Home motherhood/family/parenting Mothers Building Character: More Powerful Than Kings

Mothers Building Character: More Powerful Than Kings

by Kelly Crawford

“The formative period for building character for eternity is in the nursery. The mother is queen of that realm and sways a scepter more potent than that of kings or priests.” ~Author Unknown

Follow me for a moment…

A child is born.

The child’s character is formed throughout his years.  He is shaped, molded and influenced by something, namely, that to which his nature is bent unless restrained, and that to which he is most daily exposed.

The child grows up to be a man or woman.

The life this man or woman lives is based largely on that character that is as much a part of him as his skin.

The life this man or woman lives–the character–influences everyone around him.  The decisions he daily makes  deeply, profoundly, affect his world; they deeply affect me, you, him, his children–all of us.

Going back to the quote above, we are forced to deduct that raising children–devoting one’s life to that task profoundly affects the world.

I recently heard a woman say, “all this fuss over working moms versus stay-at-home moms–it’s so silly and trivial…it doesn’t matter”.


It IS trivial indeed, if we can presume that a child’s character is not affected by the continual, daily absence or presence of his mother and/or father.  If it doesn’t matter what his early influences are, if character forms all the same regardless–then, perhaps, there is an argument.

I challenge you to answer that question.  Does it matter?

An honest answer faces the reality that our world will become what we make of our children.  And if our children are neglected, our whole civilization is as well.

I have no desire to slight the working mom.  That’s where this topic always ends up–an angry mob of women shaking finger in face, daring the audacity.

I know there are dire circumstances.  But when we are convinced that “it doesn’t matter”, we will pay for a grave misunderstanding of the importance of child-rearing.

See, in the battle, in the fear of diminishing women’s rights and in the efforts to destroy stereotypes, we become cowards.  Cowards more concerned with her “happiness”, her fulfillment, her feelings–denying the consequences it will have on her children, and on us.  We betray our very futures for our comfortable today.  We deny truth because truth can hurt.  It can even make us unpopular.

It’s not about the battle, or telling women what they shouldn’t do.  It’s about being sensible enough to acknowledge that the way children are raised matters immensely to our society.  It’s about not being afraid to say that mothers need desperately to devote themselves to a job far more important, in the long run, than anything else they could possibly do.  It’s about being honest; not keeping her from pursuing her career, but being courageous enough to tell her that she will be missing a greater opportunity in doing so.

(In my opinion, it’s even about communicating the value of raising children to the point that all else pales in comparison and we know it!  Imagine a world where women are embarrassed or heart-broken to say they have to work another job.  And a society who will do all it can to keep that from being her plight, helping her achieve the profession that will most benefit us all!)

It’s about not being so cowardly that we try to win friends by saying, “It doesn’t matter”.

A person’s character can change–will change the world, for better or worse. It can change the destiny of a league of generations.

And we presume to insist that the daily labor of shaping that world-changing character can just be tossed aside with no consequence?

We owe it to the world to emphasize, to support, yes, even to persuade mothers to understand her vital importance in the home as she brings up children to shape the world.  This is her already full-time job.

If we love humanity (with pleading emphasis), we wouldn’t be arguing over a woman’s right to leave her children and pursue a career…we would be BEGGING her to focus all her time and energy on this task of building character into the generation that is our future.

A career is such a small thing in comparison to building the future!

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the cottage child December 28, 2010 - 10:00 pm

And again I say, “Amen”.

Lori December 28, 2010 - 10:30 pm

Amen Kelly! I catch gruff over this issue often. I’ve shared these very same views with others, Receiving either overwhelming support & agreement or straight out anger w/ accusations of insult & offence. It’s a tough one that only GOD Himself can change in the heart of a woman. I know, He did it for me (against my will, lol – even kicking & screaming for a time!) about 4 years ago now. Here I am, a homeschool & three new babies later & I’ve NEVER regretted it! Praise You Lord for Your awesome omniscience, omnipotence & sovereignty in the lives of your unruly children!

Darcy M. December 28, 2010 - 10:38 pm

I was a working mom. Believe it or not, I couldn’t agree more with this post. I was raised to believe that raising my children was entirely optional, and that they would fare just as well whether I was their primary care giver or someone else.

Years later, now that my 3 children are grown, I have so many regrets. Regrets over just the sheer absence in their lives, but also so many character issues that I think would be different had I taken seriously my job to shape them.

I also thought I *had* to work to make ends meet. My husband was neutral, just wanted me to be happy. Looking back, I did have to work to keep up with a lifestyle I thought was normal and that I deserved. But now, I could care less that we drove a new car, or that I shopped at certain stores, or that we enjoyed vacations and so many other things.

Now I would trade it all–no sacrifice would be too great to get back the years with my children to impact their lives. The Lord changes hearts, that I know. But as you said, characters are firmly shaped and very difficult to change. I now see the damage in my grandchildren of some of the bad character traits of my children.

I truly had the power to sway generations and I traded it for a career and a lifestyle that now I could care less about.

Charity December 29, 2010 - 9:06 am

It brought tears to my eyes to read your testimony. I’m so glad you shared it.

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I Live in an Antbed December 28, 2010 - 11:33 pm

It does matter!! There is NO job I can do that is as important as raising our seven children. And it is a full time job. Thankfully, I get to stay home and do that.

alionheartedgirl December 29, 2010 - 12:39 am

My mom taught for over twenty years (at first because she wanted to, later because she wanted to and my father was on disability and could no longer work). Do you really not think she didn’t impact the future of those children? As her daughter, I can say that her job as a teacher was just as important to the world as her job as a mother to myself and my sister.

My mom, with another teacher, helped create a gifted and talented program for a rural school. She tutored and mentored kids, many of whom she is still in contact with. She helped those kids and raised my sister and me.

