Is it wrong to want a family and career?


is it wrong for a women to have both?

a lot of catholics say this is being selfish and the noncahotlics, well it doesn’t even matter what they say.

I know it’s probably pretty hard and people tend to have less kids when they have both. I guess you could always go back to work when the kids are older but let’s face it, most employers aren’t running after older moms for employees

do I relaly have to give it all up even after so many years of school? why are we even bothering with college then?


I don’t think its wrong for an individual to want a career. But I do think its wrong to choose career over family.

The problem is that too many parents let their career define them instead of focusing on their families and Christ. Sometimes both parents have to work in order to provide for their family. But other times, both want to work in order to have the life style they want. We don’t need 3000+ sq ft houses with only two kids. We don’t need $1000 dollar purses, $2500 watches, $50,000 cars, etc.

Valuing your career or material goods over your family/kids is the problem.


Ive discovered we all (male or female) have a God given calling and Ministry. He created us all to be an answer to someone and a solution to a need he cares about.
Its discovering what this is for the season we’re in (as it develops and changes).

God cares about us and our family first however always remember that, when we are mothers our primary Ministry and calling is our children and Husband, and God will not call you to do something out of the home if it compromises your family unit.

When the family is taken care of He continues to develop you for your purpose in this season of time, it may not be earning money though, as its common Mums put their value of who they are wrapped up in what they do, a position, status or money earnt. Being a Full-time Mum is often Thankless and undervalued so its a common trap for mums to fall into searching for value out of the home. God will not be in this plan if thats the case, know your value in God first (knowing who we are in Christ) and He will then make a way, open the right doors for you to take care of being an awesome Mum and Wife AND give you a ‘career’ or calling out of the home serving others. This is completing our Lifes purpose for God & when we live this way its the most BLESSED way we can live :slight_smile:


that’s not quite what I meant, what if you’re doing a degree in something demanding, let’s say, medicine or sciences. and you truly feel God calling you to help in that field? and then you get called to marriage and children? is it then wrong to not b e a stay at home mom?


I don’t know what Catholics you are talking to. The Catholic church does not micro manage these sorts of things and leave this sort of issue up to the couple and what they want and need to do. Only in some fundamentalist type circles will you find Church pressure for women to stay at home. I did attend one such charismatic church where the leaders did not want married women to work outside and there was strong social pressure to do so. But not in the Catholic church.


I don’t think it is at all wrong for a wife to work outside the home even after children arrive, but I think that often it becomes necessary to choose which is more important–motherhood or job. Not all moms need to make this choice. Some moms are more than able to have demanding jobs and still raise their children. My mom worked and she had 11 kids! I don’t make enough money to pay daycare costs so for my family, working outside the home makes no sense. I have worked in the past and will again in the future if we need the money. Short term working where my husband is able to pick up childcare for a while works out, but he is gone a lot so this only is helpful for a few months at a time. When I need to pay daycare or sitters, my pay check amounts to negative numbers so I end up paying to work. I also get overwhelmed with working outside the home. I’ve met quite a few moms that use jobs as an escape from home. This is not a good thing because home life goes down hill fast in those cases. No job should ever be placed higher up than family. Many moms are able to find the appropriate balance, though. It’s is such an individual thing that I don’t think there is any single answer that covers all families and all situations.



I don’ t think it is wrong either, but I have seen some families where the wife of the family was more upwardly mobile, had children, and the husband stayed home with the children and raised them. Sort of a role reversal. They were good practicing Catholics, and had many children.

Granted, the wife/mom had to take some time off when the children were born, but then went back to work. One who I know is an attorney and she practices and helps the underprivileged, and she has said something similar to what you said which is she feels she is doing what God wants her to do.

My advice would be to pray over it and ask God to help show you the answer in your life.

YBIC - John


In that case, I do not think it’s wrong to work. It’s also possible for dad to stay home. Or perhaps the kids thrive in a good day care. The point isn’t that mom should stay home, it is that mom & dad should do everything possible to make choices which are in the best interest of the children. If that’s what you do and both parents work, that’s fine.

