Why I Don’t Have a Full-time Job (…and why that’s okay)

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I am 26 years old. I have a Bachelors degree. I have a somewhat hefty job history. I suppose I have an average amount of talent and skill. So why, you might ask, am I not employed full-time? Here are four reasons:

  1. I like to be able to spend time working alongside my husband in the Lord’s service.

One of the reasons we chose for me to not work full time is because my husband and I purposed for me to have the time to assist him in his work and to spend more time in the Lord’s service in general. Because I’m not working full-time, I’m able to teach a mid-week ladies Bible class, go visiting with my husband and others, use our home for frequent hospitality, and focus on my writing. My husband and I are currently writing a book together, and while it might be possible, it would be very difficult to make decent progress on that project while focusing my time and attention on a consuming career. And because of the flexible nature of my part-time job, I’m able to travel with my husband for speaking engagements, seminars, lectureships, and mission trips, like the African one we went on last month.

When I was teaching full-time, I felt constant frustration due to the all-consuming nature of the job. Lesson plans, grading, deadlines, parents, students, meetings, and other school related stresses were all I could think about. In the shower, in the car, while I was out with friends, when I was on a date, and while trying to sleep at night, I was constantly stressing over work. My house was usually a wreck, my meals were usually microwave dinners, and my eyes always had ugly dark circles under them. Now, that was only my first (and only) year of teaching, and I understand that it would likely have gotten easier, but I know enough long-time teachers who agree that it’s a job from which you don’t get to go home and escape.

I love the blessing of being more free to work in other areas of my life.

       2. We can live without the extra income.

Before you go thinking we are rich by the world’s standards, let me explain. My husband and I sometimes struggle to make ends meet. We don’t live luxuriously by any means. There are lots of times when we’d like to do something fun or eat out, but we just don’t. We buy our clothes at thrift stores and yard sales. But, thanks be to God, we have plenty to eat and we are able to pay all of our bills with Ben’s income as a preacher. We understand that we could live a lot easier with two incomes, but we like being able to live on just one, because…

     3. We are preparing for our future family.

You might be thinking: Well, that doesn’t make any sense. How do you prepare for your family by choosing to make less money than what you could be making?

Here’s how: My husband and I long ago—long before we even said “I do”—decided that, Lord willing, I would be a stay-at-home mom once we have children. We believe that if your circumstances at all allow it, it’s the very best plan because it’s God’s plan (Titus 2:5). It’s so important to us that we would share one car, never eat out,  and live even more simply than we do now if it meant I could stay at home and raise our children myself, rather than handing them off to a daycare or someone else who would be raising them. We also decided early on that if I were to work before that first little one comes along, we would do our best to save that money rather than spend it. We knew that if we got used to living off two incomes, it would be very difficult to adjust to living with just one after having kids.

     4. I don’t have to have a career to feel valuable.

I understand that in today’s culture, what I’m saying sounds ridiculous and rather archaic, even. This is because we’ve convinced our women today that if they don’t pursue a professional career, they are lazy and worthless. I am not given to this persuasion, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not affected by the people who are. It’s hurtful and frustrating when people make statements insinuating that you’re not working if you’re not “working” (hope you caught what I meant there!). I believe God designed women to feel fulfillment in being keepers at home, in loving our husbands, in raising our children in the Lord, and in using our skills and talents creatively to enjoy life and influence people in His name.

As a disclaimer, I want you to know that I didn’t write this to condemn anyone who views this topic differently than I do. Please do not say that Hannah Giselbach says that you’re going to hell if you’re a mom with a career. You can say, however, that I believe and am making my own decisions as if it’s a lot easier to get your family to heaven if you love the Lord and spend massive amounts of time every day putting Him into the hearts of your kids. (I got that directly from Deuteronomy 6.) I think it’s God’s design for husbands to be the breadwinners and for wives to use their talents for domestic work, for hospitality, for personal evangelism, and for child-rearing. (I got that from Titus 2 and I Timothy 5.)

I’m happy with my part-time nanny job. It’s preparing me for motherhood in more than one way—I’m learning a lot of parenting skills while saving money for the time when it’s my turn. I’m also happy with it because it’s fun, I enjoy it, and I know it’s a temporary occupation until I’m able to focus all of my attention on the most amazing job of all: Full-Time Motherhood!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. I look forward to your feedback!

