I’m slowly acquiring the capacity for writing again as I crawl my way out of the morass of being a new teacher, and I wanted to share a bit of somebody else’s hyperbole with you.
Owen Strachan, whom I do not know, has a post on the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood blog reflecting positively on a quote than just hit me exactly the wrong way: “A man who really gets Ephesians 5 is the kind of man who will be willing to work two jobs and live in a trailer to enable his wife to be the primary caregiver of his children.”
Yes, I get the point. The upwardly mobile, upper echelon middle class lifestyle isn’t nearly as important as providing for your wife the privilege of being able to stay home with the kids. Believe me, I know. Even as a teacher at a Christian school, I have a very low opinion of the parenting capacity of daycare workers, preschool teachers, and teachers in general in comparison to moms. They are simply too poorly paid, and too little invested to be an adequate substitute for actual full-time parenting. Ideally, the earliest I’d be comfortable sending a child to school would be in the early teens, when all the “raising” should be done and all that’s left for the school is the actual education. But then, I think a child should be ready for college level curriculum (not lifestyle) by about 14.
By all means, let mom stay home, especially if all that’s sending her to work is your dream of a house that’s just a little bit bigger, or a retirement that’s just a little bit nicer. Because what you’re really doing by sending your wife to work is not actually earning more money, but merely skimping on proper child care.
But be serious. I suspect that neither Owen Strachan nor Dr. Russell Moore (whose quote it is) has ever actually faced the prospect of working two jobs long-term, yet living in a Trailer Park. I must confess it lacks an appeal. The mobile home idea actually isn’t so bad, though it is my wife who insists she would rather be in a smallish apartment. But to say that a husband and a father should take up a second job so his wife can stay unemployed borders just slightly on getting it exactly backwards, especially if you measure things in time rather than in dollars: what you are actually saying is that full-time mothering is so important that it should be purchased at the expense of any fathering at all.
Really. If I am working two jobs on a long term basis, when am I going to see my son? Is mothering so important that it trumps fathering entirely?