I am so thankful for a husband who values the importance of my job at home. Although, I have worked part-time (average 12-18 hours a week) outside the home for 12 of our 20 years of marriage, I still consider myself a homemaker - because that is where I truly try to keep my focus.
I was watching TV one afternoon while washing dishes and the last few minutes of Oprah were on - she was asking the question, "Can women have it all?" There was a heated debate going on about whether a woman can work a career and still care for her family.
I really don't know if "women can have it all" because I don't know what all women are looking for, but I have made some observations.
I know a woman with two teenagers who works a full-time job. She has an clean and organized home, two very respectful and well mannered children, and a loving marriage. She is faithful to church and has a true God-given gift for hospitality.
I know another woman with two children who is a stay at home mom. She has cluttered and unorganized home, two confused and rebellious children, and a rough and rocky marriage. She is unfaithful to church and always seems overwhelmed and overloaded.
I have known working moms who orchestrate every aspect of their home life like a skilled conductor. I have known stay at home moms that are distracted and self-absorbed with their own interests while their kids run around in dirty diapers and don't eat lunch until 3pm. I have also known working moms who seem to forget that they even have a family, and there are stay at home moms that are nurturing and caring for their family with love and devotion.
What's the difference?
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.I think the difference is their focus.
As Christians instead of "fighting within the family" by playing the "I'm better than you because I stay at home/work" game, we should be exhorting one another in love to be more like Christ. For wives and moms the Bible tells us that our focus is to be on serving our families.
For working moms this may take more planning, organization, and time management. For stay at home moms this may take more self-discipline, initiative, and self-sacrifice.
Being a wife/mom who works outside the home doesn't make you bad any more than being a wife/mom who stays at home makes you good. Keeping a right focus on Biblical womanhood is the key.