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Is Staying at Home Selfish?


Sometimes during a Christmas party conversation, when people find out you work for Focus on the Family or Boundless, you feel a little judged. Other times, the questions begin. Saturday night, it was the latter.

“So, I overheard you mention your ‘work blog’,” a party attender said to me. “But, I thought you didn’t work.”

After eight years of staying at home, I no longer react to the “you don’t work” comment. I know what they mean. It’s fine. So I explained about the freelance writing. She wanted to know what I wrote about. Mainly Christian finances and some about stay-at-home mommyhood, I told her. That’s when she got the intense look. Here it comes.

She explained her situation. She had been working for seven years while her husband completed a bachelor and professional degree. They had two small children. She was frustrated.

“I’m tired of having someone else raise my kids,” she told me. “Don’t get me wrong, Miss Gina is doing a great job. But I want to raise them myself.”

Her husband now had his professional job, but also had a boatload of student loans from professional school. He agreed that she could now stay at home if she wanted. But, she wanted to know, was she selfish to stay at home and not contribute to paying off the loans?

Candice tackles a similar question in today’s Boundless article. In “Boyfriend Doesn’t Want Kids,” a reader wonders about her desire to stay at home with future kids: “[I’m} thinking that maybe I’m selfish to want this so badly … It’s painful to try and let go of, and I’m not sure that I should.”

Candice answered:

While it’s possible to want children for the wrong reason, strength of desire for babies is no evidence of that. Scripture is full of examples of women who longed to be mothers. My favorite example is Hannah. And God’s answer to her desperate prayers (so impassioned were they, the high priest thought she was drunk!) was not to turn her away for being self-serving, but to open her womb and make her fruitful.

I agree with Candice. It is always possible to have wrong motives. We can have desires to do things Scripture condemns. We can even have wrong motives for things that Scripture commends — such as giving, sharing the Good News, marrying or fellowshipping with other believers. The answer isn’t to stop giving, sharing, marrying or fellowshipping. Rather, to give our hearts to the Lord and ask Him to purify our motives — to make His will, our will.

In the same way, if I am concerned about my desire to stay at home and raise children, I think it’s wise to test that desire against Scripture and give my motives to God. Titus 2 tells me that young women are to learn how to love our husbands and children, be self-controlled and pure, be busy at home, be kind and subject to our husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

So, do I want to be busy at home as an expression of active servant love to my husband and children? I’m in line with Scripture. Free time, “me” time and “I” time? Not so much, maybe.

So, Saturday night lady and I had a discussion. We talked about how it sounded like her priorities were in line with Scripture, how she and her husband had a plan to responsibly handle their debt and how she would, in fact, be contributing to her household by staying at home. I reassured her that I did not think she was selfish to want to raise her kiddos.


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About the Author

Heather Koerner

Heather Koerner is a stay-at-home mom and freelance writer from Owasso, Okla.

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