So, I will have to disagree with you that the most important work a woman can do is raise children. For some women, it is their calling and their passion. For my mother, it was teaching – so she taught, and neither my sister nor me suffered for it. For me – I don’t know yet, but it won’t be motherhood; it’s just not who I am. My God-given gifts are in other areas.

Angela December 29, 2010 - 8:40 am

I agree wholeheartedly. I work outside the home as well. I’m blessed with a career (college professor) that gives me the flexibility to adjust my schedule according to my children’s needs.

While I may not homeschool them, at ages 8 and 6, they know that my career is my passion. They understand that they should find something that they love and throw themselves into it.

They also understand hard work and dedication as they watch me work toward tenure. They see me struggle over a student who’s struggling and they see me rejoice when a student succeeds. And, most importantly, they see that I feel the same way for them.

Let me give you a recent example of character-building that happened right before Christmas. I was grading final exams in the living room. It was chilly and I was getting tired. My daughter brought me a blanket and told me to close my eyes for a few minutes to rest. Clearly modeling some of my previous behavior, she showed such compassion that it made me cry. She didn’t ask me to stop or read to her or make her a snack. Just simple compassion and empathy. I think, sometimes, that character-building is a two-way street.

Cathy December 30, 2010 - 9:42 pm


I don’t know you, and I would agree that when we bandy around the idea the motherhood is the #1 calling for women, it is not taking into account women who are single parents, and/or those women to whom God hasn’t given kids. I don’t like those broad brush strokes, and I think that we need to be careful not to be given to hyperbole. So, w/that in mind, I don’t care if you work outside the home or not. That is between you, God, your husband and your kids. However, to pretend, though, that it doesn’t take away time and energy from your own kids it to be in denial. Your own words belie that notion when you write that you’re nodding out grading papers.

I would question, too, whether or not you’re in a position to really judge the outcome. Will you, at some point, wonder if tenure was worth the time it took away from family life? Will you, when your kids get older, regret the energy you expended on students that weren’t your own kids? Your kids are young now, but I would submit that you NEVER quit worrying about them, and that the problems only change as they grow into adults. Those problems often take even more time and energy to walk through.

I doubt very much that your kids at 6 and 8 understand tenure.

I have no skin in the game, and whether or not your work is your call, but I AM taking issue w/your assessment of working women. To think that you can have it all is erroneous. You can’t have it both ways, i.e., give 100% to raising a family, and 100% to working outside the home. The math just doesn’t add up.


Michelle December 31, 2010 - 10:31 pm

Two things struck me here… 1. You chose a career as your passion…what you love…what you throw yourself into…when you could have chose your children? 2. I think it is wonderful your daughter shows the character by bringing you comfort when you are tired; I can’t help but think it is sad that the memory that is created here is you grading papers instead of pulling her into your lap reading her a book. This is such a precious moment that is lost.

I don’t know your situation, but I pray for your passion to be your children.

Lisa December 29, 2010 - 1:10 am

Kelly, I saw this quote earlier this year. Thought you would appreciate it: “When all is said, it is the mother, and the mother only, who is a better citizen than the soldier who fights for his country. The successful mother, the mother who does her part in rearing and training aright the boys and girls who are to be the men and women of the future generation, is of greater use to the community, and occupies, if she would only realize it, a more honorable as well as a more important position than any man in it. The mother is the one supreme asset of the national life. She is more important, by far, than the successful statesman, or artist or scientist.” (Theodore Roosevelt)

Jennifer December 29, 2010 - 4:58 pm

“When all is said, it is the mother, and the mother only, who is a better citizen than the soldier who fights for his country. The successful mother, the mother who does her part in rearing and training aright the boys and girls who are to be the men and women of the future generation, is of greater use to the community, and occupies, if she would only realize it, a more honorable as well as a more important position than any man in it”

Disagree very strongly. This shows a kind of “mother idolatry” I’ve seen over the years and don’t like.

I Live in an Antbed December 29, 2010 - 5:59 pm

It is not idolatry. There is no worship going on. It is, instead, capturing the incredible vision of motherhood. It is understanding the scope of what God has called us to accomplish through His Grace for His Kingdom through our children. The only way to interpret this as “mother worship” is to fail in understanding just how enormous a task it is and to not understand its potential to change the world and impact eternity.

Jennifer December 29, 2010 - 8:43 pm

Claiming that it’s better than anything else, including a soldier’s incredible sacrifice for our country (which most women here can’t imagine) or ANY other thing any woman or man could do is most certainly idolatry to me. There doesn’t have to be literal worship.

Lisa December 29, 2010 - 1:14 am

Another quote from Roosevelt that my husband has posted at work and we both love is: “There are many kinds of success in life worth having. It is exceedingly interesting and attractive to be a successful business man, or railroad man, or farmer, or a President, or a ranchman, or the colonel of a fighting regiment, or to kill grizzly bears and lions. But for unflagging interest and enjoyment, a household of children, if things go reasonably well, certainly makes all other forms of success and achievement lose their importance by comparison.”
—Theodore Roosevelt, Autobiography, 1913

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Lisa H. December 29, 2010 - 8:21 am

A hearty Amen! The spirit of this world has blinded women to their potential impact on the world through their influence on their children.
I’ve seen the same story played out within missionary families and organizations: sacrifice time with your own children(or limit the number of them because you really can’t expect people to support you on the mission field with more than 2 or 3 children!) and missing impacting the most fertile mission field(your own children) for the sakes of others. This is not the right order of things: God wants us to care for our own first, precisely because that will have the greatest impact on others. Just think how we multiply our efforts when we sharpen our own arrows, who can reach further than we can alone.
Same with mothering: our arrows will fly farther and spread further the influence we impart than we ever could in a “career.” The Creator designed it that way. What an opportunity!
Thank you for the post!

Melissa December 29, 2010 - 8:27 am

It matters. Glad I “stay at home.”

Beth West December 29, 2010 - 9:02 am

Yes, I’m in total agreement. Thanks for encouraging moms to throw their hearts into mothering.

