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Mommy Wars: Are Homemakers More Holy?

A few months ago, I listened as a wise woman shared her practices of mothering with a group. She was helpful to me, a younger mother trying to figure out this still-new life.

But then she said something I haven’t been able to shake for months.

Her bright daughter, probably a pre-teen, had confided she wanted to become a neurosurgeon when she grew up. This struck me because it was my dream as a teenager, and had I only ever been encouraged to pursue it. 

And her mother’s response was: “Well, honey, those are good aspirations. But remember your first priority as a Christian woman will be staying home for your husband and children.”

Is this right? Is this biblical?

Are modern mothers who seek to follow Christ destined to be homemakers if they are following the will of God?

Are working mothers disobeying the Lord?

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There are enough “mommy wars” going on today, and I think this question has been a major contributor. The passage (in addition to Proverbs 31) that “homemakers-only” usually run to for back-up is Titus 2:3-5 :

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands,so that no one will malign the word of God.

But here’s the problem with using this passage to claim all mothers should stay home 100 percent of the time.

This Titus passage is speaking to Christians in a Hellenistic society—where the divisions of workplace and home that we have today were not the norm. Men hammered metal right outside their houses. They worked their fields—often with their women and children right beside them.

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Aubry Smith is a freelance writer and a stay-at-home mom to her two sons. She and her husband live in North Carolina.