A Case for the Work at Home Mom

We’ve never done this here at Frugally Sustainable, but today I would love to have the “meat” of the post written in the comments…a community dialogue of sorts.

The other day I was reading through Proverbs and these few sentences almost literally jumped off of the page and it was as if I was reading them with fresh eyes, for the first time:

“She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.”
-Proverbs 31: 16-18 and 24

My instant thought was…this is the case for the work at home mom — wise, strong, and a financial contributor to her family (while caring for them and keeping the home at the same time)!

Share your thoughts and let’s learn together :)

 

Comments

  1. Hmm . . . and my first reaction was that this is the case for a work *anywhere* Mom, out in the fields, out in the markets, or out in the office! Certainly these verses value productivity in one form or another. It is certainly a blessing to be unafraid of dealing with money, unafraid of hard work, and willing to deal in the marketplace.

  2. Elaine Pollard says:

    Yes, I think you could certainly apply it way. The Virtuous Woman has it going on! She’s a mother, homemaker, entrepreneur, wife. Great verse!

  3. One thing to note is that while Mrs. 31 does a lot in the home she still spends a good portion of her day away from the home (it seems) to sell her items. I love Mrs. 31 just for being industrious in the home and outside, she’s not sitting around waiting for Dad to bring home the bacon twiddling her thumbs! It’s a good reminder, in the day of computers and other time sucking devices, just how much we can achieve and how productive we can be during our days (even if we have to spend some of our day “at the market”).

    p.s. Lets not let these comment degrade into Work Away from Home Mom bashing. It is lovely when Mom’s (or Dads) get to stay home with kids, but it’s not reality for everyone – in fact there are many hardworking two-income families who are just trying to stay afloat while they recover from a bad economy or {insert personal reason} or are working with the goal being able to be a “Stay at/Work from Home Parent”.

    • Good stuff Molly! My favorite line is how you describe this woman as being “industrious in the home and outside.” And you are so right! These words speak to all levels of working women!

    • Andrea your so brave for treading these waters!
      I love Molly’s reminder to not let this degrade into a bash against working Mothers. But it stings just a tiny to read this comment prior to that reminder, “she’s not sitting around waiting for Dad to bring home the bacon twiddling her thumbs!”. So to add to Molly’s plea, let us not turn this into a bash against those whose work solely remains in the home. While some see that its not a reality, I would caution that it isn’t always a luxury either. Many women who chooses to stay home sacrifice a lot to do. Neither side is without sacrifice, neither side is without hardship. Neither road is perfect or “right”. It is only whatever is the right choice for that family.

      • I’m sorry Chele, truly from the bottom of my heart! I wrote that part quickly this morning, and it was absolutely not meant to be a bash to my SAHM counterparts – none of whom I would ever describe as sitting around, etc., but rather it’s just a unclear hyperbole! That part was more meant for all the women as I think Mrs. 31 speaks to all women (whether mothers, wives, single, etc.) that we’re not supposed to just sit around and let someone else take care of us, but rather we’ve been given amazing natural gifts for an incredible industrious attitude and ambition no matter where those gifts are really put to work.

        I’m totally one of those women who wish I could be home more! I start work at 6 a.m. (when I wrote my first comment) so I can be home for more of my childrens waking hours and am working hard towards a situation that might let me work 1/2 time in the future! You SAHM and WAHM are awesome in my book!

  4. I love Proverbs 31 and have been working on memorizing it! I was a SAHM for 9 years until a brutal divorce forced me to have to go back to work full time, 30 miles away, and it’s been so incredibly hard to be away from my kids and my home.

    Now that I’ve remarried, my MISSION is to find a way to work from home, for my OWN business, because I believe that would be what’s best for my family… to be able to take care of home and children first and foremost, and ALSO contribute financially, and I’m just about there. I can’t wait. I believe God wants us as wives and moms to put the family FIRST… that’s my first mission, and my heart is there. But I believe your role is to be a “help meet” to your husband and if do what you need to do to help HIM make your family succeed, whether HE WANTS YOU TO work at home, outside the home, or don’t have a “real job” at all.

    I’m not much of a feminist. :)

    • I’m not much of a feminist either. And I think with verses like these we don’t have to be :) It’s all about living a flexible and balanced life. Different seasons in life call for different actions wouldn’t you agree?

      • Jennifer W says:

        Oh yes!! Different seasons in life call for different actions for sure!!!!! I struggle with wanting to do more volunteer type work, but with a family and a full time job it seems almost impossible to do some sort of volunteer work that is not stealing my precious family time or interfering with a job that I have to show up to everyday for 8 hours. I wise lady simple pointed out to me that this is the season for me to be with my family, they are my ministry right now. You are so right Melissa, our families need to be our first priorty. Once my child is grown or maybe just a little bit older I can then be open to spreading my ministry around. I have also heard people make the point that we don’t really know what kind of time line the 31 woman worked in. She was all of those wonderful things and more, but maybe each thing she accomplished happened within a perticular season in her life spread out throughout her lifetime. She may not have been able to do ALL those things in one day, each day. Certain things were done when she was perhaps a young wife, others during her time as a mother and others still has a mature, wiser, older woman with grown children. Just a thought :)

        • Thank you Jennifer for your comment, I really found encouragement in the suggestion that she may not have done all these things at once. I had never heard that but find it does make sense. I do many of the things she does: sew, cook, garden, clean, etc. etc. But I don’t do them all every day. We live in Canada so I don’t garden in the winter. I sew when I need to make clothes or things for the house or a friend. It is reassuring that I don’t need to do EVERYTHING all at once…

    • You guys should look into the “New Feminism” movement – it’s women who want call themselves as such, but align themselves more with the original feminists/suffragettes rather than the bra-burners, etc. of latter decades. Many friends and myself feel more part of this type of feminism than what our mothers grew up with – it’s much more middle road. =)

      • Feminism is simply the belief that a women should be free to determine the course of her own life, rather than have it dictated to her or determined by parents, husbands, society, etc. Whether you decide to be a homemaker, run a home business, work out of the home, or even run for President, feminism simply states that you should be totally free to do it with no barrier whatsoever other than your own personal limitations.