Susan December 29, 2010 - 9:02 am

I am a 43 year old wife and mother of 3. I have been married for 23 years. I have been home raising my children and making a home for my family for all of these 23 years. My oldest 2 have left the nest. My youngest is 13. When my children were born I made a commitment to them and to God. I would do everything in my power to give my children the best childhood possible. The most stable. peaceful and loving home every family deserves. We did not always have the newest fashions, the biggest house or the latest car. Far from it! But I can say with certainty that I was ALWAYS there for my family. Still am. Every day I knew what my kids were eating, where they were etc. They always had clean clothes, clean beds. When my son turned 21, he sent me a card! He thanked me for his childhood. He told me that the lessons he learned at home were tools for the rest of his life! The life I have lived for my family has been a complete and total sacrifice of my own life. This may seen harsh to some but it’s true. There is a high price to pay for the “stay at home mom”. The cost seems so much higher when I think of doing it any other way. I could have lived a life more for me. I could have sacrificed my family for a career. I could have had many more friends, a social life and education. If I had done that I would be so proud of myself right now. People would hear about what I was doing. They all would say “good for you”. I would glow with pride. But I feel I have something so much more. I am fulfilled, content and thankful!!! There were times when I wasn’t satisfied with my life. I felt frustrated and penned in. Not often, but once in a while I would feel the need to do something different. Every time The Lord called me back. This alway happened when I was falling behind at home. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and frustrated when you don’t follow some sort of schedule. The Lord would shake me up and say “what are you thinking? You already have a job right here. Get to it. Get to work”. I am rambling! I just felt the need to lend support to you other homemakers out there. This is the right thing to do. Read your bibles, talk to God, follow his teachings. This is what has sustained me through the years. Jesus lived a life of complete and total sacrifice. Isn’t this the least we can do for him. Our children are not ours. They belong to The Lord. He has entrusted us with them.
Ladies, I know it’s a cliche but it’s true. In the blink of an eye it will be over. I can’t believe that 2 of my children are grown. I feel like yesterday my house was noisy, busy and full of so much activity. I blinked my eyes and it’s almost over. Please stay home and take care of your children. You will never regret it.

I Live in an Antbed December 29, 2010 - 9:56 am

Thank you for sharing your beautiful testimony of faithful service to your family!! The fruit He brings forth through our work in our homes stretches into eternity, through many godly generations.

Kristi December 29, 2010 - 10:58 am

This was really beautiful Susan, thanks for sharing your testimony.

And I agree Kelly. I do think there is a place for working women depending on what they are doing and how it impacts their family. I think there’s something to children and teens respecting their mom and what she does for work. I know a lot of families where the children grow to greatly respect and honor their mothers for the work she has done outside the home, and many families where the children grow up to not care less about their mother or the morals they are raised with when their moms stayed at home the whole time. So I don’t think simply staying at home is the deciding factor. But I think it is definitely so vitally important that we be there for our families first, so we should “err” on the side of staying at home and sacrificing ourselves completely for our families.

Basically, follow God’s plan for each of us. Do I think some women would be called to do some work outside of the home? Possibly but I don’t think it’s NEARLY as many as the women who claim they are called to work outside the home. Not sure if any of that makes sense. Sigh.

Charity December 29, 2010 - 9:04 am

Yes it does matter and this message needs to be shouted from the roof tops. I am the first wife and mother to stay home out of several generations on both sides of our relatives, so it causes a great deal of friction because it isn’t the norm. We have one relative in particular that asks “So, Charity, when are you going to get a job?”, every single time we see them. This just happened recently and my husband answered “Oh, she’s been blessed with the greatest career available! Haven’t you heard? She’s my wife, and the mother of our children. She spends her days provding for our family in ways I will never achieve by bringing home a paycheck year after year. Our family is so blessed to have her.” Kinda left our relative speechless and everyone in earshot looked at my husband like he had three eyeballs, but I felt as blesssed and as proud as any woman ever has! What an honor to be a wife and mother! 🙂

I Live in an Antbed December 29, 2010 - 9:58 am

That is the statement of a man who understands the Big Picture! The Lord will bless his vision. Way to go!! I’m so proud of him!

Charity December 30, 2010 - 8:39 am

I am so blessed to have him for my husband and the leader of our home. And Liz, I will be praying for you and your situation.

Kim M January 1, 2011 - 6:12 pm

Charity, my husband is the same way. I know how blessed you feel. 🙂

liz December 29, 2010 - 10:14 am

I think this is wonderful. I yearn to be at home; my husband will not allow it.

I Live in an Antbed December 29, 2010 - 12:01 pm

Keep giving thanks for where you are now, trusting Him to lead your family through your husband. Through the beauty of your contentment in any and all circumstances, the Lord can bring about much fruit.

Michelle December 29, 2010 - 9:18 am

I notice some of the comments arguing the working mom again, but I don’t think that’s the point of your post. The point is, it DOES matter. And staying at home shouldn’t be considered trivial. Another great post!

Angela December 29, 2010 - 9:48 am

While I was using examples from my own situation in which I’m a working mother, my point was that character building happens in every situation. Every choice our children make is an opportunity to work on values and character. Children learn vicariously.

I know that this wasn’t Kelly’s intent, but I think a better restatement would be that MOTHERS matter. In all shapes, forms, sizes, and situations, mothers matter.

Sorry for jumping in here, Kelly. I just want to clarify/emphasize my point.

Word Warrior December 29, 2010 - 10:58 am


I certainly would agree that a child *can* develop good character in any situation. I believe, though, that the odds are against him without the constant influence of a mother whose vested interest exceeds anyone else. I also maintain that we are held responsible for the job we are given to do.

