I do know moms who say they would go nuts if they stayed home full-time.
They need the stimulation of their work to balance out the daily grind of diapers and go-go-go of the younger years. Some moms wait until their kids start pre-school or kindergarten to start working part-time or full-time. What will make you a better mom? Your kids will feel your stress, so they need you to know what will work best for you.
Are my childcare options (if I do work) the best for my kids?
You need to scrutinize your babysitter for any odd behavior, and make sure he/she’s on-board with your parenting preferences.
If you’re choosing a daycare, pay attention to how your child responds to it. Some kids love daycare. My earliest memories are of dread because the daycare was too crowded, too noisy and there was this fat kid who hugged my neck the entire day. This was not a good environment for a kid like me, and it exhausted and sometimes even terrified me.
If your childcare isn’t working for your kids, consider changing it or coming home until they can handle the options you have.
Can we afford staying home?
It’s a rough economy for family life on one income.
The very same month the economy tanked was the month I found out I was pregnant with my first child. While we were in college living on a part-time job each. And then zero employment for the first three months of Breckon’s life.
There are often ways to make it work, but they may be very painful—and perhaps not worth it to your family. You may have to forgo nice cell phones or a roomier house or meat. We’ve always had only one car, set our thermostat on somewhat uncomfortable temperature and eaten a lot of beans and pasta. We find we like a simple life, and having a weaker attachment to “stuff” has made us move toward generosity.
(The book Miserly Moms was helpful to me in figuring out how to slash our budget down as much as possible, if you need something to start you out and give you ideas. Check your library.)
There are many options these days as workplaces finally begin to acknowledge the plight of working mothers. There is job-sharing, working from home, freelancing or part-timing. I know some fathers who are able to stay home while the mother works. You need to find what works for your family, your budget and your sanity.
In whatever you choose, are you serving the Lord well and managing His gifts to you?
Everything we do is supposed to glorify God—He cares about every piece of our lives.
If your job is making you dishonest, over-stressed or causing you to pass on the discipleship of your children to someone else (or ignoring it completely), then you have a problem.
If you’re staying home and ignoring your kids all day to do housework, or if you’re constantly ignoring all your work to play with your kids all day, then you have a problem. God gives us each a portion to steward, and we dishonor Him when we manage our lives poorly.
It’s hard to find balance sometimes, and there is grace for us as we navigate it.