Battle of the Mamas- Working vs. Staying at Home
Samantha: Let's get real.
Christian: Who wants to have another surface- level conversation?
Samantha: Not us. I'm Samantha.
Christian: And I'm Christian. Two friends having raw but truth- filled conversations about the messiness of life.
Samantha: So buckle up and don't be shy.
Christian: Because, yep, we're going there.
Samantha: We're going there.
Christian: Welcome back everybody.
Samantha: Welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome. I'm trying to pump myself up because Christian is forcing me to record this podcast right now.
Christian: Guys, I'm not forcing her. It is late at night. You guys know that we schedule in and around all of the things of life, and currently it's newborn life and crazy work schedule, so here we are at 10: 49 PM.
Samantha: On a Monday, when I have a newborn, but here we are inaudible.
Christian: Dedication. Everyone pat Samantha on the back when you see her next inaudible horrible girl.
Samantha: I'm just such a little workaholic girl.
Christian: Gosh. Okay. Well, that segues us right into our topic today.
Samantha: That's what I was doing.
Christian: And it could be a little spicy for some people, but this is a conversation that we have actually, had multiple times in our friendship, and we wanted to talk about it today, was working moms versus stay at home moms.
Samantha: The battle is on.
Christian: Bum, boom, boom, boom.
Samantha: No, it is really funny because I think it's one of those topics that even if we would all admit like," Okay, that's so dumb. That shouldn't be a thing, especially in our day and age." I truly think deep down, we all have opinions on what the right or wrong way should be on this. And even if you're sitting there thinking," We'd never admit it out loud, but I for sure think being a stay- at- home mom is better or I for sure think working outside of the home is like a better option for your family." I think we all have those feelings but we're too afraid to admit them, and we want to debunk some of that, talk about it from a biblical perspective and ask ourselves, why do we think the way we think?
Christian: Yeah. I want to dig into that even of what you've just said a little bit though because I think later on in this conversation, we'll talk a little bit about how do we think about some things even subconsciously when people say things or when people parent a certain way that maybe you are or are not doing versus them? And how honestly, I think subconsciously we come into ideas of which one's better? Is being a working mom better, and are you providing better for your family? Or is staying at home better because this is how your kids are acting or this is how your family functions? So I don't know, interested inaudible.
Samantha: I mean, I really think it comes down to, you probably think the way that you're doing it is the better way unless you're in a situation where... I have a lot of friends who maybe are working right now because they need to be for certain reasons, but they ideally would love to stay home, so unless you're that, I think you think," Okay, if I'm a stay at home mom obviously that's the better way. Look at the time I'm getting to spend with my children." Or if you're a working mom, you think," Wow, I could literally, never have such a minuscule type of life and just stay at home with my kids. Christian told me that one time guys.
Christian: Guys, no, I did not. Well, anyway, so we wanted to dive into the topic and we hope that, we would love to hear your all's opinion because this is something we've talked a lot about this with our friends. But we just wanted to start the conversation to talk a little bit about even just what the Bible has to say personally, you guys know my background of this is I grew up in a home where my mom stayed home most of my life. I'm one of five children, and she stayed home the majority of my life. She started working casually when my youngest brother... And I'm the fourth in line, so when my youngest brother who's the last one was entering high school so we could all drive and she started working part- time. And then by my senior year, she was working full- time as a reading teacher. And so, she was often the summers with us still, and so that's the lifestyle I grew up in. I am, as you guys know, a huge achiever. I like doing a lot of things. And so, when I graduated from school and started working I knew I wanted to work even early on in Andrew and I's relationship. I thought, yes, I for sure want to be a mom. I want to have kids, and ideally I want to stay at home. I thought that, of course, I want to stay at home with my kids because that's what my mom did. That's what I was used to do.
Samantha: You did think that?
Christian: Oh, yeah. Early on when I was getting your Mrs degree, the whole cliche like," I'm just in college, I'm going to get married right after college." I don't know that whole ideal, I was like," For sure, I want to stay home." And then quickly into working, I was like," Oh, wait. I love working, and I love pursuing something." I don't know, just like in my job, I love that.
Samantha: Oh, you're so bigger than staying home?
Christian: No. Outside the home.
Samantha: inaudible, yeah.