        Feminism has always been defined this way. It is just some of its ADHERENTS who get all uppity about working out of the home and fail to acknowledge other women’s choices. Which makes sense, given all the barriers women still face in the workforce. But, please don’t mistake Feminism for the beliefs of some feminists. :)

  5. Yes! Right on!! I am an Independent Consultant for Thrity-One Gifts. The company’s name, Thirty-One, comes from the verses of Proverbs 31, which celebrate hard-working women who are compassionate, giving, and inspirational to their families and the people around them. Working for Thirty-One has allowed me to stay home and be the primary lover (sounds better than primary caregiver :) of my daughter, stay connected with “the outside world,” and contribute to our monthly nut.

  6. Carla Storer says:

    I feel a “woohoo” coming on! Being a stay at home mommy is the BEST “job” ever and it is in certainly no way to be a lay down, lazy bum of a woman! What pride there is in being able to help support our families, our husbands and teach our children how to LIVE. I am proud to be a stay at home mommy who gardens, cans, assists my husband in his business, homeschools, and fosters children other than my own 5. I am a BLESSED woman and I’m thankful my parents taught me God’s first job for me was to be wife and mommy!! Thanks for sharing these encouraging verses today!!!!

  7. tracey rancourt says:

    I think the thing I have always pulled from Proverbs 31 is that she is responsible for her home.. Her husband trusts her in ALL things. He can count on her to not be foolish with money, to use the resources she has wisely and to keep all things running smoothly in her home. Be reading the chapters before this one, this is a mother’s advice to her young king son. To Look and be aware of a women who will compliment him and be diligent with the income and resources of their home and family. Love this post and hope we all can learn from it!

    • Right on Tracey! And I love that this women demonstrates an ability to contribute in every area necessary to maintain the home! Such an encouragement to keep going :)

  8. The Proverbs 31 woman is a tall order for all of us. But God obviously included it in the Bible for a reason! I believe that one of the lessons it teaches is that no matter where we find ourselves in the work world – whether we can give 100% focus to our family or we work in or outside our homes- we need to remember that our family is our main priority. Everything we do is for the Lord and for them. It is important to not get so caught up in climbing the corporate ladder or even in our mom’s group (if we are a stay at home mom) that we end up neglecting our families. Just a thought :)

  9. I’ve always known this was a fabulous verse to encourage moms who are entrepreneurial in spirit but want to stay at home – they can! :-) Isn’t it fabulous? We CAN take care of our babies AND make money. So many people think it’s either one or the other….and that’s just not true.

    • It is fabulous Stacy! Man I’ve read Proverbs 31 so many times and it never really occurred to me what was being encouraged in those few verses! I just LOVE it. And you’re so right…we don’t have to choose between making money and taking care of our families. It’s just a beautiful thing :)

  10. TallyLass says:

    Have loved having my own business in my home. When I was 13, I realized that mom’s in the future would probably need an extra income in the home. My dad was self-employed and mom a stay at home mom but raising the 9 of us was definitely costly. Mom loved to invite her stay at home neighbors over for morning coffee and sewing club. They would bring their children and we had some good play-times. At 13 I knew I wanted to care for other women’s children while they were in the workforce. It has been over 25 years in which I was able to stay home and raise my own children and now that they are gone from home, I am still loving every day of my stay at home business. I feel that the Lord raised me in a home with lots of children and gave me a love for having children around all day. I thank Him every day for these blessings and am grateful to my mom for giving me this experience.

    • How wonderful TallyLass :) Something you made me think about…how we as moms influence our daughters (and sons). What a gift to pass on to our children who watch us hard at work and love — living out our passions!

  11. The thing I like to remember about Pr. 31 is that this was what she was chacterized by in her lifetime, not just a single day. Also, remember the whole word of God. Titus 2 is another chapter that has great wisdom for women and what our priorities are to be. the most important job we have, if married with children,” is to love our husbands and children, to be pure, working at home, kind and submissive to our OWN husbands, so that the word of God is not maligned.”

  12. This is a beautiful verse. During all times in history women have worked either from home or out if the home. I have done both at different times in my life. Working outside the home was a necessity, but that would not make a difference. I believe work is work, and sometimes it just has to be done.

    The woman who works from home with children at home has a tough job. You wear many hats. You try to fit work in when kids are napping or playing,, but normally you are doing 10 things at once. You are trying to work, do you laundry, make meals, referee children, and even home school.

    You have a tough, but I believe that God honors the working woman with this verse, whether in or outside of the home. When we have homes, family, husbands, children we wear many hats, and the bulk of it all fals on the woman of the house. ( I am not saying men don’t help, it is just different.

