My wife is a school teacher, and she is extremely talented. Yet when our son was born 27 years ago she left the classroom to stay at home. Our income took a 40% hit and we tightened out belts. Our daughter came along two years later and my wife’s work at home more than doubled. The opportunity to stay home with them was afforded by my own income, and was fueled by my wife’s desire to be with the kids full time.
After seven years, an opportunity came to return to work. Our youngest started kindergarten and the elementary school our kids attended needed substitute teachers. She started slowly so as to always be freed up by the time school ended for the kids, but slowly took on more and more until she eventually substituted practically full time. Some of her assignments were what are called long-term, meaning she’d cover a classroom for anywhere from one to eight months while a teacher was out.
Whether working at home or in the classroom, my wife exercised her God-given talents and desires.
Desiring God Ministries recently tweeted this message with a link to an article on its website:
The tweet completely misrepresents the point the writer of the article was really making.
In her article Is It Better for Moms to Stay at Home?, Adrien Segal writes clearly and eloquently of her career running an advertising agency, her marriage and attempts to work part-time while her children were young, and her ultimate decision to work solely in the home while giving up pursuing her advertising career. In many ways her story parallels what my wife and I experienced.
She then writes of the feelings of inadequacy she dealt with when people would ask what she did for a living: she found that muttering “I’m just a mom” was not as fulfilling as describing the high-powered world of running an ad agency.
Segal goes on to describe her path to understanding that this was the work God had put on her heart and she needed to not only pursue it but to revel in it. She also recognizes that not every mother has this opportunity regardless of desire.
Of course, I am not saying it is bad to work in the business world or in any job. Far from it! Jobs of all kinds are the wonderful way God provides for people all over the earth. And God calls many women to work outside the home — even those who have small children.
With this testimony to God’s work in her life along with with recognition that it is not the path God has for every mother, the text of this tweet from Desiring God Ministries linking to her post is inexplicable:
If we refuse to stay home because our career seems more important or interesting, we have not understood motherhood.
Nothing in Segal’s article suggests she agrees with this. Rather, she wrote of her own experience without attempting to provide a doctrinal position on motherhood and career. It’s as if whoever posted that tweet for Desiring God Ministries had an agenda to pursue regardless of the actual content of Segal’s article, and wanted to promote it regardless of her actual point.
I’d rather follow Adrien Segal’s example and let God bring me to a proper understanding of what he wants me to do in my family, my career, my life, and to do it all out of a desire for him.