The current trend in our society is that more and more wives and mothers are reentering the workplace. Different families have different needs. And many have decided this is what best serves them.
Yet at the same time, some families are bucking this societal trend. They’ve decided it’s not in their family’s best interest to have mom working outside the home. And while this is a great decision for many families, it’s not a decision that comes free from difficulties.
Anytime you buck a societal trend, there’s a price to pay. For mothers who stay home to raise their children, one price they pay is a drop in social status. This is sad because stay-at-home moms work so hard and sacrifice so much. Current characterizations of stay-at-home moms tend to be patronizing at best, and at worst, downright derogatory.
As a result, guys, the choice to stay home with the kids can be hard on your wife’s self-esteem’even if it’s a decision she believes in and is thrilled about.
So if you and your wife have chosen to buck the trend, I encourage you to ask yourself the following three questions:
- What can I do to lighten her load?
- How can I encourage her and affirm the great value of what she’s doing?
- What practical steps can I take to make staying home with our children less physically and emotionally draining on my wife?
More and more women are now working outside the home. Therefore, a growing number of men are being called upon to help their wives prepare for and manage this aspect of her role. This, of course, constitutes an important area where husbands must learn to think and act sacrificially for the good of their marriages and families.
Listen to this testimony by Joanne, a wife and mother in her third year of graduate school: ‘I couldn’t succeed in this challenge if it weren’t for my husband’s constant support when I’m in class and when I have to barricade myself in my room to do homework. He feeds the kids, helps with their homework, and runs them where they need to go. I can’t explain the relief I feel when I know he’s stepping in’He never ever pouts or acts put out that he has to do more. I feel so responsible for my family that if he did these things for me grudgingly, I would feel defeated very quickly. Because he helps me with a cheerful attitude, I feel a lightness inside that help me get through the day.’
Joanne’s husband is a wise leader. They’ve made a decision that, in their particular situation, her return to school is in the best interest of their family. And this decision requires him to think and act sacrificially. He knows his family’s needs, and his wife’s insecurities, and tends to them accordingly. That’s a real man.