 



25 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Have a Full-time Job (…and why that’s okay)

  1. Thank you, Hannah! I’m also married to a preacher named Ben. 🙂 I have not worked full-time since about a year and a half after we got married. I now stay home with our two daughters and teach them in our home school. Finances have often been tight, but I do not regret for a moment spending time helping with my husband’s ministry, caring for our home, and being with our children. I think you’re on the right track! 🙂

  2. I got the usual comments like, ” What do you do all day?”, when I decided to stay at home rather than work. Sadly, women in the church do not like to hear that they are to be keepers at home and should strive to fulfill that goal. I also home schooled my children which also brought much ire, especially from friends and family. I am so glad I hunkered down and pressed onward. I would not want my children in the school system that we have now. I am so grateful to hear my son and daughter-in-law say that they, too, will home school my grand children. All I fought for is definitely worth it when I see the godly lives my children live.

  3. Thanks for this! It’s exactly how I feel and basically exactly what we’re doing–part time and all. Thanks for the great example. I’m glad that we’re in the same stage of life and that hopefully we can lean on each other as the years go by!

  4. I identified with my career more that I did with being a mom, and I lost some of the early years of my children’s lives. I never thought that I could be fulfilled with ‘just’ staying home with the kids. After turning to God for His wisdom, my family is reaping the benefits from doing His will. I will be praying for your family as you are doing the right thing!

  5. Thank you for writing this, Hannah. I really needed this. I’ve been struggling on and off since I got married with not feeling “good enough” because I’m asked almost weekly, “So what do you do all day?” or “What do you do with your time?” I know the sweet people asking aren’t intending it as a putdown, but it really feels like one. I’ve been using all of the above reasons when discussing it with people, but I especially needed the encouragement of the last point. So, thank you. 🙂 Blessings to you and Ben!

  6. Hannah, you are right on! We gave up TV service to make the budget balance so I can stay home with our one-month old, Norah. And if we *had* to, we would cut almost anything else it took to keep me home with the children God blesses us with. You have to realize that some (most?) of the things we think of as essentials are really not worth it!

  7. Good thoughts. Before I read your post I was thinking you would probably mention number 3. My daughter has a good job, but it is one that does not pay extremely well. One point in its favor that I have made with her is that , should you marry, it will be a lot easier to give up a low paying job than a high paying one when the children come along and you are ready to be at home with them. Socking that part time income of yours into a savings account rather than depending on it for paying bills is a good idea.

  8. Thank you for sharing! I especially appreciate number 4. Although, I am currently looking for a job so my husband and I can become debt free faster so when we do, Lord willing, have children we won’t have that monkey on our back. I so look forward to being a “stay-at-home mom”!!

  9. Before my husband and I married 44 years ago, we decided that I would stay at home when we had children. He preached for a small, rural congregation and worked as a carpenter 40 hours each week. I had no desire to have a “career” so it was an easy decision for me. I did work at a job that allowed us to have good health insurance as well as save money and get some things (such as educational loans) paid off during that time. We finally were able to have a son five years later, and another one two years after that. Having made the decision not to work after our first came along, we did have to tighten our belts and do without many things that were luxuries. It was worth it all, though, and our sons have told us that they are very happy that we stuck to that decision. Now they have homes of their own and are happy to have wives who enjoy being mothers and homemakers. You and Ben will reap the benefits of this decision many times over. May God bless you as you continue to follow His will.

  10. I had the privilege of being home with my son for 6 1/2 years, and then I was forced to go to work, because of very unfortunate circumstances that consumed our lives, but I chose to take a job in day care that allowed my son to be there with me when he got out of school, and he was only there 3o minutes, then we were home. I wanted so much to be at home all the time, but it was not possible with my husband making bad choices in his life, but I was blessed to be working in the school system that allowed me to be there for my son when he needed me; which included all the breaks he had off, when he got sick, and spending the summer months with him. I was not a Christian then when I had to work, but if I had been, and not had the unfortunate circumstances that happened to us, I would most definitely have been a stay at home mom, and would have home schooled my son. YOU and Ben are wise in wanting to put your children first, and God and His kingdom first. Mt. 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.”
    I know my son is who he is today because I did have those first 6 1/2 years with him at home. To think of what all I could have done it I had been a Christian then, but I thank God he and I are today. God has truly blessed us both. Stay with your decisions and do not waver from what your heart tells you to do and with what God’s Word has pressed on your heart in doing what you and Ben know is right to do for your family.
    Love you and your family and you all have been blessed in many ways and as you should be for seeking HIM first.

  11. Thank you for these thoughts Hannah! I too stayed at home with my children when they were young. We delayed buying a house, didn’t buy new cars, and generally cut out all unnessesary expenses to make it work, but certainly wouldn’t trade that time with our daughters for anything! All three of our girls married faithful Christian men and are now raising their families in the Lord. Even in the crazy world we have today, it can be done, it just depends on where the priorities are in your family. There are always ways for women to work part-time out of their home to earn a little extra money, when needed, but the priority has got to be raising our children in the Lord.

