There are many reasons that we have structured our family in this way, even as Raymond pursues a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. (which he will begin in August 2011, Lord willing). The primary reason is that we believe the Lord is most honored when we, among other things, strive for Raymond to be the primary provider of our home financially and for me to be the helper to Raymond so that our home is in order and functional and he is able to complete with excellence the work that the Lord has given him to do. God created man to fulfill the role of leader and worker while he created woman to be the man’s helper (that is, the woman complements her husband and helps him in the task that God has given him) (Genesis 2:15-24; Ephesians 5:22-33). This role of helper manifests itself in many ways, some are universal while others are particular to our situation, and will modify and adjust as our situation in life changes. Most importantly, I nourish him with food, I create a relaxing atmosphere in the home, I provide verbal affirmation of the work he is doing and the leadership he provides for our family, etc (Raymond also does many things that serve me, but my focus in this post is on my responsibilities…Raymond does not think of me or treat me as a slave). Before we had Abigail, I was not only working at Starbucks but attending the University of Louisville as well, and I can honestly say that it is impossible for me to do all the things I would like to do around the house and for Raymond (not to mention adding children into our life) if I have work responsibilities outside of the home.
Of course it would be really nice to make some extra money and it would probably be a lot less stressful for me if I put Abigail in a daycare and paid somebody to take care of her, especially when she’s fussy or having a bad day, but all the reasons I can think of for wanting to work outside of the home are self-serving and they only reveal the idols of materialism and success in my heart. The Lord has given us everything we need through Raymond’s jobs and the generosity of others and faithfully parenting our children is more important than financially supporting any frivolous/materialistic whims we might have. We definitely have to work really hard at using our money wisely and finding creative ways to save money, but it is worth it to know that we are honoring the Lord with the decisions we have made regarding our family.
Least importantly, though still a very valid reason, is that staying home with our children is best for them psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, etc. Much research has been done confirming that a traditional family of one man and one woman who have not been divorced/remarried where the father provides financially and the mother focuses her attention on caring for their children creates the most suitable environment for raising socially mature children (I am primarily referencing The Natural Family by Allan Carlson & Paul Mero though I’m sure that there are other resources). We want our sons to learn how to be godly men, protecting and providing for their families, and we want our daughters to learn how to be godly women, having a quiet and gentle spirit and joyfully submitting to their husbands. In order to accomplish this, Raymond and I have to model what we think godly manhood and womanhood is.
Coming to the end of Part 2, I’m pretty sure there will be another post for this series. I think the topic of that one will have something to do with the practical outworking of being a stay-at-home mom (how I fill my day, what I do to save money, etc).