Christian: Then when we naturally started growing our family and we had our first child and I was like," Of course, I'm going to work," and now I've just stuck with that, and I'm really passionate about work. I love working and I really do think God made me to be a working mom. But that has come with a lot of hard challenges too. A lot of different perspectives than honestly most of my community. And so, that I think sometimes can be really isolating and different actually, in just my perspectives of things or how I think about... I don't know, things are just even what I don't think about maybe with my kids a lot of times because I am with them only on the weekends and then at night and in the morning. So that's a little bit of my background and just where I'm coming from. Samantha, what about you?
Samantha: Well, my mom worked actually, a lot of my life. Well, on and off. She was a teacher, and so again, a lot of flexibility. She took some time off throughout the years, but I think it just felt like I had a really present mom, probably similar to your mom who'd stay at home. And as I got older, I didn't put a ton of thought to it. I actually, had really big ambitions in college. And so, technically I came to Mizzou for Journalism, and I wanted to be a political news anchor.
Christian: And then stayed for Justin and Miller.
Samantha: Well, what's funny is I got into the journalism school early and started doing all my classes and realized," Oh, if I want to advance in a career in this I'm going to have to just move around the country and keep moving up the ranks in these news stations." And I realized," Oh, how is that going to work once I met Justin? How is that going to work if I am married and have a family? I really would have to put my family to the side or just not care about starting a family anytime soon." And I quickly realized," No, I do have different priorities," and Justin was pretty... He wanted me to achieve my goals, but he had grown up with a very involved stay- at- home mom, and so he always thought," You want to stay home, right?" And it's interesting because I did stay home for the first three years of my daughter's life, and I have only worked my part- time job now for one year. So I feel like I have a really good perspective of both worlds. I say part- time job, I work close to 30 hours a week, and then I have a podcast and have some other things I'm involved in. And so, it really does feel like a lot more maybe than I even thought when I signed on. And I felt like a loss in that in certain ways for missing certain things with being a stay- at- home mom, but then I've also really enjoyed... I think Justin has seen, my personality does really well with working outside of the home, so I don't know. I think in a lot of ways I've experienced both. That brings up a good point to what we're saying. Why is there this weird tension between working and staying home? And I think even more magnified in the Christian context, why do we feel like there's this better than worse than scenario? And I think there's some validity I was even telling Christian, if I'm just going to be really vulnerable, I've never even told you this. I'm saying it right now... What if you get mad at me? I can tend to think to myself, being a stay- at- home mom is ultimately better if we are living out God's commandments of prioritizing our family, and we said this before. But just because you're working outside of the home full- time does not mean you're not prioritizing your family at home, let that sink in.
Christian: Oh, yeah. For sure.
Samantha: Because I think that's where maybe the depth of it comes from, this internal feeling of," Well, we're commanded to be these..." I don't know, to have our family is the number one priority to really make sure we're caring in so many ways for them, for our children, for our husbands, for our home. But where does it say that can't include a job outside of our home?
Christian: Yeah. Guys, I personally have done a lot of research on this. Actually, I've talked to many pastors about this topic because I was curious that I came into motherhood, and I was confused of, why do I feel such a pull? Why do I like working outside of the home so much? But I obviously, love my kids, and I know that God has a great design for how he has designed a household to flourish and what that means for a mother's role and what that means for a father's role. I read a bunch in Titus about that, and we will list some resources actually, in our show notes because I've done a ton of reading through the Bible about what it says. And the Bible is not explicit of what that looks like for a family unit. A lot of people have different opinions about that. But I do believe that there's not an explicit way of how that has to function, but for a household to flourish as God describes it. There have to be certain qualities and characteristics that the mother and father bring to the table, and those are qualities of responsibility and integrity. Those responsibilities of care and love, and so does that mean that your family functions inside the home or you staying at home and doing that well? Or does that mean that you can work outside the home and still do that well? And I think that looks different for every family unit and I've really had to struggle through that. But why is there this giant divide between one is better than the other? But I do think that's true that people come back to," Well, I must be doing it better because I am staying at home," which I just think is an interesting conclusion.
