And we are still arguing about what a woman’s place is. You don’t need to spend too much time on any given social media platform to find it.
“A woman must be home with her family if she truly loves them.”
“A woman must work in order to be empowered and her true self.”
“A woman neglects her children if she works outside the home.”
“A woman wastes away if she’s stuck at home.”
And this is putting it nicely. It gets nasty really quickly.
When a woman believes something, she does so passionately. It is part of our strength. We put our whole hearts into what is most important to us: our work, our families, our communities, our churches, our friendships. We fight for those things we care about most.
For some women, this manifests as a decision to leave the workforce to be a Stay-at-Home-Mom (SAHM).
Unfortunately, as women make the best choice for their family, it can give way to something ugly. Women are hit with personal attacks on social media, unkind questions at family gatherings, and judgmental presumptions of strangers, just to name a few. It is incredibly isolating, and makes every SAHM look for camaraderie.
When Camaraderie Turns into Collaboration.
When I came across Victoria’s blog at Housewife // Savagelife, I was blown away at the honest conversations she had with a convicted felon, and the truth, beauty and humanity brought out through their vulnerability. Victoria was someone I instantly wanted to get to know. As we dove into conversation, I quickly found a kindred spirit, someone eager to honestly share the challenges and joys we face as SAHMs in the interest of growing deeper and accepting fully where God has asked us to be.
After some delightful back and forth, Victoria and I decided to tap into our love for truth and writing and share our thoughts in a new collaborative series: SAHM Talk Back! We wanted to show that when a woman chooses to leave the workforce, her reasons are deep and rational. We may live a smaller, less visible life, but there is tremendous value and beauty in what we have chosen to do. And as you’ll see, we couldn’t resist throwing our particular brand of sass at some of the common misconceptions of the life we’ve taken on.
Before you say a word…
It must be said that our series cannot be construed as a condemnation of or argument against women who are mothers who work outside the home. We know that these mothers are motivated by deep love, and balance their callings within and without the home at great personal sacrifice. Just because we have discerned the SAHM life as best for us and speak to its value, we by no means dare to suggest that it is absolutely best for all.
In fact, through our collaboration, we’ve learned an important truth, one echoed in the lives of the saints: a woman’s place is wherever God has called her to be. Canonically, this has included such places as at the head of an army, the primary advisor to the pope, balancing a career with the needs of her family, and devoting herself full time in the home. A woman’s “place” is neither stagnant nor infinite nor absolute. It changes with the seasons of her life and the gifts that God has generously given her. It is the mark of a woman to have the flexibility to adapt to these seasons as they come, facing the challenges head on with determination and poise.
And now, the details.
We bring our own unique perspectives to these conversations – me with a background in architecture, and her with a background in psychology; me, a mom of two, her, a brand spanking new mom; me, leaving a career in a big firm, her, jumping around from place to place with the military. Our hope is that this series can help move the focus from nitpicking the decisions women make towards empowering women to use their deep intellect and love for God to make the right choices for themselves and their families.
Click on the questions below to read our conversations:
A military wife, because it’s super fun to move every nine months. She’s the “housewife” half of the genius blog, Housewife // Savagelife. She’s also a new mom, so send up a quick prayer for her (and stop telling her how your newborn slept through the night at six weeks).
Then, there’s Emily.
Your w(h)iner-in-chief, Cajun wife to a Wisconsin boy, holding down the fort (erm, teeny apartment) with their two little narcissists, and realizing that her previous training in architecture and the DC swamp couldn’t have been more perfect for her present state of life.