Women and Work

We live in a world filled with opportunities to replace God with fake gods. The Bible calls this practice idolatry and warns us to “keep” ourselves from it (1 John 5:21). Idolatry is finding what is and should be ultimately found in Jesus Christ in created things. Things like relationships, possessions, and careers.

This year, Providence Young Adults is taking time to unpack and discuss a handful of idols we face in our monthly gathering. September’s monthly gathering was on the idol of career. We had a panel discussion with several godly Providence family members to discuss the ways they’ve struggled with this idol and fought for greater satisfaction in Christ. The following is an answer to the question, “How should married women navigate working after kids?” Read below for an answer to this question by a member of our panel, Becca Simmons.

If you enjoy these questions and answers, be sure to join us for our future monthly gatherings! More info at pray.org/youngadults.

Recently it was asked “How should married women navigate working after kids?” Culturally, the stereotypical argument of feminism says that women can work and can imply that women should want to work, even want to be the best and lead role in what they do! Similarly there is the stereotypical thought that conservative women should want to stay at home. Often the initial question comes from the tension we exist in that is between these two stereotypes.

In this cultural tension, let’s go to the Bible. In the Garden, God puts Adam in the Garden “to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15) With work established in the Garden before sin enters, we know that work is right and good. So, the first answer is that women will work! Whether it is inside the home only or also outside the home, women will work. And, work is good.

But, should they work outside the home?

The Bible is filled with reasons to work with all our hearts. We see reminders to not be slothful (Proverbs 6:6-11). We even see reasons to do our best in work “unto the Lord.” (Colossians 3:23-24). These non-gender specific admonitions affirm that work is right and good regardless of the setting. Proverbs 31, however, sheds even greater light on the question at hand: should women work outside the home?

When we turn to Proverbs 31 and read about the woman who fears the Lord, we see several descriptions of what her work looks like. She: works with willing hands (v.13); provides food for her household (v.15); puts her hands to the staff and her hands hold the spindle (v.19); reaches out her hand to the needy (v.20); makes linen garments and sells them (v.24);… She’s busy with a variety of work!

In my study, what I keep coming back to is this: women work. Whether we have a job or career after we children is a decision that is made with a heart and mind toward God and in partnership with our spouse. We are not entitled to our career; neither are we entitled to stay at home with our children. Instead, we are commanded to love God and to be in partnership with our spouse. If we are doing those two things, then we can confidently honor Christ with whatever our work happens to be in that season of life.