Again, I think as long as both parents are not making decisions based on selfish or materialistic reasons; they are good.

God Bless


In my view its certainly not wrong, I’ll only throw in a cautionary note. At least in my experience, and amongst those I know fairly well, the entire “career” thing is a bit of bunk for men and women.

With rare exception, if most people are honest their careers are just jobs. There are exceptions, but even with the traditional professions, if you really know the professionals, the derive very little satisfaction out of their careers, if any. One of the hallmarks of the post 1950 western world is that women have tended to buy into the concept of a “fulfilling career” which came from a concept that this is what men had, when in truth, most men just had (and still have) jobs. Now most women have jobs too.

Something over half of all Americans are bored with or dissatisfied with their jobs, and are disengaged from them. So, I suppose, caveat emptor.

As a final note, an old friend of mine who shared my occupation (career) field, when we were young, told me about how she wanted it all and expected to have it. A few years back she bailed out of that career field, even though she claimed she’d wanted it since she was a child. She still works, and has a husband and daughter, but that experience is probably more common than we suppose. She told me with rare exceptions, she could no longer stand most members of our common career field (thankfully she exempted me).


What if selfish reasons are what’s in the children’s best interest? People who want to improve their lot in life are in fact quite selfish you know. Otherwise, they’d be content with their own poverty and not care when the children do the complaining. Selfishness and materialism don’t always exclude the best interest in their family.



I just want to comment about the idea of “wasting your education.” I can see how it may seem that way, and depending on where one goes to college, it might be a “waste.” However, I want to propose the idea that our education, ideally, is not simply preparing us for a career. Education should form the person as a whole, which can help in all areas of life, not just the future working life of the person. That way, if, for example, a mother stays home after getting a college degree to take care of her children, her education is not a waste if it has formed her as a person and enlightened her views on humanity and reality.

I don’t put it very eloquently…but in short, education is (or at least should be) more than preparation for a career.


Before going into this, I would think seriously about the cost of the education versus the expected salary and the likelihood that you would want to stay home full-time.

If, for example, you became a doctor, you would probably have in the neighborhood of $200k in student loan debt. It would not be great to have that level of student loan debt but not be working as a doctor. So, by going for that kind of degree, one is to some extent locking oneself in to working full-time as a doctor until the debt becomes manageable. I think being a doctor could be a very good thing, but the degree and student loan obligation could be golden handcuffs, keeping you from doing what you really want to do. (I’ve known a pediatrician and an orthodontist to take time off to raise their kids, and purely financially speaking, it blew my mind–those women would probably have had MASSIVE student loans.)

I have heard the physician’s assistant program mentioned as being a better return on investment, but if you want to be a doctor, you want to be a doctor.

Best wishes!


Family life and a career is a beautiful calling. My mother was a nurse who loved her job as well as being a mother. My dad made enough money so she could work part time, while being a full time mom. I know many women who have successfully managed to do both. Depending on the field you select, some shifts will be easier to manage family life than others but don’t let that detour you from having that wonderful life. I know many women in their 30’s who have both. It is a challenge for them in some respects but even if you chose religious life, that too would also have its challenges.

If you want a family, I think it is best to select a field that will enable you to do both such as some of the helping fields ex medicine ex nursing, teaching elementary school, high school, the list is endless and only you know where your passions are.

That said, you don’t have to give up your education to have a family. Most of the religious brothers and sisters I know all have their education and look at what they are doing all around the world.

Let God be your guide and know that anything is possible. If people say otherwise, message me because I can give you a long list of women who are doing that every single day of their lives.


Saint Gianna Molla was a wife and a doctor. She just made sure that she was awesome at both, she didn’t let her home life slack. Maybe you could read about her for some inspiration.


look at the life of St. Gianna Molla.
She had the best of both worlds, marriage, family and a career


People do challenging careers and raise families all the time.

So, no it is not wrong to do both just as it is not wrong to choose to stay at home and raise children.

That is why we spend time with God as well as investigate each option ourselves, so He can direct our path.

What is right for me, may not be right for you.

We were not fortunate enough to have children, but it was not the fault of a career.

Good luck.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit