So, reading the Telegraph’s article on Cherie Blair’s speech, as well as Life Site News’ reporting on the same talk, I couldn’t help thinking that one of us – me or Mrs Blair – is living in a bubble. Am I so isolated that I’m not aware of the gaggles of adults, raised by stay-at-home mothers, who are aimlessly wandering the streets, trying to carve out lives for themselves with no preparation, education, or motivation? Am I completely blind to the “danger” of “being the best possible mother” by “putting all effort into [the] children”? It’s possible. After all, I don’t move in circles inhabited by adults like Bertie Wooster or Madeline Bassett. It must be scary. Dangerous, even.
But then, Mrs Blair has not had the chance to see my family and friends, either – the brother and brother-in-law with engineering degrees, the mother with degrees in nursing and human biology and bio-medicine, the brother-in-law with a Masters in divinity, friends who are PhDs, MDs, business men, cooks, authors, farmers, musicians, contractors, photographers, lawyers. Most of them were raised by stay-at home mothers and all of them are contributing to society. They grew up and are not dependent on parental finances, emotional support, or any other apron string help. It’s a good example of what dedicated yummy mummies (however you define the term – we certainly never counted as wealthy) can do with the Lord’s blessing. And perhaps Mrs Blair has never had the chance to see it in action.
But then I thought, if Mrs Blair actually met the Reformed, evangelical women I know who are staying at home, not because their husbands are rich and can afford it, but because they believe that it is their calling, she might still be scared. Because a well educated, spiritually equipped child, raised by a woman willing to sacrifice a career and all that goes with it to raise children who will be arrows for the church (Ps. 127:4) is a far bigger threat to secular humanism than Bertie Wooster ever was.
Not only are evangelical yummy mummies staying at home themselves – they are raising their daughters to do the same thing, and raising their sons to marry someone who will. They are the ones actually having the babies. And they are the ones who have the Lord’s help, blessing, and promise of glory, not in this life, but in the one to come.
To the unbelieving mind, sacrificing a lifetime for someone else is dangerous because it is living by faith, not sight. The outcome is based on God’s promises, not what you do. It’s not in your hands, it’s not visible, identifiable, or quantifiable. You don’t get a pay check, or letters after your last name, or anyone even reading your last name. You’re basically putting all your eggs in one basket. And that can even be scary even to a believer, especially if their understanding of the providence of God is not real enough.
No wonder it sounds dangerous to Mrs Blair, who probably does have women’s best interest at heart, even if it is seriously misdirected. We can’t let certain situations that we see influence what we believe. Perhaps Mrs Blair has seen too many parents disappointed at how their children turned out, and is trying to protect mothers from spending everything on a child and getting little or nothing back. Her principles are being dictated by her experience and beliefs instead of the promises of God.
That’s not an error we Christian women can make. We must live by faith. This kind of living flies in the face of the self-fulfilling, self-sufficient attitude that the world presses on us. We evangelical yummy mummies don’t stay at home primarily or even largely because we find that it gives us security and fulfills us. We do it because we think it is more important than our wants and desires are.
I’m not saying that it’s a sin to have a career outside the home, or that you are obviously living by sight if you do. I’m saying that it’s nobody’s business to tell me to have a career outside the home when Scripture clearly tells me to be working at home (Titus 2:5), trusting that regardless of the outcome, thankful obedience is what matters. That is what is honouring to the Lord, and that is what will bring blessing.