Mother's Day is past, and mothers are back to work, some in the home, some outside of the home, some doing both. And that's something to ponder.

As we might have guessed, Mother's Day is not only good for mothers, it also helps the economy. To be exact, it's worth $15.7 million to retailers, according to the National Retail Federation. But it's not as helpful to as the mothers who, on Monday, went back to work. They earn an estimated $476 billion annually.

Without women in the workplace, "it's fair to say America's economy would grind to a halt." So says Jessika Auerbach in a recent USA Today piece. So also says Carol Evans, CEO and president of Working Mother magazine: "If the 71 percent of all women with children who work lose their ability or inclination to work, then we will have a loss of economic strength in this country."

Evans edits a magazine that helps working women manage the stress of having a job and being a mother. Auerbach has just written a book—And Nanny Makes Three: Mothers and Nannies Tell the Truth about Work, Love, Money, and Each Other—that empathizes with and encourages both working mothers and the women who take care of their children. They are two of millions who recognize (1) that working mothers are a reality in this economy and (2) that this reality is hard on mothers and children.

I'm not going to preach for or against mothers working. I know some mothers who absolutely should work. I know some who absolutely shouldn't. This decision is one requiring prudential judgment not sweeping moralisms. But in this culture, Mothers Day is not only a time to reflect on mothers' relationship to their children, but also their relationship to this culture, especially it is trying its best to exploit ...

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In "SoulWork," Mark Galli brings news, Christian theology, and spiritual direction together to explore what it means to be formed spiritually in the image of Jesus Christ.
Mark Galli
Mark Galli is former editor in chief of Christianity Today and author, most recently, of Karl Barth: An Introductory Biography for Evangelicals.
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