Samantha: But I think it goes the other way too. When I was a stay- at- home mom, you get this sense of the girls who are working or the women that are working full time, that they look at the women that are staying home as like... Either they say," Well, I could never do that, I just really couldn't. I could never stay home full time." And every time I've heard someone say that, and I have never heard someone say that without a little bit of judgment like,"Oh, I could never," almost like," Wow, you must be borderline insane to just want to stay home with your children every hour of the day, all day, every day." Or they're saying that like," Well, I am doing so much more with my life because I work outside of the home and look at these things I'm achieving, and I have ambition, you must not because you just are content staying home." And I think I battled that too because as I'm... We just adopted our second baby and I'm getting ready to head back into my job after a maternity leave it's like, I fill that pull personally because I'm remembering what it's like to be home with my kids full time and how much I really cherish that. And even just how much community time I get with other moms who stay home versus that really fun spark I have in my life when I get to go into an office and be surrounded by other creative people and get to do something I'm really passionate and good at. And so, I'm even feeling that personally right now, so I understand really why there is that difference.
Christian: And it's just so interesting. Obviously, Samantha and I are good friends. We do life alongside each other a lot, and so we've talked a lot about this. And I think it's even funny as you say those examples because even to other women as I will talk about when they're like," Hey, when do you hang out with your friends?" When we talk about friendship they're like," When do you do that?" I'm like," Well, my kids go to daycare 9: 00 to 5:00 every single work day, and so it's really easy for me to be like, let's do lunch, let's do coffee." So my community actually, thrives when I can work full time because I already have that written out of my schedule. I have childcare taken care of and it's easy. I am blessed with a flexible job that allows me to leave for a lunch break or get coffee with a friend. And in the same way, it's just so interesting because I will listen to a stay-at- home mom that they're like," Oh, yeah. I could never work outside of the home." Or they'll say," Oh, gosh. I'm dreading my stay at home life. I feel like I never have adult conversation, I'm like trapped with the kids, this is so hard." And I'm like," Well, then get a part- time job or do something." And so, it's just so interesting when your perspective is one way, how you think of something differently because you may not know the other option.
Samantha: Yeah. And even that is interesting in itself, and where there's the divide because I'm thinking about the people that I know you get to go to get lunch with and stuff. Those are usually, people that have, either other working moms or if you think about that like, if I'm staying home as I've been on this summer maternity leave, the girls I'm hanging out with during the day are other full- time stay- at- home moms. Whereas, when you're getting lunch with women, most of the time they either have a lot of childcare.
Christian: Do you track me on my calendar? How do you know that?
Samantha: I just know who you go and grab lunch with. It's like, wait, and now that I'm thinking about it, they're all other working moms. inaudible.
Christian: Part time or something.
Samantha: Yeah, part time or in some capacity they have childcare and they're working outside of the home. So it is more of this divide, like you're sitting there in a sounding board of like," Stay- at- home moms, you're getting to do all these fun, little play dates or versus you're getting to do all these lunches." It's just funny how it all works.
Christian: And it takes us to, I mean, we could take this topic to multiple other facets of our lives though too. But we wanted to talk about this one specifically, because we do feel like there's this giant divide between the two, and why is that? I'm sure we've all heard the idea of that as Christians, especially that we have more in common with someone we're not even related to because we are as brothers and sisters in Christ than even our brother or sister who was not a believer. And I think that's just so eye opening that we are so quick to cast judgments or I don't know, just think ill about someone who does something differently than us versus just thinking like," Hey, I can really gain perspective." And I think some of the sweetest friendships and relationships I have in my life are from people who live really different lifestyles than me in the way of working inside the home a hundred percent versus me working outside of the home. And I just really appreciate that and want that perspective for everyone. I don't do that perfectly at all, but I just think it's so interesting when you look at that, that we are quick to cast this judgment on a lot of things in our lives, probably.
Samantha: Yeah. And I think when we get down to it, let's start picking it apart. It's easy for us to say... Maybe you're sitting there thinking," Well, maybe I am a stay- at- home mom, who's contemplating getting a part- time job or working full- time," or maybe you're the full- time working mom who is really desiring to stay home. I think a lot of times maybe we idolize each role. Maybe you're-
Christian: The grass is always greener.
Samantha: ...yeah. Like you're the full- time working mom who's taking your kid to daycare from 9: 00 to 5:00, but you're just dreaming about the girl who gets to spend all day with them, and maybe you're the stay- at- home mom... I mean, this is Meme Central," I'm the stay- at- home mom who then craves to go to a work environment and go to fun lunches and all the things." But I do think we should consider one thing is, maybe the reason that people have to make the decision one way or the other is financial for their family, and a lot of times we don't consider why or why not they would make that choice for that reason.
