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Homemaking While Working Outside the Home

on July 17, 2013 by Heather Faria 18 comments

By Heather Faria, Contributing Writer

Homemaking while working outside the home!
Photo By Victor1558

When I was engaged to be married, I was filled with plans and dreams for what my life would be like as a new wife!  One of the desires I probably clung to the hardest was to be a stay at home wife.  Growing up, I had been taught that in addition to being a wife and mother, homemaking was the most noble occupation a woman could have! Naturally, I was eager to put into practice all I had learned in my own home!  I was certain that in order to be the best wife and homemaker I could be I had to be at home full time.

Well, as it turned out, God had His own ideas for me, and being a full time stay at home wife first thing in our marriage was not one of them.  My husband’s work situation did not allow us to be financially capable of living on his income alone and so instead of fulfilling my dream of being a full time stay at home wife, I found myself a full time working woman.

I was so frustrated and confused!  If the most important place for me to be ministering in was the home, why was it that God wanted me to be primarily outside of it?  I thought I was supposed to be my husband’s helper! I couldn’t do that very well if I was at work right?

Well, thankfully God revealed to me that I had some very wrong ideas about homemaking and taught me some extremely important lessons along the way!

Lesson #1: At this stage in life, the best way to be my husband’s “helper” was to bring in a second income.

As much as I hated to admit it, I was more of a help to my husband and our future with being at work than I was at home.  It wasn’t that he didn’t value the role of a stay at home wife and feel convicted that that was God’s eventual plan for our family, but at this point in our lives my help was needed in a different way.  Another reason it wasn’t as necessary for me to be at home was that we did not have any children yet, therefore the time I spent away from the home was not taking away from my God given responsibilities.  Realizing these things helped me to feel like my job was exactly where God wanted me to be at that time and that I was fulfilling the role of “a helper suitable” for my husband.

NOTE: This does NOT mean that I think it is best for a woman to be working outside the home until she has children or that her role in home isn’t necessary until then!  This was simply my experience and what God’s plan was for my marriage.  Ideally it would be wonderful if we all could focus our full attention on homemaking right away. If you are able to have this privilege do not take it for granted and waste the opportunity God has given you to minister in your own home!  However, if you find yourself in a situation like me, be encouraged in knowing that God is still using you as a helper to your husband and He has you exactly where He wants you.

Lesson #2: “Homemaker” is not synonymous with “Stay at Home Wife”

I don’t know about you, but I am a very low energy person.  I’m also an “all or nothing” person.  Therefore, when I get home from working a full eight hour day, the last thing I want to do is think about making dinner, planning my grocery shopping and making sure the house looks decent.  Once I had resigned myself to my role as a full time working woman, it was hard for me to not abandon homemaking altogether. I figured, “Well if I can’t put the energy I want to put into homemaking because I’m supposed to be working, why even bother?”  This however, was totally wrong.  Whether God has allowed you to be a full time stay at home wife or not, God has called all women to be homemakers.

 “Then they can urge the younger women….to be busy at home”  Titus 2:4-5

This means that even if it is necessary to bring in extra income, our homes and our identities as homemakers should always be our first priority.  For some women, such as single moms or wives with disabled husbands etc., staying home full time may never be an option!  God does not give that calling to everyone.   What He does desire for us is that our first priority be our families and our homes.  We should never sacrifice our noble calling to minister in our home for outside responsibilities.  Homemaking might look a little different for us than for a stay at home wife, but as long as the primary focus of our hearts is our home and our families and not our careers we are honoring Christ.

Lesson #3:  Don’t have expectations for the home that are too high (or too low!)

This lesson coincides with Lesson #2.  As I said before, I am a total “all or nothing” person!  It’s so hard for me not to set my expectations for myself too high or too low.  When I first got married, I started off by having too high of expectations.  I was ambitiously determined to work my 40 hour work week, cook gourmet dinners every single night while still maintaining a perfectly spotless house, a working budget and plenty of time for romance with my husband!  Needless to say, this didn’t last very long and things quickly changed.

But instead of finding a balance, I went the opposite way and started ordering take out most nights of the week, allowing layers of dust to collect around my house and completely ignoring our budget.  This only caused me to feel like a failure as a wife and grow resentful of my job that I blamed for taking me away from my home.  Eventually I decided that I needed to find some kind of balance so that I was doing everything to the best of my ability instead of slacking in all areas of my life.  Once I found some tools to help organize my life, I found that I was both a better employee and a better wife!

Here are some things that have worked for me:

Finding Balance While Working Outside the Home

Tool #1: Sign up for a meal planning site!

