Tuesday, March 27, 2007Working Inside the Home
There seems to be a big deal made about little jobs women can get "working from the home." A lot of mothers I know love the flexibility offered with jobs as a consultant for one of the many Avon to Pampered Chef type companies or doing medical transcription work, freelance writing or other such job. I myself, get a small salary as a teaching assistant for Mother of Divine Grace where I spend some time on the phone with students, editing papers and grading work submitted to me.
But I think there is a disturbing trend for some women to make this type of employment a substitute for working OUTSIDE the home frequently. As if the idea of a part-time job is so disdainful for us mothers who pride ourselves on being stay at home mothers. But the time I spend on the phone and grading papers is time away from my family; I'm not mentally present for them at that time. If we needed a financial boost, I would not consider taking on more students over working outside the house. In a way, it's a delicate trade-off. When I'm home, I want to be IN it; I want to be engaged and present for the needs of the family. That's why I try to do my schoolwork and computer work in the early morning when the kids are asleep and husband is at work. Sometimes, I find an opportune moment to do these things at other times during the day, but it almost never happens during the time my husband is home in the evenings. It wouldn't be fair to him.
If for some reason, I needed more work, I would consider doing it outside the home rather than IN the home. Simply because I think it would be more rational to put in a few hours on the evenings or weekends for a business than to take that many hours away from my family. It's kind of a mixed signal you are sending your children. "I'm here. I'm being a good, responsible mother by being a 'stay-at-home' mom... but don't bug me right now because I have to put these Mary Kay orders in. Or I have a deadline to meet with this editor." It's rough! That's why women who work in the home face a set of challenges separate from women who work outside the home... and one isn't necessarily the more 'moral' choice than the other.
Of course, it can be done with grace and generousity and flexibility. I mean, I technically work, and so do many of my friends. But it's not easy! And I've battled with it from time to time because it CAN detract from the family, if not properly organized. (I've struggled this same beast before when I finished my BA degree online: it almost would have been better to be physically IN the classes!) So don't be fooled into thinking that this is the cure to all your financial woes. In or out of the home, a woman must always be able to put her primary vocation first... that is the one with the biggest payoff anyway!
-Ellie, Oak Harbor