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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Guest Post: The Working Mother

Have something to say? Anyone can submit a guest post to Modern Mormon Men. Just send us an email with your post, a post title and a paragraph of introduction (on yourself).

Carrie Stroud is practically perfect in every way. But on the rare occasion that she is not, you will still find her reaching into that suitcase, hoping an ornate potted plant will come out. You can find more of her at her blog  All That Is Sweet In Life ... where a little bit of salty is mixed in there, too. You can read Carrie's first guest post here.

For the past three years I have been the sole financial provider for my family. We made the decision for my husband to go back to school for his Master's Degree and now that he has finished he is starting his own business, so I still remain the provider for now. Basically, I support him and our family ... support in every definition of the word.

You see, my husband and I feel that it is OKAY for the Mother to work outside the home. But sometimes, within our Church, it is still viewed as the wrong way to do things.

I cannot lie and say that I am happy about my role all the time and that I don't desire to be home with my children, but I also cannot help but feel grateful that we are able to be in our current situation. The idea that I can take away the stress of him having to go to school and work at the same time is an awesome blessing. And in our case now, my working is giving him the opportunity to begin a business that he might not have otherwise been able to do.

By no means do I want to belittle homes that function with the husband as the sole income provider even in difficult circumstances. In fact, when we married and started our family that we did just that. He worked full-time and went to school full-time so I could be home with our new baby ... but it was extremely stressful and hard on him. So why, if we have the choice, would we want to do that again? Why wouldn't it be okay for me to step up as the wife and handle things financially so that in the end he can provide for us in a better way? Why must we be told the "man of the house" should let his wife stay home regardless of the possible financial strain and stress he would have? Must a man be made to feel that kind of pressure?

I think that within the Church there is often a stigma attached to the Mother working while the Father does not. It is TRUE that we are counseled to do everything in our power to have the Mother remain home to rear her children while the Father provides. In fact, here is a page full of counsel saying such. It has always been a bit uncomfortable for my husband to announce to people at church that his wife works while he doesn't. For awhile there was always justification that he was in school and people would nod their heads somewhat in understanding, but frankly, it bothers us that he has sometimes been frowned down upon for the choice we have made. We often joke that I am his "Sugar Mama" which sometimes eases the pressure put on by himself and others, but even in a modern world, awkward emotions can be felt.

However, interestingly enough, the equality in both parents supporting the family is not a new and modern train of thought. In an article written by Jan Underwood Pinborough she writes, "The temporal welfare of the family is another responsibility that men and women share. From the beginning, women have worked to help support their families. After Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden, “Adam began to till the earth, and to have dominion over all the beasts of the field, and to eat his bread by the sweat of his brow, as … the Lord had commanded him. And Eve, also, his wife, did labor with him.” (Moses 5:1)

That definition of labor can be applied in many different ways. My husband and I both work together equally to accept the responsibility of maintaining the household and making our children and family the priority. If that is our main focus, does it matter who brings home the bacon? I don't believe so.

Our individual life has taught me a lesson about the balance of roles within our family that I would not have learned otherwise. Every situation and family choice is different. I don't believe there is a right or wrong way to do things - but I do believe there is a right way for US. Perhaps that does not fit the mold or lie in accordance with some Church counsel that is given. However, I can tell you that I believe God created the opportunity for me to have the job that I am doing in order to support my husband and financially provide for our family at this time. And in the end, that personal revelation is what matters most.

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