  12. Thanks SO much for this wonderful post!! I echo everything you said and am very encouraged to know that I’m not alone in my decision. Keep up the great work. 🙂

  13. Thank you for your encouraging words! I have been blest to be a stay-at-home mom for over 32 years. It has been very hard financially, but never impossible. ☺ I would rather struggle to make the budget than to miss out on any of the childhood days in the life of my six children. I love being a godly wife and mother and God has blest us and taken good care of us through all the ups and downs. The memories are immeasurable; the love is unstoppable, and the closeness of family is unbelievable! My older children have their fondest memories during our leanest years. Homemaking is a lost art. My married daughters love being a full-time wife and mother, too. My daughter-in-law loves being a full-time wife and mother. Please keep encouraging and setting an example. Thank you! ☺

  14. Thanks for your post. I am a preacher’s wife, with no kids yet and working part time. I love it. Though I do get questions or maybe looks when people know. Your post reminded me to be thankful in my position!!
    I am proud to be a servant of God and so thankful that I can support my husband by his side !

  15. Lovely post! I worked full-time when my daughter was a baby, and it was like having my heart torn out every day to leave her (even though I went to her daycare on my lunch hour to breastfeed her). I didn’t like others raising our child. I’ve been home since she was 2 1/2, after we sold the beautiful house we built–because it took two incomes. I love being home with my kids. We have always homeschooled because, again, we didn’t want someone else raising our kids. Do I feel fulfilled? Absolutely! I have the ability to be active in our church, I am an active volunteer in an organization that helps new mothers, and I have time to devote to my artwork. Homeschooling allows us to do more things as a family. I am so thankful my husband supports this decision– it’s been a blessing to our whole family.

  16. Amen Hannah!! I too was a teacher when I got married; I had taught for 7 years. Billy and I got married in December, and after a lot of discussion I quit teaching the following May. It was just too stressful, a long commute, and I wasn’t able to take care of the house or Billy as I felt I should. Plus, we knew we eventually wanted to have children and me stay home with them, and (like you) wanted to prepare. In April, a year after I quit, we were blessed with twins!!! 😀 There is no job better than being a stay-at-home wife/mother. It is such a blessing and what God designed us for. I have no doubts our babies, now 17 months old, will be much better off with me being with them full-time and having a lot less money, than them being with someone else (even family) most of the time just so we can give them more “stuff.” As busy as it is, I LOVE my life!!!!

  17. Girl, you just echoed my words! Stay at home mom here, for almost 22 years now, with a couple more to go. Great article, great attitude, and great focus.

  18. The modern feminist has slandered the role of the home economist by painting a picture of it that simply isn’t true — the overly submissive, barefoot, pregnant woman who never takes care of herself and always has 6 kids clinging to her — this negative image has driven many women to accept mediocre jobs in the work-a-day world just so they don’t have to say “oh, I stay home” because obviously, this makes you either a) lazy and spoiled or b) a slave to your family. Well, I have something to say to these people. I do not galavant around all day squandering my husbands money, nor do I live in my pajamas (OK, sometimes!). When God created woman, as it says in Genesis, it was because man needed a helper. We are not maids. We are helpers, because men are not wired to be alone. The reality is, women who stay home with (or without) kids work harder than most. I climbed the career ladder for 3 years before I had my daughter. There were a lot of things about it I didn’t care for, but the one thing I remember pining for the most was to be outside, not stuck behind a computer all day.

    Now that I stay home with my 2 year old daughter, my job is 24/7. I don’t get to clock out, and honestly I love every minute of it. I think we save money because I cook a lot more (which I love) and drive less. I still have stress, but I am able to manage it because I have time to exercise, write, work on the landscaping, get the cars serviced, manage the bills, and take my daughter to the playground or draw her random things over and over when she asks me to. I have also learned to fix minor plumbing and electrical issues. All of this because I want to, not because my husband wants me to. Instead of me working so we can have more money to buy a better home, we can work on fixing up the one we have and getting it the way we like it. Thanks for this article — I think we all need a little encouragement sometimes, and to know there are people standing with us in solidarity! xoxo

  19. Wow! What an absolute blessing to receive this email today. I just left a 10 year teacher career this week due to how it was negatively affecting my heath. Even though I know this was the right decision for myself, my family, and my students, I have really been struggling with many of the issues you’ve laid out so beautifully in this post. This gives me hope. Thank you so very much.

  20. Thank you for posting this!! I have not worked in years so I could be home with my 2 boys. I have had so many people look down on me because I do not have what the refer to as a “real job” and “how nice it must be to just sit at home doing nothing with no strss like the rest of us have”. I stopped working shortly after getting married due to a miscarriage and later problems getting pregnant again with our first son. I am a certified firefighter and CPR Instructor and do teach CPR when I can find classes to teach since we do live pay check to pay check. I would not give up being at home with my children and homeschooling them just to be able to say “I am a (fill in blank) or “I do such and such”. I am doing what God has called me to do and that is way more important than what others think of me or see in me when they find out I am a full time mom and homeschool teacher!! Thank you again for posting this!!

