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Melissa569

Housewife Or Working Woman?

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Just to recap again, I was inactive from ages 12 to 28. And I’ve noticed that most (ok, at least 75%) of the women in my ward are homemakers. So the below questions are for both the men and the women:

What are the expectations of LDS women as far as working a job goes?

Not that being a homemaker isn’t work, especially when you have 2 or more kids. The old “sitting around eating bon bons all day” joke is indeed just that-- a joke! Lol.

I’m basically just asking, as far as both LDS couples are concerned, and the church itself-- are women expected/encouraged to work? Or be a homemaker?

If you are a husband, or a single man, what do you (or would you) expect of your wife in this? If you’re a wife, what do you feel your husband expects of you, and what would you prefer to do? For either side, does it depend weather or not you have kids?

Just trying to get a more recent view on this subject.

Edited by Melissa569

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As a husband, I expect my wife to work if it will make her more sane and happy, or stay home if it will make her more sane and happy (or anything in between). I have no business telling her what to do, and it's entirely her decision. If my wife decides that she'd rather be working a full time job, I'd do everything I could to make that feasible.

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First off, I really hate the word "housewife." I'm not married to the house, I'm married to my husband. I am a homemaker.

Now that I got that off my chest, I think this is a bit of a complicated question. Mormon women staying home with the kids is a tradition that hails from a different era. It's very 1950's. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but we do live in the 21st century now and circumstances are different than they used to be. However, as recently as 1995 the practice and idea were reiterated to the Church and to the World in the declaration “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”.

“Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. ‘Children are an heritage of the Lord’ (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

“The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

(emphasis mine)

Note, however, that at the end it acknowledges that not everyone's circumstances will be the same. Maybe the wife is someone who places a high value on education, and has two Masters degrees and a Ph.D., while the husband's passion is fixing cars. In a family like that, the mother is much more likely to be able to provide for the physical needs of the family than the father. Every family is different, but traditionally (and still today), women are expected to stay in the home and care for the children. That expectation need not be a negative or stigmatic one, though.

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I am lucky, in that I worked nights while my wonderfully fantastic husband was home with the kids, and I was home during the day while he went to work. We both were able to have careers that we loved, and still parent, without day care or baby sitters...worked out great for us.

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Wingnut-- good point, actually! I think "Homemaker" would be a better word. I just used "housewife" because it was shorter than "stay-at-home mom", in the interest of title visability on the main home page. :) But Homemaker is just as short a word/phrase.

EDIT: Ugh... The change took place in the post, but doesn't seem to appear in the main forum. At least not yet? Hmmm....

Edited by Melissa569

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I am a married man and my wife works a whole lot harder than I do with our 3 kids.

That said, I think it's ESSENTIAL for a wife to have meaningful job & employment skills.

Why?

1. What if something happens to me and I become disabled or pass away from this life prematurely? Insurance money is important, but it doesn't ensure that ALL needs would be provided for. It can be very difficult to try to learn a new profession while providing for 3 kids on one's own.

2. Economics. Now, I don't mean that every family should become a two-income earner family. But it can make a lot of sense to have more skills available for the family should something happen to the primary breadwinner's current employment situation. This current economy has taught us that one.

3. Education. Why would our church leaders tell us ALL to enhance and improve our education if we're never going to USE that education? BYU isn't for "men only".

Now, that doesn't mean that the wife SHOULD be out working. But every family is different and different opportunities may present themselves that may need to be evaluated.

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Just to recap again, I was inactive from ages 12 to 28. And I’ve noticed that most (ok, at least 75%) of the women in my ward are homemakers. So the below questions are for both the men and the women:

What are the expectations of LDS women as far as working a job goes?

Not that being a homemaker isn’t work, especially when you have 2 or more kids. The old “sitting around eating bon bons all day” joke is indeed just that-- a joke! Lol.

I’m basically just asking, as far as both LDS couples are concerned, and the church itself-- are women expected/encouraged to work? Or be a homemaker?

If you are a husband, or a single man, what do you (or would you) expect of your wife in this? If you’re a wife, what do you feel your husband expects of you, and what would you prefer to do? For either side, does it depend weather or not you have kids?

Just trying to get a more recent view on this subject.

I don't expect my beloved companion to work. I leave that in her hands to make that call.

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I'm a "career woman" because that's what I'm good at.

I do not like cleaning the house, I do not like to do laundry, I suck at teaching, I suck at crafts, I'm not exactly what you call a good cook either, although I don't mind doing that. But I'm a very good programmer.

So, I work (usually out of the home office) because I can make a lot of money doing what I'm good at. So then the money I make I can use to hire a cleaning person, a laundromat, a teacher, and eat out some nights. It also gives my husband a chance to take off work a lot more than he would otherwise so he can go to scout camps and quality time with the boys or just to de-stress.

