Originally published on August 24th, 2006 at Onward & Upward
Sometimes I feel like I’m doing everything wrong. I read blogs about women who feel strongly that their place is at home and not in an office, and I feel like I’m failing my husband in some way. I told him this past week that I wanted to quit working full-time, and he seemed really apprehensive. He knows me better than anyone else, and he knew what the issue was.
“Are you sure that’s what you want to do, or is it just peer pressure?”
Ah, yes, the blogs I’ve been reading. All these wonderful women who stay at home and do all these admirable things for their husbands. They have done everything right from the beginning – they have learned to cook and sew, they haven’t gone to college so of course no college debt, and they have married a man with a salary enough to support a family and they are able to stay at home. Now, just for the record, I think it’s great that so many women are able to do this! To be honest, I’m jealous. I want to stay at home, and I want my sole responsibilities to be cooking and cleaning. I want to greet my husband at the door with a kiss and dinner on the table. I want to go grocery shopping during the day, and not as an afterthought in the evenings.
But to be honest, it’s not where God has me right now. He led me down a path that included university and a career in graphic design – something I truly love and something that I can use for His glory. He also led me to marry a wonderful man with a good job. However, even though my school loans are minimal, his loans are not, and he can’t support both me and pay off his loans without me bringing in a steady income as well. That’s the truth of the situation, and that’s how it has to be – at least for right now.
Now, when I say I’m a career wife, I do have to clarify something. I do have a university degree and I am in a job where I utilize that degree. I make a good living and I love what I do there. However, my family is first and foremost. Right now, my family consists of my husband and two cats – and a 700 square foot apartment. The minute I am needed at home full-time, then I will be happy to quit work. I am not after climbing the corporate ladder, so I’m more focused right now on doing the job I really enjoy. I do plan on quitting when we have children, and I plan on doing freelance graphic design from home after that as I am able. Right now, we are putting 100% of my paycheck (after tithes, of course!) toward our student loans to relieve as much of that burden as possible before we have children. Because, to be honest, I’d rather stay home and have all day to perfect a homecooked meal. But that’s a goal for me to look forward to, and I need to be content with where God has me right now.
With the conveniences of our modern day and age, I believe it’s entirely possible for women to work full-time and have a happy marriage. Sure, some things have to be sacrificed – I don’t have time to bake my own bread or sew my own clothes, but I do have the money to give to missions and help others in need. Meals are not fancy and often out of a box, but I hate to cook anyways. There are so many benefits to staying home, and I honestly look forward to that. In the meantime, I am focusing on the benefits of working. I am able to sharpen my skills and knowledge in graphic design daily, using the company’s resources. If I didn’t work here, I would have to shell out the $1200 to buy the software myself. I have daily interaction with people, which is something I need, especially since I don’t have a lot of friends here. I have a lot of interactions with nonbelievers which is not only a great opportunity to witness, but I also get to hear their point of view which not only challenges me, but helps me to relate to them better. I get to dress professionally every day, which is something I enjoy. I am helping my husband by relieving some of the financial burden, which he appreciates and allows him to pursue opportunities that will help him ultimately in his career. Most satisfying, though, is the knowledge that with every paycheck, our debt is going down that much more!
Is it biblical to work? I believe God made every woman differently, and it would be wrong to put every woman in a box and tell her she must do this. He has blessed us with so many talents, and I think it’s a good thing to have Christian women in the workplace. Even the Proverbs 31 wife worked; she buys fields and uses her earnings to plant a vineyard (vs. 16), and she makes and sells garments (vs. 24). Some women I believe God created to be the homemakers. He’s given them a desire to be at home, and a gift for all things homey. Other women are created to use their gifts in the workplace. I think the most important thing is that a woman put her family first, and keep them first over her career. Some women find it very difficult to do a 40 hour workweek and keep their husbands first. Some have discovered that they are better able to do this by working from home or working only part time. Others can work in an office by day and run a home in the evenings – and still are serving their husbands. I think this is a decision that is between a woman, her husband, and God – through much prayer and weighing of the options.
As for me, I look forward for the day when I can work from home. But that’s not where God has me right now, and I have to be okay with that. I can’t let others’ convictions make me unhappy with where He’s put me. And that’s the hardest thing for me to learn.