  21. Thanks for posting this! It is truly not the “norm” in today’s society but I agree with what you have to say! I have my Doctor of Chiropractic degree. I had my first child in the middle of chiropractic school and my second at the end of chiropractic school (added a third 2 years after that). I never went into chiropractic though. I chose to stay at home with my children and now I homeschool too! People sometimes say to me “Oh it must be so hard to be a doctor but just stay at home with your kids.” I say, “Actually no, it’s very “freeing” to me…I have that degree but I CHOOSE to be at home with my kids and I LOVE it!” I could have the high status career but what I want to do is be at home raising my kids and that’s what I get to do everyday! It’s such a blessing!

  22. I just came across this article today as I was scrolling through my blog list. I am so encouraged to have read this article and all the positive comments in the feedback section. I was sure, as I scrolled through the comments, that there would be at least one negative response. I am so glad that so many women feel the same way because it makes me feel like I am not alone!

    I NEVER wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. It didn’t fit into my dreams of having my doctorate by the time I was 30. But, when I met the man I would eventually marry, we decided together that I would stay home with our children when the time came. For many years of our marriage (pre-children) I was bitter at the thought of giving up my career to care for our children. I was willing to submit and make the best of it, but I was secretly resentful. I can honestly say, though, that when I held our newborn daughter for the first time, all the bitterness and resentment left me. How could I not want to stay home with her and raise her?

    I have been home with our two children for nearly 4 years now and can say that I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have learned so much from my children! Not only that, but I am able to keep my house clean (something that NEVER got done when I worked full time) and cook all three meals for my family. Yes, my two girls share a bedroom and bathroom. Yes, my living room also has to function as their playroom. Yes, my husband drives a 15 year old car that is missing two hubcaps. And yes, I use coupons to help our family make ends meet. But, our whole family is reaping the spiritual benefits of me being home to teach them the ways of God.

    This world is not my home, I’m just passing through. It isn’t about getting higher on the ladder. It is about helping my family get to heaven and giving them the best possible chance at remaining faithful to the church.

    Thank you Hannah for this article! Keep up the great work!

  23. This is a wonderful article and I commend you on having the courage to go against the mainstream standards.

    Being a stay-at-home mom was very important to me as my kids were growing up. As was home schooling them. I never wanted another person to raise my children and even though my in-laws helped enormously with babysitting for us for our weekly date night (we rarely ever had a hired babysitter) it was my responsibility to be their Mom. Material things and having 2 new cars and a big fancy house were never as important to me as knowing my children were not being influenced by worldly people (and worldly children!) at a daycare or public school.

    My love language is quality time and I truly believe that not only do children need quality time, they also need quantity! It’s impossible to give a child enough quality time when it is squeezed in between the work schedules of two very busy parents and all of the responsibilities of keeping a household running.

    I have a had several good Christian friends over the years that have chosen the career route. It is really tragic to see how their children have struggled with their faith as adults, with their poor choices in friends and failed marriages. I wonder if they have ever made the connection to their children’s problems and their not being available to them on a daily basis?

    It has been a struggle for me at times in a group of new ladies when they asked me where I worked and I saw their eyes glaze over when I talked about my life. Homeschooling and homemaking is just not very glamorous to most people. But now I am often told how kind and caring my children are and how they are so willing to serve in the church. And what great parents they are. They are such a blessing to others.

    The dedication of my time to raising them has had amazing results however, I must give all the glory to God!

  24. This is a wonderful article and I commend you on having the courage to go against the mainstream standards.

    Being a stay-at-home mom was very important to me as my kids were growing up. As was home schooling them. I never wanted another person to raise my children and even though my in-laws helped enormously with babysitting for us for our weekly date night (we rarely ever had a hired babysitter) it was my responsibility to be their Mom. Material things and having 2 new cars and a big fancy house were never as important to me as knowing my children were not being possibly influenced by the world.

    My love language is quality time and I truly believe that not only do children need quality time, they also need quantity! It’s very difficult to give a child enough quality time when it is squeezed in between the work schedules of two very busy parents and all of the responsibilities of keeping a household running.

    It has been a struggle for me at times in a group of new ladies when they asked me where I worked and I saw their eyes glaze over when I talked about my life. Homeschooling and homemaking is just not very glamorous to most people. But now I am often told how kind and caring my children are and how they are so willing to serve in the church. And what great parents they are. They are such a blessing to others.

    The dedication of my time to raising them has had amazing results however, I must give all the glory to God!

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