Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Wives and Mothers and Work

This new take on the "Mrs. Degree," frankly, makes me sick. One quote in particular, about a 29 year-old who quit her job as an ad exec: "Lathrop is expecting her first baby (she wants between four and seven children) and she doesn't want to work because she wants to be 'vibrant', run the New York marathon, have energy for her marriage, and, yes, holidays in France."

The good in this article is that it depicts women who want to quit their jobs to raise a family. However, the women quoted make marriage seem to be all about money-- the nice house, the fancy vacations, the "trophy" husband with the six-figure job. And the advice at the end to just "make your husband happy" is coming from the wrong attitude. Yes, I believe wives should do things for their husbands, but they should take joy in the knowledge they are ultimately serving Christ by laundering clothes and making dinner, not just catering to a husband's capricious whim.

There are many modern Christian women who want everything all at once-- the perfect job, the perfect kids, the perfect home. I don't want that-- I know it is unattainable. But there is also a growing movement in Christian circles to do the exact opposite-- the view that young women should stay at home until they are married, forego college, and then should immediately begin a family. I don't think that is always the right approach, either. I think the issue depends on a lot of personal factors, and I'm somewhere in between extremes.

Yes, raising a family is one of the most important parts of being a wife. The Scriptural command to humanity is "be fruitful," and children indeed are a blessing from the Lord. But I also believe it is perfectly fine for a young wife to work for a few years before starting a family, especially if things like student loans and finances need to be in order, or the husband is still in school-- there are a myriad of situations. However, the world today largely has the attitude that couples don't ever need to have children, they only need themselves and their "stuff." This has trickled into the Church as well. That is a misguided attitude. My thoughts on this issue stem from a frustration I've been having lately, of feeling caught in the rush of two streams of thought, and trying desperately to find solid middle ground to stand upon.

If I'm accepted, I'll begin graduate school this summer to get a Masters in Education, prolonging children for a few more years, but not indefinitely. This is fine with me. We both want a family-- a fairly large one-- just not right away. Is that too much to ask? I don't think so. Of course, something could always happen to change things, and that would be just fine, too. "The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps." (Ps. 16:9) I take strange comfort in that thought...all in good time.

Oh, one question: what exactly does it mean to be "vibrant"?

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