We read this morning from Proverbs: “A child left to himself brings his mother shame”. Children in daycares, for example, are being clothed, fed and kept safe, but the workers aren’t devoting the kind of character training or spiritual development that we are called to give them (nor is it even their job). A mother who is home with little ones knows the opportunities that are either used or neglected–opportunities almost by the minute.

And even as children get older, they are either “walking with the wise” or they are the “companion of fools”. One will produce wise children, the other will suffer harm, according to the Bible.

At best, it’s a gamble. And at the heart of the matter, when God gives parents children to “nurture in the admonition of the Lord” and train up, and restrain, and rebuke, and all the things parenting entails, the question shouldn’t be “can we do it another way?”, or, “can I impact the world in a different way?” but, “What is my responsibility before the Lord?” That is what we will have to answer. Did I do the job He gave me, or did I delegate?

Mandi December 29, 2010 - 10:35 am

The ‘point’ I think is that motherhood matters and other things aren’t as important. We have been so conditioned to believe that we’re only making a difference if we impact more than just our own household.. so sad!
If I left home for a career and let my children know that my passion wasn’t them that would be very sad for them. We were given our children from God and its time people start act liking its important and not something they can do part time.
You’re leaving your children’s influences up to the roll of a dice if you aren’t the main one impacting them. You just can’t do that if your ‘passion’ is something besides your home and family, it isn’t possible.
Thank you for the post Kelly! As always…words of wisdom!

the cottage child December 29, 2010 - 11:02 am

I can only speak for myself, so that’s what I’ll do, and I look at it this way: if my husband declared his love for me in one sentence, but his passion for spending the bulk of his time (and energy) with another woman in another, and I should be okay with it because it fulfilled him, I would have to question his sincerity with regard to his commitment to my and our family’s best interest. Our time and our loyalty are our emotional currency when it comes to our family, and I couldn’t participate in that sort of duplicitous construct in honesty (or patience or lack of devastated feelings).

It’s not that a working mother doesn’t care, or all families who’s mothers work outside the home will disintegrate into immoral catastrophe and sprout horns, it’s the notion that PERSONAL PREFERENCE (and a needling need for recognition that haunts this generation) has become the default method of prioritization when including children in our lives (and this particular conversation brings up an interestingly one-sided dogma of feminism, as hardly anyone ever asks Dad if he’d like to quit his “real” job and pursue his passions, and if he did he’d be marked as unreliable and a poor provider, post-haste). It is a difficult tangle to unwind when looking at how we value children and family on the continuum.

There are so many amazing things to choose to do in this life, many passions to explore and talents to develop and gratefully many seasons to pursue them. The key word, though, is choice, and the age old question, “where does my treasure lie?”, is answered in our daily routine of choice.

Mandi December 29, 2010 - 11:15 am

you said this so much better than I did! very well done!

Amanda December 29, 2010 - 12:54 pm

Excellent analogy, Rachael (may I call you that?)!

Kelly, I’ve been reading a book that I received for Christmas from my grandmother, written by her sister, about their life growing up on the family farm. Apparently I come from a long line of feminists (as my grandma supported her family with a her own business that my mother still resents) and my great-aunt who wrote the book was a university professor and administrator after years as a public school teacher. One of the most interesting aspects of the book is my great-aunt (who is a Christian) extolling their mother (my great-grandmother) who, although she originally wanted to be a nurse, stayed home and raised 5 children while helping my great-grandfather on the family farm. The theme that runs through the book is what a great family they had, how they were taught “Christian values,” and how the world today is going to hell in a handbasket. And yet, the connection is not made…. that the change in ideology has had a tangible impact on the world today. These women (my grandmother and her sisters) have watched and participated in the rise of feminism and simultaneously bemoan the corresponding changes in society, and they don’t see any cause and effect relationship.

the cottage child December 29, 2010 - 2:06 pm

just don’t call me late for supper…

the cottage child December 29, 2010 - 2:25 pm

I think the philosophical disconnect you describe is one of the meanest tricks our enemy plays on our culture – it reduces children to an activity or a hobby for our fulfillment, rather than the realization of a true vocation and calling to motherhood. Heartbreaking.

Word Warrior December 29, 2010 - 3:55 pm

Hear, hear…on all points wisely made.

Word Warrior December 29, 2010 - 3:56 pm

Amanda–Unbelievable, isn’t it, the disconnect? And it occurs in so many areas. I think Rachael is right.

Laura December 29, 2010 - 1:59 pm

Wise words!

And thank you, Kelly, for another wonderful post!

Jennifer December 29, 2010 - 5:03 pm

“If my husband declared his love for me in one sentence, but his passion for spending the bulk of his time (and energy) with another woman in another, and I should be okay with it because it fulfilled him, I would have to question his sincerity with regard to his commitment to my and our family’s best interest”

Day-um. Touche.

Jamie (@va_grown) December 30, 2010 - 2:59 pm

Very insightful thoughts. I struggle as a working mom that hates to be lumped in with women who choose to work as their “passion” and “fulfillment.” Once that was me, but thankfully God has moved on my heart to be home for our family as he desires. Unfortunately sometimes it takes a while to turn the battleship around. Raising my children HAS to be my utmost priority, passion, and fulfillment–whether I’m in the home full time or not. And if you’re not able to be home full time, it can be extremely…stretching both emotionally and physically.But it’s imperative that while they may have to share my time, it’s imperative to me that my children never feel like they are sharing my heart or my “passion” with something so worldly as “the office.”

And just for the record, I work in a very civic and meaningful field as well. It was very easy for it to be a meaningful, fulfilling career for me–to see I had an impact, was known, and made a difference. But that was before God gave me a family.

adminnv December 30, 2010 - 3:34 pm


Thanks so much for sharing your heart…I remember when He pulled my heart home but my body was still in the classroom. You’re right…it’s so easy to justify too. I got pats on the back, thank you cards, desperate parents saying, “You have made such a difference in her life”, while my family struggled in my absence. Sometimes it’s not choosing the good over bad, but simply choosing the best.

