What is the Church's stance on stay at home Mom's


#1

I am getting ready to have my 1st child here in a couple of months. We just bought our 1st house. We have decided that my wife will stay at home. I make a modest income but we are not rich by any means.

My mother is very bitter towards my wife because of this. She thinks she should get out and work herself because that is all she knew. Even though that would mean sticking teh child in daycare. It has become very ugly and no matter what I am talking about with my mother. The conversation always turns to this. My wife doesn’t even want to be around my family now because she feels like she is getting ganged up on and not to mention she is an evangelical Christian. My mother thinks that becuase of her Religion that is why she thinks that and if she were Catholic she would be out working.

What is the Church’s stance about this?? Please help this has been a very ugly deal. My family sometimes gets into business they should not be in. I’m trying to prove that the Church does press this issue as well.


#2

[/font]APOSTOLIC LETTER
[size=]MULIERIS DIGNITATEM[/size]


#3

[quote=uofl19]My mother thinks that becuase of her Religion that is why she thinks that and if she were Catholic she would be out working.
[/quote]

Mothers staying at home is ENTIRELY CONSISTENT with Catholic teaching. Parents are the primary educators of their children, and the family is a domestic church, and should conduct itself accordingly.

In his docuement Familaris Consortio Pope John Paul II had this to say about Women and Society:

  1. Without intending to deal with all the various aspects of the vast and complex theme of the relationships between women and society, and limiting these remarks to a few essential points, one cannot but observe that in the specific area of family life a widespread social and cultural tradition has considered women’s role to be exclusively that of wife and mother, without adequate access to public functions, which have generally been reserved for men. There is no doubt that the equal dignity and responsibility of men and women fully justifies women’s access to public functions. On the other hand the true advancement of women requires that clear recognition be given to the value of their maternal and family role, by comparison with all other public roles and all other professions. Furthermore, these roles and professions should be harmoniously combined, if we wish the evolution of society and culture to be truly and fully human. This will come about more easily if, in accordance with the wishes expressed by the Synod, a renewed “theology of work” can shed light upon and study in depth the meaning of work in the Christian life and determine the fundamental bond between work and the family, and therefore the original and irreplaceable meaning of work in the home and rearing children.66 Therefore the Church can and should help modern society by tirelessly insisting that the work of women in the home be recognized and respected by all i its irreplaceable value. This is of particular importance in education: for possible discrimination between the different types of work and professions is eliminated at its very root once it is clear that all people, in every area, are working with equal rights and equal responsibilities. The image of God in man and in woman will thus be seen with added lustre. While it must be recognized that women have the same right as men to perform various public functions society must be structured in such a way that wives and mothers are ‘not in practice compelled’ to work outside the home, and that their families can live and prosper in a dignified way even when they themselves devoted their full time to their own family. Furthermore, the mentality which honours women more for their work outside the home than for their work within the family must be overcome. This requires that men should truly esteem and love women with total respect for their personal dignity, and that society should create and develop conditions favouring work in the home. With due respect to the different vocations of men and women, the Church must in her own life promote as fair as possible their equality of rights and dignities: and this for the good of all, the family, the Church and society. But clearly all of this does not mean for women a renunciation of their femininity or an imitation of the male role, but the fullness of true feminine humanity which should be expressed in their activity, where in the family or outside of it, without disregarding the differen- ces of customs and cultures in this sphere.

In this document, seems pretty clear to me that we should elevate those wives and mother who “stay at home” and provide the heart of the domestic church. For good resources on this issue and the primary education of children in the home, as opposed to the delgation of the duty to others, read Mary Kay Clark’s Catholic Homeschooling, which contains excellent resources whether or not you would consider homeschooling.


#4

Your mother-in-law seems to be a victim of the 60s and 70s mentality that for a women to be valuable to society, she should be out there in the workplace. Nothing could be further from the truth, and younger people in increasing numbers are making the decision to have a parent at home to educate their children through their most impressionable years. My wife and I homeschooled two of our boys for a while and it was a good experience for all of us.

If she thinks it’s something that only Evangelicals do, direct her toward this website:
homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/religion/catholic.htm


#5

Thanks to all guys. Great responses and this does help. Fidel, it is actually MY OWN MOTHER who is very bitter towards my wife in wanting to stay home. She feels if you are not making 100K a year you might as well be on welfare. We have no debt but a house payment so we are not living above our means. I think it is because she did work and that is what she wanted to do. She actually also said too that “you need to use birth control” No Catholic abides by that rule anymore!! Again another, aspect where she is going against the Church because she thinks having kids costs too much money!!

