"She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. ~ Proverbs 31:27-29
A full-page ad appeared in the "Career Women" section of the Denton, Texas, Record-Chronicle on March 29, 2000. The page was headlined, "Once upon a time...Women were housewives & mothers, but now we do it all!" I did not appreciate the implication that women who stay at home and take care of husband, house, and children do not work or are of less value than are "career women."
The headline is misleading. I am firmly convinced that, unless a "career woman" has an exceptionally flexible job and schedule, a very accommodating employer, and someone to care for her children who will bring them up exactly as she herself would (in which unlikely case she still is not actually bringing them up herself), she cannot "do it all"! Either her job will suffer, or else her home and children will suffer.
The Importance Of Teaching And Training Our Children
The future of our country depends on our teaching and training of these children right now - this task is critical. What more important "career" can one think of than that of nurturing, teaching, and training one's children (the next generation) in a secure, stable atmosphere, where discipline is administered with consistency and love?
Do I want my child to absorb someone else's values (anyone else's - even a "nice" person's) other than my own scripturally founded values? Remember, there would have been no Timothy without Lois and Eunice (2 Tim. 1:4–5). We who are mothers should remember that our children actually belong to God (in just as real a sense as Samuel did, 1 Sam. 1:1–26). God gave us the stewardship of their care, teaching, and training for a few years. What kind of "return" do we want to give back to God on His investment, when the days of our stewardship are completed and the child is mature? Should not we be "redeeming the time" against the day when our children are tested (Eph. 5:15–16)? We must be willing to pay whatever price it takes to "buy up" all the opportunities we can for preparing them for lives dedicated to the service of Christ, unto Whom we will give an account.
"Quality Time" Vs. "Quantity Time"?
The idea that one can spend "quality time" with one's children (and thus somehow compensate for the missing "quantity time") is pure hogwash. The need children have for the attention of parents cannot be put off until a "convenient" time. I have worked outside my home (after my children were older), and I know how exhausted I was when I reached home after a stressful day. Had there been children to care for in the evening, I would have seriously short-changed them. During some of those years of working outside my home, I also cared for a young grandchild - taking her to work with me (in fact, taking her everywhere I went!), then caring for her in the evening at home. I am sure she did not get the patience and attention she deserved, but I did the best I could. Patience is hard to come by under those circumstances (1 Cor. 13:4–5).
Are We Giving Our Children The "Leftovers"?
Jesus once asked: "If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone?" (Luke 11:11–12). These words apply with equal force to a mother's concerns for her children. When we give our children the "leftovers" after we have given our best to others all day, are we not, in effect, giving them a stone, a serpent, or a scorpion? Unless a "working mother" (is there any other kind?) can afford to hire help, her attention is pulled in many different directions; all those mundane chores at home have to be done or at least supervised. There will often be school activities in the evening requiring parents' attendance, and/or children needing assistance with homework.
Lack Of Proper Training Connected With Violence
Can we not see the connection between the epidemic of violence among children in recent years and the fact that so many children are being brought up, not by conscientious parents, but by day care employees? Those day care centers with which I have had acquaintance are overcrowded and shorthanded, and many of the employees are there (at minimum wage) because they cannot find any other work. To a large number of them, it is just a job - a means of getting a paycheck. They put in their eight hours and get away as soon as possible. While some of them might like to give the children time and love, they are spread too thinly to do so.
The Results Of Unsupervised Children
Even worse, many children are at home alone with unsupervised television after school, on holidays, and in summer. From this "electronic babysitter" they get an education in such negative traits as disrespect for adults, disregard for the property of others, filthy language, sexually immoral behavior, dishonesty and deceit, self-centeredness, materialism, "might makes right" - in short, survival of the loudest and most aggressive. I have also seen this principle demonstrated in more than one day care center: The loudest, strongest, and most aggressive children are the dominant ones. The atmosphere is often rowdy, un-controlled, and even physically dangerous.
Non-caring, Self-Centered Caregivers
What can we be thinking when we turn the care and training of our precious children over to the bullying and bad influence of undisciplined peers, to complete strangers (some of whom have been discovered to be pedophiles) or worse, to the entertainment industry? Some of the "educational" programs are almost as bad as those on the commercial stations because of what they teach both explicitly and implicitly (e. g., evolution). If a parent watches such educational programs with his or her children, one can point out errors and take advantage of opportunities to teach. A parent may then exercise proper judgment as to what programs should be "off limits."