Praying that the battleship can get turned around quickly!

Jennifer Griffin December 29, 2010 - 12:11 pm

What a beautiful post. Thank you so much. Keep pressing on ladies….we are making a difference!!

Thanks Kelli!!

Amber December 29, 2010 - 1:01 pm

I had a discouraging discussion with my MIL this past weekend. She stayed at home with her 4 kids for the duration of their raising, yet she verbalized her indifference for the job. She doesn’t see herself as having done anything important. She takes the “it doesn’t matter” approach. (:( So discouraging)

I can speak from my experience as a stay at home mom, that I cannot possibly get done all that is required of me. And I am here continually! I guess the way I see it, if I worked, my family and home would be getting my leftovers because I would be giving most of my time and energy to my career. If I don’t give all I have to a career, then I would be considered a less than efficient employee. Why can’t we be honest and see the same parallels about mothering? There are other life seasons, as mentioned previously, in which we can give our best to a career. Our kids are only with us a short time, why give them our leftovers?

I wish more women would see the importance of being the main source of nurturing for their families instead of thinking it doesn’t matter. As an aside, did you know the phrase Alma Mater means nurturing mother? eek!

h. rae December 29, 2010 - 1:15 pm

Wonderfully put! I can clearly see the role God created for women through His Word. Did Eve have a daycare to drop little Cain and Abel off at so she could compete in the fields with her husband? Certainly not. They were a perfect match; each doing the job best suited to them. Men don’t have many jobs anymore that only they can do, which I find to be a very sad thing. Even the manliest careers, women infiltrate. I’m not saying they’re not capable, because they obviously are or they wouldn’t be there, but what of the job ONLY a woman can do? What of being a wife, helpmeet, mother, nurturer, homemaker? I may not be there yet, but by the grace of God, I fully intend to live out my womanhood as only a woman can. And may God help the men to remain strong in a culture where they are attacked from every side. As always, great post!

Jennifer December 29, 2010 - 5:07 pm

“Did Eve have a daycare to drop little Cain and Abel off at so she could compete in the fields with her husband?”

Not exactly a viable comparison to, say, women being teachers, doctors, missionaries, etc. Jobs that do more than “compete”.

Anyways, men are still primarily soldiers, construction workers, etc. And only men can be husbands and fathers. I’d say it’s still a pretty even ground.

Meg December 29, 2010 - 1:53 pm

Fantastic thoughts, Kelly. 🙂 Even on the worst days, I am still better with my children than anyone else could be. I worked in child care/preschool for 5+ years before coming home and having my own. Trust me, ladies… even compared to those expensive quality care situations, YOU are still better than someone being “paid” to do it. :-/

Mrs. Martin December 29, 2010 - 2:00 pm

Thank you for your boldness, wisdom, and continued encouragement in this calling on my life.
It is interesting to note that in the summaries of the kings in 2 Chronicles, each king is identified as either one who was pleasing or did evil in the sight of the Lord. As the king went-so went the country. And whose name is listed next to this line of obedience or disobedience to the Lord? -the mother’s. What power we have been given to influence our countries future! Not just making ‘good’ citizens but those who are ‘pleasing and do right’ in the sight of the Lord! Thankful He gives us everything we need for life and godliness! What a good God!

Jennifer December 29, 2010 - 3:02 pm

I realize that your post is not really about single moms but I’d like to hear your thoughts on the church’s (meaning Christians) responsibility to single working mothers. My mother was widowed when I was very young, so when I read these types of posts I always wonder what the writer thinks is ideal in that situation.

Also, I have to wonder if those same ideals come in to play when you think of work at home moms. Do things like elaborate blogs, and ministries come into play in the equation? Is it time spent mentally away from the family or simply physically that is disconcerting? There are many blogs/ministries that seem to be quite time consuming.

I’m not trying to be argumentative. I am a sah(hs)m and love what I do, I KNOW it matters. But I can’t help but feel we’re missing something.

Word Warrior December 29, 2010 - 4:08 pm


Those are great questions and worthy of discussion. First, I would say that because of “where we are” in terms of how far from ideal our society is, there are no doubt difficult circumstances with no easy answers. For example, because of the opportunities women have to make it on their own, and because the church at large no longer sees mothering as a sacred profession, very few churches are willing to step up and do what is necessary to support a single mother when her time comes. We happen to belong to a church who DOES do that (and is doing it this very minute) where there is a biblical justification for her singleness. Biblically speaking, a woman is to be financially supported by her family first, and then by her church if her family can’t/won’t. This may very well involve helping her get started with a home business, which brings up the next point you asked.

Yes, I think there is solid, biblical evidence for women to “earn income”. And yes, I would venture to say there are moms whose home businesses remove them almost as much as a career, which would be equally disturbing and inappropriate.

However, because of so much flexibility, and because she is not enslaved to a rigid schedule or another man’s agenda who isn’t concerned with her family, a home business, overseen by her husband and carefully guarded is a great thing for a mom, especially if they desperately need the extra income in our 2-income society (like us!).

We’re talking about the difference in a few flexible hours a week versus a full-time position, often with additional work-related duties once she is home (such as a school teacher, of which I was one and know the extra demands), while someone else takes care of her children.

As an example of this blog, the few hours it takes to run it can be done around my family’s schedule–that’s just a no-brainer. If I sit down at the computer and my children need me, I leave my computer. If I don’t have time to post today, I don’t. I check comments and answer at random (such as now when all my littles are asleep, my oldest is working on her sewing project, and my middles are riding their new bikes outside–I’ve gone grocery shopping, cleaned out the fridge, am exhausted and needed to sit down for a minute, so here I am! ;-))

Hope that helps.

Jennifer January 4, 2011 - 5:34 pm

Sorry, I just remembered I posted here. We recently started school back at our house, so needless to say, my brain is working overtime. 🙂 Anyway, thanks for your response.