She is my mom and she wants the best for me, I know but when do you say Mom, I CAN DO THIS!! w/ot her getting in a tussy about it. She has made my wife, like I said earlier, not want to be around my parents.


#6

[quote=uofl19]Thanks to all guys. Great responses and this does help. Fidel, it is actually MY OWN MOTHER who is very bitter towards my wife in wanting to stay home. She feels if you are not making 100K a year you might as well be on welfare. We have no debt but a house payment so we are not living above our means. I think it is because she did work and that is what she wanted to do. She actually also said too that “you need to use birth control” No Catholic abides by that rule anymore!! Again another, aspect where she is going against the Church because she thinks having kids costs too much money!!

She is my mom and she wants the best for me, I know but when do you say Mom, I CAN DO THIS!! w/ot her getting in a tussy about it. She has made my wife, like I said earlier, not want to be around my parents.
[/quote]

Sounds like she lived her life in selfishness rather than selflessness.


#7

I’m sure this is a difficult situation because it is your mom. However, you can explain youreself very charitably by explaining your personal reasons and the reasons of the Catholic Church, especially because your mom is Catholic. The Church has always and will always teach that artificial contraception is wrong. On a positive note, you might mention to her that the statistics are overwhelming that those couples who do not use contraception rarely get divorced. A lot of Catholics abide by this “rule.” As Catholics, we can not pick and choose which teachings we will accept and those we will denounce. Doing so would make us practical protestants. A good book that positively explains the theology of the body and answers a lot of FAQs regarding birth control is * Good News About Sex and Marriage* by Christopher West.

When all is said and done, you must do what is best for your family, regardless of what mom says. To me, it certainly sounds like you have your priorities straight.


#8

[quote=InstaurareSacra]I’m sure this is a difficult situation because it is your mom. However, you can explain youreself very charitably by explaining your personal reasons and the reasons of the Catholic Church, especially because your mom is Catholic. The Church has always and will always teach that artificial contraception is wrong. On a positive note, you might mention to her that the statistics are overwhelming that those couples who do not use contraception rarely get divorced. A lot of Catholics abide by this “rule.” As Catholics, we can not pick and choose which teachings we will accept and those we will denounce. Doing so would make us practical protestants. A good book that positively explains the theology of the body and answers a lot of FAQs regarding birth control is * Good News About Sex and Marriage* by Christopher West.

When all is said and done, you must do what is best for your family, regardless of what mom says. To me, it certainly sounds like you have your priorities straight.
[/quote]

Ditto - Tell her individual Catholics nor the Catholic Church do not have the authority to change Christ’s teachings. This usually stuns them into silence.


#9

The Catholic Family Handbook addresses this question in chapter eleven.

ewtn.com/library/FAMILY/FAMHNDBK.TXT

:slight_smile:


#10

[quote=uofl19]Thanks to all guys. Great responses and this does help. Fidel, it is actually MY OWN MOTHER who is very bitter towards my wife in wanting to stay home. She feels if you are not making 100K a year you might as well be on welfare. We have no debt but a house payment so we are not living above our means. I think it is because she did work and that is what she wanted to do. She actually also said too that “you need to use birth control” No Catholic abides by that rule anymore!! Again another, aspect where she is going against the Church because she thinks having kids costs too much money!!

She is my mom and she wants the best for me, I know but when do you say Mom, I CAN DO THIS!! w/ot her getting in a tussy about it. She has made my wife, like I said earlier, not want to be around my parents.
[/quote]

I get the feeling that your mother really means well. It seems that she doesn’t want to see your family suffer financially and thinks her advice will help. Hopefully you can help her to understand that the decisions you are making for your family are best for your family and aren’t necessarily the same decisions she made.

It may also be a great opportunity to witness the Catholic faith to someone who believes that no one truly lives the faith (i.e. uses artificial contraceptives).

God bless.


#11

[quote=uofl19]Thanks to all guys. Great responses and this does help. Fidel, it is actually MY OWN MOTHER who is very bitter towards my wife in wanting to stay home. She feels if you are not making 100K a year you might as well be on welfare. We have no debt but a house payment so we are not living above our means. I think it is because she did work and that is what she wanted to do. She actually also said too that “you need to use birth control” No Catholic abides by that rule anymore!! Again another, aspect where she is going against the Church because she thinks having kids costs too much money!!

