Should a mother of a large family work outside of the home?

I still have schoolage children at home (six out of nine) and we are always struggling financially, to the point where we have to rely on charity for food at times. This has always been very humbling for me, but I’ve dealt with it so that I could stay at home with my children.

My husband works very hard as a social worker, but the salary has always been insufficient for our basic needs. That led us to borrowing for many years, just to make ends meet.

I now have an opportunity to work at a nursing home as a nurse’s aide on second shift, but I’m starting to feel uneasy about leaving the children alone. We have been doing without most of the “extras” that our present culture is accustomed to, but we would like the “luxury” of sending our kids to Catholic schools, for instance. Are we doubting God’s providence?

I would say it is God’s providence that has provided you with the opportunity. Please do not scruple over doing what you need to do to provide for your family. If it makes you feel better, remember that Pope Benedict XVI’s own mother worked outside the home at times during his childhood to make ends meet when his father’s retirement pension didn’t stretch far enough.

I do wonder though if you have considered asking your three children who now live independently if they could pitch in their help. Not only should you not be too proud to accept whatever monetary assistance they can provide, but they could also be asked to provide babysitting when you are working. Generations ago, this was considered a basic family responsibility. For example, in the Little House books, Laura Ingalls helped put her blind sister Mary through college and helped her parents support their family until she married.

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