Mommy Musings: a bi-monthly series
Our cell group has just started a new bible study series called Parents & Children by Navpress. After the last few heavy-duty expository book studies to the tune of Genesis and Revelation, we decided a topical one would be a nice change.
Well. Turns out, it’s not any lighter. In fact I am beginning to realise how deep one could dive into God’s biblical model for parenting. I think for many of us, right now, we’re only skimming the surface! 😛
What I wanted to do on this blog though, was to start a bi-monthly series to share a particular insight from the parenting study. To kick off the series, and since it is Mother’s Day this weekend, I want to talk about something that is close to my heart – the challenges and implications of being a working mother.
Titus 2:4-5 “…train 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.”
Our first study focused on understanding that raising children is a God-given privilege. It requires thorough preparation, long-term commitment and lots of patience and diligence.
To identify the responsibilities of women to their families, we were pointed to Titus 2:4-5 as the guiding principle.
Now, another parenting book I read (John MacArthur’s What the Bible Says About Parenting) has this to infer from Titus 2:4-5. His opinion is that whilst men have the authority in the home, the women have the influence. And it is upon that basis that he believes mothers should not work, they should stay at home. To quote his written opinion…
“The independent working wife has become the primary symbol of woman’s rebellion against God’s order. These mothers, in effect, have abandoned the home. They have removed themselves from the oversight of “their own husbands,” and the are fighting for their independence in the workplace…
Having abandoned something as fundamental as God’s order for the home, how can they hope to find any parenting methodology that will be effective?
Mothers who want to be successful parents cannot forsake those tasks and expect the Lord’s blessing in their parenting. Being a mother is not a part-time task. The mom, even more than the dad, must be devoted to parenting full-time. The home is her domain.”
To be honest, when I read this I felt those were very strong words to use against working women.
- Firstly, I’m a rebel. Uh huh.
- Next, I have no hope to ever be an effective mother because whatever parenting methodology I adopt will come to naught.
- Thirdly, I should not expect God to bless my parenting or mothering efforts.
Hey, if I had a choice I would love to be a stay at home mum. No politics, no firefighting and freedom to organise my day as I see fit, not as dictated by someone else. Surrounded by little people who genuinely are interested in me for me, not for what I can do for them. Why ever not? 🙂
But present circumstances do not allow that, and I am sure this is the case for many working mothers out there who work not because they like to, but because they need to. Each is working to reach a point where they can finally call it a day and be home with their children.
Then someone in our cell group pointed out that this passage could equally be applied to fathers. The traditional view of “mommy staying home with the children so that daddy is the one that goes out to work and focuses on his career” also must be challenged in the light that God holds fathers equally responsible for putting their fatherly responsibilities above their own careers.
If you have been given the privilege of being a parent, then neither dad nor mom should put career first.
Perhaps MacArthur’s point is just that of the two, the wife is the one better positioned to stay at home.
However, at the very least, a mother who does; by necessity, spend 10 hours away from home, at work, should be able to draw some encouragement from the fact that as long as she sets clear expectations between herself and her boss about her priorities and the amount of time she will spend at work, after which is designated family time – and follows those principles – should not be judged to be necessarily putting career above family.
Being a mother is already a tough role. I do believe that a majority of working mothers are trying to do their best, within their capabilities, for their family. If one is being prevailed upon to work due to the circumstances of the moment, at least one should not have to be further discouraged in such a sweeping manner.
Personally, I have trouble reconciling that God would place NO married women whatsoever in the marketplace. To me, that would appear to somewhat limit the diversity of backgrounds and experiences that His people bring to be His salt and light in the industries they are placed in.
But those are just my thoughts, for this present season in my life.
What are your thoughts on the matter?