Yesterday was my last day at my job. In fact, it was my last day of gainful employment for quite a while. You see, I resigned from a government job to stay at home and be a mom. This was a decision that both Beard and I made in hopes that it would benefit our family now and as it grows.
I have gotten all sorts of responses from this decision. Of course, living in the Bible Belt, there are many people who congratulate us on our new life change. Conservativism does tend to produce single-income households with mom at home (I know it doesn’t always, of course). But our decision did not come from our own values or desires, but rather our vision for a family.
As Christ-followers* my husband and I hope to grow a family of loving, God-centered children who go on to change people’s lives. Raising children like this does not happen by accident; it takes discipline and focus on the part of the parents. Throughout scripture, God commands us to teach our children His ways:
These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. (Deut. 6:6-9, HCSB)
God’s words in this passage are directed towards the Israelites after they received the ten commandments through Moses, but they are still very pertinent today. It is clear that God desires parents to spend ample time with their children in order to train and teach them His ways. For our family, we felt the best way to do this was to have one parent at home.
When our daughter was born in July, my husband was still finishing school, and I was the sole earner in the household. I had to return to work, which was most definitely the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. My husband cared for my daughter during the day and went to school at night, until the beginning of this year when he graduated and was hired by a local university. We both knew immediately what ultimate goal we had in mind, but we had to wait for the right time.
After a short waiting period for health benefits at my husband’s new job, I put a four-week notice in at my job.
To answer many questions here: Yes, I have a bachelor’s degree. Yes, I had started a career with the federal government. No, I had no student loans left to pay off (for my own degree). Yes, I had thought about this choice a lot.
But being a working mom simply wasn’t right for our family. We were all over-tired and cranky and spent little time with each other. I was not able to spend much time with my daughter while she was awake. I could see that maintaining that lifestyle would prevent me from being able to teach her and train her into a Godly young woman.
I am not naive enough to think that by staying at home I will solve all of our family problems. In fact, I know it will create some different issues. I do know, though, that I will have more time and opportunity to raise children that love and follow Christ. That is worth any of the challenges.
*The most controversial decision I’ve ever made was to surrender my life to Jesus Christ. Don’t believe me? Ask me about it sometime. 🙂