For women born after the women’s liberation movement era (1950s), it has been a long and endless debate about whether a woman should work or to stay home. For many women in Singapore, we are fortunate to have this choice. Women are highly educated and is in every way as capable as men. It would be a society’s loss if their expertise were not tapped. Society would be wasting money to educate them (Education is highly subsidised) if they do not contribute to the economy after they complete their education. Or so the world says and shouts today. The government policies are geared towards encouraging women to return to work after having babies.
I do not wish to continue the debate here, for it is very well covered already in magazines like Economist and numerous studies have been done. Reports (both for and against) and forums can be found easily in the internet.
I am also not going to proof or argue how is it that God’s word says women was made to be the manager of the home while the men is to lead and provide. If you are a Christian, and have some knowledge of the Scriptures, I would expect that you would agree with me this is so. (Whether you actually believe and actively practice it is another matter which I may probably touch on in the future in my blog…) Many cultures also practice this, a woman’s traditional workplace is the home. I need not explain further. I am not saying you do all the house work and your husband nothing. Even if you also work and bring home the bacon, I expect that you would request your husband to help out somehow? (I don’t think a woman can both work a full time job, manage the children plus manage a house without any help at all…) What I’m saying is that you are the manager, you set the tone and mood of your home.
Here, I would just like to share some of my thoughts, shaped by God’s word of course.
Proverbs 14:1 The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.
I wonder how much time and effort we are making to build the home? One dilemma I face when I was working was that, I had not much time to build my home.
Well, we can quantify “building home” as the money that we bring home with our salaries. Money can do wonders. It can buy you a car, hire you a maid, buy a bigger house, latest toys and gadgets for the children, send them to the best (usually most expensive) preschools or enrichment classes so that they would be the best and ensure they succeed in life. Indeed, abundance of money improves our lifestyle. But seriously, I encourage you to think deeper. Is that what you think a successfully run home is? I am not saying doing the above are worng. I’m just asking you to think deeper. The above are just the mechanics, a formula perhaps. My question is, what kind of spirit do we want to have in our home?
If you are like me, who wants a family who desire to honor Christ as the head of the house (Ephesians 5:20-22), you may face this problem that you just can’t spend sufficient time to serve (love) your husband and nurture your children. I find that such a lifestyle (with both of us working) simply erodes our capability to “teach them <God’s ways> diligently to your sons <our children> and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” Deuteronomy 6:7. With mom and dad away, from whom shall the kid learn to practice his faith daily? At nights at most? That is if you are still energetic enough…Then there are so many other problems like being tired so that I am not being able to be a “helper” to my husband at home (in fact I need him to help me), being unable to be a cheerful and loving wife and mother because I was facing problems at work. On the contrary, sometimes I am grumpy wife and mom, snapping at anyone who dares tests my patience. etc. Oh dear it does sounds like I am the foolish woman rather than the wise woman described in Proverbs 14:1!
If I had a helper (I mean, maid), I perceive that I will still be somewhat tense because I still need to manage her (and be upset when she don’t do what I wanted). And.. don’t forget she is a human, we also need to satisfy her emotional needs, after all she left her family all the way here to work. I guess I’m not quite ready for that. (Note: I do think that maid problems are often two ways. The employer is at fault too if the maid “is too slow”, “disobedient” etc. Employers often think by providing for her physically they are doing well, but not obliged to provide for the maid emotionally. How motivating to an employee is that. Well, this is another thing that my husband and I felt strongly about, that today’s families with children should just abolish servitude to prevent nasty employers and spoilt brats. For goodness sake, use your money to buy technology and teach your children to do chores, instead of getting this maid!!! Since this is not the subject I’d like to touch on today, let’s just put this aside.)
Anyway, there came a time when I just thought I need to follow what God has ordained. Unless my husband needs my help to bring home the bacon, I need to help him build up this house. This house, should be one that honors Christ, with children who are obedient, and both husband and wife God-fearing, and edifying each other.
I seriously need to do more than just bringing home the money and allowing money to buy us things and improving lifestyle in order to build this house.
One important aspect of a family who honors Christ is well managed home and obedient children. (1 Tim 3:4-5) Therefore beware, that whether your children are obedient to you ultimately, or their grandparents or caregiver? Do you know what they are teaching your children, do they share the same values that you do? Will they obey you, if they are or are not around? How many times are we reminded that values are learnt by observing, not by plainly teaching alone? Who are the children observing? Who has the authority to make decisions about the children on a day to day basis, simple things like giving them sweets or tidbits? Remember God is going to hold US responsible for how we bring up our children, not our parents or childcare teachers… It is hard to be responsible if you do not have authority over them. I also think I don’t like this passive attitude that I would just pray for them and leave it to the hands of God. (It is like praying for God to provide food when we are not searching for food or planting something during a famine)
I definitely hope you value the souls of your children more than their academics or intelligence. For me, I would make sure they learn about my faith (whatever means it may be) and pray very hard they would choose to adopt it and practice actively and apply it constantly when they grow up…