This week we’re reading chapter 9 of Balancing It All by Candace Cameron Bure. I’m going to be completely honest with you, this chapter is very intimidating to write a blog about, and I’m sure it was probably pretty nerve-wracking to write about for Candace as well. She says it better than I could; “If you want to start a fight and end friendships, initiate a debate about working moms versus stay-at-home moms in a room with a mixed crowd. There’s not much that can get a mom more fired up than to have someone tell her that her decision to work or stay home with the kids is the wrong choice.” So now I know exactly what I’m not going to say to you all!
I know that this is a topic that most people try to avoid for fear of offending people, and I certainly don’t look for ways to bring it into conversations either. However, since this chapter focuses on those two options I guess we have no choice but to talk about it.
Just like anything else in life, there are good and bad things about either option. I think the most important thing for us to remember is that what is right for you, isn’t necessarily right for anyone else. That’s part of the beauty of having a God who made us each uniquely. Just as our appearance and personality are different, so are our life choices. That’s not only ok, but it’s something that should be celebrated! If we all walked down the exact same path in life, how boring would that be?
Candace seems to have a similar opinion; “God gives us all different desires and goals for our lives. Some of us dream of staying home with our families and others fantasize about an amazing, fulfilling career. Neither of those desires is wrong. What we each need to determine, though, is how God wants us to balance those aspects of our lives. Any mother will have to do both (even if she’s not paid to work), and it’s important to discern God’s will in these areas.”
I had two women in my life as a child who serve as the perfect example of the value in our differences. My mom was a working mom so she may not have had the ability to stay at home with me every day, but she was a teacher so she’s touched thousands (I promise that’s not an exaggeration) of lives! As a kid, I hated going to do errands with her because we’d always run into at least one of her students, past or present, who had to talk to her and then tell me what an amazing teacher she was. Looking back on that now, I love those memories because it’s proof to me that she was doing exactly what God made her to do. Since my mom didn’t stay home with me, I had a nanny, who was able to stay at home with her kids because of the money she got from taking care of me. (Isn’t it beautiful when God puts things together like that?)
While it’s no secret that I hope to stay at home with my kids, I don’t think that there will ever be a time in my life that I’m not “working” in some way. Even though that’s the choice that my husband and I have made, that doesn’t mean I think it’s the better choice or that it’s right for everyone else. I hope that no matter what you’ve chosen for your family, that you’ll be respectful of other moms who’ve made different choices.
If you don’t have kids yet or you aren’t sure which option is best for your family, I encourage you to take some advice from Candace. She says’ “I’ve learned that with God’s help, I can always discover the best path to take. He will open and close the right doors if I trust Him and seek His wisdom and guidance.”
Since Candace has been both a stay-at-home mom and a working mom during her children’s lives, she shares some great perspectives on both sides in this chapter. She also reminds us that it is important to respect the choices that other moms make; “We need to recognize that other women are just as capable of deciding what is best for their families as we are for ours. What is right for one family might not be right for another, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong for that first family.”
My challenge for you this week is not meant to be something to do for just this week. My hope is that all of us, myself included, will be a little more understanding and less critical of moms who make different choices than we think we would make for ourselves.