Question for employed mothers


#1

My question is, am I the only woman who feels that the church and its members do not provide sufficient guidance for the many women who are employed?

If you don’t like wordy posts, feel free to stop reading now and respond. If you want clarification or just like to read, here is my elaboration upon my question:

I know that I very much desire for more guidance from the church on living a holy life as a employed mother, but find that such information is generally lacking (for whatever reason). I often feel like only the overlap between my role and a SAHMs’ role is valuable to the church or applicable to the persuit of holiness. I have searched extensively for books and resources from members of the church to support employed mothers in seeking holiness in everyday life, and found very little besides advice on how to cut back to one income (which is not applicable to my situation, as my family is already on one income - mine!), or the occasional commiseration over how busy working moms are. SAHMs, on the other hand, have many resources like “A Mother’s Rule of Life”, “Mary and Martha” conferences, a host of excellent books and collections of meditations for daily life as a homemaking parent, support groups for moms during working hours, and much more.

I know that the church does not teach that all mothers ought to stay at home, and I believe the church understands that there are many morally valid reasons for a mother to work outside the home. I also believe that it is possible to support working mothers without taking away from the importance of SAHMs or the special way that SAHMs fulfill feminine virtue and model the church’s relationship with Christ. Am I missing where and how the church is doing this? Is it just that employed mothers aren’t turning to the church for support the way SAHMs do? Or are there other employed mothers who, like me, would like to hear the church and its members speak to their situation as well and aren’t finding that support to be available?

Thanks to anyone who has thoughts or insight on this. This has really been bugging me for a while.


#2

Since we have Blesseds and Saints who were working moms, those would be great women to study!


#3

Maybe employed mothers who would otherwise be able to write valuable books/materials on the subject are too busy to do so with all that they have to juggle?? :wink: :smiley:


#4

Actually, the reason I’m asking is that I’m pondering taking up that juggle - but to do a good job without dropping any of my greater responsibilities could be a many-year endeavor :slight_smile: I want to make sure this isn’t “just me” before I invest that kind of effort! :smiley:

So this is a “preliminary research” sort of question.


#5

Pope John Paul II wrote an encyclical in about 1982 called Laborem Exercens, in which he talked about the dignity of labor which derives its dignity from the fact that man *(woman) is its subject.

He had much to say about how a moral society configures itself and views the worker, and the roles women take in society. I believe he also touched upon the role of women in the family as workers in Familiaris Consortio.

Across many cultures women have had to work… whether in the fields, in shops, or in home based businesses. The Catholic Church has always stood for the dignity of the worker, and more so the mother who has TWO jobs… as a mother in the home and often as a worker outside the home. Actually, the idea of a woman having the luxury to stay at home and be with her children is a recent one… the Victorian “Angel in the Home” mentality. Before that, the women were out ploughing the fields, sewing, working in shops, spinning, cooks, bakeries, milkmaids, what have you… It wasn’t until the industrial revolution made it possible for some homes to exist on just the man’s efforts that some women had the luxury of staying home with the children.

The Bible talks about the valiant woman who helps her husband and adds to the family’s prosperity.

Every mom is a working mom. Some just get salaries and outside recognition for their efforts.

:wink:


#6

Sounds like a calling in the making! :smiley:

YES YES, I would LOVE support like you are describing!
Would you like help? I would love to be of help in any way! (PM ME!)
I think this would be a VERY noble and beautiful cause.

May the Lord bless you in all that you do.


#7

Yes, exactly! I know this philosophy is there, just waiting for someone to talk about it and expand upon it for the employed woman (sorry if I ever used the term ‘working woman’ instead, I try to avoid using that to refer solely to employed moms but it is a bad habit and hard to break).

I really think that putting all these pieces together into something rich and encouraging wouldn’t be that hard (other than doing it on top of everything else!), and your words show clearly that we can support employed moms without repeating the mistakes of the many radical feminists who overstate the value of employment.

But . . . would anyone besides me be interested? Does any other mother ask these same questions or feel the same emptiness in the support that exists for mothers from the church? Do employed mothers even want this sort of support, or am I the only one who struggles to mesh employment, motherhood, and the persuit of holiness? I do get a lot of responses that suggest that I’m weird for worrying about this so much :shrug:


#8

I am a single woman with no children but I support you 100%! Don’t get me wrong, I am a “traditional” Catholic but the Church does need to address the needs of two-parent working families.


#9

Well, I am not an employed mother (I’m an employed father with an employed wife, though) but after reading your initial post and before I’d read any replies I thought that you were identifying a true need and possibly a new calling; so, I’d think and pray over that seriously if I were you.

For myself I have found the emphasis on work and prayer and work as prayer of the monastic orders a source of great strength and encouragement. There may be some great resources for you to ponder there, and an adaptation of that sort of spirituality for employed moms may be a place to start. In your case, there is an added amount of sacrifice that has to accompany your need to work outside of the home both upon yourself and your children. This is likewise very valuable, and not simply for wages. Offer it up.

You definitely have the chops to cobble together a valuable resource, just don’t get too “uppity” and forget your roots when you are a bestselling author. :thumbsup:

All my best . . .


#10

Geez - I’d never thought of that, although I have never read the resources you mention for SAHMs so I guess it wouldn’t have crossed my mind. I was a working mother when I had our first two children. I would have read something like that because I kind of floundered through it. I did have a few Mommies in my workplace that gave me tips on how to juggle - though - I remember finding their advice very valuable and was grateful for it. Go for it!