    • Very well said Debi! My favorite line is “I believe work is work, and sometimes it just has to be done.” SO TRUE :) I too believe that this was meant to be an encouragement to the working woman. Thank you so much for your wonderful insight!

  13. Throughout our married years, I have often worked from home in some capacity. I have literally made and sold garments (my etsy shop) and have also ran a small non-profit. Right now, I sell doTERRA essential oils. While I make many of my herbal remedies (lobe your kitchen pharmacy series), essential oils are an easy and simple way for people to treat their illnesses and ailments at home with less effort. I believe that it is my ministry. I use my passions and talents to honor God by empowering people with alternatives to prescription and OTC meds.

    Over the year, my income has been a blessing to our family. There have been months when finances were tight and my income has paid our mortgage. Other times, my income provides us with savings, vacations, etc. My husband has always been encouraging and supportive of my business ventures. It is not without challenges: working from home, homeschooling, maintaining a garden and home. I do think it requires more reliance upon the Lord to find a balance and not become run-down, burn-out or resentful.

    Right now, I’m heading over to a neighbor’s house with my 7 year old as she is pet-sitting for 2 weeks. Just yesterday, she told me that she wanted to be a mommy when she grew up. Made me happy. But she already has an entrepreneurial spirit and started her own little pet-sitting business. Looks like she’s on her way to being a P31 woman as well.

  14. I have heard/read this passage quoted so many times, and it either brings me to despair or greatly encourages me. I have done various things from home for the last 12 years just to be able to stay home with my children. I have been a piano teacher for over 11 years, made homemade crafts, did day care for many friends in my own home, ran my own site selling my crafts, you name it. Growing up with a mom who was home, and knowing many kids who did not have that, we determined that as long as the Lord made it possible, and gave me the ability, that was the plan for our family. It has been hard but so incredibly rewarding! I have also been blessed to help many other couples who desired to get to that point after taking on so much debt that they can not afford for Mom to stay at home, and celebrated with them when they were finally able to reach that point. :) I just wanted to say, if we can do it on less than $24,000 a year from one income, and keep me home with three kids, anyone can do it or get to that point eventually. I blog over at http://www.thewelcominghouse.blogspot.com and am always trying to share my ideas and ways we make it work. Thank you so much for opening this discussion up, Frugally Sustainable. Your posts, links and ideas have encouraged me over and over again. May God bless the hands of all the women whose 24/7 job is to raise their children to glorify the Lord, and may God bless those moms who struggle daily with having to juggle work and raising their beautiful children. Many blessings ~ Heather

  15. All mothers work. “Work” is not defined by earnings and profit, but by service.

    Pat

    • That might be the quote of the day Pat! What a difference it makes when we view our “work” as an act of service…whether it be to our family, friends, or the world. Excellent!

    • Thanks for that, Pat.

      Each day I spend at home with my children, I am often reminded of that I am there for them and not for me. I feel like being a stay-at-home- mom is in a sense a sacrifice, a service to our family, and an act of love.

  16. In other faith communities this verse isn’t a list of what women need to achieve, which so many of us feel like we need too (and the result can be women who feel like they come up short often). Instead this is considered a song for husbands to sing to their wives in celebration for all they do for their families. Not a check list of what I need to do, but a reminder to my husband how much I contribute to the family with my multi-role life. This is an important distinction, as this helps provide further support for how much women today juggle.

    A celebration of all those little things you do for your family that go unnoticed, but you continue doing because you love them so much!

  17. Why do so many women need external validation for their decisions?

    • Talk to me a little bit more about that Rachel. Give us an example.

    • Hi Rachel~ I think there is a difference between “needing” validation and “enjoying” validation. I don’t NEED validation for my decisions but it sure does feel good to know the people I care about support my decisions. And if those around me didn’t support my decisions, I certainly would pause to reflect on whether my decision is, in fact, the best one to make. Do you feel that is wrong?
      That said, there are many people (not just women) who do require external validation for decisions because of many various circumstances in their lives that formed them as individuals. I try to be patient and give what is needed in the moment without passing judgement (sometimes I have to pause first before I get to that place!).

  18. I love it.. As a stay at home mom, crafter & home school mom I have been on both sides. Work out side the home & work at home. Personally I love the work at home :-)
    This verse also shows family is the most important to her as with many of us I’m sure.

    (you have to remember tho. I’m sure the kids weren’t at daycare :-) they were probably under foot at the market & at home like many of us work at home moms .)

    if we make sure every decision is for the family & pray about it. then we know we are doing what God intends :-)

    • Good point about the children Lisa. I was thinking about that aspect of it too! Most weekends I participate and sell at local farmer’s markets and almost every weekend my 2 oldest children come with me :) It’s wonderful for me to think about all the things that they are learning watching me run a little business from our home.

      Another thing I think about too is that during that time the social structure was very different. I invision more of a “it takes a village to raise a child” type mentality — rather than the rugged individualism we experience today. Thoughts?

  19. I recently read The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant. While I don’t usually read novels, this one just absorbed my attention. There is so much intimate women’s history in it, and while it is Jewish in nature, it is still women’s history, and it relates to what you saw in the Bible verse above. It isn’t that women need external validation, they just need to be valuable to society and still acceptable to their families and friends. Everyone does. Man or woman or child. Women are earthy creatures….or should be in my mind, in some fashion, even if they are CEOs of a large corporation. We need to be rooted, grounded. And that infers to the earth.

