As part of the modern feminist craze, the time-honored vocation of a stay-at-home mother tends to be looked down on by “progressive” people who seem to think that “traditional” equals “bad.”
On the opposite end of the dichotomy, many Christians urge all wives and mothers to stay in the home. However, to say that all mothers must stay at home is an overreaction and false.
The argument that all mothers should stay at home erroneously assumes that a one-size vocation fits all. On the contrary, each individual has a unique calling from God.
While many mothers are undoubtedly called to stay at home and care for their families, many others might be called to give glory to God in the workplace. No one can know for sure what another person’s vocation is.
It can be easy to criticize the lives of others and to say that we are just trying to uphold the sanctity of motherhood, but a Christian ought to be careful not to fall into meddling in the lives of others.
The path of every life is unique. That is part of the purpose of the Body of Christ — the members take on a variety of different roles that work towards the same goal of life in Christ.
It is true that women are called to specifically motherly virtues. However, living out a motherly calling can take many forms.
A woman might be called to be a mother to an entire classroom, as a teacher; she might be called to spread Christ’s loving care in a medical profession, in social work, in food service or in any number of career vocations.
It is as unfortunate as it is faulty that feminine virtues are often considered to be out of place in the secular world. Society needs women to live out their feminine calling not only in the home but in the world.
Even aside from an individual’s vocation, there are often financial reasons why a mother must work at a job outside the home. Especially when young couples are starting out with little in the bank, having two sources of income may be very beneficial.
By building up the family’s finances a little, this can even provide for the opportunity for the mother to stay at home later on. In short, there any number of perfectly legitimate financial reasons why a mother might work at least part time.
As another possibility, some personalities do far better in a more extended social setting. It may be almost necessary to a woman’s emotional wellbeing for her to have a routine that involves at least part-time work outside of the home. Especially under circumstances where the mother would be relatively isolated in the home, if the family lives in a rural area for example, she might greatly benefit from a job.
All people are made for human contact and relationships, and it may be unhealthy for some women to isolate themselves while their husbands are at work.
By no means should the vocation of a stay-at-home mother be taken lightly, or considered less important than other career paths. It is a particularly sacred calling that is central to Christian society.
However, no single vocation is fit for everyone, and it would be a mistake to deny the multitude of facets that a womanly vocation can have.