Friday, August 27, 2010

From the archives....

For you newer readers, I thought I would pull some older posts from the past 8 months and re-post them.  Let me know what you think!  Enola Gay

Child-care or Prostitution?

At first glance, those two subjects seem to be worlds apart. However, I was talking to a  pastor's wife the other day and it got me thinking....

I am a converted career woman. When our oldest daughter was little, I dropped her off at daycare every day and headed to my "fulfilling" job as a paralegal. I was miserable. When I was at home with my family, I felt guilty about not being at work. When I was at work, I felt guilty about not being at home. I knew there had to be more than this, I just didn't know what that might be. When our daughter was about four, God, in His sovereignty, made some amazing changes in our family. He showed me the value of Proverbs 31, but even better, He gave me an older woman to guide me toward my husband, my home and my children, in a very Titus 2 sort of way. I quit my job, started homeschooling, became a homesteader, started having babies and generally did an about face.

Back to the pastor's wife. She provides child care for many families. She and her husband have two children of their own, but she loves little ones, so rather than have more children, she watches other peoples kids. She is a wonderful, caring lady, who wants to serve the Lord in all that she does, but as I sat visiting with her, watching these little ones play and seek her attention and approval, I was grieved.

Proverbs, along with many other sections of scripture, guide women toward our high calling. We have myriad duties in our families. Wife, mother, teacher, cook, housekeeper, organizer to name a few. Each of those duties require time, effort, sacrifice and most of all, love, to accomplish. We have a tough job! But, what if we want to shift some of those responsibilities to someone else? Some jobs are temporal, so parceling them out is neither here nor there. Cleaning can be delegated. Someone can come in to help cook. But what about our wifely duties toward our husbands? That certainly can't be hired out! That would be called prostitution. What wife would ever say "well, I'm tired tonight - I wounder if Jenny down the road could use a few extra dollars?" I don't think so. The relationship between husband and wife is sacred. Can you imagine a pastor standing in the pulpit announcing that the church had started up a program for the husbands in the church to be "cared for"? It would be an all Christian service, so wouldn't that be great? Of course, that would be ludicrous. But we do it all of the time. We do it with our children. Our relationship with our children is eternal. We cannot "prostitute" that duty out to some "daytime caregiver"! And our churches openly advertise from the pulpit - "we now offer christian daytime childcare so that you know your little ones are well cared for while you go off to work". What are we thinking?!?

Our children are precious. They could never do this in daycare....

and definitely not THIS.....

They would miss out on being with their parents and their brothers and sisters....

Please know that I understand that there are some circumstances that make staying home with your children impossible. However, for most of us, it means choosing a different lifestyle. That choice has eternal consequences. Our churches need to be sounding the trumpet. They need to be encouraging mothers to love their husbands and children. They need to encourage fathers to the priests, providers, prophets and protectors of their homes. If we do these things our children will rise up and call us blessed!


  1. Enola,

    This is an excellent article. Whenever I try to address this issue with any of my friends who work outside the home or have daughters that do, their defenses rise up immediately. I know that they have bought into the big lie. What you've done in this article is call a spade a spade. People just don't want to hear it.

    There are so many times when I want to just grab young mothers by the shoulders and shake them to get their attention. I want to sit them down and say, "What are you making, 8 maybe 10 dollars an hour? How much are you paying for pantyhose, gas, lunch out, quicky meals because you're too tired to cook, daycare, etc. Clip some coupons, turn off the cable, turn off the internet, raise your thermostat, cook at home rather than eat out and stay home and raise your babies!"

    Everything is upside down. Young men are emasculated and young women are lost. AND they are BOTH floundering because it's role reversal! The elders in our churches are doing them a disservice by not pointing it out. We should be drawing that line in the sand for them instead of helping muddy the waters with our "tolerance".

    You see, I too bought the lie many years ago. My three oldest went to daycare for a while and public school. I yearned to stay home with them but, that's just not what was "expected". Well, I have been blessed with two surprise babies and stay home with them in our fourth year of homeschooling. What a joy and I wish every mother could experience it.


  2. Wow! What a powerful comparison. If more people would look at things through the lens of God's Word and not the world's we would have a much more stable and sane world. Thanks, Enola, for a thought-provoking post.

  3. Through downsizing, I have become a stay at home dad to a 20 mo. old boy.

    I love the fact we get to have time together, I do not have to worry about what he is learning from someone who may not share out values, not to mention the savings in money to spend on better things.

    I can't tell you how many fathers I have met who have said to me how they would have loved to be able to spend the time I can with their children.