I give about the same amount of attention to the nurture of the kids as a home-maker does, I think, just in a different way that makes complete use of my God-given talents.

So, what I'm really trying to say - a woman's primary responsibility is the care and nurture of the children - but there are different ways to accomplish that.

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The counsel from the brethren is for the husband to be the provider and the wife to be home with the kids, when there are kids at home. That is what I have heard for decades and still hear it, but it seems that a lot of couples aren't listening. Of course the "world" thinks that concept is ridiculous and demeaning to women. Where do you think the "inspiration" for that view comes from?

There are always exceptions to this of course, single moms, couples where the husband cannot support the family for whatever reason but having several nice cars and a fancy house are not justification for the mother not being there for her kids in my book. I know that this is not the current thinking of a large percentage of the members of the church, but the question is do you want to follow the counsel of the Lord's anointed or not?

I believe that far too many couples are using the "exceptions" clause to neglect their responsibilities to their children.

As long as the kids don't come home to an empty house (no mom) or are not sent to daycare, I see no problem with the mom working, unless she truly MUST. If you want to follow the prophet's counsel, make an effort and the Lord will show you a way that you can.

LDS.org - Ensign Article - Mom—at Home

An excerpt from that link:

President Ezra Taft Benson has reminded us that the Lord’s way to rear our children is “different from the world’s way. … In the beginning, Adam—not Eve—was instructed to earn the bread by the sweat of his brow. Contrary to conventional wisdom, a mother’s calling is in the home, not in the marketplace.” (To the Mothers in Zion, pamphlet, Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1987, p. 5.)

He is not the first prophet to urge mothers to stay at home; for years, others have stressed the importance of a mother’s influence—an influence too vital to be left to others.

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My children are grown. During the life I worked both outside and inside the home. I did both. If I had to do it over again? I would stay at home. For me that would have been the better choice even though at the time I couldn't see that through all the clutter of life.

Michael McLean has a great song "Which Part is Mine?" I think the message and the question is very important and should be made with the help of Heavenly Father. His plan for us is what is most important.

Edit: Thank you WindRiver. Where's the thank you button?

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I think it really comes down to each family and their needs. Some families live in a place where they can not afford the cost of living without both parents working. We are currently in that situation. When we first moved here we looked for the cheapest house we could and yet it still required both of us to work. Thankfully we don't have children yet. However we do currently have one on the way. Again, thankfully we are looking at moving as my husband now has a job two hours away from where we currently live, the place we are planning to move to we would be able to have a house where we would only require my husband's income so I would be able to stay home with our baby.

My thoughts are divided on this matter. On the one hand I believe that there is a reason mothers are encouraged to stay home with their kids, I think children get untold benefits from having at least one parent home with them, and I think for whatever reason those benefits are greater when that parent is their mother. (no I don't have a reason for why this is) That being said there are many circumstances that many families are in. Not always is there the option for the mother to be at home, sometimes she has to work for whatever reason.

That being understood I think there is a lot of judgment that goes on in the church about working mothers. A lot of people condem working mothers for what they are doing, not always knowing what circumstances that mother is going through. I think we need to be more understanding of those women who find themselves needing or maybe even wanting to go into the workfield.

I spoke with a woman the other day, she is not a member but she said something that I thought was interesting. She said that when she first had her only child that she wanted to be a stay at home mother, but it wasn't long after spending time at home that she realized that she could just not handle it. She needed a job to keep her sane, staying at home was driving her insane.

I think there are different needs emotionally, physically, monitarily, and mentally for each family out there, and they are not going to be the same as every other family. And due to that there are going to be families where the mother does not stay at home, maybe it is the father, maybe the child is placed in day care. And it may not be the best situation for the child, but it is the best their parents or parent can provide. And I think we as a church need to understand that and let these people live the best they can without our unneeded judgments.

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That being understood I think there is a lot of judgment that goes on in the church about working mothers. A lot of people condem working mothers for what they are doing, not always knowing what circumstances that mother is going through. I think we need to be more understanding of those women who find themselves needing or maybe even wanting to go into the workfield.

This.

I was apalled when I took heat for going to work full time - I did it because working nights was making my husband ill and it prevented a good relationship with the kids. My shy three-year-old actually said, "I'm a little afraid of Daddy because I don't know him." My working enabled him to take a lower-paid day position and improved my family's quality of life, and I'm not talking about material goods.

We preach an ideal. It's ideal for all of us to keep all of the commandments perfectly. In some circumstances, we are able to meet the ideal we preach. In all the others, we have to do the best we can.

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Interesting to see everyone's point of view. :)

I personally do not have a problem with the idea of staying home. I also don't have a problem with working-- all I would ask is that my job is something I REALLY care about, and have a passion for.

