A few years ago, my wife Katie and I made a decision: she would stay home to care for our children rather than work outside the home. We have stuck by that decision, but it has not been easy. The difficulty is not just financial. True, one income has not allowed us to match the lifestyles of our two-career friends. But we knew that would be the case and were prepared to accept the financial limitations of our choice.

The real difficulty is the loneliness. Our commitment to having one parent at home finds little support in the Christian community. Ever since our grandmothers went off to the factories to help make the world safe for democracy, the pressure on mothers to work outside the home has increased. So while three generations of women progressively moved into the marketplace, it has become easier to believe that a woman cannot be happy if she stays home. That the world buys this idea I can accept; that the Christian community has bought it, I cannot.

Married women are encouraged to guide or manage their households (1 Tim. 5:14). Scripture also appears to suggest that it is honorable for a married woman to be a stay-at-home wife and mother (1 Tim. 2:15). And older women are instructed to teach younger women to remain in the home and take care of their families (Tit. 2:3–5). In fact, the Bible says many things that are difficult to reconcile with our perception that women can only be fulfilled if they work outside the home.

And yet, I honestly wonder how many working mothers actually find fulfillment in their work away from home. Katie often hears other mothers say, “I’d go absolutely crazy if I had to stay home all day with my children.” They seldom say, “I need a career to be fulfilled.” ...

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