Jennifer December 29, 2010 - 3:04 pm

Oh, and by “we’re missing something” I DON’T mean sahms, I mean Christians and that we’re missing something important in our thinking and perhaps our standards.

Jennifer December 29, 2010 - 4:55 pm

Well, some “careers” are greatly about shaping the future. Beautiful article, just sayin’.

Jeannie F. December 29, 2010 - 5:58 pm

Before beginning my walk as a Christian I went to college and graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Education. Our first child was born that fall. I was full of woe at the end of my pregnancy as I knew I would never leave her in anothers care.

I had time available after her birth so I made the plunge and started a Child Development Center when she was a year old. It was hard work but she was with me all the time and I hired my mother as my number one assistant and the other young women were fellow graduates with no children.

Twenty children needing love and understanding, they did not give a hoot about the wonderful educational program I had created. They wanted to be rocked in the rocking chair and play with my hair while they sat on my lap listening to stories. I cared so deeply about all of them. How do you tell a three year old you cannot follow “Nana” into the kitchen, it is against state rules. They would crowd around the enterance waiting for her hot lunch and yummy applesauce cake. It was killing me being so attached to all of these children.

I saw parents go quickly from 8 hours of care to 9 to 10 – so much easier to get those errands done without them. I had a popular local cancer doctor as a client her husband a doctor also, she said her son kept begging her to stay home. She told him that she would not just be sitting with him all day there would be dishes and laundry etc… What she did not understand was that is when some of the best moments take place!! When they help you with your chores or play at your feet moving their game or toys along to whereever you are.

After the birth of our second son my husband demanded I sell out and come home, shortly after we gave our hearts and lives to the Lord…Oh Praise Him!!

Jeannie F. December 29, 2010 - 6:10 pm

If all Christians gave as much passion to loving God and obeying Him as they to do their job (not saying ALL Christians are more passionate about their job, but it appears a great number are), what a different state Christianity would be in!

Sylvia December 29, 2010 - 6:28 pm

Every family makes a choice according to their situation. No one choice is superior to the other or biblically more superior IMO. We all are blessed that we can even make this choice or have this dicussion. Many times people do not have a choice but to work jobs or else it means no food on the table. It happens in third world countries a lot and even in so called affluent countries like America more often than we can think of. Or women work in societies as doctors where the sexes are segregated.
What matters in the end is what kind of parents we are and I include both husband and wife in it. Parenting is a hard job and even children from so called ‘good homes’ and ‘chritian homes’ go astray or leave the faith or make heart breaking choices. What we can only do as parents IMO is love our children, teach them the word and give them to God. And pray, pray, pray for His Grace upon them. But for the grace of God, all of us would not be here.

Kelly L December 29, 2010 - 6:39 pm

Beautiful! My job is amazing, trying, hard, easy, wonderful, discouraging (if I focus on myself), beautiful and so edifying. It is more than I ever thought staying home could be! I could not have my wonderful daughter, then give her to someone else to raise. People have told me I have an easy choice because of my husband’s income. Not so. It is an easy choice because I value her future. If my husband lost his job and took a 50% pay cut, I’d live in an apartment in a “lesser” part of town before I’d leave her to be raised and taught by another.

I really pray that Americans would realize that the American dream is not to be sought (although we have a part in it) but it is God’d dreams for us and our family that are to be sought and then He will add to us what He deems!

Ann December 30, 2010 - 12:15 am

Thank you for the encouragement, as always:)

Taryn December 30, 2010 - 8:25 am

One reason I buy my granddaughters Christian Light Publications’ and Rod and Staff’s storybooks is because the drawings depict stay-at-home moms in dresses. The girls are in dresses,too. Abeka’s books, also, only have images of women/girls in dresses. I noticed a tv cartoon(Canadian) that shows the mother in pants and the grandmother in a dress. It’s very subtle-these things.

Cathy January 2, 2011 - 10:39 am

What is “subtle?” What does women wearing pants have to do w/Biblical teaching?


Mrs. Martin December 30, 2010 - 12:57 pm

It is my love for Him that compels me to stay at home and raise my children. He has forgiven me of so much and given His life for mine-how can I not serve Him in this small sacrifice! It is for Him that I serve-I love Him-I love Him- for all He has done for me! Yes my husband and children are worth it but oh, my Savior, He is much more worth the giving of my life! Praise be to the Name above all Names! It is not about me- less of me, more of You-it’s about His glory and honor through All generations! His love compels me to not quit when I ‘feel’ like quitting. His love strengthens when there is no strength! “For me, to live is Christ!” There is no life apart from Christ Jesus!

Jamie (@va_grown) December 30, 2010 - 3:31 pm

I agree with the original post, but I would like to add something to the discussion from what I see in the comments and is often thrown around in these discussion elsewhere.

I work outside the home. We no longer consider this ideal, but it’s a tough hill to climb turning things around to change it. In the meantime we have been blessed by an amazing home daycare situation. Truly God-sent. It both angers and frustrates me to hear people throw around terms like “give my child to a stranger at a daycare to raise” or “let daycare raise their children” or similar thoughts. I don’t know exactly what people mean when they say that, but it sounds as if working parents somehow give up all responsibility for raising, training, and caring for their children simply because they are not physically there for a portion of the day.

I realize that our home daycare provider has an undeniable impact on them. However; she is not “raising” them any more than their grandparents, whom they see regularly, are. Or any more than their teachers are when they go to school. Impacting and influencing them, yes. Raising them, no.

WE are their parents and WE are actively involving in what they eat, what they do, what they play, what they read, and who they are with–even if we are not with them at all times. We are the final disciplinarians, we are the final decision-makers, we are the final arbitrators of when to start potty training, what they can watch on TV, and how often they have to nap. Finding a daycare provider than respects our active parenting role, shares our Christian beliefs, and reinforces our morals and values was essential to us specifically because WE are raising our children, not the provider.