I guess for me, weather or not I could be happy as a homemaker would greatly depend on WHY I was being encouraged to stay home. I don't have any kids yet, but if I did-- I wouldn't mind being a homemaker, as long as I could continue to work from home to at least feel like I'm helping with the money, and my husband had the right attitude about homemakers.

To me, the right attitude is: "The wife should devote most of her energy into making a wonderful home for her family, and raising the children because home is where the family is together and at peace. And our children are going to run the world someday. Therefore, no job is more important than making sure the next generation is a righteous and level-headed one." So her role as a homemaker is greatly honored, respected, and valued.

The wrong attitude is: "The wife should stay home because men are more important and capable than women, so only men should be allowed to have financial control, or careers."

In that case, I would never have married such a man in the first place, because men who think that way usually can't hide it very long, lol. You always see a sign of it.

Right now, I work from home (I have an online store), selling various women's products. Mostly women's health. I guess if I took some classes, I could get an office job somewhere, but... I prefer to be in control of how much I earn, and when/how I work, you know? I just don't like the regular work place, it never did work out for me. I'm happy doing what I'm doing.

Edited by Melissa569

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I think women are "expected" to stay home but think it is more of a generational thing that will catch up with the times, like views on birth control.

For clarification purposes i agree with the proclamation, men provide necessities and protection women provide nurture, but it's the application that can be behind the times.

In today's society people see a man working 40 hours a week and think he's a good provider. They see a mother staying at home and think she must be a great nurture.

What they don't see is a man at home teaching his children the value of hard work, fairness, service, how to fix things,how to control emotions etc.

These skills can be far more necessary then the new bike or game that could be bought with the money earned.

What they don't see in the mother who comes home after a 12 hour day and wants to unwind by running a bath for the kids then snuggling up with them and reading books till bed time, where as a man might want to unwind by catching up on football.

So i think the principal is correct, men provide, women nurture, but the idea that the only way to nurture is to be at home for a mother, and the only way a father can provide is by paying the bills is wrong.

I have met women who were not better nurtures by staying home, and fathers who made great money, but were horrible at providing actual necessities.

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Melissa, keep in mind that there is a huge difference in being a SAHM and a WAHM.

My wife work from home in her own business. She puts a lot of hours with our media company primarily converting books into different formats (kindle,mobipocket etc) for other authors to sell online. She also is writing her 3rd book to be published next April.

Many people (VT's, sister missionaries, and other people) are under the mistaken impression that because wife is home that she is available at the drop of the hat for teamups, visits,phone calls etc. They do not understand that she is WORKING, not just sitting around.

Big difference. We are blessed that she can work from home to help provide for our family.

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One thing this recession has shown is that often, the woman has no choice but to work, especially if the man had been laid off. For those who live in a high cost of living area, you really do need 2 incomes to provide the basics such as food and shelter, and those people are living within their means and doing without luxuries such as big homes, expensive cars, or vacations. Sure, people could try to move to a lower cost of living area, but that's difficult, especially with the economy the way it is.

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Melissa, keep in mind that there is a huge difference in being a SAHM and a WAHM.

My wife work from home in her own business. She puts a lot of hours with our media company primarily converting books into different formats (kindle,mobipocket etc) for other authors to sell online. She also is writing her 3rd book to be published next April.

Many people (VT's, sister missionaries, and other people) are under the mistaken impression that because wife is home that she is available at the drop of the hat for teamups, visits,phone calls etc. They do not understand that she is WORKING, not just sitting around.

Big difference. We are blessed that she can work from home to help provide for our family.

My wife works from home too, there are times when she's not busy, but there are other times when she's working furiously to meet a deadline. Her visting teachers don't understand the concept of working from home. They insist on visting during the day, eventhough evenings would be better, they called several times to make an appointment during the day but my wife politely turned them down because she would be busy working. So the VTs ignored her wishes and showed up one morning unannounced, interrupting her work.

I conside HT/VT an act of service, but it shouldn't create a hardship on the person being visited just so you can count your visit that month.

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This was all in another thread that I got hammered on.

Look at the Proclamation on the Family and abide by it. Don't make excuses. There is nothing wrong with living in a tidy, clean itty bitty house, living on one income. When you get married, it is not about you, as a woman. It is about your family. Your family all works together to follow the prophet. If you husband says, "Go work if it makes you happy." then who do you follow? The Proclamation or your hubby?

The Proclamation has nothing to do with the current economy or the times. It doesn't say, "Women should work if they feel like they will go crazy at home, or "If the Mom can earn more money, the Dad should stay at home with the kids, " or "If the Mom is highly educated, she should hire out housekeeping and just spend quality time," or "We are all old-fashioned men, so this proclamation only applies to the 1950s and before, even though we have issued it now," or "We realize that women who don't like cleaning and hate scrapbooking are exceptions to the Proclamation."