She is my mom and she wants the best for me, I know but when do you say Mom, I CAN DO THIS!! w/ot her getting in a tussy about it. She has made my wife, like I said earlier, not want to be around my parents.
[/quote]

  1. I am a Catholic stay at home mom.
  2. My husband and I do not use contraception.

One way you might approach this is to point out to your mother that you want the very best for her grandchild, and the very best is not a lot of material things but a care-giver who will love your baby like her own child. That care-giver, of course, is your wife. Nobody will love your baby like his/her parents.

You might also point out that staying at home can be more financially feasible than she thinks. When I was considering returning to work after the birth of my first child, my husband and I added up all the expenses it would take for me to work (gas for the car, higher car insurance, clothes for work, daycare, putting the baby on a bottle instead of breastfeeding, disposable diapers instead of cloth, etc) and discovered I would have to work 4 days out of 5 just to pay for it all. Who wants to work 5 days for one day’s pay?

Then I discovered I could actually help our finances even more. I found a part-time job selling on eBay, so I can work at home. I also cook from scratch, saving us a lot of money on food. I do all the housework, so we don’t need to hire additional help. In other words, my husband provides most of the income, and I stem the outgo.

We are in terrific financial shape, and we have two kids who are well-behaved honor students.

If I were you, I’d put my foot down. Your wife and child come first, not pleasing your mother.


#12

Well said KC!

I agree that not only does the Catholic Church teach that there is dignity in women following their nature and nurturing their children, but that it is something we are meant to do.

UofL 19, I think it’s fantastic that you have figured out the importance of prioritizing your family even without the support of having seen it yourself while growing up. I’m sorry that your mom is so upset about the choices you are making, especially when they are the right, although more difficult, choices. I will pray for you that you manage to be the salt of the earth and light the world for your mother and others whom you meet.

God Bless to you and all husbands who support their wives in their primary vocation of motherhood.

CARose.


#13

UoFL19,

I’d like to offer the perspective of somebody in late middle age whose wife did stay home with the kids and whose kids are now just finishing the process of growing up.

First, since your mother raises the question of money, let’s talk about money. If your wife is going to work outside the home, she will need a bunch of formal outfits to wear to work. At home she can dress less formally and have fewer expensive clothes. With a baby, there will be childcare expenses; two decades ago, when we considered the matter, quality childcare could literally eat your checkbook. Then there is the matter of your wife’s getting to and from work, with the extra wear and tear on the car (or possibly a second car?). Finally, there is the additional expense of keeping the household running. When–not if, but when–your wife comes home from work too tired to fix dinner, you will be eating out. If your wife is a full-time homemaker and mother, she will learn things like which store has the best deals on what products and when. When my wife and I sat down to figure expenses, we calculated that by staying home she was saving the household more money than I was bringing in with my engineering PhD–not just more money than she would bring in by working, but more money than I was bringing in.

OK, with questions of money aside, let’s get to the really important stuff. If you work, and your wife works, who will be raising the kid? Somebody who doesn’t particularly love the kid (don’t get me wrong–I’m sure the daycare workers love kids in general, but NOBODY is going to replace a mother’s love), who doesn’t have a vested interest in how the kid turns out. You have eighteen short years in which to raise the kid and instill morals and education into him or her before he or she goes off into the world. Certainly I have no desire to denigrate working mothers (many of whom have no choice in the matter) and daycare centers, but stay-at-home mothers have definitely chosen the better part.

There is nothing that you or your wife will do with your lives that comes anywhere near the importance of raising your children well. Thirty years from now nobody is going to remember a thing I did at the office; fifty years from now the people at the company I work for won’t remember that I existed–if the company is still there at all. But fifty years from now my children will be telling stories about me to their grandchildren.

Finally, there is the question of wear and tear on your wife. Raising children and keeping a household running is a full-time job and is hard work. Asking her to work outside the home in addition to this is piling one burden on top of another. She deserves better than that.

  • Liberian

#14

[quote=uofl19]I am getting ready to have my 1st child here in a couple of months. We just bought our 1st house. We have decided that my wife will stay at home. I make a modest income but we are not rich by any means.

My mother is very bitter towards my wife because of this. She thinks she should get out and work herself because that is all she knew. Even though that would mean sticking teh child in daycare. It has become very ugly and no matter what I am talking about with my mother. The conversation always turns to this. My wife doesn’t even want to be around my family now because she feels like she is getting ganged up on and not to mention she is an evangelical Christian. My mother thinks that becuase of her Religion that is why she thinks that and if she were Catholic she would be out working.