Christian: Yeah. I mean, I think there's a lot of things to consider, and I think that's a big one that people when they cast judgment or quickly make an assumption about a family, maybe don't think about. I mean, personally for one, I do work outside of the home and we need that financially. And so, I'm happy to do so, but that is also how our family functions. And I do think another thing that people... I don't know, I think we quickly cast over like," Maybe that's just like the best for their personality." I know a lot of my stay-at- home mom friends, their personalities are huge home bodies, and they love to create and design. And they're just like, I mean, I'm not saying this is the character they have to be, I'm just thinking of, I don't know, stay-at- home moms that I know really well. But they just care really well, they're very good nurturers, where I wouldn't say nurturing is a great one. It's not high on my personality, I would say. And so, I look at them and I'm like," Oh, I love that about you and that's just maybe not how I am, and so that does fit you better to work inside the home versus outside of the home."
Samantha: Yeah. That just brings up another good point when thinking through, why maybe? Maybe this is just challenging you to think about different reasons why people would choose one way or the other, but someone could be choosing to stay at home because maybe they have children that need a little bit more of their attention at home whether that's disabilities or learning challenges or behavioral challenges that they just really need to be more present in the home. And I also think it's good to consider that this could look different in different seasons of our life, so right now I'm working part- time, that was nothing I really expected a few years ago when I was full time at home. And I think another thing to consider, it can be really easy to be like," Well, I wish I could stay at home if financially I could do that." Well, a lot of times... I know young in my marriage, we've sacrificed a lot financially because we felt like I needed to be home with my daughter. And you might not be realizing that people are choosing to live a different lifestyle because they want to live on one income or because they need to live on one income, so that's a good thing to consider.
Christian: Yeah. And I think it just takes us back to even like, it's not our job to cast judgements on people. I think ultimately, this topic alone, like we could relate this to a lot of things in our lives, we are just so quick to stake our point in the game to say like," Nope, this is our stance we are taking. I'm right, you're wrong." And that's really just not our job, and our job is to actually, just see someone else's perspective and see what we can learn and how we can be challenged. And so, I think that's good for a lot of different areas in our lives.
Samantha: I do think there's times where you can challenge friends, obviously if you have that relationship to really ask them-
Christian: Samantha's the challenger.
Samantha: ...I'm not at all, actually, which is funny.
Christian: With me, you are.
Samantha: Maybe, I thought you were talking about the enneagram.
Samantha: I feel like it's good to say like," Okay, what are your reasons for working or staying home? And do those reasons have a lot of value and weight to them or do they outweigh the reasons why you should be doing the opposite?" Because I think sometimes we, maybe just do go down this pattern and we're not putting a lot of thought into the decisions we're making in life. Maybe you have a stay-at- home mom friend who just seems like in a really miserable spiral that maybe just isn't feeling, I don't want to even say content or satisfied because I think that's more of a hard issue of figuring out," Well, you can do that regardless of what your day to day looks like," but maybe they're just in a really unhealthy state being at home all the time. Or maybe you have a friend who's such a workaholic and you feel like they're genuinely not prioritizing their family or their kids. It's like, maybe we should be challenged in those thinkings of like," Well, what is your reasoning behind this? What's the purpose? Is it just financial because you want to be able to live a little bit differently than if you stayed home? Or is it because you're scared to get out of your comfort zone and leave your kids? Do you idolize your kids in your home and this comfort zone that you've built?" I think that's okay to challenge people too.
Christian: Ooh, I love all of that because there are pros and cons to both of these things, and I think that's just so eye opening. And again, I hope that we are all coming alongside friends even in those hardships because in those pros and cons seasons that you are maybe going to have a friend who's in a specific season and our job is to encourage them, pray with them, be there for them, support them and challenge them maybe in ways to just help them think differently, so I love that because there's definitely, pros and cons to both.
Samantha: Yeah. I mean, the amount of times that I've actually, heard people say," Oh, I could never send my kids to daycare. I could never leave my kids." I'm like," You don't know why they're choosing to do that, and maybe you could never leave your kids because you have an unhealthy attachment to the way you're choosing to parent, and thinking your ideas are supreme." And so, I think it's good to be challenged in that too.
Christian: Yeah, for sure.
