Working While They are at School

Working While They are at School

Women have asked me if it’s okay to work once their children are in school. What does God’s Word have to say about this? God commands young women be keepers at home. Period. Children always need a full-time mother. I was a full-time teacher for the first two years of my oldest daughter’s life. I can tell you that I didn’t feel like I was a good teacher, a good mother, nor a good wife. We were never created to try to do it all.

There’s an article called The Workload is So Heavy, Teachers Struggle to Spend Quality Time With Their Own Kids. The entire article is about how difficult it is to balance working full time as a teacher and being a mother. It ends with telling women who are doing this that they are doing “an amazing job.” How do they know these mothers are doing an amazing job? They sure don’t feel like they are doing an amazing job by being spread so thin.

“I think sleep will make me a better teacher and a better mom, but then I don’t get enough done. I think a clean house and classroom will balance my equilibrium, but then other important things fall to the wayside. I think I need to step up my game as a teacher, but then my own kids suffer. I start to feel like I’m being a great parent but at work, my To-Do list remains with nothing crossed off.”

This is the internal struggle that most working mothers have. They feel guilty when they are at work and have to leave their own children for the day but then are exhausted at home with their children from working all day long. “Why does my teacher bag keep standing out in the corner of my eye as I’m standing in my kitchen? Why do I feel guilty that I didn’t get it all done today? Why do I feel guilty for pushing it off to tomorrow?” When she is at home, she feels guilty for what she didn’t do at work.

“When I’m at school, my kids’ picture catches my eye and I can’t wait to get home, but that often seems like a distant future beyond a mountain of my students’ wellbeing and papers to grade.” But when she’s at school, she feels guilty for not being with her children. Mothers are supposed to be with their children. They instinctively know this but our culture has convinced them from a young age that they are supposed to have careers and it’s okay to leave their children all day long.

Thus, we have mothers who are overwhelmed, overworked, exhausted, and feeling guilty most of the time. This is good? No, it’s not. One mother I knew who was a full-time teacher with children told me that being a teacher, a wife, and a mother was like running a marathon. No, thank you. Running a marathon has never appealed to me, especially a never ending marathon.

The money you make from your job of leaving your children in the care of others (including public or private schools) so you can care for other children or people is not worth it, women. God has not called you to do this. He has called you to love your children, teach them, and be a keeper at home. The husbands suffer, too, when women try to do and have it all. Marriages are falling apart all around us. Women weren’t created to be their boss’ help meet. They were called to be their husbands’ help meet and mother their own children.

Erika Komisar, a psychoanalyst, wrote, “Back in New York, one of my patients told me: ‘I feel pressured to leave my children and return to meaningful work.’ My response: What makes you believe that raising your children isn’t meaningful work?” Raising children full time is the most meaningful job you can have!

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Deuteronomy 6:7

19 thoughts on “Working While They are at School

  1. Exactly. That work-life struggle is caused by women torn by society to pursue careers and their conscience to not neglect their kids. Sad we’re in a world where many women are forced to work due to a society that expects women to support themselves and less men are willing to provide for a wife.

  2. My parents both worked full time. My mother was a middle school biology teacher. She even found teaching jobs in the summer so she only had a couple weeks of downtime throughout the year. I have a dark red birthmark that covers the entire left side of my forehead, eye, and temple. I was bullied mercilessly about it up until high school when I started hiding it with makeup. When I was a kid, I came home to an empty house every day and often came home crying because of the bullying. When my parents would get home from work hours later and I would try to talk to them about what was happening to me at school, my mom often said, “I’ve been dealing with kids all day and I’m not up to dealing with you.”

    I often wondered why my parents had me. My mom wasn’t there to deal with the bullying. She wasn’t there to help me when I was struggling with math. She wasn’t there when I started my period and bled through all my clothes, had cramps so bad that I could hardly stand up straight, and bled so much that I passed out. She sent me to school anyway. She just wasn’t there in general, and when she was at home she was often in a grouchy mood. I went to college and worked for awhile because this was what my parents expected me to do, but my husband and I agreed a few years ago that I could stay home and take care of the house and kids. My parents don’t understand my decision to drop out of the workforce. They talk about how I should be building my career. They expected me to only have one or two kids and then go back to work, but instead I had four. I am a big disappointment to them.

    1. It’s so wonderful that you learned from your experience to NOT do what your parents did, Kristi. Many, many children have felt the abandonment that you felt in your childhood and we wonder why our culture is in the mess that it is in. Your family will rise up and call you blessed for being there for them.

    2. Kristi, I’m so sorry for all that you went through. You have made a wonderful decision for your family by staying home for them. You are doing your grandchildren a favor, also. Your children will want to create the same sort of home that you have created. I hope you will feel strengthened and blessed today because you are walking in the will of God for your life.

