Having It All

Advice for Working Mothers

Controversial new author Samantha Ellus advises mothers in her new book The Pie Life that if they want to “have it all,” they need to get up an hour earlier every day. Ellus, a wife and mother of three, told The Times,”If you’re spending all your time parenting, your life is woefully imbalanced. ‘You will be bored and unfulfilled.’”

While this Harvard graduate and working mother comes off as being a tad smug, she isn’t at all original and she isn’t wrong. Proverbs 31 paints the portrait of a noble woman of character. And guess what ladies, she was involved in commerce and got up at least an hour before her family:

10 A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 
In her hand she holds the distaff

and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 
She is clothed with strength and dignity;

she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 
Her children arise and call her blessed;

Raising children is an honorable and important task, but it is clear when examining this scripture, that the noble wife of character had a lot more going on than meal planning and pinning toddler activities.

Women are excellent multitaskers and the ideal woman depicted in Proverbs clearly contributed to her family’s income. So much so that she was able to make investments and build her own reputation.

Ettus made a lot of enemies when she said of full-time mothers, “It might make you happy right now but the baby years are short and the rest of life and a career are long.” As a Christian and a mother of two grown children, I have to agree with her.

Working and motherhood are valuable contributions we make to our families and to our communities and there is a way to “have it all.” You will be frazzled and you will feel overwhelmed at times, but this is your greatest role in life. And like any job, you get better at it through practice and trial and error.

To reign well, you would do well to follow the advice laid bare for us in Proverbs 31 and in Ettus’ book. Not all of us are natural organizers or thinkers and we may need a little help. I made many mistakes raising my children, however, I think that the one area I excelled at was multitasking, especially as a single parent.

Businesswoman holding baby son and coffee cup

I’d like to believe that I was a good example to my children of a woman who excelled at work and at home and who was never idle. Working mothers need to take that guilt, pack it up, and put it on the bus. Regrets come later in life. For now, seize the day with your fabulous self and make it happen. Your family will thank you later.

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