    Being a landowner and producer of food, wine, clothing….would be my choice, but not everyone’s. But it would give many women, who ultimately, in this society, are in charge of the family, security.

    • Your words have really spoken to me Tsandi! Great truth here! The Red Tent sounds very interesting…I have to check it out!

    • That is a great book! Stories from the Bible from the woman’s perspective, the daily tribal lifestyle…it definitely struck a chord for me. Made the “characters” from the stories real life people in my mind, with flaws and strengths. Much more alive. Sometimes it’s easy to idealize the things we read, and feel like we are falling short. That’s what I have to remind myself of when I ready Proverbs 31…don’t be too idealistic or you’ll feel disappointed. Be content with what you have and where you find yourself and the rest will take care of itself

  20. Thanks Andrea….something I forgot…I think it was the mentality of it “takes a village to raise a child” of most societies in the “ancient” world. (My brain puts “ancient” as much farther back than 5-2000 years.) It still is the mentality in the Kibutzes in Israel.

  21. charyse says:

    This is especially encouraging to me as I am following Gods leading and my last day of work in the classroom is Monday…thank you for the conversation I needed to hear.

  22. Deborah says:

    My women’s bible study at church spent the past fall semester studying the whole chapter of Proverbs 31 – so much good stuff in there! I realized that for me personally the reason I felt pressured instead of encouraged by the chapter was guilt! I was privileged to be a SAHM but had a wrong mindset, including a real bent toward laziness! As I got things more in line with His way of thinking I became open to a new outlook. In January I found you (FS) and you’ve been used greatly! I’m washing ALL our laundry by hand, gardening, doing your herbal stuff, working on amending our diet (for a year and a half now), and all kinds of stuff. It was while ‘playing’ with my new blue clothes washer thing that I had a lovely, long chat with God (two way) and He showed me how honoring a right heart was to Him, and how healthy it was for me. My husband is so charmed by this! He keeps recounting to me how his colleagues are also charmed and considering my changes (particularly when he is so excited he shares healthy lunch goodies because he’s so impressed by them) as something to look into. I’m finding satisfaction in ways I’ve never known, and see God shining out of me! Woohoo! What a fabulous life change!

  23. Rebecca says:

    In this verse as I read it this woman is a Realtor, developer manufacturer and merchandiser her field could be anywhere not necessarily at her home! lol

    She sounds like someone I would like to be friends with.

  24. this scripture has always been very convicting for me and usually i feel lazy and ungrateful when i spend my days at home cooking, cleaning and then grumbling. the proverbs 31 woman sounds like she had a profitable business, and she didn’t even have the benefit of the internet or fedex to aid her at-home endeavors.

    • Stop that crazy train girl! It is seriously just a change of perspective. It may be difficult at first but it really is that simple. I spend my days at home cooking, cleaning and being grateful for being here!

      • She may not have had internet or fed ex but it does point out that she had servants… so she wasn’t doing it all alone either! Ask God to give you strength and grace to get through the day and rely on His wisdom and don’t be afraid to seek out other WAHM/SAHM to see how they do it.

  25. Kathryn says:

    I totally agree- I did work at jobs that allowed me to be home with my daughter. She is now married, well educated, successful and most important-Happy. It was worth all the hard work!

  26. I think the other thing to consider in the Prvbs 31 woman, is that her own family benefited from her industry before she sold her sashes in the market place. (When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    since all of them are doubly clothed. She makes her own quilts; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.CJB) Its sometimes hard when you have a home-based business to not think in terms of inventory when you are making things. We’ve been a homebased, fiberarts business for 12 years and for a lot of that time I would create product for sale, — spinning yarn, knitting or weaving clothing exclusively for public consumption. How can you take a $400 handspun and handknit sweater and wear it yourself, when there are bills to be paid? So we would take the things that didn’t sell or that were damaged and couldn’t be sold. The idea that: “The cobblers children had no shoes,” was definitely true of the way we operated. But I was actually selling $400 sweaters, they just took a long time to make.

    I noticed when my first grand child was born, that I didn’t have the energy to knit her a baby sweater or baby booties. Too much of my time was spent working for the business, that I no longer had time to knit for relaxation. Nor did I have the energy to knit for relaxation. So when I realized what was happening I made some changes. My daughter and I now wear handspun, handwoven jackets, my husband wears the $400 sweaters.

    Its important to use your creative energy to meet the needs in your family first. They become your best advertisers, too.

    In the Complete Jewish Bible, she is called the “capable wife” as if this is what all wives did, not the ‘virtuous wife,’ implying that she is somehow on a higher plane than the average Mrs.

    The other thing that I am reminded of when reading this, is that she had servants or employees. She wasn’t doing all of this, all by herself with just her own two hands. So we must not put unrealistic expectations on ourselves that we can achieve everything she achieved with just us and our young children — and do it right now. Its very likely that she didn’t buy a field and plant a vineyard, harvest it by herself and make wine, as well as spin and weave the linen for sashes to sell to the merchants all in the same year, that she clothed her household. This is a capable woman who worked according to the seasons of her life, and she had others to help her, including her own daughters, who worked alongside her to learn their roles as future capable women.

    Thanks for bringing this up, Andrea. It quite inspiring reading the comments and seeing what others think of this passage. I think too often its held up as unachievable or as a guilt trip for women who can’t measure up. My own pastor has commented on Mother’s Day, that his own wife was a Proverbs 31 woman (she can’t sew, knit, or spin, and has never made a bottle of wine from her own grapes), as if this was some remarkable achievement. This is just a capable wife. What we all are, in season, as we use our time to meet the needs of our families, and ourselves.

