Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lament of a Working Mom

Part 2 – “A Call to Action”

          I don’t know why God has me working right now, but it must be for a reason.  That does not meant that I’m going to cease my petitions to stop working, but I guess it does mean that I need to change my perspective and overcome the grip of the guilt monster on my back.  I know that I am not the only Christian working mom (WM) in the world, even if I feel like it sometimes.  I also know there are plenty of other WMs out there like myself that feel like they must spend every waking moment outside of work with their child to make up for all the hours they are away from them during the week.  In addition to being guilt-ridden, the “culture” of a WM is a busy one – and it is often a scattered one, especially if there are multiple children involved.   WMs don’t take much time for themselves or their spouses, and sometimes even household chores suffer as a result.  We are expected to do all that non-working moms (NWMs) do in the home, plus work outside the home, all in the same amount of time.  Add a child who doesn’t sleep through the night more than once or twice per week, and you’ve just added “exhausted” to the list of adjectives describing the WM culture:  guilt-ridden, busy, scattered, non-social and possibly exhausted.  Thankfully, I have a husband that understands this and tries to help out in any way he can, as time permits.  However, I know that not all women are blessed in this way, and the majority of the housework rests with them.  Regardless of whether the brunt of the work is on your shoulders or not, you’re probably asking the following question, just like I am; that is, “But how did I get stuck in this position?”

We educated, Christian WMs are some of the products of the Feminist movement, the casualties that no one talks about – a generation of mothers with  conservative values that want to stay home to raise their kids, (at least for the developmental years prior to enrollment in school), but may not be able to for various reasons.  We are not like the discontent NWMs who helped Betty Friedan to pen The Feminine Mystique, thus triggering second-wave Feminism.  The NWMs that Friedan interviewed for her book were discontent because they had identity and self-worth issues; they felt an emptiness and desperation and thirst for something “unnamed” that being a prosperous wife and mother did not satisfy – in my opinion, they had a hunger (that still exists today) that only Christ can slake.  They were looking everywhere for fulfillment, except to Him. 

Regardless, the emptiness that fueled the second-wave Feminist movement in the 60s seems to have re-shaped the former private/public spheres into more of an oblong circle.  Now, most American women do not really think twice upon graduation from high school about going straight to college, and then from college to follow the career path that their education has prepped them for (and to pay off all of their sizeable school loans).  Very few enter, at least in my experience, straight from college into a marriage/full-time housewife situation in this day and age.  Unfortunately, as a result, many WMs are now reaping some of the consequences of our nation’s and foremothers’ sins.  The “victories” of Feminism in the last few decades (legal abortion, male/female equality, the entrance of females into formerly male occupations) have effectively taken numerous mothers outside of the home (private sphere) and into places of work (public sphere), leaving many an American child in the care of day care facilities, babysitters, or at home with little-to-no supervision.  And these so-called “victories” have also left several WMs, including myself, with new identity issues.  If we’re mothers, than what are we doing at work for double the amount of hours we spend mothering each day?  I highly doubt, for most WMs, that working outside the home provides the type of fulfillment that the NWMs in Friedan’s book were pining after.

Perhaps it’s time that we joined forces in prayer, if not simply to repent for our sins and the sins of those before us, then for one another and for our children and their futures and future ideologies.  We must stop these newer (and the older) consequences of the Feminist movement before they bring forth more pain and identity issues.  It is time that we redefine the mother’s role apart from Feminism’s overshadowing, whether we are WMs, NWMs, part timers, or future moms.  It all starts with making peace with God and then peace with each other.  God has placed each of us in specific situations according to His plan, just as He did with Esther - for “such a time as this”.  We cannot allow our jobs to cause us to sink into depression, allow guilt to render us useless, or just try to survive each day without any goals, aspirations or dreams to strive for - that’s exactly what the enemy wants.  A counter-revolution to Feminism has already begun (check it out -, but what we need to do is BE a revolution.


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