  3. Amen Lori! I was a Kindergarten teacher for 5 years after marrying and graduating from college. I became pregnant with my first son in my first year of teaching, thus beginning a four year battle after he was born of trying to balance the very stressful demands of teaching with caring for my husband, child, and home. I missed my son and the opportunities to raise and train him. After God used some great friends to speak into our lives about homeschooling and guidance from the Lord, my husband and I decided that I would leave the school system and come home. Some of my co-workers thought I was crazy. But God requires our submission to Him, no matter what others say or think.

    We have been homeschooling now (3 children) for 11 years. Now I cannot imagine leaving my home to go to work. There are so many important moments I would miss as well as the opportunity to raise my children in the ways of the Lord. Teachers are beyond stressed with the unbelievable requirements on them. They deal with so much, not just in educational matters, but in the emotional baggage that children come to school with, most likely from broken homes with no Jesus. I thank God that my husband is a Godly man who knows where I am best serving the Lord and my family, which is at home. I pray for women to recognize the importance of their presence in their homes, teaching their children about Jesus!

    1. I agree, Charity. Teachers are extremely stressed with all that is required of them. It was like this for me over 34 years ago. I can’t even imagine what it is like now. Being at home is the best place for women to be!

  4. I live in a place most women work. There is ‘excellent’ childcare in my country which means they’re in free education from the age of 2.5 years. Why stop work for longer than the 4 month maternity leave they so generously give? You can even prolong it to 5 or 6 months if you’re nursing… Infant nurseries are paid according to income, sliding scale, with assured wages for the childcare. It sounds like heaven. I know some of the women providing childcare and they are lovely, maternal women… But if a woman never unpligs, only seeks to ‘organize well’ so she can juggle everyone’s expectations, and her own…

    How can she ever slow down enough to feel her desire to stop? To just rest. To be present without a thought of the next day’s obligations…? It makes for a lot of frazzled or self-righteous individuals. Families break up from stress…’ Why don’t YOU fold the laundry for once!?’ Affairs are a temptation. Women are robots full of loving words and timetables imbedded in their routines. You need regular vacations to make it work. Absenteeism is rampant. Burn out common for both sexes… And fewer families or women have babies. Or want them. Or plan to have them. Men are just sad or ready to take advantage of the increased money in the bank account.

    Most keep separate ones and split in percentages. ‘You make less so you pay the electricity, I’ll pay the mortgage.’ Super romantic, not. And the children are busy, in activities, busy, plugged into their peer group and antagonistic to parents… I spoke with one beautiful teen who told me she felt sad at times when her mother held consultations at home as a therapist, so she was out of reach down the hall. I agree with your post.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Lauren. I have women write to me and brag about all of their “free” stuff in the socialist countries. It’s not free. Someone is paying for it and it comes at a high price – high taxes and more government restrictions.

  5. Women can’t slave for two masters, they will love one and hate the other. Women can’t serve God and the world, it doesn’t work that way. A lady who is born again, serving the Spirit, must serve God in her home. It may mean a smaller home, an old used car, cheap meals, and giving up vacations, but serving the Lord is a sacrifice. If you have a roof over your head, some food in your stomach, and clothes on your back, your better off than half the planet already, so don’t despair. Have faith to see the blessings God will give you. I truly believe that the joy of a Godly home is worth far more than modern luxuries.

  6. I worked when my children were in preschool and elementary school. Not by my own choice, but at the request of my husband who did not approve of my being a homemaker once the children were in school. I took a job in their preschool working with young children. The job was only part-time with low pay and no benefits, but there was a lot of extra work involved–after school teacher meetings, working with the other teachers to develop lesson plans, cutting out things for activities and projects, keeping the classroom clean and free of allergy risks when we had students with severe allergies. When a parent dropped off a sick child (which happened several times per month), I often spent hours pushing the child in a stroller in order to ensure that the other kids did not catch it).

    By the time I picked up my kids from their classrooms, we were all worn out and it was only 2 p.m. While they napped after school, I tried to get the laundry, kitchen, and house in order and make a decent dinner. It got a little easier once they started elementary school, but now I had to run them to school and then head to work immediately or I would be late. Then I had to hurry home from work to meet the bus. After a few years of this, our family decided that this was not working well for anybody–I was not making enough money to actually make a difference, the house was neglected, I was less patient with my children because I spent so many hours caring for other people’s kids, and I was bringing work home every day and trying to get that done as well. In hindsight, I should have started a home based business no matter how small instead of taking a job.

    At least I would have had more control over my time and energy. The funny thing is that my husband’s income rose dramatically after I became a homemaker. He came home from work one day in the summer and said, “So many of my coworkers are bringing their kids to the office for the day that one of the meeting spaces is being used for the kids. And a lot of my coworkers are coming in late (had to drop kids off to camp) or leaving early (had to pick them up from camp). I am glad I don’t have to do this because you are at home with them.