    Chris

  27. Mirinda says:

    I worked from home for years before I became a mom. Now I am blessed with a three year old who wants/needs all my attention. There is no way I can take care of her the way she needs and work from home. I am loving having a three year old however when she grows up a bit and needs less from me I look forward to working from home again. For now I am lucky to have a job that allows me to work while Papa is home. I miss church, I miss a social life, I miss working for myself, but feel so blessed to be doing what God has asked of me. But still in those self pity moments I wonder how do moms with little ones manage to work at home? Is my child more needy (a realistic possibly) or do they have more energy or support? So if you have toddlers how do you work with them?

  28. I read this and automatically thought of Titius 2:4-5 which tells younger women to be “busy at home”. To me that means that if your family is large or taking care of them is a full time job for some reason, then that is your job. Otherwise as Proverbs 31 states, you ought to do what you can to contribute financially. Goodness, these are some pretty tall orders for women!

  29. I’ve done it all – WOHM, WAHM, and SAHM in the (short) 4.5 years of my parenting career. By far, the most difficult role in my experience was WAHM. All the (huge!) responsibilities of SAHM, plus trying to fit “work” in there too. At least when you WOHM, someone else handles the childcare for a few hours! I am now SAHM, but I’m still “working” in the sense that I’m working on gardening and aquaculture to try to raise as much of our own food as possible. I’m finding this to be a much more reasonable way for me to contribute to the family’s finances than telecommuting. The kids can help me or play outside while I work, instead of sitting in front of the TV while I work. And the garden will wait 5 minutes while I change a dirty diaper, but a “job” often won’t. It’s more of the Biblical model, as I see it.

  30. Nate and Tomi Moore says:

    I love reading this passage. God is all about us desiring His perspective. He urges us to view our lives through His standard, not view His standard through our perceptions of culture, society, or reality. God is also very personal, and speaks to each of us about His will for our lives. He knows whom He wants at home, at work, at home working etc. It is our task to seek His will, and desire to work in it :)

    To find value in being at home, bringing in an income or not, we must first value what God says is excellent. Many think this section of scripture is impossible to consider for real life, or that it is sexist, or oppressive to women. God reveals here how PRECIOUS a wife and mother of beautiful character is to Him.

    ‘An excellent wife, who can find ?
    For her worth is far above jewels.
    The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain.
    She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.
    She looks for wool and flax And works with her hands in delight. ‘

    This woman is dependable, because she depends on God for her strength. She works with a happy heart, and her husband can trust in her. By her humbleness she is empowered! She didn’t have to fight and earn the main income to be highly valued in her home. This is SO encouraging to me! God tells me I don’t have to minister to the whole world and move thousands of people; He wants me to do well with what I have been given right now. He said sufficient for the day are its worries. What a comfort to know I only need to focus on today, and He will build me up to look to the future!

    She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
    She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.
    Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
    “Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all.”
    Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised
    Give her the product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates.

    I love these verses! Here we see how our works everywhere impact so many others! It is evident in the way we speak, the way we interact with others, the diligence in our work at home – which allows us to work ‘outside’ the home. Our life is a testimony of what we believe. If we believe our family is important, we will invest in building up the people in it. I think that many American women have undue pressure on them to perform and are only viewed as valuable by what they ‘do’ for a ‘living’. I would suggest that if more women truly invested in these precious people at home, our nation would be a nation of well rounded, moral, able, service oriented, diligent people. God made us to desire to feel loved, and I believe He allows mothers to have the capacity to love only one or all 13 of her children! My prayer is that women would feel empowered to be at home, by being at home. Working, or not working, (though we are always working!) we must seek to do well with what we are given. I know that every life has different circumstances, not everyone CAN stay home, and these thoughts are not some dogma that women must only stay home.
    “Another thing I think about too is that during that time the social structure was very different. I envision more of a “it takes a village to raise a child” type mentality — rather than the rugged individualism we experience today. Thoughts?”
    I enjoy this thought. God has given us the gift of community. It’s a cycle of community, if you will. The single unit of a family has many individual contributors. When those individual contributors interact with the community their works are seen. If they are good works, they are praised. When the praise happens, it confirms the work of the individual, which, in turn, continues to affect the community. So, when the mother brings her family AND business together, and others see it, they help, care, encourage etc. the cycle of family, work, community, service, morals continue and are instilled in the children, the generations continue to be steeped in a love for others. When we are such single units, untouched by a need for community, well…then we don’t even know our neighbors and struggle to care for and approach the ‘unlovable’. I might make the case that the less we work together in a personal way for our survival and daily life, the less we value and appreciate the work that is done around us. Being in touch, keeps us in touch.

    Sorry to take over here! thank you for these thoughts and a great topic! i shall be filled with thinking for the rest of the week for sure! now, to go make some bread!!
    Love in Christ, Tomi

  31. I guess I don’t have a comment as much as I have a question…HOW DO YOU DO IT?! I have been a stay at home mommy for 3 years since my first child was born (I have 2 now)and I have to admit, more days than not I feel like a total failure! I mean to work with my daughter on at home preschool but can’t find the time. I mean to have a spick and span house but can’t find the time. I desire so much to have a stay at home business doing something that helps provide for my family but I can’t find the time. it seems like I am doing so many things to half their potential but not one thing is 100% I just can’t find the time!! Oh yeah plus I am taking a class at USU…and I barely have the time!
    I would love to know how you (Andrea) as well as other mothers out there, seem to balance it all and do a great job at so many different things! I would love some advice and some of your wisdom!!