    I am blessed. Thanks for the heads up on that.

  4. I agree this is an issue, but we all know that nothing is as simple as it may seem...

    How is a single parent to handle this situation?

  5. "When I was at home with my family, I felt guilty about not being at work. When I was at work, I felt guilty about not being at home"

    That quote speaks volumes!

  6. I am a stay at home homeschooling mom. I quit full time work when my son was born. I still worked part time occasionally with my mother keeping my son. I quit completely when my daughter was born. As you can see I agree with your article and did not want someone else raising my children and have felt that way since I was a little girl. Despite that, I think using the line "prostitute" that duty out" about taking your children to daycare is offensive and uncalled for. I am a fairly new reader to your blog and have agreed with everything but that one sentence. "You catch more flies with honey than vinegar" and while you don't need to sugarcoat something to get it across, I believe your message will be heard better by those who you feel need to be converted if you don't use terms like that. If you are just "preaching to the choir" then never mind.

  7. Dear Connie;
    You're right - it is offensive, but I believe hiring someone else to raise your children so that you can earn money is offensive. My point with this article was not just to warn people of the dangers of not raising their own children. It was to point out, in rather black and white terms, that there are some things we just can't have someone else do. God has given us a huge gift and we can't afford to gift it to someone else. I did not mean to be offensive. I meant for the language to shock people into the realization that the relationship between parent and child was eternal, an not something to be cast away for the almighty dollar. You are right, it is offensive - however, we all too often excuse the offensive things in life because they are convenient. Thank you for letting me know your perspective.

    How wonderful that you have chose to stay home. I applaud you.

    Enola Gay

  8. What a great article that raises some good points. I was raised in daycare while my mom had her dream job. I was subjected to cruel caregivers or caregivers who just ignored me. In one daycare when I was about 5 years old some of the older boys would take me downstairs and "play" with me. My mom was always frazzeled and tired when she came home. She would make us feel guilty if we got sick and she had to stay home to care for us or if we wanted to participate in an activity that would require her to take off work. By age 7 I stayed home alone after school with my sister. I would always have this nagging fear that someone would try to break in while we were alone. Looking back I realize how stressed I was as a child. There were so many times I would look longingly at the moms who came to pick their kids up from school or were there when they came home with smiles and a snack.

    From the very begining of my mothering adventure I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom. I didn't want my kids to go through what I did in "daycare". Or the trouble I ended up getting into later in my childhood with no supervision.

    For us this road hasn't been easy. I have frequently needed to have a night job to make ends meet in the begining of our marriage. We scrimpt and saved to make it possible for me to stay home. No new cars or tv's. I shop for everything at yard sales and thrift stores and never buy new if I can get it in excellent condition used. But my kids are happy and loved and great students. It's worth all the sacrifice to look into those little faces and know that they are secure. I can't envision missing all the things I have been privledged to see for some boring desk job.

    However I don't know if babysitting is against God. I have many times watched one or two children in our home to make ends meet. These children would be put into daycare weather or not I was the one watching them. And at least in my home they recieved love and attention. In fact I am watching 3 older children after school right now. My husband has been unemployed for the first time in his life due to layoffs. He searched for a job for 3 months before finally finding another job. During that time we were truly taught to trust God. Just when it felt like we were at the end (as in no money to keep the power on ) God would provide an opportunity. I know He was teaching us so much during this hard time. I started praying that if it was what God wanted me to do He would bring children for me to watch into my life. I wouldn't advertise or even tell people I was looking for children to watch. The VERY NEXT morning a sweet mother called and told me she had heard of me and was wondering if I could watch her children. She too needs to work to make ends meet and was not wanting to put her little boys into an "institutional" daycare. Well I can't say if its prostitution or if it is just what can't be avoided in these economic times.

    I do believe many women could stay home if they just buckled down and sacrificed a little. I think many women are selfish and just don't want to be bothered. Many times I have heard women say how they are so glad to put the kids in daycare after a weekend of caring for them. How sad! But I also know that no amount of studies, proof, or lecturing these women is going to change their minds. Many of them just don't care or think that the only important thing is providing more stuff for themselves and the kids. Is it then wrong for us as christians to care for those children? Who is it serving to have them put into the big state run places that are more like warehouses for children.

