Friday, April 25, 2008

Please tell me what you think...

I have always believed that if John and Jane plan to marry (openness to life being a given), one of them but ideally Jane should plan (at such a time when God chooses to bless John and Jane with a baby) to answer the call to be Mommy and become the primary caregiver on a daily basis in their home for their children (with the full support of and in partnership with John).

As I'm sure you're all aware, God created us (women) uniquely from men in our mothering ability, and although dads are nurturing as well (DH is quite exemplary in this area I might add), we carry our children within our very bodies and give them life both in and out of the womb from the very cells in our bodies and if this physical evidence of our gifts of nurturing isn't adequate to convince anyone that a mom is usually what's best for her kids then there are psychological, sociological, and spiritual arguments that can be made as well.

But moving on to my point/question for all of you...

Besides monetary, are there any other 'good' reasons a mom could/should work outside the home and have her children cared for by someone else?

I personally feel that I (being already married and therefore not considering a religious vocation--at least so long as my husband is alive) can't get any higher call than the vocation of wife and mom, but I also think I might be able to fulfill this vocation better if I had more time out of the house. Perhaps a part time job working in my field (catechesis). But I don't know if it would be justified and if this desire is one I am supposed to crucify or consider. Which is why I am posing the question to you.

I am straight up the middle half extrovert, half introvert. Because of this I feel lonely and isolated from not enough contact with others (extrovert) AND overwhelmed from too much contact with my kids (introvert). I know these feelings are common for today's SAHM, and perhaps I am just supposed to continue to pray for the grace to overcome the sadness and anger I sometimes feel.

I do get out of the house several times a week for different activities both with children and without, but I don't want to be always going somewhere because I feel that it is important for my children to have a routine and a secure environment in which they can learn and grow instead of "this day this and that day that and the next day another thing". I think the balance I've got is fairly good, but somehow I am still struggling.

So now, if you all haven't given up on me, faithful and few readers, what do YOU think?

8 comments:

milkyknitter said...

Wow, Patty, i could have wrote this myself. I don't know if i have any answers though, as it is still something i am chewing on. I feel that God has also intended for me to be midwife as part of my vocation and i am struggling now with how to incorporate this into my life. I struggle with how to nurture myself and nourish my mind and soul so that i can best take care of my children, all while serving them selflessly. Tricky business!

Lisa said...

Patty, you are definitely not the only mother who asks this question. Somehow as mothers we feel as if we must sacrifice everything for our children. In many situations this is true. I am sure most moms would sacrifice their life for their kids, take their pain, etc. However, to comment on your question, to be a good mother I believe you must take care of yourself first at times. I believe to be a good mom you have to be selfish at times (Although we may feel guilty later for these simple pleasures, it can make us better mothers to our children.) I feel that if part-time work would make you more happy, than I believe you should seek that. Your children would want you to be happy and fulfilled. Patty, I struggle with these things too. That is why I work once a week sometimes. I need this balance in my life. You can't forget that you have a lot of God-given talents that God would want you to use as well.

Kate said...

I think if we're honest with ourselves then we all ask this question at least on occasion! I do not struggle with the decision to raise my own kids, but rather the balance to continue "raising myself" of sorts, too. Pat often encourages me to do something outside of the house, whether girls' nights, Adoration, something. I also think I would do well with a project and set aside "project time" eachweek, although i don't do that yet. I agree that we have to take care of ourselves, and if time outside of the home/away from kids is what it takes, then do it!

I beg God for the grace every day to feel fulfilled just in being home, but know that I do not fall short be seeking other little ways to continue to be a well-rounded individual. Good Luck!

Angela said...

Hi Patty--I am Kate's sis-in-law across the street. I am really enjoying your blog...you seem to write about everything I am thinking with the same dry humor that I find so funny! We now have two girls (2 and 7 mo) and I am currently working 32 hours a week. I struggle with the same question you have...to work or not, and if so, how much is right? I am truly envious of SAHMs but at the same time I like the lack of crying and tantrums that working brings. I hope you will check out my blog...I hope to post some in the near future about the work/home balance...is there even such a thing? All the best to your family! Angela

Patty Arnold said...

Thanks to all of you for your comments! I feel much better just knowing I am not alone! It has been helpful to know other moms struggle with the question of balance. I am starting to figure things out a little better (by the grace of God and with some time to think). Stay tuned...

Karen Mikols said...

Ugh ... I already have anxiety about balancing my life .... but I KNOW it will be a struggle with kids.

I enjoy personal outlets such as teaching CCD that Erik has NO involvement in. If we had kiddos, he could ideally spend some quality time one night a week .... I could feel like I was still involved at church (but not pigeonholed to a mom's group) ....

BUT I only have my cat, no kiddos .... so when you get the answers figured out, lemme know! :-)

simplemama said...

Patty, I realize this is very late to respond so not sure if you'll see it. Now I have to admit that your question puts the reader in a bit of corner. One one hand we want to give you the answer like most have to reasure you that yes you are normal and not alone! Your struggles are very real and normal. And it would also be slightly tempting to encourage you to go out and 'fulfill' yourself, since you probably are looking for someone to say it so that it will be ok. But, if a reader answers by saying: no, if there are absolutely no real financial needs to take time away from your primary vocation as mother/wife for paid work time, then she shouldn't, this reader may be exiled or dubbed 'judgmental to those who do' or unsympathetic or a prude or any of the above. So ultimately the decision has to be between you and your husband and God and it will a unique answer for you unlike anyone else's.
That said: I did a ton of outside work/volunteer time when Alaina was little and still a little with Nicholas. Looking back, I would absolutely love to have that time back. I have saved us more money now just by simplifying our lives than I did by working and complicating our lives. For me I discovered that I wasn't being fulfilled by my duties as mom and wife because I wasn't fulfilling them! (italics on them) instead of seeking for them to fulfill me.
Anyway, this is what I have found to work for me, God will guide you too and all of us!

simplemama said...

p.s. after I said all that, I did want to say that the Church will never say no to volunteers! Which of course still may put you in a decion-making stress with all the amounts of opportunities but still, somethings to consider