Emily and Victoria just have one thing to say to this one: what exactly is wrong with sacrifice?
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Emily: I would first hit back with my own question: why is it considered noble to sacrifice family life for a career, but disdainful to sacrifice a career for one’s family?
We literally put a thing, or an idea above people. We’re fine with sacrifice, so long as it is noticed. The moment it is done in secret, as in the case of SAHM, we find it laughable. It’s the hypocrisy that is laughable.
But whether a woman devotes the majority of her time within the home, or divides it with a career, the most important question remains: am I doing what I was designed and called to do? So long as that is our goal, we’ll end up in a good place, even when it’s a struggle. Motherhood has as many expressions as there are women, which I simply attribute to the inexhaustible imagination of God.
Victoria: I had never considered sacrifice that way: public vs. hidden. Thank you for that insight.
Because I was struggling. Struggling to understand why some forms of sacrifice are celebrated by society and some forms of sacrifice are scoffed at. Working out is celebrated. Eating right is celebrated. Working hard is celebrated. Saving money is celebrated — but only if it’s for a big trip, a luxury item, fashion.
Maybe it’s that we like to sacrifice for things we can snap a picture and post on instagram? Or maybe that’s not quite it — I know my baby girl gets a lot of likes on Instagram (certainly more than I do, lol).
Maybe it’s better to say that society celebrates making sacrifices for things that are to **my** advantage. I work out so that *I* look better. I eat right so that *I* feel better. I work hard in my job so that *I* am powerful and wealthy.
And the SAHM…I stay home with my kids so that *they* can grow, thrive, live. Is that so wrong?
One thing I want to emphasize here is that women who work make a lot of sacrifices. There was a chunk of time during which I was a working mom. And I realized something — the narrative of a working mom is often of a powerful woman in heels who’s aloof from everything that has to do with family and children, and she’s loving it.
For a lot of moms, this isn’t the case. There are a lot of hidden sacrifices that don’t get emphasized so much. Missing that time with your kids. Fewer opportunities to just be with your husband. Less time to be involved with your community. Carrying the stress of work at home and the stress of home at work.
The point to be emphasized is — we’re all sacrificing.
Emily: Yes!! You hit it the nail on the head. Whether we work outside the home or inside the home, part-time or full time, every single decision we ever make is a trade off, a sacrifice.
Marrying my husband was a big yes to him, and a big no to every other man. Having children was a big yes to life, and a big no to anything that hindered my ability to love them.
I do want to call out the economic realities intertwined with this question. On the one hand, we have a cultural climate that dictates a dual income to maintain a certain material comfort as a moral good. Consumerism and materialism bear some blame for women not finding support or satisfaction when they decide to remain at home to raise their kids. On the other hand, living on one income is a sacrifice that fewer and fewer families can reasonably maintain for many reasons. Many women have to work outside the home to keep their households financially stable.
The Pew Research Center published a poll in 2013 that showed that most women’s ideal situation would be working part-time in the home when they had children. We can reasonably state then that the majority of women who work outside the home full time are not living their ideal situation, but one they may be forced into by circumstances. The solution should include a focus on promoting an economic system and corporate consciences that acknowledge the societal benefits of a husband and wife who put the good of their families above all else.
Victoria: That’s really interesting regarding the Pew Research Center poll. What strikes me from that is it seems like what most women want is to balance both worlds. To be an involved, present wife & mom, and to also join the workforce.
I want to affirm the best case scenario of this: where a mom is able to commit time to her passions outside the home and bring in extra income, while also being engaged in her child’s growth and development. I so celebrate the moms with the means and the self-discipline to make this happen.
But I personally got stuck in a bad scenario of this: when I was a newbie mom working part-time, sometimes the stresses of one of the two worlds became too much and would send the balance toppling down. I had to work really hard at it. Sacrificing my career, even in a part-time sense, brought me peace of mind.
Emily: Ah, see! That big yes to your baby girl meant a big no to the things that put a strain on you to the point that you couldn’t be what she needed and maintain balance for yourself.
The key word I want to pull from what you said is “peace.” That’s so huge! When I went back to work after I had my daughter, I lost my peace as well. I have a few friends who feel the opposite, that they lose their peace when they do not have work as an outlet. That interior peace or loss of it says everything.
I think another place this question comes from that we discussed somewhat with our degrees is the premise that women cannot be fulfilled at home as wives and mothers. The home is a place women need to liberated from, confinement is tantamount to slavery, and any woman who finds contentment within her four walls has Stockholm syndrome. I don’t want to dig too deep into the feminist drivel (since we’ll be tackling it later 😉 ), but it’s worth noting here.
I have no doubt that a large reason why more women do not stay home has to do with the fact that our modern rhetoric is steeped in these ideas. A mother who takes pride in her craft is seen as a thing to be pitied, only loving what she does because she’s never known differently, she’s uneducated, or her husband lords over her.
To any and all who hold that view, let this four-year-college-educated, former executive assistant, undisputed queen of her “lord’s” castle tell you – that’s a load of poppycock!