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June 15, 2007

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Jennifer Cahalane

Yes, the guffaw is loud and clear! I have been a full-time homemaker WITHOUT children for the last year, and I can tell you, it IS a full-time job. When I was leaving my job days before I got married, many of my co-workers (mostly the gals) wondered what I would do all day, and joked that I would be shopping, eating, and watching TV. I did my best to tell them that I believed taking care of the home was a full-time job (not wanting to offend any of those who were married and/or mothers who chose a full-time career) and that I wanted to make this a priority before Patrick and I started a family. As I suspected, it is a full-time job. One of the things in your reply to the question for this post that I "amened" the loudest was the part about taking care of the private sphere, so that my husband and I could spend time together when he gets home from work. On days when I am not as productive or sick, he has more on his plate when he gets home, or perhaps on the weekend, and just "doing tasks" is not how you want to spend all of your time w/ your mate!

I also agree heartily w/ this statement: "Given all the administrative tasks of running a home--house maintenance, shopping, making medical appointments, tracking a budget, paying bills and taxes, cleaning, yard work, and more--it's clear this is at least a part-time job already, even without children!" I am still learning about all there is to manage our home, and I haven't even figured out decorating yet (help!). :o)

So grateful for your wise insights, and I hope this questioner is encouraged to work with her future husband in making decisions about their future together. God bless your ministry Carolyn!

Christen

As Carolyn wisely pointed out, there are many factors that can go into all of this for newly married couples. However, in response to Carolyn's statement: "As I said, I don't know all of your details, but if I were given the opportunity as a new bride to work part-time, I would take it."

I just have to say that, as a newly married young woman, I can't even say how helpful it has been for me to work part-time. It was not the most popular decision with my family (I'm sure this is a challenge for many of us) but I am my husband's helper, not my family's. When we got engaged, I hadn't even thought of working part-time, but God led my fiance (now husband) and I to this point at the same time one weekend, while we were apart! And the benefits of working part-time are worth it:

I'm able to care for the home and run errands while he works, making me more free to spend time with him and help him when he's home. I'm not exhausted at the end of the day. My mind and emotions are less taken up with work issues, and am more free to focus mentally on my husband. I don't feel anxious to get to bed early (particularly helpful with a husband who likes to stay up!) because I know I won't have to work all day the next day, but can rest if I really need to. In the time that I'm not working or caring for the home during the day, I'm free to spend time with and fellowship with friends and older women from church, who encourage me to grow as a woman and wife, thus helping my husband.

Like Carolyn said, there are definitely different factors for everyone, but I just wanted to say an "Amen!" to working part-time as a new wife if at all possible.

Jess A.

Being a full-time homemaker is truly counter-culture, but a job that I would not trade for anything. I was married 7 months ago and my husband and I made a cross country move so he could start a new job. He is an attorney, which requires long hours at the office. In order to serve him and allow more quality time to build our marriage, we decided that I would not get a job. The tasks of running our home are numerous and will continue to grow as we have just purchased our first home. It is indeed a full-time job, but one that I embrace with joy, as I have the opportunity to create a haven for my husband when he comes home from work. It has been a huge blessing for him to have me handle things like taxes, bills, home repairs, scheduling medical visits, cooking wonderful, healthy meals, and the list could go on. Having me handle all these responsibilities has allowed him to be more focused on his job and to excel in it. As newlyweds, we have had the time to build a strong foundation for our marriage that we would not have had if I was working. I have also had the time to build new relationships with women in my local church, which has benefitted me tremendously. I understand that many married women need to work, and I support that. But, for our situation, it has been better to have me at home as a full-time homemaker, and I rejoice when I see the fruit of our decision.

NM

Many married friends who I know have worked part-time and love it! I wanted to mention if you and your husband feel that working full-time is God's will for this season, God can provide a way for you to work full-time and still keep your husband and home a priority. Perhaps your company would be willing to be flexible with your hours? For example, I now work from 8:30-4:30 and eat lunch at my desk so I am able to get home an hour earlier than my husband to prepare dinner. Or perhaps you can take some extended time off after the wedding to set up your house? I was able to do this for about a month after I got married, I loved it! Hope those suggestions help :)

rh

I have a question along these lines. My fiance and I feel that it is important for the first year or two for me to work nearly full time. My husband will get home on all but one day of the week 2-3 hours earlier than I. Both of us have the goal of me being a stay at home mom, but both agree we need to be solid financially (read out of debt and have some significant savings, which we have budgeted out should be about 2 years) before we do this.
Are there any suggestions as to how to juggle working, being a homemaker, and still have plenty of time for my husband?

CFB

To RH's comment above: I work full time, take care of many of our household responsibilities, and my husband (who has a rotating schedule that doesn't always coincide with my regular 8-5 schedule) and I still do have plenty of time together. We simply set some priorities as an engaged couple on what things were most important to us. We go to small group Bible studies together, read together, play board games, take walks after dinner, and even do everyday, mundane household tasks together. The best adjustment we've made so far? Shutting off the television. After reading CJ Mahaney's "Living the Cross Centered Life" and John Piper's "Don't Waste Your Life" back to back, we were convicted the TV needed to go. Now we're using the time we have together more efficiently and don't "zombie out" in front of the tube each night. I also made the personal decision that I would "leave work at work" (sometimes easier said than done, but nevertheless done most of the time) and that has been a big helper too. I would love to work part-time so I could devote more time to cultivating our home, but we also are convicted that God wants me to stay home with children someday, so now I'm working to finish off the student loan and build up the savings/down payment for a house. These are some of the things that work for us...maybe you'll have a different list. Devoting yourself to glorifying God and praying for discernment about the decisions you and your future husband need to make will help the process greatly. Good luck and God bless from a newly-married bride (and bread-maker, if not -winner)

tj

I am an observer as I am single with no prospects of getting married in the near future but I would just like to throw in my observations as I have attended and participated in several weddings of close friends. DON'T WORK IF YOU DO NOT HAVE TO. If you do have to work only work partime adjusting to married life is hard enough. Allow yourself the freedom to adjust to your new role as a wife and to enjoy your husband. Many of my friends who are the around the same age as myself (mid 40's) and marrying for the first time have mentioned that the adjustment is HUGE!!!

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