  7. Staying home is not an option for me. I work 40 hours a week and I have next to nothing left when I pick up my kids. It’s not fair to them at all. I suspect that many working mothers are in the same position I am.

  8. Over the years of hearing classmates talk about coming to empty homes making their own food my sister and I started referring to our mom in private conversations as “the last lady”; referring to the fact that she wasn’t brainwashed with feminist ideas and while every woman her age had a career she was happy to raise us and serve our dad and when we were really young we only heard of classmates having working moms so we thought our mom was literally the last stay at home mother. Nothing in our society encourages traditional femininity.

    From the time you enter public school “girly” is used as insult, we are told to not wear skirts or dress feminine as those ideals are outdated and modern women want to look like men (even the idea of modern feminine clothing is a lie, leggings and a crop top don’t make you a lady), if you want to serve your husband you are automatically being abused, motherhood and being a wife is treated at best as optional and at worst, a prison and when women do have a husband and children they are neglected in favour of serving a soulless company and women wonder why they can’t find happiness.

  9. Thank you so much for your writing, Lori! It has helped me tremendously to find the courage to speak my truth–that feminism is NOT the answer and I am more fulfilled as a wife and mother than I ever was as a teacher, or law student, or undergraduate. I live in a very liberal area and you have inspired me to start writing my own blog so that I can have an outlet to speak the truth that the Holy Spirit has put in my heart. Thank you again for speaking yours.

  10. Dear Lori and Friends, Mom had to work, because Dad didn’t make enough to support their too-many kids. Mom was often tired and grouchy – uh, yeah, happens when overworked. Humans have a limited supply of patience. She didn’t have time to keep a home as tidy as she would have liked – and kids can only do so much (we did help). i was about 7 when i decided that being a mom AND working fool-time wasn’t worth the abuse – doubt if i was the only kid in the area that had about already made up my mind.

  11. As a teenager I wanted to be a high school teacher because I was raised to think that the wives of very rich men have the opportunity to be at home with their children after the age of 3. I met my husband in the last year of high school. After high school I studied at uni to become a teacher. I married at age 20 and got pregnant 5 months later. As Catholics we think that contraception is a grave sin and natural family planning is only acceptable when you have serious reason. Our priest said that finishing the uni can be a serious reason but we didn’t think so. Why marry when we can’t have children? For pleasure? Or the fancy white dress? We married and our first child was born 11 months later. I realized that I can be easily pregnant. My husband got promoted at work and the government gave more and more money when you have children (I live in Hungary).

    I realized that I’m able to be a sahm and I can’t be a good mom if I’m not a sahm. But I wanted to finish the school at least the bachelor degree. But when my son was 17 months old I got pregnant with his brother and quitted uni. Of course my non-Christian family was very angry (I was always The Smart Kid etc.) but my godly husband supported me. Now I’m the mother of 3 children (age 5, 3 and 1) at age 26. It can happend that I’ll become the mom of 10 at the age of 40, if it’s God plan. But if God doesn’t give us more children, I can’t imagine myself to work. There are so much work at home! And the children can be sick etc. when you are needed at home. In my country the schools are much more conservative than in the USA, we don’t homeschool. The kindergarden begins at age 3 but I asked for permission to have my children at home with me till the age of 4. And my son comes home after lunch (this means he is at kindergarten only till 12:45).

    When all of my children will be at school/kindergarten, I’ll use my forenoons to pray, clean, cook and bake. To make a warm home for my homecomers. I can’t imagine to waste that time for work outside the home if we’ll not need that financially. Now I always feel that I don’t have enough time for homemaking because of the kids at home and it’ll be nice to have that time to bless my house and my family with the work of my hands. Of course there are a few women in Hungary who’re at home when they don’t have children under 3. We are a poorer country than the USA. But I think that lot of women work only for luxury and because “everybody” do this. It’s the norm. But I think it’s bad for the whole family. I’m so grateful to God that He opened my eyes and gave a husband who supports me. Of course it’s not a walk in the park because I was raised to be a career woman, I was lazy, knew nothing about homemaking and childraising, and Satan try to tell me that I’m smarter to be a SAHM and have a more exciting and easier life, but in Jesus I know what’s the truth.

    And Lori, thank you too. I learn so much from you and from Debi Pearl whom book I found through your old blog. Created To Be His Help Meet and Preparing To Be A Help Meet are the best marriage books I’ve ever read (and I’ve read a lot!), and your blogs are in my favorites too!

    God bless you and your family!
    (And sorry for my English.:) )

  12. I have always worked while raising my children I’m often felt burnt-out tired and out of patience. But the truth is when I was home for about six weeks to two months I was very very unhappy. I thrive on being challenged outside of the home, having time away from the home and on being very very busy. I love working and am a better mom when I’m working.

    1. It doesn’t sound like you’re a better mom while working – “burnt-out and out of patience.” Your happiness is meaningless when compared to raising eternal souls (your children) who need you home full time raising them.

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