#11

It occured to me one day, while watching a woman on a TV program (I won’t say who) talk about the virtues of being a SAHM, that this woman was actually at work.:smiley:

Seriously, what you said above is correct. Unless you were rich enough not to have to work, and then you could hire another woman to do the work. :slight_smile:


#12

When I was in college I attended a Catholic Congress in Rome where they had a speaker from (I think) Norway talk about this very subject (well, it was the need of women, not specifically mothers, in the working world). She was a mother too, and she did cover that aspect of the subject. She was a political figure in her country, I wish I would have tried to see if there were notes somewhere of her talk or something.
I have read things related to women in the work-force, if I remember where I will post it here.


#13

Thanks, lifeisbeautiful! I’d love any information you are able to find. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one wondering about this.


#14

I agree. There is definately a need for this support in the Church.


#15

Wow, I am so glad to hear that there are other woman out there that feel as I do!

I have found the Catholic community to be greatly lacking in the area of mother and family support. Last night I looked up our parish online and counted all of their programs and ministries and out of about 31 of them, not a single one addressed the needs of mothers, parents, small children or special needs children. NOT A SINGLE ONE!!! What is up with that?? They provide a PREP class for the public schoolers (grades 1-6) and that is it.

I have been a full time employed mother, a SAHM and now I work part time. I can honestly say that SAHMs do not have it easy either. We feel a lot of isolation and also the responsibility to volunteer our time, which can be hard because I have 2 small kids at home and an older, special needs child. My mother died when I was 9 months pregnant with the first, so I have no help from my parents and I have relocated several times (same lack of support or networking in all parishes that we have been in). Any networking event or supportive services would be greatly welcomed.

I have also tried and tried, but have been unable to locate a Catholic daycare. My children have been in secular (wow, you should hear some of the stuff they learn there!!!) and Jewish daycares, but I would have preferred to send them to a Catholic one. Most Jewish synagogues and many protestant churches have some form of child care (high quality and affordable), but you would be hard pressed to find a Catholic one. I do not think it is because there is not a significant amount of working moms in the Catholic church either. Even our local Catholic school is a bit out of price for many. With a tuition of about $5000 per year per child, my three children would cost us $15,000 a year to give them a Catholic education. How many of us can afford that?

Why does the church today endorse this lifestyle, yet is seemingly blind to the needs of families? Are we (Catholics) just out of step with the modern world? Do we just attend mass and run out the door when it is over and forget our sense of community and fellowship? Or are we ambivalent to the needs of followers that do not have a specific needs, like the elderly or substance abusers? Perhaps, we lack the resources or the ingenuity? And best yet—why does this issue seem to be the white elephant in many of our churches?

Either way, the need is there.


#16

I love this idea!!! While I love my parish and parish school, it can be hard to be a working mom. All the activities and groups seem geared toward folks who are home all day.

It can make you feel like **** when you can never make anything “special” because 95% of the activities go on between 8am and 5pm. I can’t even take my kids to the vacation bible school, because I have to work.

They even have a “mothers” group, that meets Wed. at noon, pretty much rules out us working moms.

Especially in today’s economic climate, support for those women who must work is more important than ever. But I think that support for women who feel called to do their job, along with motherhood also need support. It can be overwhelming sometimes.

PM me if you need any help.


#17

Man, do I agree with this!!! I would have LOVED to send my children to Catholic school, but there was no way we could have afforded it!!! This is one of my “soapbox” issues - the Church has the funds for all of these other ministries, but NOT giving our children a Catholic education, which is a duty paramount to any other, IMHO!! It burns me up every year to get a form letter from the diocese asking me to help provide funds to give inner city children a Catholic education, when I can’t afford it myself!!! :mad:

I think a Catholic daycare would be awesome for mothers/families who need them!! And, yes, as wonderful as my parish is, it does not offer any spiritual/emotional support for Catholic working mothers. It may be, though, that meetings may be prohibitive - I know that would be the case for me. After work is just so busy that I don’t know if I would attend a meeting, unless it also involved Mass.


#18

Ten years ago our parish was lacking a mothers support group. One of my friends put an announcement in our bulletin to meet at a local park once a week. We now have an incredibly thriving organized group of close to 100 women. We formed sub groups for park or in home playdates. The working moms (and dads too) would all meet at a park or each others homes on Saturday mornings. They have formed a great bond.

We have had people complain that we don’t meet their needs, but most realize that if you have a need, with a little teamwork and God’s grace you can work it out.

I will pray for all your groups to be. :thumbsup:


#19

Yes, yes, and YES!

I am a ft working mom with a sahd husband and I often feel like the black sheep in the parish family. Which is funny, because at work I often feel like the black sheep for having so many kids and being “obviously Catholic” as one of my co-workers put it. :shrug:


#20

I’d like to say a big THANK YOU to all of you for your replies! Sorry I didn’t get back sooner, but the entire family got very sick last week and I haven’t had any time to hang out on the forums.

I’ve decided that I do want to do something for employed mothers, although it’s going to be slow in coming. I’m currently working full time pregnant and have lots of projects to do at home that just can’t be put off forever and . . . heck, y’all know what I’m talking about!

Anyways, my first step is going to be to do some research. So I’m off to post a thread asking for books, articles, links, etc. I’m going to be looking for any information about Catholic motherhood, since I think there are a lot of things SAHMs have already done that could be adapted for WOHMs, and since I believe that, in reality, the differences between SAHMs and WOHMs are exaggerated for the sake of media drama and slef-righteousness (on both sides).


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