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Monday, July 26, 2010

Working Moms v. Stay At Home – I Need Your Input!

Mother on Computer Next to Baby

When I wrote Chasing Superwoman, I really didn’t intend to start a debate between stay-at-home moms and working moms.  But in some circles, that’s exactly what happened. 

Given that there are already a host of Christian books directed to stay-at-home mothers, I had intended to provide encouragement (and a bit of humor) to moms who work outside the home --- moms who feel like they don’t have much of a spiritual voice inside the church.  But the issue of who has it harder – stay-at-home moms or working moms – seems to have taken center stage.

The good news?  It started a dialogue.  So much that I need your help.  I mean really need your help. 

I’ve been asked to write an article in HomeLife magazine about how the church can better bridge the gap between stay-at-home moms and working moms.  No easy task!  Sure, I have my ideas about the subject, but I could really use your input. 

Please send me your candid (and brilliant) comments!  I have about a month to write the article.  If you’d rather email your comments confidentially, send them to sdimickele@gmail.com.

Yes, guys are welcome to comment too!

17 comments:

Heidiopia said...

Ok, this is a BIG question! I'll have to get back to you after I'd had time to mull it over...I know there's scripture that would be helpful to focus on.

Miss. Candy said...

I did something similar a year ago and it started a huge debate as well! I wrote about what my life would be like if I suddenly become a stay at home mom and the reasons that I do work. Wow, did it ever cause issues! It was just a funny thing for me! Good luck with this project!!!

Jennie said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. Wow...where to start on this topic! I will try to put down some thoughts and shoot them your way. I think you are doing a great thing - there is most definitely a gap. And I do feel that I often don't have a voice, or at the very least, am viewed as an inferior mother. Thanks for tackling the subject!

Laura said...

This was HUGE when my boys were little, but I really thought it had subsided some! Interesting.

I'll see if I can come up with any relevant thoughts.

MyJourneyBack said...

I am about 3/4 through with your book. I just received it for a review and well I really am enjoying it! I was putting a teaser on my blog and googled it and found your blog so wanted to say hi. I did notice there is some hoop lah going on. I hope my review will help disspell some narrow mindedness. I'll be back for sure. I hope your week is Blessed.
Sherry

Susan DiMickele said...

Thanks ladies. Very much appreciate your thoughts and experiences. I am not the expert here -- these are very tough but important issues. Appreciate the dialogue.

Amy Sullivan said...

So I have the best of both worlds because I just started working part-time, but one thing I can think of right off the top of my head is this-

If the church really wants to bridge the gap between working moms and stay at home moms than more events and activities have to be scheduled that fit both schedules.

When I worked full time, I longed for a play group, but who wants to play at 5:30 at night? No one, and especially not my daughter! All of the "mom" groups met during the weekday mornings. I would have loved to be a part of a Moms In Touch group that prayed for teachers, but they all met during the day. MOPS? Sure, but there weren't any evening or weekend meetings. Fun Moms Day Out lunches? Yes! I like days out and I like eating. Oh wait, that's only on Thursdays at noon? Never mind.

I really struggled, and wanted support, but felt as if my choice to work translated into me not being included...ouch!

I'm sure part of that was my own perception, but wow, that was very real for me.

Graceful said...

I'm with Amy -- as a part-timer, I have the best of both worlds. And I agree with her...most churches host groups and activities for stay-at-home moms during daytime hours. When I had my first-born, I stayed home with him the first year -- that's how I got connected with The Mom's Club that met a church in town. But when I went back to work, I wasn't able to attend many of the meetings and activities that took place in the mornings.

That said, I don't know for sure what role the church really has in this issue. I think it simply comes down to the basic message: love God, love your neighbor. And that means empathizing with both sides, having compassion for the hardships of both working moms and stay-at-home moms. It's easy to point fingers -- it's easy to think, "I have it so much harder than she does." I know, I've had those thoughts myself, more than once. But if I think about Jesus' message of love, it's hard to keep finger-pointing. He tells me I need to be open and empathetic to the struggles of all women.

The more I write here, the more I think perhaps a dialogue is needed between the groups -- and maybe that's where the church can step in. Perhaps this would be a topic for discussion at a women's conference or retreat -- my church has a day-long conference each year with featured topics/speakers on a particular issue -- I think this would be a good topic to consider!

Blah blah blah...this is so rambling! I should have put together a more concise email...but I don't have time -- I have to go to work! :)

Joyful Juggler said...

Here's my two main suggestions:

First, the leadership of the church must support working mothers (WM). So many religious leaders don't believe that a woman should work outside the home, and that message is constantly proclaimed from national christian family ministries. On the local church level, the leadership can help negate this common message by doing some teaching on the value of WMs. When my first child was young, and I was really struggling with being a WM, my pastor did a Mother's Day message on WMs that did so much to heal the wounds that these national ministries had caused with their judgmental attitudes toward mothers who work. Knowing that he supported me helped tremendously.