Yes, Godly parenting takes a lot more work, time, and resources because I’m not at home full time. (It takes more, even if you are home full time!) And no, we don’t consider it an ideal situation. But that doesn’t mean that we’ve abdicated our parental responsibility. I’m just saying…that’s a painfully judgmental stereotype to some of us down in the trenches.

liz December 30, 2010 - 5:43 pm

I completely agree. Many of us completely agree that we should be home with our kids but literally have no choice. Not for mani-pedis, fancy cars, or nice purses either. Most of us who would rather be home, are, mentally there, and put a tremendous effort into the character and upbringing of our children.

There is a huge difference between the “career gal” and the working mom who wishes she were home and values her children.

Kelly L December 30, 2010 - 6:10 pm

As one has has said these things, I would just like to tell you what I mean by it. I believe the one who spends the most waking hours of the day wit a child has the greatest impact on that child’s upbringing and is therefore raising them. This is not limited to child care, but extends to school, in my opinion.

Also, I never believe a parent can give up their responsibility, but they can give up their authority. I believe we are always responsible for them wether with us or away.

And, by me saying that, it is not a judgment on those who do otherwise, because I am not their judge. It is my own belief/opinion. It is between a person and God what people do with every aspect of life including their children. I certainly have an opinion on what is best, or I wouldn’t do it. But my opinion is not a judgment on another (although in my youth is used to be).

Kelly L December 30, 2010 - 10:24 pm

My post is full of typos and spelling errors. That is how I roll, apparently, sorry.

Tina December 31, 2010 - 1:52 am

To me daycare just isn’t logical. Why would I pay a stranger to watch the one person in this world that means the most to me? I don’t know those people that work in a daycare. Sure I could hope that they aren’t some sick, sadistic pedophile, but I why would I chance it? It is my job to care for my son, not some strange woman in a daycare.

I have nothing against those that do use daycare. It’s just not for me or my family.

Taryn December 31, 2010 - 9:28 am

I pray for our daughter and daughters-in-law to be stay-at-home mothers. My daughter needs good health insurance because she has Type 1 diabetes(since 5-not caused by-too many bad carbs- diet like Type 2). I hope that with their second child(one is “with child”(KJV)-now) they will stay at home. One granddaughter(2) is in a home daycare. “But Jesus said…With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible”(Matthew 19:26 KJV). There is a teaching about sheep mothers-they stay right near their lambs at all times- and goat mothers(kids) that is interesting. The Way Home(and its sequel)by Mary Pride should be read by Christian parents. I watch my granddaughters but they need their mothers.

katie grace December 31, 2010 - 10:19 am

I’m chiming in a bit late but would like to add to this discussion.

With small children, the person who is spending the majority of the waking hours with a child is the person who is “raising” that child. Each and every moment with a child is a teaching moment. If a child is in the care of another for the majority of the day then that person is the one teaching your child. That is not the politically correct way that society tells us to look at parenting but it’s the truth.

This past Sunday, I heard a variety of comments from moms of 2 & 3 year olds who had spent the last few days home with their child(ren) because of the Christmas holiday. I heard the following comments: “I can’t wait to go back to work tomorrow, *my child* is driving me crazy!” “I know after this week that I am just not cut out to be a SAHM!” “I just don’t know how you do it (referring to me the SAHM) because after two days I need a vacation!”

These same women, whom I consider friends and sisters in Christ, are the same ones who are constantly praising the behavior of my children. They just don’t “get it”! My children are not perfect by any means but their behavior is a reflection of my constant correction and modeling. I spend every moment of each day reinforcing the correct behavior in my children. Children who are in a daycare or homecare situation are not getting that constant and consistent instruction on behavior.

Since most of the women I know work full-time, I hear the token “I wish I could stay home” comment a lot. Truthfully, most of these women could stay home if they chose too. They are unwilling to sacrifice material things to be home. Most recently this comment was made to me by a lady, sweet as she is, that lives in a $300,000 home, drives a new $30,000 vehicle and was carrying a $200 bag. Her child is dressed in $100 boutique outfits every time I see her (which is a couple of times a week) and they take several vacations a year. The only conclusion that I can draw is that she and her husband have chosen to live a more affluent lifestyle than for her to stay at home.

We make many material sacrifices for me to be home. We live in a nice but modest home, drive used vehicles (both totaling $11,000 when purchased), and live on a very tight budget that often excludes things for mommy and daddy (like a new purse). But I rest in the assurance that I am investing my time and energy (the best of myself) in my family as a wife and mother. One day, when my children are grown, I will not wish that we had a nicer van or a better vacation. I also will not wish that I had more time with them because I am with them 95% of the time.

Yesterday, my children spent the day with my in-laws. They do this occasionally and it’s a huge treat for them – mainly because they get constant attention and get spoiled a bit! But last night, my husband and I spent much more time than usual correcting behavior. Why? Because the rules are different at Nana & Pop’s house and their behavior is not consistently corrected. We often joke that it takes 2 days to undo the damage done in only one day with Nana & Pop! I think many parents, whose children are in a different environment 40 hours a week, don’t understand that. When the majority of a child’s day is spent under one set of rules they don’t easily transition to another set at home for the remainder of the day. This gets easier as they get older but for the 2 or 3 year old this is a challenge.

I know there are women who must work due to various situations, but there are many women who chose to work. That is their choice. I hate that working outside the home is glorified while choosing to be at home and caring for your family is seen as wasteful. I spent 10 years before children teaching in a low income district. I taught literacy. I taught people from the community, some senior citizens, to read. It changed their lives. I made a difference. I felt like my work had purpose and I loved it! But the second I held my first child, none of that mattered. I wanted to spend every second with her that I could. This soul that God had given me became more important than any job, no matter how fulfilling or lucrative.