What is the Church’s stance about this?? Please help this has been a very ugly deal. My family sometimes gets into business they should not be in. I’m trying to prove that the Church does press this issue as well.
[/quote]

The church strongly supports women who work at home, being a mother. It also strongly supports women who have a career (it recently canonized a woman doctor).

Tell your mother the shut her ?#%^|>% mouth. She had children and raised themn as she saw fit. Now it is your turn. If she doesn’t like it, tell her to have some more kids, or adopt some, and she can raise them any way she wants.

Either you support your wife, or you are in for some seriuos marital problems. If you can’t get your mother to be civil, tell her she, and her opinions are no longer welcome at your house, and she will not be welcome until she either changes her opinion or learns to keep it to herself.


#15

tell mom that if wifey goes back to work, grandma will be expected to babysit (for free), that will shut her up.


#16

“Mom, I appreciate your concern. I really do. But my wife and I are perfectly capable of making decisions together about what is best for our family. Surely you would not want us to burden you with the intimate details (like use of contraception or not) of our sacred union, just as I would never presume to ask you about your and Dad’s lovemaking.
Our first year of parenting will probably bring lots of lessons for us both, and may be the hardest thing either of us has ever done. Wouldn’t you want us to know that you’re in our corner, supporting us, rather than being critical of our choices? Thanks, Mom. I love you.” ((Big hug & kiss)).
“Oh, and Mom? This topic is now closed, period. We will not tolerate any more bitterness about this; we know how you feel and we’ll take that into consideration.
So, who wants to order pizza?”

uofl19~
I know you posted this in Apologetics & not Family Life…I hope you’ll forgive me for sidestepping the Church stance issue & zeroing in on the family dynamics. As a new wife, homeowner, and stay at home mom (in that order!) I would encourage you to step up tall and strong on this issue.

You can honor your father and mother and be the head of your family as well. Shift gears a little by worrying less about evangelizing the Church’s teaching to your family, and more about supporting your wife’s feelings and presenting as a united couple with her to your family.

When the baby comes, the three of you will be a LIVING witness to the Chuch’s teaching.

When the baby comes, it also sounds like you will still need to run some interference to help your family respect your new family’s privacy and boundaries.

Remember that your wife is probably extremely sensitive to these dynamics at this point in her gestation! Give her lots of long hugs, reassurance & support.

Congratulations on your Little One & on your new home!:blessyou:


#17

Guys, again thanks for all your support and opinions. I guess what made me think here is this.

In asking all of my buddies here at work who basically make the same salary the responses I got were. You’re NUTS!! It CAN’T Happen!!! That’s CRAZY!! You will be broke before you know it!! We live too high of a lifestyle and we don’t want to give that up so no way we could do that!! Can’t Afford it!! Unfortunately these are all people that have kids and are Catholic!! Not 1 of them have there wives stay home and them or there wives won’t allow it!! They think I’m some Bible Thumper letting my wife dictate the decision. This is basically teh same stance my Catholic family feels. They all work plus they make a lot of money and have a lot of material things.

On the flip side all of the Protestant people that I talk to think it is great!! The way it should be, you won’t regret it!! The best decision you will make. Including her family where not 1 of the women had worked a day and all the children are well behaved. All of the responses have been very positive while the Catholic statements have been very negative. I’m relieved to hear what you people think about this. Obviously I was beginning to doubt because in the back of my mind I knew it was the right thing to do, however when you hear all Catholic people telling you your Protestant wife is expecting you to take all the Financial Burden you begin to think hey maybe this isn’t fair!! I’m glad to hear there are plenty of Catholic women who have responded and said there is nothing wrong with it as well as men who have as well.

God Bless to you all!!


#18

My wife shared with me her elation when our children thanked her for staying home to be with them. That is what it’s all about!


#19

uofl19

Stick to your guns on this one. You are setting off on a course that will make the lives of your children far better for having their mother present while they are growing up. There is no way of promising perfection, but you are doing what it takes to give them their best shot at a healthy childhood.

God bless you, your wife and your child,

CARose


#20

[quote=puzzleannie]tell mom that if wifey goes back to work, grandma will be expected to babysit (for free), that will shut her up.
[/quote]

:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :dancing: :clapping:


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