The Proclamation is to keep us safe from Satan destroying our homes and from "calamities foretold by ancient prophets." It is better to sacrifice for the Lord and be obedient than to leave your family unprotected. Your family is not protected as much as when you are striving to live all the commandments the best you can.

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There was a talk I just read but I can't find it, about women getting educations in case they need to work. I think it was by President Benson. He said that women should not put their educations before the family for " just in case" situations."

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The Proclamation also does not say that a woman has to stay home to nurture her children, it just says that a mother's role is to nurture her children it says nothing how how she should do this. The idea that she must be a SAHM is something people in the church have come to imply about what the proclamation says. It is a social belief that we have developed as a religion, not something that we find in the Proclamation.

Edit:

I am linking the Proclamation so that you can check it and see if it mentions that women "must" stay at home in order to properly nurture her children.

LDS.org - Family Chapter Detail - The Family:A Proclamation to the World

Edited by Tarnished
adding a link

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I may have missed it, but has anyone mentioned an opinion on "house HUSBANDS"? My wife is and was.... way before I met her a career woman. She is ABD (all but dissertation) finishing her PHD and is a progammer. It is her passion and she makes plenty. I've worked civil service for the past 26 years and am several years older than my wife, so, I will soon retire and am looking quite forward to being the "house husband". Yes, it's more work than I probably do on my regular job but I won't have any hang-ups with her bringing home a majority of the bacon. When I become a house husband will I qualify to join the Relief Society??? Just kiddin, that's WAY too much of a responsibilty. NO REALLY!

Note:no disrespect at ALL to women of the Relief Society. I've learned recently how much you do and WOW! I respect you. Seriously.

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I've worked outside the home almost all of my eldest daughter's life, except for a 5 month period where I took my then-husband's word that he'd take care of us. It was sooooo nice to be with my little one all day, but having to put up with a whiny husband every night almost wasn't worth it. As it is now with the economy, when my littlest one is born (8 weeks!!), my husband will be staying at home while I work my already established and well-paying job. Funny how having a forklift license trumps degrees in psychology and computers right now.

At any rate, I would love to be able to stay at home with my daughters. I'd even do the dishes. All the time. If my husband got a good job I'd quit in a heartbeat. Others may find satisfaction in their jobs/careers, and more power to them. But as for me, I belong home, making cinnamon rolls from scratch and teaching my children how to make smoke bombs out of household chemicals :P

Edited by talisyn

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My wife was let go from the job she held for the last 24 years. She very much loved working and preferred that situation. It was devastating when it happened. However, over the last year we decided to take the matter to the Lord and received confirmation that she should stay home with the children, even though she made twice the money that I do. It is going to be tough for us, but we are seeing the wisdom in this. Before this happened my wife and I stated the same things I am seeing posted here. Now though, we are inclined to accept that the Family Proclamation is still in effect and will bless our family if followed.

:)

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Guest mirancs8

It was sooooo nice to be with my little one all day, but having to put up with a whiny husband every night almost wasn't worth it.

What was he being whiny about?? Because you weren't working??:confused:

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Guest mirancs8

The Proclamation also does not say that a woman has to stay home to nurture her children, it just says that a mother's role is to nurture her children it says nothing how how she should do this. The idea that she must be a SAHM is something people in the church have come to imply about what the proclamation says. It is a social belief that we have developed as a religion, not something that we find in the Proclamation.

To me nurturing your children is very difficult to do as a mother if your child is in daycare, or when your husband is playing the stay at home dad role, or by the time you come home your scrambling to make dinner at 6pm only to eat at 6:30pm baths at 7:30pm and finally bed at 8pm. I did this for years with the children and it broke my heart. It still breaks my heart. Sure each person can choose how they want to live their lives but those years slip by so fast and to me it's worth downsizing and spending less so the children AND my husband can reap the rewards of having their wife/mother at home.

Edit: Forgot to add the outrageous costs of summer camp! If you have 2, 3, 4 kids it's through the roof! If you are at home they can be home with you all summer and you can take them to different little field trips once a week. There are many activities you can find that are even free.

Now for some women who seem to find more joy in working rather than being at home the wife might be very irritated if not working. She doesn't like the role and/or she would not want to entirely fulfill it.

For a wife and mother who is able to stay at home it is most rewarding. To be there for your children at any time. To care for them when they are at home sick. To see you when they come in the door from school. To shuffle them to their activities. To run errands or make important calls for your husband/family during the day. Helping your children after school with their homework while making dinner from scratch then by the time your husband comes home (if he comes home a normal hour) with the house orderly, hot homemade meal on the table, and the kids situated you can sit as a family and spend the next few hours enjoying time together. The couple of years I got to stay at home and fulfill my role as a wife and mother were the most rewarding years of my life.

I do not agree that it is cultural or social belief. I believe it is how God created us. We are created different as man and woman not only physically but in every which way.

Edited by mirancs8

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