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Is it Better for Moms to Stay at Home?

  • Ruthie Gray Contributing Writer
  • 2019 24 Jun
Is it Better for Moms to Stay at Home?

How do you feel about the acronym,”SAHM?”  I must admit, the first time I read it I had no idea what it meant.  SAHM:  Stay At Home Mom.  

Back in the 50’s of June Cleaver, the little wifey retrieved hubby’s slippers upon his arrival from work.  Even though she’d been tending to kids, laundry, and household chores, she spruced herself up for his arrival.  By the 80’s, moms were wearing sweatpants and telling dad to get his butt home and help with the kids (I was one of those moms).

These days, many moms work full time, sometimes as breadwinners; most families garner supplemental incomes, thanks to mom.  Because let’s face it—the cost of living isn’t getting any cheaper.

The hot topic of the SAHM receives much debate. When my kids were growing up, I worked both in and outside of our home. But what is God’s desire for moms when it comes to the workforce?  

First (as with anything) let’s see what Scripture says on the subject.  

Three directives for moms from Scripture:

Love our people

“Train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled” (Titus 2:4-5).

The term, “Working at home” means to be about the business of managing our households well.

Help with household management

“Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well” (1 Timothy 3:11).

If our husbands are to manage the children and household well, they will need our faithful support.

Keep a respectful attitude

“Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external… but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:1-4). 

Even though times and customs have changed, these core teachings remain relevant. We wives are to be self-controlled, pure, submissive, loving to our husbands, and busy doing good.  We are to love our children and yes – be keepers of the home.

But in the 21st century, what does that look like?  Does it mean we can’t have “Mr. Moms”? Is it wrong for wives to be the breadwinners?

Three actions for the SAHM decision:

1. Submit - be of one mind

It’s hard to bow our will to another.  But if hubby isn’t on the same page, Scripture plainly says to submit.  It also says this won’t be easy for us – after all, it wasn’t for Eve (see Genesis 3:16)!  

We must make household decisions with our husbands.

2. Love our children

This comes easier for some than others.  Career women who become a SAHM may discover a fulfillment of maternal instincts.  But often, it becomes mundane and less desirable than thriving in the workforce.  

This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to go back to work.  I recall sometimes wishing I didn’t have to stay home with stubborn toddlers and sleepless babies.  But loving children means we invest our lives in them, even when they’re unlovely.  

Working outside the home because we can’t stand our children is a red flag.  Did God really give us children to let someone else raise them?  Whose values do they inhibit and who do they emulate?  

3. Manage our households well

I Timothy 3:11 implies that for the husband to do a thorough job of household management, he needs the wife’s support.  

If your husband wants you to work, discuss and pray together. A unified decision will be the most glorifying to God.  But sometimes the husband isn’t a believer – or sometimes, there is no husband.

Successful household management looks different for each family, and admittedly, we moms each have our weak points.  Maybe you’re not the best disciplinarian, but you’re a fantastic cook.  Work with your husband to find ways for balance.  Perhaps you held a job in finance, but your husband doesn’t want you to work.  Take charge of the family bills and possibly start a finance blog.  

I loved being a SAHM, but I also needed  hobbies of my own.  Selling cosmetics fits well with our family, providing financial support through the outlet I needed.  When our kids reached school age, I accepted a teaching position to help cover Christian school costs.  Later, we homeschooled to keep the budget under control.   

Family financial opportunities are endless, but we must first look to the ways of our households.  We need to love our people and make time to teach our children good values, seeking to cultivate fertile ground to grow their love for God.  We must communicate with our husbands, and submit when we don’t see eye to eye, allowing God’s work in our hearts (and theirs) in differences of opinion.

Is it better for moms to stay at home?  I think the better question is, “What is the most effective way for me to look to the ways of my household at this time?” As you prayerfully consider how best to accomplish this, keep these questions in mind:

Three questions to help you decide

  1. Can I look well to the ways of my household with this job?
  2. Am I submitting to my husband by keeping this job?
  3. Is love for my family the motivating factor for accepting this job?

Remember, we teach our children through our life choices.  We may not be the June Cleavers of the world, but we’re still in the business of raising families.  After all – we are raising the next generation, and our children will mimic our patterns. Ultimately, may our desire be to glorify God and “look well to the ways of our household” (Proverbs 31:27a).


Photo credit: Thinkstock

Ruthie Gray is a wife, Gigi, and mom of four (who lived to tell about it).  Since Ruthie’s passion is mentoring moms to find joy in motherhood, she provides weekly parenting advice through humor and practical application of Scripture at Ruthie Gray.Mom.  Ruthie is the author of Stepping Stones; 8 Mindsets for the mom who thinks she’s failing at motherhood, and  Count to Nine; 9 Liberating Steps for Mom Frustration and Anger.  Click to download her Wife and Mommy Survival Kit here.