Our Work and Our Worth
Faith’s no-pay leave is coming to an end, and there’s been some pressure from people close to us to have her go back to her job. It’s been a roller-coaster ride of emotions for her as she struggles with what her self-identity is, and how self-worth is affected by what society, close friends and family think.
Many of us harbour a bias that the spouse that works for money is the main contributor to the family. We use words like “breadwinner” to bestow some level of honour, while “homemaker” is viewed in a humbler, even derogatory light.
I’ve experienced what Faith’s work day is like. There are thousands of moving parts, many of which society would classify as “menial”. When you consciously unpack each task, you’ll realise how much they demand of you - to be meticulously detailed (“Mummy, where’s the Chinese homework book I left on the table?”); constantly aware (“We need to inform the bus driver that Caleb isn’t takin the bus next Tuesday because…”); and most of all, emotionally draining (“Kids, I need you to focus on the task at hand right now even though you’re tired from a day at school”). And how much wisdom it requires to know when to help, and when to let the kids try and possibly fail, which also means building them up through the tears and emotion that come after.
The purpose of a family is in the growth of its members for service unto God and fellow man. We can romanticise the role of the breadwinner all we want, but at the end of the month, we take home our pay to see the basic needs of our family and hopefully afford a few creature comforts. It is in that light I see my job as a means of supporting our central duty of developing each member in our family.
Faith mans the frontline everyday. I’m privileged to get a slice of the action by her side. We make command decisions together - the best ones are made in united prayer.
So it might mean that I help out with the kids at night whenever I can. It gives Faith a chance to decompress from the gruelling work of carrying the three little munchkins emotionally; and to rest her feet from buzzing back and forth schools, activity centres and home.
There is a beautiful partnership when I choose to serve my wife. I look at her sleeping, tired out, and it gives me great joy to tend to her needs and buy her a little time of her own. She is the jewel of my house, and the work of her hands weaves divine glory in the lives of our children, and its grace reflects unto me.