    • Rebecca says:

      Ashley
      Being at home overwhelms me with my two boys 1 and 3. I work a schedule that allows me to leave before they wake up and come home after their afternoon nap so I still get dinner, bath, bedtime and get to pack thier lunches. I get to be up with them all night.

      I have much more mommy energy when I have been at work (doing something I love). I couldn’t find a way to do what the other moms or you are talking about without becoming depressed or having anxiety. Maybe everyone is just different.

    • Ashley,
      My home is not perfect and I often go to bed thinking dang I should have done something else. But you know what is important is my children know I love them and we have food, shelter, a home of our own that is safe to live in. I can’t worry all the time about the dishes, laundry, floors, and all the other cleaning that can’t always get done. I work for 9 hour days a week with an hour commute each way so that leaves little time for me to clean and enjoy the children. So I focus on spending dinner time with them and getting ready for bed. I am blessed to have older girls who do the main things (dishes, trash, laundry) most of the time. But even when I didn’t I just did what I could a little at a time. Don’t sweat the small stuff. I feel like there is an endless list of things that I should be doing but don’t. But I do the important stuff like playing with the kids and spending time with them. Don’t beat yourself up. You are still a new mom and I know as a mom we expect too much of ourselves sometimes.

    • Ashley, I’m a SAHM/WAHM of 5, and I feel the same as you! I have struggled with feelings of overwhelm-ment (is that a word?) and anxiety as well, and at those times my husband and I problem solve ways to make my days less stressful. I also have to let go of the feeling that I have to be perfect at everything. My house is a mess, I survive on coffee, but my kids are happy and healthy, and that’s what’s important. As your kids get a little older you do get more time to do the things that have been on your “to do” list for years! A toddler and a baby are VERY time consuming (I’ve been there for years), I just keep telling myself that it’s a season and it will pass and it will change eventually. I rely on God’s strength, and remember that Jesus said that when I am weak, HE is strong.

      • Ashley–Yes, yes, YES—it is a season!! They won’t be little forever….just love on them and when they’re older they can help you clean the house. :) Blessings to you!

  32. Andrea as always you make me think about life. I often struggle about being a working mom especially right now my husband works out of state and has been gone for 4 months. I feel in my heart like I want to be home but then I feel also that I need to help my husband provide so we can be out of debt and enjoy life. But this verse is so good because I am showing my children that we have to do whatever is necessary for the times to support our families, whether that is staying home or working outside the home. I once was a stay home mom and the kids loved me being there and taking care of them, but my older girls know that our family is a team and we have to do what is necessary for the team. Sometimes that means making difficult decisions like working outside the home. I do feel blessed to have the children I do cause they have learned to adapt to our situation. My oldest is turning 18 in a week and she is my nanny watching my 5 yo son and 8 yo daughter and my 15 yo daughter is now homeschooling with Primavera so she can graduate a year early (her choice). They have been my support system since my husband has worked out of state on and off for over a year with no hope for coming home anytime soon. I know my girls are on there way to becoming P31 women.

    I know God is guiding my life as he always provides knowledge through the people I am in contact with so for that i am so thankful and I know I am on the right path.Thanks for posting this right when I needed it the most.

  33. Jessica Klanderud says:

    This is kind of related… I recently had a conversation with my husband about the book of proverbs as a whole. It is attributed (mostly) to Solomon. When you read the book I feel like you can clearly see the influence of his mother on the wisdom he passed along through his writings. In that culture he would have spent plenty of time in her company before he was of an age to really participate in the matters of state and besides, he didn’t really expect to inherit the throne anyway. God has a way of working out the unexpected.

    When I think of the P31 woman, I see her using the gifts God gave her in the most natural way to her and the verses are an expression of her Husband’s perspective on the quality of blessing she is to him and to their family. I definitely don’t do exactly what she is doing there as a WAHM (I usually work outside of the home but am currently unemployed but writing) but I do use my talents, time, and treasure to benefit my husband and my family and my husband sings my praises at the city gates. So that works for me :-)

    • a good thing to remember is that this is, in many ways, advice to Solomon for making a wise choice in choosing a queen. I’ve often thought of this verse coming from the Kings mother or grandmother when he comes of marrying age to let him know that he needs to pick more than just a pretty face and at the end I can only imagine the young man’s jaw hitting floor because he never, truly, comprehending just how much the Queen does.

  34. Robin Dolan says:

    I was a work at home Mom when my kids were small. I couldn’t afford daycare,I had twins. So I began daycare in my home for 10 years!. Now, I am an unemployed LVN. BUT, the Lord has given me a project. My mother in law in on Hospice. I am free to visit this wonderful woman whenever she needs me and run errands for her.God bless my husband for making this possible. I have started a game where I see how long we can go without grocery shopping or eating out. so far, 3 weeks!

  35. Andrea,
    It’s funny, I just saw a “joke” post on fb that was quite offensive to SAHM’s, and it sparked a nasty debate. I love reading the comments here, everyone is so positive and encouraging. I think we are all “feminists” in that we are doing what we CHOOSE, weather working at home or away, and we have the choice to do what is best for our families rather than take pressure from society one way or the other.

