forget the “help” prayers: Oh, God come to my assistance, Oh, Lord, make haste to help me. The Memorare. Then, no matter how you feel, return to praise and rejoicing. That is always the best. And for those you are tempted to accuse, put yourself with them in a bag, and pray the Our Father, asking forgiveness for all.

[quote=sanctareparata]It may not be a matter of grave sin, Island Oak, but it is a matter of common sense. Why would God desire you to have children just to hand them over as infants for someone else to raise? While I don’t have a problem with single parent families who HAVE to work and put their kids elsewhere, I DO have a problem with double parent families who 1. Won’t try a one-income situation to even see if it’s worth pursuing, 2. Don’t think it’s necessary to try and 3. Feel no guilt about not being home to raise their own kids. I get tired of hearing the “it’s better for the baby to be socialized” excuse and “well, we really need the added income for the second car.”

Poo.

Your children are your responsibility, no one else’s, and God is not going to judge you on how much money you made for them, but how you raised them.

I know many families around here that work at minimum wage, have one income earner, and at least 3 kids. They make it just fine. It’s a matter of priorities.

Sorry, this is just one of my anger points.
[/quote]

It is hard to watch and think that children are being given the short end of the stick, but tread very carefully. Even a cursory reading of the red letters in the Gospels makes it quite clear how Our Lord felt about judging others.

If He told those who held stones for a woman caught in the act of adultery to hold their fire, how much less patience would He have for us who see fit to judge less serious faults–and I do not exempt myself from that group that judges, believe me!

If we stay at home “for our children” but give ourselves the permission to feel and act superior for having done it, it may well be that we’d be better off getting back into the work force in order to find a more humble soul to raise our children for at least part of their days. Just a thought. May the women who work, for whatever reason, who feel the burden of our judgement, keep us in their prayers, too.


#11

[quote=sanctareparata]It may not be a matter of grave sin,

Sorry, this is just one of my anger points.
[/quote]

I understand how you feel. That is why I started this topic. I learned from previous posters that even though you and I are certain that our choices are the best ones. There are reasons that we cannot even see that may justify “those” others who do not choose the same as we have. AND one poster mentioned that it is not actually a sin to put a child under the care of someone else.

Yes there are many who don’t even consider trying it out or working out the actual financials on it. But as a poster mentioned we really try our best and we have to give “those others” the benefit of the doubt that they are trying as well.

This reminds me of the NFP posts I read on the EWTN ask an expert site. Many people write in outraged (I have been outraged myself) at “those others” who take advantage of NFP. They do not use it for any grave reason, other than they just don’t feel ready yet to have another child. The priest always responded by saying that if the couple is praying and discerning every month then the church leaves it up to them. Eventually they do realize that they can have another child.

I love these boards for showing in a gentle way how I am so often judgemental and condemning. I praise God that I am still alive and haven’t had to answer to these attitudes of mine at the judgement before catching them and correcting them.


#12

[quote=LSK]If a woman is in a wonderful marriage, but her spouse dies, she needs to be able to support her children so as not to end up getting into another relationship/marriage for financial security only.
[/quote]

I agree LSK. That’s why I carry lots of life insurance on myself (maybe a little too much). Of course, I also trust that my wife won’t be tempted to “take me out”. :smiley:


#13

[quote=sanctareparata]…Sorry, this is just one of my anger points.
[/quote]

As a SAHM who gave up a lucrative professional career to be home full-time with kids, I share your values about raising the children I brought into this world. But I have seen miserable parents who are home full-time and wonderful parents who work outside the home.

My comment above suggests simply that there is a sphere of decision making that belongs to individual couples and does not invite input from the outside world. This includes decisions like how many kids a family will have, how their kids will be fed, what time they go to bed, how they spend their recreation time and resources, whether they will attend public/private or parochial school, how will be socialized, morally instructed, etc. as well as whether one parent will be in the home full-time raising them or whether extended family or hired help will assist. I am living out my preference, but am none too interested in entertaining an outsider’s opinion about whether I’m doing it the “right way.” I choose to give others the same autonomy, discretion and respect when, as noted earlier, there is not an inherent evil or “wrong” choice on the table.


#14

“If we stay at home “for our children” but give ourselves the permission to feel and act superior for having done it, it may well be that we’d be better off getting back into the work force in order to find a more humble soul to raise our children for at least part of their days. Just a thought.”

I hope you’re not implying that I feel superior, here. All I’m implying is that if one is married, then one’s vocation lies with being a spouse and parent. Not an employee and an on-the-side parent. I only said I have a problem with those who do not and will not try to make things work for the sake of their kids. I have a problem with those whose first priorities are their jobs and their careers.

Single parent families aside, of course.


#15

[quote=sanctareparata]“If we stay at home “for our children” but give ourselves the permission to feel and act superior for having done it, it may well be that we’d be better off getting back into the work force in order to find a more humble soul to raise our children for at least part of their days. Just a thought.”

