My Kiddos Can’t Afford my Day Rate–but I’m Not Salty

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As a mama with a Master’s degree and a background in Management Consulting, my billable day rate is on the high side. However, I willing give my time to my children and husband because I am playing with eternity–not futility–in mind.

Note: This article was written in response to the NYT Opinion piece, Forget Pancakes. Pay Mothers., by Kim Brooks.

The Israelite parents were commended to train up their children in the way that led to life, as a guide for them and a reminder for their parents. Moses told them:

“Only be on your guard and diligently watch yourselves, so that you don’t forget the things your eyes have seen and so that they don’t slip from your mind as long as you live. Teach them to your children and your grandchildren. The day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, the LORD said to me, ‘Assemble the people before Me, and I will let them hear My words, so that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth and may instruct their children.” Deuteronomy 4:9-10

Notice God’s obsession with children? Clearly, He cared about the next generation’s minds. The million dollar question is: Do we? Scripture warns us:

“Teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

This means that how ever our youths are trained, they will continue living until their deaths. This isn’t a promise to snuggle with. This is a warning to heed and pray about relentlessly! 

However, many women feel like Kim Brooks, the author of the NYT article.

“In our country, staying home to raise children is one of the most devastating financial decisions a woman can make. And without any sort of child care system in place, it’s often not a choice at all. All but the wealthiest mothers face what I’ve come to think of as the Cinderella paradox. Of course Cinderella can go the ball, just as soon as she’s finished her chores.”

But we aren’t talking about just paying childcare fees in order to gain access to corporate compensation packages and more immediate temporal recognition. We are talking about sacrificing the long-term direction of our families and jepordizing the perseverance of our faith in order to gain these menial earthly wins.

Now, some may say, ‘But Rebecca, you just don’t understand how much my family would have to give up to have more of my time.’ Fair. Every situation is different. However, Solomon hit the nail on the head when he wrote:

“The one who loves money is never satisfied with money, and whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with income. This too is futile. When good things increase, the ones who consume them multiply; what, then, is the profit to the owner, except to gaze at them with his eyes?” Ecclesiastes 5:10-11

No, you’d be satisfied after amassing a billion dollars of investable assets? Don’t kid yourself. Even the billionaire, Oprah, agreed with Solomon when she said, ‘You can never have enough money.’ So let’s just be honest with ourselves. Fancier “work clothes” in our closets, fancier cars in our driveways, and fancier job titles are not actually going to satisfy us. Only a relationship with God through saving faith in His son, Jesus the Christ, can do that. And all pursuits not focused on Jesus are “futile”.

So where do we go from here? We certainly don’t bang our fists on the dining room table and demand payment for our services, as inferred by Kim Brooks. This is simply ludicrous. A husband and his wife were designed to be a team who work hard collaboratively to raise (God-fearing) children. Their tasks may not be the same, but both sets of labors are invaluable to the team–from breadwinning to meal planning.

For this reason, I would say that we should start with gratitude. Express gratitude for your husband and his contributions to your family. This is both a good exercise to reorient a dissatisfied mind as well as a way to set a tone of gratitude for our households.

Secondly, we should examine the ways that we are deploying our time in light of eternity.

“But godliness with contentment is a great gain.

      For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out. 

      But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.

But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. 

     But you, man of God, run from these things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. 

     Fight the good fight for the faith; take hold of eternal life that you were called to and have made a good confession about in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:6-12

Take hold of eternal life and pursue the higher things of God-righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness! And what better way to do this than to consistently pour out our love on our families. We should be eager to use every moment spent with our families  kingdom-focused–implicitly or explicitly. We should always be ready to teach our children about God and His wonderful works. We should always be ready (with the Holy Spirit’s assistance) to teach our children about how to practically live out the Christian faith. And if you are noticing that you are not experience many of these moments, it may be time to make some (major) changes to your schedule.

And don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable or less glamorous on Earth, because you will have all the bling you ever needed in heaven (including a crown — 2 Timothy 4:8):

“For this reason, even though I suffer as I do, I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day.” Timothy 1:12

Jesus secured a wonderful treasure for us in heaven through His atoning work. And guess what? He is able to guard it and keep our souls until the glorious age to come. All we have to do is diligently carry out the tasks assigned to us as mamas–namely working with our husbands to “love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength…[and] Repeat [God’s words] to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

How does this look when practically carried out? I am a full-time author. However, I intentionally invest time in my children and home as a fully-invested mama, wife, and homeschool teacher in order to constantly point my family’s eyes towards Jesus–explicitly and implicitly. Yes, sacrificing my time during the day means that I have less time to write books and I have to take my career a little slower right now. However, this is not the end of the world by a long shot. Just ask Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, who has slowly grown her business empire while taking care of her family and homeschooling her children. So Mama, just pace yourself, faithfully disciple your family, and industriously prepare for your season 🙂

What are your thoughts/reactions? Share your feedback in the comments section below!