There is a heart-cry among those of us with children, whether we be young women or older, and it comes out in various ways. You’ll hear well-meaning women and men count off the long list of chores that a woman completes and tally its financial value, its significance, if you will.
You’ll hear stay-at-home moms implore others to believe that they ‘really work’ and that they’re not sitting at home eating bonbons. As if anyone who has ever had children believes that there are really such spare moments.
You’ll hear women say that even though the house looks the same when their husbands come home that they really did do a lot all day. You’ll see frazzled women insist they’re doing, doing, doing but that there just isn’t much to ‘show’ for it.
We’ve heard stay-at-home moms treated like leeches, like parasites, and like pampered, ungrateful children. We’ve heard moms being questioned as to whether the planet really needs more people.
I’ve personally applied for loans with my husband and have had the bank representative look at me with disparagement and tell me that, ‘I don’t work’.
Stay-at-home moms have had their lifestyles questioned and their choices mocked.Feminism isn’t often their friend. And yet, they’re exhausted and strained and miss getting out and getting dressed up and entertaining adult conversation. But they have no right to complain. After all, they ‘don’t work’.
In all of the conversations about stay-at-home moms, there is something we’ve all been missing, and there is something stay-at-home really want. Underneath all the talk, rhetoric, and conversations.
Are you ready?
They want respect.
Not to be treated as children, or as fools, or as wasteful, indulgent, petulant, spoiled, frivolous, incompetent, less-than, people but as equals with everybody else. It’s that simple, and yet, the lack of respect has horrifying effects.
It leaves women questioning whether they’ve made the right decision, whether they’re worth anything at all, and whether they have anything useful to offer. It leaves them attempting to justify themselves and sometimes not feeling like they’re on equal footing as everyone else. Sometimes they feel useless and as if what they do doesn’t matter.
Oh, but it does. It truly does. It’s only our lack of respect for the institution of motherhood that reinforces such a negative attitude toward those who make it their full-time vocation.
And while I think we’re hard on our stay-at-home moms, I think we’re hard on our working moms too, just in a different direction. We question whether they’re throwing their children away to ‘chase their careers’. We see them as moms that are less than. And that’s disrespectful too. It hurts, and nobody likes it.
We’ve rightly identified within the word of God that husbands need respect. And they absolutely do. The disrespect of husbands has done an immense amount of damage to the family unit. It denigrates those who sacrifice and work hard to provide for their families, and it isn’t right.
But respect isn’t just for the husbands. It’s for wives too. Husbands are to cherish their wives and no one can feel cherished without respect. Especially when they’re walking around sleep-deprived much of the time.
It can mess with your head when you haven’t slept well, serve everybody all day, and are still counted unworthy. It can make you feel lower than dirt. Not a good example for the kids.
What I propose is this: let’s all be be as respectful of the working mother and the stay-at-home mother as we would the man with the good job. Let’s not look down on others and make them grasp for their self-worth through striving. A simple acknowledgement of their worth is all that is needed.
Let’s acknowledge that raising little people is important as is leading in the corporate boardroom or doing any other job. Motherhood is hard work, and mothers provide a worthy service.
And if you’re a mom in the trenches, know that God is the God who sees you. Every day, day in and day out, and the Bible says you are worth more than rubies (Prov 31:10). You are valuable and you are loved.
Rosa Hopkins is a writer of words, a singer of songs, and a dreamer of dreams, child of the King, and gloriously saved. She lives and writes in the hills of Appalachia with her husband, miracle baby, Jack Russell, and a shapeless hound named Lou. She is co=owner of Great Commission Records, is a radio recording artist, and co-host to radio shows on WDZY AM & FM, Richmond, VA and WEMM, Huntington, WV. She writes at www.lifeinsidethehouseontherock.com, and her music and radio shows can be found at: www.soundcloud.com/rosahopkins.