  36. I was a SAHM/WAHM for 28 years. I worked everyday striving to meet the model of Proverbs 31, whether I was working making money or working to serve my family. I loved home schooling my kids, spending as much time with them as possible doing real life things that would equip them with the tools for practical living. We owned a natural food store at one point and had our kitchen table and chairs, book case with school books and things to do while we were working right there in one corner of the store. It was a favorite place for customers to linger, feeling the homey welcoming environment and enjoying the interaction with the kids and I. My youngest son, at 10 years old, was in charge of keeping the shelves stocked and arranging things to make them more visible and appealing. He also ran the cash register, made change and dealt with the customers questions. He knew that his contribution was valuable and benefited greatly from the responsibility and exposure to the workings of running a business.
    Working is part of life, modeling a good work ethic in front of the kids is very important. It is necessary to teach them by example how to be “gainfully employed”, whether or not money is being made. Being productive and constructively occupied as a mom will help to teach the kids the benefits of hard work. It is also important as a mom to know when to put down the job and be there for the kids. It is easy to get wrapped up in working at home and leave the kids flapping in the breeze. When my son was 10, owning a business/teaching school/ taking care of hearth and home worked well for both of us. But by the time he was 12, school was more demanding and his needs were changing, so I closed up shop and put my energies on his need for a more focused and quiet environment. We were happy with the new arrangement and the freedom we had to expand our horizons, since we weren’t tethered to a business. Neither of us would have would have traded that two years of “working from home” for anything, but when the needs of the kids and the demands of a business started to compete, the kids won hands down.

  37. I have been both, a SAHM and a mother who works from her home. I like working from my home more. I have offered quality in home child care to others for 22 years. I love it. It lets me be home with my children (now grandchildren) and allows me to bring in a small amount of money to help my family.
    There is nothing wrong with either. I think that it is up to the woman. She should pray on the matter and talk to her husband…

  38. Keri B. says:

    This post came with the most perfect timing. God is wonderful that way!! Just this week, I sat down with my boss and am in the process of transitioning my job from full time salaried position to part-time hourly so that I can be home with my two young children (2 and 4yo) all but three days a week. I’ve been blessed to work where I do (very family friendly), however I’ve felt called to be home more and God has put in place the “reasons” my husband and I needed to finally make that decision. It is wonderful and exciting, but somehow scary too. I’ve always worked full time (or more) and now worry about failing the expectations I’ve put on myself to accomplish more at home. I also wonder what I am considered now? A part-time WOHM/SAHM?

  39. These verses make it clear that the Proverbs 31 woman earned money from her businesses, and then in turn invested those earnings back into her household as either income or materials for additional goods.

    Keeping in mind that this Proverb describes a woman over a lifetime… There will be times when our hands are full of nursing babies and wobbly toddlers. It would be difficult to do much else during this season than ensure everyone in the house is clean and fed.

    As our babes grow, there will be times of school and sleepovers. Earning income from home may be more easily attained in these times.

    Once our children are grown and living in their own homes, our paths of becoming Proverbs 31 women do not end. Our responsibilities in raising mighty arrows might change, but our availability to earn income from home has increased.

    I think that “working” from home (even though our responsibilities in the house are both a calling and work in themselves), is fine as long as our priorities remain biblically aligned. We cannot neglect God, our husbands or our children. If we’re able to work from home on top of that, then God has given us additional gifts and grace to accomplish our tasks.

  40. I will be celebrating my 55th birthday this summer and have experienced working outside the home and being a SAHM, both homeschooling and sending children off in a big yellow bus. These days I have four children still at home (18,16,14,13). Two are driving so they are able to greatly lighten the load for me in that area but they are also ALL able to cook and work proficiently. I have had ongoing issues with my thyroid, adrenals and hormones being out of whack and as a result am often fatigued or foggy headed, which causes me to feel lazy and burdensome to my family at times. I know that to be false so I choose to press on, trying to find ways to heal my body, change what I can and realize that these circumstances are being used, for good, to shape and mold ALL of us. I have plenty of ideas for money generating industry but at this time in my life I have little ability to put them into action. Some day…

  41. A couple of thoughts:

    As a dad that is fortunate enough to be able to have a stay at home mom for a wife I consider myself very blessed. I have a way easier day in my home office than my wife has in the battlefield out with the three kids.

    Also, I apply the above scripture as such:
    “They consider a field and buy it;
    out of their earnings they plant a vineyard.
    They set about Their work vigorously;
    Their arms are strong for their tasks.
    They see that their trading is profitable,
    and their lamp does not go out at night.
    They make linen garments (or whatever) and sell them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.”
    -Proverbs 31: 16-18 and 24

    No matter what my wife and I are doing I’d like to think we are not doing things individually but as a team. Working at home or working out of the home it usually is a team effort, right? And even those not with a mate are working with the lord.

  42. I applaud ALL moms, both stay at home and working. I do work outside the home (I am a teacher so I am usually off when my son is out of school so I kind of get a taste of both worlds and when my kids were small, I had a job where they got to go with me:) but the one thing I have learned by being a working mom is that you have to learn when to give your whole attention to the family. In other words, for both working at home moms and working outside the home moms, there comes a time when we have to put our “work” to the side and focus on our families, whether that work be folding a load of laundry or writing lesson plans or preparing that report for your boss because we can let our work get in the way of our families and both types of moms can get caught up in their daily work and the family suffers.Although the woman in Proverbs 31 apparently did some work outside the home, her family never was neglected or suffered because of her endeavours, and so should it be with us in this day and time. Thanks for the thought provoking conversation.

