In response to my last post, "The Economic Base of the Family," Janelle Hardy sent me the following joke:
The industrial revolution came and took the men from the home. Compulsory schooling came and took the children from the home. Feminism came and took the women from the home. And now...they are all out working to pay the mortgage so the dog can stay at home by himself.
But it's a good transition to our next post in the Practical Issues for Godly Women series. Last week, Boundless published an article from Heather Koerner about how she evaluated the decision to be a stay-at-home mother. What fascinated me about the piece is that she could speak both as a new mother and as a child who was often in daycare herself. As what's been called the "latch-key generation" becomes parents themselves, I think the "mommy wars" conversation is going to take on some interesting nuances. Here's an excerpt from her thoughtful article:
I can't tell you the exact moment I made the decision to be a stay-at-home mom.
I can remember a few of the moments that I acted on it — like when my husband and I started sacrificing for the "baby fund" or the day I handed in my resignation and said good-bye to almost 40 percent of our family income. But those were the action points, not the decision point.
I think that at different times in my life, I just started to know.
I'm sure it started in my own day care experience. After attending a group day care for much of my childhood, I took different jobs during my college breaks as a child care worker and nanny. Though most of my co-workers were nice, sweet ladies who tried to make the day pleasant for kids, I still began to see that there was something unique and special about a parent's love that a child care worker could never duplicate. Even with my one-on-one time as a nanny, I saw that, as much as I cared about my job, it was still that — a job.
But what about me, I would wonder. I'm a well-adjusted, productive member of society and I came through day care just fine. What's the problem?
I thought about that — hard. Then the answer came to me in three little words: in spite of. Day care had not made my childhood happy. My childhood was happy in spite of my time in day care. It was my parents' individual attention each night and on weekends that helped me to thrive. It wasn't that the days were always bad, but that my parents' love was always best.
I started to ask myself the hard questions: Who is going to raise my child someday? Will the nights and weekends be enough?
At times like that, I sometimes just longed for explicit biblical instruction. You know, some verse that would just settle the whole debate: "Thou shalt be a stay-at-home mom" or something like that.
Read the rest of "Why I'm at Home" on Boundless.org.
UPDATE: I have opened the comments function on this post.