Second, create a women's ministry that focuses on building community with all the women (mothers or not, though of course most will be mothers) in the church. This has the effect of ministering to both WMs and SAHMs, who through conversations at events will find that they have more in common with each other than they may realize.

One tip I read recently was to have WMs reach out to SAHMs, and vice versa, by having WMs offer to run an errand for the SAHM during lunch and have the SAHM offer to cook dinner for the WM's family if WM had to work late. It's a great idea to provide ministry to one another and build each other up. I've yet to try it but this reminds me I need to.

One last thing: I'm so blessed that I attend a church where my friends were my friends before we all had kids. It has made us all much more understanding of the different paths we've chosen and we are not judgmental.

Rachel M. said...

Nice to meet you too! Your blog looks interesting and I'll be back to dig further when I'm not so busy giving birth! LOL

One quick thought I'd like to elaborate on later - pls remind me if I get too caught up in baby fog - is that I work full time and my husband is the stay at home dad. This is not directly encouraged by the Christian church but neither has anyone come out and challenged us on it - it's more of a quiet challenge in areas like how can he be head of the home when I'm the main income earner? did we go wrong when he focused on my career instead of his own which lead to me earning a much higher salary and thus the most logical solution to continue working and he stay home? Regardless it's our life and not an easy one to do a role reversal at this point so we might as well make the best of it and be the best role models for this lifestyle. Not sure if this is an angle you are directly looking to explore of a working mom who happens to be the main income earner VS the stay at home mom but it's one of the pressure points of being a working mom.

Rachel M. said...

I also have to agree with Joyful Juggler's comments. I've heard over the years that I should give up work and be a stay at home mom, just walk away and let God provide. It's not that easy with bills, a mortgage, responsibilities etc. The first church that offers my husband a job that equals my pay would get us to reconsider our position and I'd be open to switching roles. Until then, I have to make this work and agree it would be nicer to be supported.

Liza's Eyeview said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. As you know, I sure have something to say about this topic. Will be back for comments on that. Yep, I gotta run and so some Mom stuff b4 kids wake up for school. Yep, mom working outside of home .. always hectic...

Aloha,
Liza

P.S. funny, I just saw the word verification for me right now in this comment, and it fits me well: rushin'

Charming's Mama said...

I think whether you are a SAHM or a WM both feel under appreciated at times and made to feel inadequate, whether its being made to feel as though by staying at home you are not contributing to the financial well being of the family, or by working, being made to feel that you are neglecting your kids and sometime both feel some envy of the other. "The grass is always greener. . ." syndrome.

I used to be a part of a group at church for Moms but most of the women returned to work and that left only two of us. I really miss it.

Jennie said...

I think it's important to note that the Bible does not prohibit a woman from working outside of the home. In fact, if you consider the wife of noble character in Proverbs 31, it even condones it. She does so very much more than stay at home with her children. She takes care of her family through one of her most emphasized traits - industriousness, which can and does include working out of the home.

When pastors preach from the pulpit that a woman is wrong for working, it can cause *huge* problems (and it's simply just not biblical). This is one of the most critical things to help bridge the gap, is to stop breeding animosity.

Both sides need to be sensitive to the other by recognizing the commonalities, and de-emphasizing the differences. We are all moms. We are all doing our best. We all would *love* time to hang out and fellowship with each other. Obviously, I don't expect the church to make plans for me as a working mom since I'm clearly a minority, but it would be nice to be considered. Maybe every fifth event could be done in the evening or on a weekend, instead of on a weekday morning.

I've really enjoyed reading everyone's comments.

Joyful Jugglers, I LOVE the idea of WOHMs and SAHMs ministering to each other. That's so awesome.

Susan DiMickele said...

So excited to have all your comments -- keep them coming! Now, I just have to write that article.....

mom22gifts said...

I say the best way to bring people together is to focus on what they have in common. The kids. I am as stay-at-home as you can get. I don't work out of the home, I volunteer where I can, I homeschool our children; however, I related to so many things in your book because they were about being a mom, not a working mom, just a mom. Focus on what the children need and the moms will come, working or stat-at-home. We all want the best for your children. We may get together and find out that we have so much more in common.

Abe said...

May it be stay-at-home moms or working moms, the responsibility of near-perfect homemaking should be the primary consideration. There will always challenges for both stay-at-home moms or working moms, although not the same in magnitude and effects at home. It's just a matter of being versatile or resilient, just like my hardworking aunt who is a supervisor in a prominent call center company in our place.