  9. Chloris;
    I am so sorry for the things that happened to you as a child. I know that grieves God's heart. My point was not to condemn parents that have no choice. I believe that God is a God of mercy and grace. He knows when there are no other alternatives and I don't think that moms are condemned when they put their kids in daycare when there are no other choices and I don't believe that moms are condemned when they watch others' children who otherwise would be put in institutionalized care. My point was to get people to think about the sacred nature of the gift of children. I think that God, in His soveriegnty, expects us to take care of our children. Sometimes, that might mean daycare (although, for the most part - rarely), and then it is our duty to find care that closely emulates our values. I really wasn't trying to be condemning. I was just trying to help people to see their motherhood as something sacred, not to be wantonly passed off to some minimum wage employee with no vested interest in your child's soul and eternal life. Hope that clears things up!

    Enola Gay

  10. This article alone has angered me a lot with this blog.

    I in-fact do have to pay for childcare on a regular basis. I also work an extended schedule so that I can have more days off. My husband and I do everything that we can do to spend the most time we can with our children. We take care of my sick mother and life is stinking tough sometimes.

    But I do not prostitute my children. I stay off of government assistance and guess what, my mother did the same thing. She grieved having to be outside of the home and enlist others in her children's care. She did NOT prostitute me or my brother and she stayed off the government teat.

    If God opens the door to staying home you can bet I'll walk right though... singing praises.

    Just my opinion.

    A. Jones

  11. Thanks for posting this one again as I just found your blog. after 12 years working for the Government, I just quit my 80K per year job following the birth of our 3rd child. We always had day time nannies for our 2 older ones but she obviously couldn't love them like I could. I yearned to stay home but my hubby saaid we couldn't afford it (student loans) This has cut our income in half so we bought a smaller house, cut the cable, bought rain barrels and planted a garden, cloth diapers and now homeschooling for the first time for my oldest (kindergarten). It has been so rewarding to really get to know these fabulous kids I brought into this world and be the sole source of nurishment for my baby. Most of all, each and every day they are safe! financially it is a huge struggle but I learn more and more everyday how to cut back and simplify our lives. Your blog will certainly be very helpful and motivating. I just ordered the recipe book you recommended, free from amazon from swag buck rewards. Thanks for sharing your world.

  12. I just read this and felt the need to comment. I am a home daycare provider. Why? Well, I wanted to be there for MY son, now 11, when he came home from school. I quit my job last year in May where I worked for the local newspaper, which was not paying me what I was worth, and where I had a supervisor (whom I was making look very, VERY good) who constantly badmouthed me and attempted to say I was not doing my job. I couldn't take the stress any longer, missed my son, and decided to look into home daycare to see if it would be a viable option that would enable me to be home with him. By the grace of God, it has worked for me.

    I had problems finding quality childcare. That is why I'm doing what I'm doing. I work Mon - Sat and offer extended hours every day except Tuesday, when my church offers Bible study classes in a college class format - on a side note, The Truth Project is awesome, and I am taking it now. :) Most of my kids have single moms whose fathers simply cannot be bothered to support them. They need quality child care, and I provide that. I love all my kids, and treat them like family. I am very strict with them (5 two year old boys can get into a LOT of trouble otherwise) but they also get tons of hugs and kisses. We do activities, and I am teaching the older kids to read and write their letters. Not all childcare environments are awful - but unfortunately there are also horrible ones out there. I digress, My children and I have a bond; they are excited to see me if I see them out somewhere, they like coming to my house, half the time they don't want to leave. So I must be doing something right. And I hope it gives parents peace of mind. However my parents do not "prostitute" their children to me.

    As far as the rest of it, there is SO much wrong with society today; most of it can be pointed to the government having their fingers in everything "for our protection" which causes the vast majority to stop thinking for themselves. So why shouldn't married women who are fortunate enough to have husbands who earn a decent income work? The government has essentially caused rules and regulations which drive costs up, so apparently women NEED to work. (Please note I say that sarcastically.) What ever would the government do if millions of women across the U.S. decided they weren't going to work and life was going to be simplified? Well, there goes the economy. So it's in their best interests to promote working women, and they do so, and so the general public stops thinking for themselves; ergo the need for childcare not just for the hardworking single parent who refuses to view welfare as an acceptable alternative to work.

    Childcare is needed in this day and age. It's needed by those who could not live without government handouts if childcare was not available so they can work. And it's wanted by those who have children yet want to work. But while I have said what I have said, I should also point out that intellectual stimulation is very important for some, and I really don't see anything wrong with mothers who wish to work as long as they are not passing off their children to go party during the nights and weekends. A balance can be achieved and not everyone's ideal is the same.

    I could say so much on this subject, but it would take too long and the kiddos are waiting.

  13. As a wife and mother who works outside the home - not by choice - I appreciate that you recognize that some of us are just not able to be with our children. If I could change things, I would. Meanwhile I must do the best I can in my circumstances.