Jamie (@va_grown) January 3, 2011 - 9:20 am

I agree that it’s not just quality time, it’s quantity as well. Especially when children are younger. That’s part of what makes not staying home so difficult for me. However, that’s like saying that fathers aren’t “raising” their children because they work outside the home. They are. Their influence and impact is different, but they ARE actively participating in the parenting and raising of the children, even if they aren’t there 40 hours a week.

I guess we have a little different perspective because we are so blessed in our daycare situation. Our children ARE getting consistent training and discipline while at the babysitter’s house. They ARE getting our morality and expectations reinforced when we aren’t there. And we are lucky to have found someone that we feel models proper behavior for them. In some ways that makes it more difficult to convince ourselves we need to make a change.

I would say this too, about appearances–they can be deceiving. Not all women are enamored with the “lifestyle” they live just because they live it. They may be submitted to their husbands in this regard. We live a comfortable lifestyle and our kids are happy, well-adjusted, polite, etc. It’s awfully hard to say to my husband, we should give up our comfort and security and savings, etc. for me to stay home because our kids need me. Especially when everything seems to be going just fine and we don’t have any more or less than everyone around us. I had some bitter weeds in my garden to pull before my husband truly saw me walking with Christ and began to believe his heart could “safely rest” with me at home and we started pulling together toward that goal. I’ve desperately searched out Titus 2 and Proverbs 31 women in the bible, at church, in books (thank God for Elizabeth George!!), and on-line to help me and one thing I’m sure of is that my job, first and foremost, is to honor my husband and his leadership. This can seem leave you huddled between a rock and a hard place, sometimes.

But as someone said, all things are possible with God. He sent us blessed daycare until we could get our act together. And He’s sending us wise women to help, as iron sharpeneth iron. Thanks for all the posts! and comments! They are so enlightening.

Word Warrior January 3, 2011 - 10:34 am


I thought of something as I read your comment and I hope you’ll forgive me for the way this will probably sting. Also, I couldn’t tell from your comment if you were in a position of trying to come home?? So, I may not be seeing the whole picture. This thought I had is not directed toward you, specifically either, just a thought in general prompted by something you said.

You mentioned how wonderful your daycare situation was and how the worker carries out what you and your husband desire in the teaching of your children. Such is a common “rebuttal” and indeed, makes it harder for women to take over the role of the main training of their children.

Scenario: you know that your husband needs affection and affirmation and physical intimacy. Would it suffice for another woman to fulfill that role as long as it met your expectations and you felt she was doing “a really good job at it” and things were “going well”?

Christie P December 31, 2010 - 10:49 am

Appreciated the post. I’ve been home for 7 months now with my 3 children and it’s the HARDEST job I have EVER done in my life!! The Lord has to do so much catch-up work on my character – things that were easy to hide when I lived in a cubicle, but I cannot hide them now! My little ones (5, 2, 10 mos) are picking them up so I must weed them out of my own heart. It really makes you reevaluate your own thoughts, attitudes and words. But it’s also so frustrating to go from a job where you’re specialized and praised (cuz no one else could do what you do) to a job you’re not very good at and everyone thinks they could do it and probably better (and may be right, since I was not raised to be a homemaker and am having to learn it on the job.)

Thanks so much for the encouragement!!

Kelly L December 31, 2010 - 11:07 am

Christie P,
It is awesome that you are leading on the Lord’s instruction, correction and guidance! It is only listening to Holy Spirit that you have noticed these things. How pleased God must be, to know that He has a child willing to trust and obey His loving correction! No one could be a better mother to your children than you. You are being an amazing example to your children by admitting your sin and telling them that God is working on you and them at the same time. What an awesome testimony you will have!

Jamie (@va_grown) January 3, 2011 - 8:56 am

Good for you! Gary Thomas’ book Sacred Parenting is all about this. About how parenting is supposed to shape your character, not just be fun and games. The more I throw myself into mothering as God intended, the more it stretches me spiritually, but the more it rewards me as well.

Kim from Canada January 1, 2011 - 3:12 pm

It’s just plain easier to put energy into a career, rather than children. I have been in both situations, so I know.

The final analysis is simple – I left full time work 6 years ago to be a SAHM and nobody would even remember me in the corporation anymore. Not because I was a ‘nobody’ there…I was the boss. Corporations, hospitals, schools – wherever the job may be – will never provide a legacy regardless of how much passion that is put into the job. My children are my legacy and they are my passion – even if it is harder.

Kim M January 1, 2011 - 6:34 pm

Very good post. We mommas need to hear this when the days get tough!

Natasha January 2, 2011 - 8:48 am

i know this is late to comment, but the one thing i have realized about my childhood is the loneliness i felt because my mom was at work. I now realize I was depressed at a tender age of 9 years old because when I got off the bus I came home to an empty house.

Rhona January 6, 2011 - 5:45 pm

this post was so good! it made me cry for so many reasons. firstly i am a christian and truely believe God is telling me to stay home and care for my children but my husband is vague in his beliefs and doesn’t understand this reasoning. He is a wonderful partner to me and father to our 2 children but he comes to life with a poverty complex always fearing there wont be enough and so wants me to work outside the home, i earn very good money even part time and he doesn’t want us to give that up.
I passionately believe we should be home educating our children but his need to conform and financial fears prevents him being willing to try this even though he can see how unhappy our children are in school!
My paid work is with children and families in health care, it’s seen as “worthwhile”, “vocational” and “important” facillitating the well being of others and the community but just last week my manager asked me if i could put my children in after school clubs so i could work longer hours!
I feel torn by the needs of my children, my husband, my profession and my beliefs! How do i reconcile them all???

El-Hussein Hegazy November 5, 2013 - 9:35 am


Thanks for your wonderful article
Really this subject is very critical and almost of available books
Just speak about how to take care about kids from healthy point of view

While my major concern is building Kids characters & mentalities
Could you kindly guide me about book (easy to understand and going directly to points)about this subject
Thanks a lot


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