  43. This verse struck me a different way today than it ever has. I have happily been a single parent, home schooling SAHM for 22 years. The P31 woman, as discussed, was out of the home a lot, in order to do what she did. I hadn’t thought about that part before.
    After several weeks, I am STILL having a hard time discerning if a job opportunity (which I did not seek – it was sent to me) is a temptation or opportunity??? It would mean moving hours away from where we are now. I have always felt called to serve the children who didn’t have anyone else to call family.
    God has provided what we need to be a full time stay at home mama for all kinds of His children (foster, adopt, mentor, advocate). Is He now challenging me to dare to trust him to supply our community needs in a new environment/new stage of life, or, is this a test for me??? The job would still be serving children, actually thousands more, and for a lot of money. My youngest child is 14, and is capable of completing most of her studies independently in the day. The change is significant.
    Every time I think I have it figured out, doubt creeps back in… This discussion has given me more food for thought. We each seek and follow God’s plan for us. Thanks for the safe environment to explore all sides of the Proverbs 31 woman!
    Back to seeking in prayer.

  44. Melinda McCorkel says:

    Ever since I got married I have reflected on this proverb quite often. It has always been my goal to bless my husband by being a godly wife. It has served as an outline for me once I embarked on a new type of relationship between my God and me. I have watched as He has blessed our family repeatedly over the years and I know that some of them have come because of this. He is also the reason I began this trek into sustainability. He provides most of what we need just by taking a look out our door….taking the time to see what most overlook and taking care of what he has given to us.
    Once again Andrea I am touched by the similarity that I have found between you and I….blessings to you and yours :)

  45. I’ve loved reading this post and all the replies. I lived on a chicken farm until I was 9. My mum was a school teacher but I was home with my dad before I started school. It was a wonderful way to grow up. Back in 1983 I was the only kid being brought to kinder by their dad but oh well. One of my earliest memories is in the garden in my gumboots with dad. I think he was picking tomatoes. All I wanted to do was stay at home when I had kids. I now have 3 – 1, 4 and 5. I have had to go back to work within a few months of each of them being born. Just a few hours but we needed the money as my husband was on a very low income. I feel guilty and hate it. My oldest didn’t start child care until I started back at work after our second was born as my mum had been able to look after him one day per week while I worked. My husband started a business when I was pregnant with our third but unfortunately that has failed so I’m working again and the younger two are in two days per week child care. I work a few hours most evenings as well. We are in an awful financial position from the business failing. My husband has only just gotten a job again. I would love to just be a SAHM and contribute by saving money – I make our own washing powder, dishwasher powder, we have a decent vegie garden, kids wear hand me downs, I cook everything from scratch etc. I don’t mean this to sound like whingeing. I know I am blessed. I have a wonderful husband and 3 beautiful children. From when I was a little kid I wanted to stay at home and raise my own kids. There are plenty of years for a career before and after kids. I dont’ want someone else being the main influence in their lives. In my opinion our society would be a lot better off if parents spent more time with their kids and less time keeping up with the Jones’s.
    To respond to a few of the other comments as well. I’m always feeling guilty about the state of the house and not having played enough with the kids. I yearn for a culture that ‘takes a village to raise a child’. I feel like I was born two hundred years too late. I’d give up all the technology for a simpler life in a supportive community.

  46. I feel incredibly blessed. I have always been known to my family and friends as someone who works VERY HARD. I’ve always had 3 or 4 jobs to make ends meet all the while building and building my massage practice. Once I met my boyfriend, we live together and plan on getting married soon, everything changed. He has a 5 year old daughter from a previous marriage but she has become my family, too. Everything changed because now I had something to preserve and to save. I’ve always been into healthy lifestyles but this has been on overdrive since they came into my life. I want us all to be around for as long as possible. Slowly, the Universe has put us on this track to where we are right now. I left my job to open my own massage studio. Many parts of this include networking and the business side of things which I can do from home. He works.. a lot but I take care of most everything else including his daughter. He is very invested in her upbringing and TRUSTS me to ensure her emotional needs are met and exceeded. Since opening my own studio, I have had the TIME and SPACE to un-focus my energy on whatever it was I was focusing on before and see so many opportunities to make money, to grow, and to help my family. I am now starting a inspiration group for massage therapists that I expect to see flourish and I’ve been kicking around the idea of selling my organic cleaning products that I create..at home. Many thanks to the inspiration I have received from this blog. I really appreciated the post describing your road to leaving your job and staying at home.

    Now, a typical day for me includes Micheal leaving at 4am. Waking up around 7-laundry/dishes/clean and reading a few blogs to get me thinking. Check the garden and whatever needs to be done with that. Check email and post my daily inspiration to my massage fans or whatever business needs to be done. Plan dinner. Go into the studio for a few massages and come home and make dinner for Micheal to come home around 9pm. Then on the weekends I take care of his daughter while he goes to work and all of us cherish the time we spend together. I also take care of all communication with his ex-wife regarding his daughter. It’s soooooo much better this way. We are all happy doing what we do best and we can all be happy together when we get the time to be together.

    I truly believe we all should have the right to find out how our situation works best for us. I believe we would all be a lot happier..and really wouldn’t everyone want to be HAPPY?

  47. herberthoofer says:

    why do people read this? id rather read a shampoo bottle

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