On Halloween, our President made a statement that stirred up mixed reactions. I thought I would add my two cents.
I believe in honoring our leaders, whether they have earned our respect or not. This is not a leader bashing article. I try to know only enough about politics to pray, but not so much that I become oppressed with negativity.
Those who know me know that I am not a fan of picking apart people’s words. I wouldn’t be writing this if I hadn’t also read the rest of the President’s speech, a lot of which I respect. I appreciate what he had to say about his single mother, giving women equal opportunity for success as a son would have, his story of balancing time with their kids and the work which could provide their kids with opportunities, etc.
However, here is the million dollar quote that caused mixed reactions:
Sometimes, someone — usually mom — leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make.
By the end of this decade, let’s enroll 6 million children in high-quality preschool, and let’s make sure that we are making America stronger. That is good for families; it’s also good for the children, because we know investing in high-quality early childhood education makes all the difference in the world, and those kids will do better.
I was a little sad when I heard his statement. Not because I am against women being successful business women and contributing to society. Proverbs 31 shows a godly woman as a smart, savvy, feminine business mind.
No, I was sad because the same voice who tells this generation that a woman has the right to say no to a child through abortion, should not be making the choice to say yes to sacrificing career to the nurture of a child she wants.
It seems a little a little bizarre to hear about quality child care from the voice who doesn’t want a woman’s mistakes, “punished with a baby.”
The same voice who promotes feminine responsibility for one’s actions in the economy puts a negative light on responsibility for one’s actions in domestic life.
The same voice that paves a way for feminine strengths in business crowds out the impact of the most powerful strength of femininity that surpasses all other success: motherhood.
I was raised in a culture of extreme wife and motherhood roles. When I say extreme, I mean, she had few other facets of leadership, at least not public ones. While I now believe a woman is responsible to contribute her gifts and strengths to the rest of the world, I still value the strengths of motherhood above them all, because she raises the next generation.
Barack’s statement and the general viewpoint of planned parenthood farther drives in the stake molding a generation: only value life when it is convenient.
When is valuing life ever convenient? The extra bills, the spit up, the tuition, the late nights, and gray hairs… It’s not convenient, but it is worth more than anything.
Psalms says that children are a heritage of the Lord. Not only are they are blessing; babies are a love inheritance. They are God’s gift to Himself and to us.
“A baby is God’s opinion that life should go on.” Carl Sandburg
Babies are not punishments for mistakes. Babies are always the redemption of humanity. Even in the most tragic circumstances, a baby is proof that beauty comes from pain. Even in the state of consequences for bad choices, a baby is like a kiss from God, saying “I still love you. Here’s a gift.” A baby is like a proclamation to the whole world that there is beauty and life in a selfish world of sadness and death.
God deeply embedded the instinct of motherhood into His feminine reflection, not to be oppressed by it, but to be empowered for greatness in many facets.
Motherhood is not just bearing children. Motherhood is about incubation. I don’t have a physical child, but I mother many things. I mother prayers, I mother promises, I mother the diamond of Christ in people, I mother children I adopt into my heart…
I am not here to put a cookie cutter mold over the subject of motherhood, but to say that in all our leadership roles, whether inside or outside the home, motherhood should be the highest promotion.
Our culture is in conflict with the idea of motherhood. It has taken a menial backseat to other accomplishments, along with the rise of feminism.
I support women in leadership, but one beef I have with the feminist movement is the decrease in value for class and femininity. Women reacted to cultural oppression and took their place in power. This resulted in abrasive female leadership, in other words, women competing with men like men for power and influence. This is ironic because women can’t lead like men because they are not men. They are women!
It is God’s design for women to have a voice of leadership, but we are designed to lead with the aura and strengths of a matriarch, opposed to taking cues from our competition: men.
Truth be told, men are not the competition of women and vice versa. We are two different manifestations of God’s heart, and we are designed to empower and compliment each other in leadership.
To date, the church hasn’t been the greatest example of female empowerment because women are generally more oppressed in religious circles than in the world. When the church failed to set an example for honorable leadership partnership with women, women found the outlet for the strength and creativity everywhere besides the church.
Oppressed women often manipulate to gain subtle control of a situation, perhaps even taking cues from the one who is dominant over her. These women are awful to be around. Proverbs says a contentious woman is like a dripping faucet.
A controlling person is the opposite of a powerful person, male or female. The Lamb is a Lion, and the Lion is the Lamb. We should be taking our cues from His heart. I believe for renewed hearts of male and female leaders in the church.
I already know multiple men and patriarch leaders who have given women their place of authority and influence with honor and grace. This is preferable to prideful dominance because as my husband says: An oppressed woman can destroy to the degree that she would have blessed the earth, had she been empowered.
One of my biggest hopes is to see the church operate in honor between the sexes to infiltrate the culture around us to eliminate the competition and/or dominance syndrome, neglected children epidemic, and fumbling inconsistencies that 21st century feminism brings.
To me, it’s not even a battle between career and domestic life, public leadership and behind the scenes strength; It is a battle with the enemy of our souls, who determined in the garden to be at war with the nature of the feminine one.
Why? Because she nurtures and mothers and call forth greatness to be born. When she is secure, hell is shaken.
I was raised by a stay at home mom, and I am so glad I never experienced the instability of being passed off to be raised by someone else half the time. Both my sisters are also their children’s primary caregiver, but its not about simply meeting their needs. It’s about being the one to tell them about the world and God and and ABCs. It’s about being a present parent for a future adult.
I definitely see the benefits of stay at home motherhood up close and personal, but I don’t say that to create a formula or cause shame for those who work as well.
Life is rarely ideal. It is not always possible for a mom to spend as much time with her kids as she would like. In America there are thousands of single moms, whether by death, divorce, or happenstance.
Many moms have to work in order to feed the children, and I applaud that. That is a big burden to carry. My own mom has been a single parent for nine years now, so I am familiar with unfortunate circumstances. She juggled responsibilities well.
It doesn’t take much digging to find that the odds against the success of single mother is a less than abundant when financial conditions are not good and there is no stable father. These cycles of yelling, drugs, absence, and inconstancy often ends on the streets or in prison
We don’t have to be victims to the sad cycle of broken homes in America. The other day, I told my single mom friend, “Whatever situation you find yourself in, whatever odds are against you, if you find your purpose and strength in God, you will be a successful mother.”
By God’s grace, we can be a generation that introduces the kids to a perfect Father who will never leave or forsake them. I fully believe, it can be the change.
I would project that children benefit from more time with their moms opposed to less time, although time is not an all encompassing solution. I have seen stay at home mothers and working moms who were equally poor parents, and of course, the opposite can be true as well.
Staying at home does not inherently make a good mother, and being a working mother does not inherently make a good mother. Quality is better than stinky quantity. Few people wish to be bad mothers. In that light, it’s good to give each other grace in our individual circumstances.
To me, the battle isn’t if a mom should or should not have an occupation outside motherhood; the real concern is that motherhood is always esteemed higher than any other job. It’s not worth being successful in the business world, yet lose out on being a quality parent that lasts into adulthood.
Whatever a woman’s circumstances, motherhood is the greatest, long term commitment she will ever make. If she can invest more fully at home, her kids would benefit from it, and hopefully she will have the support of the rest of the American population. There is no shame in being a stay at home mom. She works hard. She builds a generation.
Whether a mother can stay at home or not, whether she chooses to stay at home or not, I hope women take on the permanent job of motherhood. Because America needs mothering.
So yes, I beg to differ, Mr. President. With all this talk of “choice” that you do, I say stay at home mothering is DEFINITELY a choice American mothers should be making.