Navigating the Decision

By Suzanne Gosselin
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
monkeybusiness/iStock/Thinkstock
Tips for deciding if and how much to work outside the home.

Deciding as a couple what your work and child care situation will look like once your baby arrives is an important and personal decision. Here are a few things to consider:

Pray for direction. Author Catherine Claire Larson suggests that couples be intentional about seeking the Lord as they make the decision whether the woman will work outside the home or be a stay-at-home mom.

Larson left a prestigious job writing for BreakPoint Radio to be a stay-at-home mom. “That was really hard,” she says. “I thrived in that place. But I realized the time is short; in the grand scheme of things, the time you have with your children while they’re little is very brief.”

Know your priorities. When Denise had to go to work outside the home due to financial reasons, she and her husband, Andrew, made a list of their priorities as a family.

“Both Andrew and I have made sacrifices so that our kids always have one of us taking care of them. We’ve had to think creatively about how we can accomplish goals we have for our family. It takes a lot of work and a lot of talking things through, but it’s possible.”

Think creatively. When Jessica qualified for a job in government foreign service, she and her husband, Mike, had to figure out child care for their infant daughter, Eva.

During the couple’s first international assignment to South America, Jessica says, “I went to work, and Mike stayed home for the first year. After a year, he found a job at the embassy and went to work as well. We entered Eva in an excellent half-day preschool; in the afternoons she was at home with a nanny.” Jessica says she and Mike are still evaluating what they’ll do when they go to North Africa next year.

Leave your options open. A significant number of women who have worked full time find that their values and desires change dramatically when their baby is born. Dr. Juli Slattery says, “You can have it all written out when you’re six months pregnant, and when the baby comes you may have a completely different attitude.”

Think through several different arrangements you and your spouse could pursue after your baby arrives. Perhaps a restructuring of your budget would allow you to live on less and give up one income. Or it may be possible for one or both of you to work a more flexible schedule.

When Wes and Nica learned they were expecting their first child, they realized the career they’d had the past eight years – traveling around the U.S. with a comedy improv troupe – wouldn’t be practical for this new season of life.

The couple transitioned into operating their own freelance video and film production company. “It felt like God was constantly giving us the next step exactly when we needed it,” Wes says.

Lean up. Dr. Slattery says “Instead of looking to my goals and mile markers, I want to lean into God and ask Him, ‘What do You have for me to do in this season?’ “

Dr. Slattery says her own career goals did not go as planned. She earned her doctorate in psychology the same week she gave birth to their first son. “After years of schooling, I was working two nights a week, and my husband was the breadwinner,” Slattery says. “I felt like I was giving up all of my career dreams. But I look at all the doors God has opened for me in His time, and I know I couldn’t have planned it like that. If you trust God, hold your plans loosely, and are faithful with what He gives you, He blesses that.”

Adapted from Expectant Parents: Preparing Together for the Journey of Parenthood, a Focus on the Family book published by Tyndale House Publishers Inc. Copyright © 2014 by Focus on the Family.

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

About the Author

Suzanne Gosselin

Suzanne Hadley Gosselin is a regular writer and editor for Focus on the Family and former editor of Clubhouse Jr. magazine. She has written books for Zondervan, Harvest House, and Tyndale, and is the author of Expectant Parents: Preparing Together for the Journey of Parenthood. Suzanne is also the co-author of Grit and Grace: Devotions for Warrior Moms. She lives …

You May Also Like

Thank you [field id="first_name"] for signing up to get the free downloads of the Marrying Well Guides. 

Click the image below to access your guide and learn about the counter-cultural, biblical concepts of intentionality, purity, community and Christian compatibility.

(For best results use IE 8 or higher, Firefox, Chrome or Safari)

To stay up-to-date with the latest from Boundless, sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter.


If you have any comments or questions about the information included in the Guide, please send them to [email protected]

Click here to return to Boundless

Focus on the Family

Thank you for submitting this form. You will hear from us soon. 

The Daily Citizen

The Daily Citizen from Focus on the Family exists to be your most trustworthy news source. Our team of analysts is devoted to giving you timely and relevant analysis of current events and cultural trends – all from a biblical worldview – so that you can be inspired and assured that the information you share with others comes from a reliable source.

Alive to Thrive is a biblical guide to preventing teen suicide. Anyone who interacts with teens can learn how to help prevent suicidal thinking through sound practical and clinical advice, and more importantly, biblical principles that will provide a young person with hope in Christ.

Bring Your Bible to School Day Logo Lockup with the Words Beneath

Every year on Bring Your Bible to School Day, students across the nation celebrate religious freedom and share God’s love with their friends. This event is designed to empower students to express their belief in the truth of God’s Word–and to do so in a respectful way that demonstrates the love of Christ.

Focus on the Family’s® Foster Care and Adoption program focuses on two main areas:

  • Wait No More events, which educate and empower families to help waiting kids in foster care

  • Post-placement resources for foster and adoptive families

Christian Counselors Network

Find Christian Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Psychiatrists near you! Search by location, name or specialty to find professionals in Focus on the Family’s Christian Counselors Network who are eager to assist you.

Boundless is a Focus on the Family community for Christian young adults who want to pursue faith, relationships and adulthood with confidence and joy.

Through reviews, articles and discussions, Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live.

Have you been looking for a way to build your child’s faith in a fun and exciting way?
Adventures in Odyssey® audio dramas will do just that. Through original audio stories brought to life by actors who make you feel like part of the experience; these fictional, character-building dramas use storytelling to teach lasting truths.

Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored all-inclusive intensives offer marriage counseling for couples who are facing an extreme crisis in their marriage, and who may even feel they are headed for divorce.