I hope you’re not implying that I feel superior, here. All I’m implying is that if one is married, then one’s vocation lies with being a spouse and parent. Not an employee and an on-the-side parent. I only said I have a problem with those who do not and will not try to make things work for the sake of their kids. I have a problem with those whose first priorities are their jobs and their careers.

Single parent families aside, of course.
[/quote]

It has been promoted lately, and it is a great way to approach things, that if one is looking to help out at home financially there are ways in which one can do that without having to leave your children. It won’t be a high powered career but the ways are there to do work out of the home that will bring in the extra bucks.

I also think there has to be a true definition of ‘wordly success’. In the eyes of many, I am not successful. In my eyes, in my heart, I am a great success. If one can define, in terms of the Holy Mother Church and the Catholic Values you hold dear, what true success is then you may have already achieved that success.

There is another thought to examine, however; if a woman is trapped in a marriage that is abusive and is afraid to leave or seek shelter because she is afraid she will not be able to provide for her children there might be a need to expand her horizons so that she CAN provide for them if the need arises. If a woman is in a wonderful marriage, but her spouse dies, she needs to be able to support her children so as not to end up getting into another relationship/marriage for financial security only.

My grandmother - dead now since 1974 - was from Italy. She was left with two small children, speaking little English, in this country when her first husband died. She had worked since the age of 9 as a ladies’ maid in a wealthy household. There was no call for a ladies’ maid in Stanislaus County. She went to work as a cook on a walnut ranch and dairy. She met my grandfather. They married and had three more children - out of her five children, four of them were girls.

At a time when it was far from fashionable she insisted that all of her girls continue their schooling after high school in what today would be considered a junior or business college. Her philosophy was that, while it was wonderful to be a wife and mother, one must be able to support oneself and one’s children if the unthinkable happens. And she wanted her daughters to be able to do something OTHER than manual labor. As a result, my mother and her sisters were all ‘career women’ before and during their marriages…able to go back to work when their families needed the extra income or to support their families if their husbands died, disappeared or became disabled. One died, one was disabled for awhile (fireman - hurt on duty) and my father left us when I was six and my brother two weeks old.

All the women in my family raised their children in the Church.

Define what you mean by success and plan as best you can for whatever life can throw at you - but ultimately, trust Our Lord to keep you safe.


#16

Perhaps DH could stay home with the kids and you could bring home the bacon? This is what worked best for our family - and for many in our neighborhood.

Stay at home dads are very special men!


#17

I just took a moral theology class dealing with stuff like this - my professor said that anything you do that is good, but not perfect, is still slightly sinful. In otherwords, you do a good thing half heartedly and there is some degree of sin involved. I still have to ask him more about this. But anyway, day care was brought up and he said that objectively, day care is wrong. However, tehre are certain instances when it might be necessary. Objectively speaking, a motehr’s place is with her children, raising them. Of course, there are diff, circumstances for everyone. I personally don’t know how a parent can bring a child into the world for another person to raise, and I would do everything I could to stay with that child as God intended me to.


#18

[quote=sanctareparata]“If we stay at home “for our children” but give ourselves the permission to feel and act superior for having done it, it may well be that we’d be better off getting back into the work force in order to find a more humble soul to raise our children for at least part of their days. Just a thought.”

I hope you’re not implying that I feel superior, here. All I’m implying is that if one is married, then one’s vocation lies with being a spouse and parent. Not an employee and an on-the-side parent. I only said I have a problem with those who do not and will not try to make things work for the sake of their kids. I have a problem with those whose first priorities are their jobs and their careers.

Single parent families aside, of course.
[/quote]

I’m implying that if our judgement of how other people are parenting makes us angry, if even their sins bring on our ire rather than our prayers and compassion and hope for their amendment, if we cease to see ourselves as equally in need of the mercy of God as every other sinner, then we need to tread carefully. The desire to direct those over whom we have been given no authority carries its own dangers. It needs to be held very carefully.

The sin of pride, one of the most grave, lies in that direction. The sin of judgement, a sin for which Our Lord had no patience whatsoever, lies in that direction. To school our children in these sins, by reason of our examples, is a grave error in parenting.

By all means encourage others to do the best as you have experience to see the best and especially as the Church teaches what is good and worthwhile. But for what it is worth, I ask you to remember to avoid falling into worse sins as you do so, that is my caution. As to whether that actually applies to you, I have no way of knowing.


#19

There is also such a thing as just anger.

There is nothing wrong with being angry that several people I know dump their kids in daycare for no reason whatsoever (Dad makes over $50,000 alone) and feel absolutely no qualms about it. I never said I didn’t pray for those people or try to convince them in a loving manner how to think about their decisions differently. Your emails sound accusatory, whether you intend them to be or not.


#20

[quote=kage_ar]Perhaps DH could stay home with the kids and you could bring home the bacon? This is what worked best for our family - and for many in our neighborhood.

Stay at home dads are very special men!
[/quote]

Except they don’t do too well in the breastfeeding department :stuck_out_tongue:


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