Tuesday, August 16, 2016

What About Working Part Time?

Women frequently ask me if it is alright for them to work part time. It's not my decision to make. It is between them and their husband but I know I never wanted to be away from my children part time and I am sure if children had a say in it, they would vote to have their mother with them full time. I wanted to be the one nurturing, disciplining, and training my children. There are also women who desperately want to stay home but are not sure how to reason respectfully with their husbands about it. Holly made this comment on my blog the other day ~

I was recently introduced to your blog and I find myself here everyday! It is such an uplifting place to come when the world tries to beat me down! Thank you for teaching the truth. I noticed Anna's comments about not going to college. I must say she was wiser than me. I went to college because that was expected of me. I didn't know what I wanted and wasted thousands! I was stuck in a job that didn't acknowledge my "education." I married young and worked part time due to my husband's wishes. After having our first child, God granted me with wisdom on how to approach my husband to allow me to stay home as working just two days per week with a child was literally harming our family. I would love to share my story somehow to hopefully help or encourage other women. Now, being a wife and mother my life is fulfilled and not a waste. We are functioning as God intended and we are so blessed; not by riches, but by each other and our family has grown larger. You're teaching and I'm learning. Please keep going!

I wrote her back and told her I would love to hear her story so she sent it to me!

There was a time I was greatly mistaken and assumed the gospel could mix with what the world whispered in my ear. So many Christian women appeared successful following the "prosperity gospel." It was a mistake to expect the Lord to shower blessings and success upon me based on a false perception of my so-called goodness and deeds. After high school I unwisely set off, wasted money on college and had no choice but to settle on a job that paid well. My husband had been a blessing from the Lord since I met him as a young girl.

My husband and I agreed I would work part-time, which was okay until I became pregnant. Imagine the heartbreak when my husband stated he needed me to work part time "just in case" because we had a mortgage and two auto loans. I felt confused because he never asked for a dime to meet payments and he already provided well. In hindsight, he lacked confidence and viewed my little income as security because he grew up with a working mother. To work I went, but only two days per week, both days working ten plus hours.

My parents joyfully watched over our son the days I worked. I lied to myself hoping for comfort. I had the best of both worlds; I worked and stayed home, therefore nobody could criticize me because I was still classified as a working mom, absent from my son minimal days per week and he was spared from a horrid daycare. If only it were that simple.

I found myself thinking of my son while at work and thinking of work while home. I was in constant mental anguish as my mind could never rest. I became impatient with waiting and pleading for my husband's permission to stay home. Impatience turned into resentment, and resentment into disrespect. After each long day, I was met at the door with questions about dinner and it became too easy to waste money on unhealthy take-out meals.

Soon everything turned into a comparison: his money, my money, his time, my time, who worked harder, who survived the roughest day, who woke up earlier and who did the most around the house. We each spoke about our day but neither one listened. I avoided making our house a home as a subconscious retaliation. I hardheartedly cleaned but no love or service went into it. The mere thought of picking up my husband's clothes off the floor or throwing away an item left on the counter was infuriating enough. I wasn't getting may way and I let my husband know it!

When my son was about eighteen months old, I had a really hard day at work. While my son napped I broke down and cried. For the first time, I told God it wasn't in me to work anymore. I didn't like who I had become and knew I was not treating the man God blessed me with right. Unlike what the women of the world told me, I didn't have it all - I was missing it all! In that moment of desperation, I was quiet enough to know what God had been trying to tell me. It's difficult to describe. God didn't speak through my heart like I assumed he would. It was in the form of a gut feeling that never left. It had always been there, so quiet, so soft; it had been far too easy to ignore. I knew then what had to be done. I had to stop being so self-centered and prideful. I had to have faith and tend to my husband's needs first and foremost.

I stayed up late into the night crunching numbers. It was astounding to discover how much it cost me to work even without daycare; I earned pennies per hour. Within the week, my son and I visited several banks. I drained my hoarded savings and paid off both auto loans. I released the small remnant of money into our joint account and under my husband's care. For a moment a feeling of helplessness and dependency overwhelmed me, but looking at my son gave me strength. We went home to wrap the loan payoff receipts inside a small gift box. It was the longest afternoon of my life waiting for my husband's arrival home. I tried not to worry as thoughts of him appreciating the gesture but still requesting me to work flashed through my mind. What would I do then?

The time came and our son gave Daddy the box. My husband chuckled thinking it was a homemade gift. He ruffled our son’s hair and opened the box. His charming smile faded and a serious look crossed his face as he studied the papers. A brief look of confusion flashed in his eyes before he stared at me with a look of shock I'll never forget.

"Why would you do this?!" He asked. He probably thought I was crazy.
I answered simply, "That's how much it means for me to stay home."

Immediately he said, "Create a budget, let me see it, then you can stay home." I already had one prepared along with the grand total of what I actually brought home per month.

I couldn't sway my husband using female antics. The tears, the pleading, the nagging, sarcasm, the storming off and guilt trips all failed. He needed facts and logic. He works with mathematics daily and required persuasion using numerical proof; something he could relate to. I also found that I must put his happiness and needs ahead of my own. Paying off the loans released him from unnecessary burdens. Working only to obtain an illusion of wealth was not worth it. I praised how hard he worked and thanked him for providing. Slowly his confidence was built up. Immediately, I set to work around the house making sure my husband would never regret allowing me to stay home.

Since I've been home, we have been blessed with another son. My husband enjoys daily home-cooked meals, a packed breakfast and lunch for work. The house is neater and we function how God intends. We have a budget and agreed to never have another auto loan, save more money and, God willing, our twenty year mortgage will be paid off in less than half the time. Homeschooling is in the near future. My husband's confidence and leadership flourishes. His love and strong arms of protection embrace us. As for me, I've come to realize the truth of God's Word. I pray for wisdom daily to continuously grow into the wife and mother my family needs.

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments;
 and His commandments are not burdensome.
1 John 5:3