My Heart

I would say that for the most part I tend to shy away from the serious issues on this blog.  All too often, I am guilty of trying to be Switzerland.  It prevents me from vocalizing my true opinions on issues about which I feel passionately.  I'm taking a chance here because something  has been weighing heavily on my heart and I need to put it out there.  As is customary when I venture into potentially controversial territory, here is my disclaimer:  This is what is on my heart.  I mean no offense to anyone.  And I sincerely mean that.

I was born with a natural inferiority complex.  No, I didn't put the wrong word in there.  I'm not sure if it's humility (which I'd consider to be a virtue) or if it's just insecurity (which is definitely a flaw).  I think it is part of the reason I have a hard time making new friends.  I automatically feel inferior to anyone I meet.  I'm flawed (or perhaps just a little bit crazy).  With my insecurity comes defensiveness.  They're like partners in crime, only they're partners in Jennie's character flaws.  I tend to feel a need to justify my choices, my actions, my decisions to everyone who differs from me, knowing full well that the only people that truly matter are me and my family.

And so here it goes.  I'm referring to one of the most recent and yet most primal "vs" matches in society; the stay at home mom vs. the work out of the home mom (and the work at home mom, a combination of sorts).

I will not debate which one is harder.  I will not refer to myself as a "working mom" because I find that term offensive.  I will not say that everyone should be one or the other.  I will not condemn anyone for their choice to stay at home or go into the workforce.

It's just that...lately...I've been feeling a little under attack for my choice to work outside of the home.  This is my feeble attempt to justify my decision to anyone who might not understand and to those who might judge me for it.

I do not consider myself to be a women's libber.  I do believe that there are certain roles for which each gender is better suited.  I believe we were built this way by God.  I do not think it's an inequality, but that men and women were created for different purposes to complement each other, and in turn build each other up and support each other.  I think that just as men are born with an innate desire to provide for their families, women (especially as they become mothers) are created in such a way that loving/caring for their their husband and children is their priority.

I can categorically say that, while I may be apart from my children during the day, aside from my Savior, my family is my priority.  I work because I feel like it makes me a better mother.  This is one of those abstract things that I'm not sure you can understand unless you're living it.  While I believe we were wired to love and care for our families, I think each of us has to find our own way to do so.  I work because when I come home at the end of the day, I have an overwhelming desire to spend time with my family, to revel in and soak up that time with them.  It makes our time together a joy rather than a burden.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my children are and feel loved. 

Our childcare provider isn't a babysitter; it is an extension of our family.  I defy you to tell me that I am letting someone else raise my children for me.  Of all the accusations against work out of the home moms, this one bothers me the most.  When looking for a daycare for our kids, we visited, toured, and interviewed countless places.  We didn't award the contract to the lowest bidder.  We prayed about it.  We felt lead.  And that is how we chose our extended family.  If, at any point, I felt that they were in conflict with my desires for my children, I know that I could pull them out.  Thankfully, I am completely at peace with our childcare provider.  They do an amazing job supporting our (the parent's) desires for our children.

In closing, I defer to Proverbs 31, the wife of noble character.  She is a model for all women; industrious, wise, loving, and one who does everything in her power to provide and care for her family.  We have the freedom to decide what is best for our circumstances. 

As a mother, I genuinely believe that our desire (as mothers) is to do the best we can for and by our children.  There is no rulebook, cookbook, or how-to book on the matter (actually there probably are lots of how-to books on this subject, but I digress).  If there is, it's irrelevant because no two mothers, fathers, and families are alike. 

My plea is this:  Be sensitive to mothers who make choices different from your own.  We are each unique.  And thank God for that.


CLewis said...

I totally agree! I am a stay at home mom but I completely respect and understand the decision to work outside of the home. At times I think this would be a better service to my own children as I tend to take for granted the time I have with them and end up seeing it as a chore.

I am glad you chose to write this and think you did so very eloquently. I too hate this debate to begin with because I don't think it should matter. It is up to each family individually to decide how God is calling us to live out our roles. It is so pointless to bash each others choices when the real focus should be that we are making the right decision for our own family.

Debbie said...

Aw, Jennie...Sitting here reading this, I was reminded of the countless times that I felt as if I had to defend my choice(s)just like you. It hurts. I have just about done it all since becoming a mother. I've worked full time, worked part time, and stayed home full time. No matter what, it seems that I am not "pleasing" someone.

I can't think of a single topic which causes women to lash out at each other more than this one. Sometimes, those claws and fangs are obvious. More often, they are a tad more subtle and condescending. I think those hurt even more.

I just try hard to feel some pity for those who poke that stick. I know in my heart that a truly contented woman doesn't feel threatened by the choices made by another.

Anonymous said...

Jennie, you just put into words how I feel. Thank you. (((hugs))) Heather

Cindy said...

Jennie, I love the way you write. You have a knack for being able to put you thoughts into wonderful words. I can't do that so I am so thankful for this post. You said exactly what I feel too.


Jennie said...

Thank you all for your comments. I am SO relieved that you could relate regardless of your perspective. It was hard to condense all of my heart into a few paragraphs, and there's still so much more I could say. I just think that being a mother is a tie that should bind, not a tie that should sever (and yeah, that's totally an oxymoron)!

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