Samantha: Yeah. Something interesting too, as I think about all the girls that I know that have stayed home or even me when I have been in my seasons of fully staying home is, most of the time, it's not like you're just staying home, taking care of your children. I know so many friends who have really cool side hustles or something that they do creatively even if it's a hobby that is really I think needed because you can get lost in this day in, day out, taking care of your children and not having anything. We are created so intentionally and purposefully and with unique abilities. And so, it is really cool to be able, if you're staying home, to tap into," Okay, what is something I can do that maybe could bring income in? Maybe not even, but that helps me feel creative in some way, and bigger than just," I hate saying that because there's so much purpose and intentionality in staying home. But I think that's something I've seen as trending, it's so easy now with social media and different avenues to have something on the side so that you can feel a little bit fulfilled in that creative segment. I don't know.
Christian: Well, yeah. And I love watching other friends thrive in things that they're just like," Oh, this was something I wanted to pursue and so, I did it and now it's working for me, and this is fun for my family and fun for us kids to do together." Again, I have a perspective more so of probably thinking, the grass is always greener at the stay-at- home mom side because that's not mine. But I always love what I do, but again, you look at the perspectives of the other, for example, my sister does amazing things with her kids. She will send me texts and videos of what they do often, and I'm like," Oh, shoot. I wish I could do that with my kids." But I also know that is her gifting. She is so gifted in, she's a huge creative, she does that really well for her kids and so, I can learn from that. I have taken many of her ideas and when I'm home on a Friday and Saturday, that's really fun for our family. And so I, in no way need to think better than myself because I'm working outside of the home, and I think," Oh, wow. I'm doing something better in my life." No, that's actually, not it at all. She is thriving and she's making a big impact in her kid's lives being at home and doing those things with them, but then I can learn from her too, and it doesn't have to be this like divide between the two of us and it's nothing that's actually there.
Samantha: Well, and for the working mom, I think that other side where we can say that they may look down at the stay- at- home mom and just say like," Wow, I could just never be fulfilled in life with just staying home." I think we're forgetting a really important thing that God just sees so many of the mundane things that we do in the task that maybe as a stay- at- home mom if you're hearing this right now and you're thinking like, wow, I look at girls on social media. I look at people I know that have so much purpose in their day to day because they get to go to these careers and be constantly told," Hey, you're doing a good job," whether or not they feel like that, if you're in a career type role or any job outside of the home, you're getting some kind of reward financially. You're literally, getting a paycheck for your job or hopefully, your boss is or your peers are encouraging to you. And if you're a stay-at- home mom you really don't get that at all. And so hopefully, your husband is supportive and encouraging, but I think there's something to be seen about the mundane work of just being at home. Some of the girls that I admire most in my life are girls who are such just... I don't know, faithful leaders in their home in the way that they serve their family day in and day out, and they don't look for that kind of encouragement. But it is cool to think like," No, that's just as productive to our society and just as honoring to God as it is to like go into a career, workplace and serve God that way."
Christian: Mm-hmm(affirmative). And I hope you guys hear Samantha and I. Obviously, I mean, we have different backgrounds and stories of this, and I think it's one good thing. I always want to be a person who challenges myself with other people who think differently than I do. And so, I would challenge you even as you're listening, if you don't have any friends, maybe on the opposite perspective or spectrum than you on this, maybe you don't have any working friends or maybe you don't have any stay- at- home mom friends, I would challenge you to find some people who you can connect with and learn from. Because again, as a working mother, I can feel really alone and feel isolated sometimes like that, but often when I hang out with other people who are different than I, I do find just a sweet security of just learning from them in a different way. And we think really differently or maybe like I mentioned earlier, they're thinking of something in their parenting and I have never thought of because I'm not with my kid that many hours that they are in the day or I don't experience that emotion with my kid that they do, and it's cool for me to learn those things. And so, I would challenge anyone, go outside of your comfort zone and find someone who maybe you're not currently living alongside, but see how you can learn from them in the ways that they parent and do life differently than you do.
Samantha: I really like that. Hey, thanks for going there with us.
Christian: If you loved what you heard, don't forget to follow along with us at Going There, the podcast.
Samantha: And it also means so much to us. If you subscribe to our podcast and shared it with a friend.
Christian: Talk to you soon.
That battle is on! Working moms vs. stay-at-home moms - who's the best at.... just kidding. Let's stop the competition! Motherhood is a beautiful journey, but it's also challenging; we don't need to pit ourselves against each other. Some moms choose to stay at home, and some choose to work full time; plus, there are many in-between options, all of which we can still serve God and do what's best for our family. Today we challenge you to think about the opposite perspective and find those people, connect and learn from them.
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