This was a complete life saver for me!  I signed up for PlantoEat and Relish!  I definitely prefer PlantoEat over Relish!, but I found some really great recipes on Relish that have become favorites in my kitchen!  Both of these sites help create grocery lists based on the ingredients in the meals you choose.  Total time saver!!! {Note from Jami: Here are some tips on meal planning on a budget and getting dinner ready on a schedule. Freezer cooking was also a life saver for me when I was working full time.}

Tool #2: Keep a day planner!

I have always been terrible at using these, but I finally got to the point where I became so busy I kept forgetting things.  Keeping the planner helped me to keep track of meals, have organized lists, and always know when my appointments were.

Tool #3: Start each morning by setting a goal for the day!

A while back I read Maximize Your Mornings by Kat from Inspired to Action.  This ebook was a big help for me in adding structure to my busy life without feeling overwhelmed.   I highly recommend downloading it!  Here are some highlights on the ebook from  Kat:

  • Learn why getting up early is so important.
  • How to get out of bed – tips to make it easier to crawl out of your cozy bed.
  • How to develop a doable Prayer and Bible Study plan.
  • How to find an exercise plan that works for you.
  • How to plan your day so that you actually get things done.
  • Learn the key to developing a great morning routine.
  • Download forms and charts to help you plan and stay on track.

Although it may be necessary for you to work outside the home, do not underestimate the importance of managing your home.  The below quote from C.S. Lewis helps to keep me motivated and inspired when I am burnt out from working a long day at the offic

Homemaking quote

Homemaking while working outside is extremely challenging, but it is so worth the effort!  God bless you as you pursue this high calling!

Get instant free access to my Finding Joy in Your Home video course.

  • Do you want to discover more joy, peace, & tranquility within your home?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed and like your house is out of control?
  • Join my free course and learn the essential habits for Christian homemakers

Get my homemaking videos

  1. Thank you for this. I’m one of those people who’s not sure what to say when I’m asked my occupation, because it’s “homemaker, student, and college library worker”! During the school year, I attend classes and put in work hours and end up being away from home 8-10 hours a day. Then I try to keep up with housework, cooking, and being a good and romantic wife besides! Sometimes it feels overwhelming…sometimes it feels like the work never ends. We had a friend over for supper the other day, and since he works with my husband the two of them came home together and got home before I did. Our friend noticed me going straight to the kitchen to do dishes and start supper and commented, “You come home from work and go right to work at home, don’t you?” Yes… but you know what, I wouldn’t want it any other way! I love being a homemaker, and I’m thankful that I’m able to help contribute to our family’s finances by working outside the home. My job gives me a greater appreciation for the hard work my husband does, as well.

    Thank you for pointing out that we’re our husband’s helper whether we’re working in the home or out of it or both– the point is that we’re working, and that we’re helping him!

    Blessings to you 🙂

    • You’re so welcome, Jamie! And I’m glad that this post was encouraging to you! I totally know how it feels to be juggling multiple occupations, and I’m so glad to hear that your heart is for your home!

  2. This is a very refreshing post! I currently work part-time. Sometimes I find it difficult to keep up with my job and keep my home with excellence.
    One lesson I’ve learned is to guard against comparison. It’s easy to look at women who don’t have to work outside the home and be envious of them. It’s also easy to look at women who elect to work (i.e., it’s not financially necessary) and begin to judge them because I believe staying home is optimal. Comparison is never beneficial. It’s best to focus on what God has for your family in this season and be faithful in the tasks He has put before you—even if this includes a job outside of the home.

    • I completely agree, Shannon, and I’m glad you brought up such an important point! I have struggled with both forms of comparison, and all that has resulted from that is the joy of life being sucked out of me. God has created us all different with unique tasks, abilities and circumstances! We as women just need to mind out own business and obey what God has for us to do!

  3. Thank you for this post! As a former full time working mama who kept the house, did the budget and made meals from scratch, blogged and worked 40 hours a week outside the home I know what it’s like to balance it all! I am blessed to be a stay at home mom now since May and it is definitely my calling but the Lord got me through the last season with His grace.

    Early mornings were (and still are) crucial to getting a good start to my day with prayer and planning.

    It is hard but if God has you there for this particular season than He will equip you to get through it. It’s refreshing to hear someone else talk about being a working homemaker without putting down the women who are in that role.


  4. I’m working on transitioning to being a SAHM but until then I’m blessed to only be working PT outside of the home. I worked fulltime up until our son was born and then was able to give notice. It’s a big leap of faith, but we feel God is calling me home full time now. It’s definitely a big balancing act – I love your tips! And I love that you remind us Homemakers work inside and outside the home! 🙂


    • I’m glad you liked the article, Nicole! How exciting for you to be transitioning to a SAHM! I hope that God blesses you and encourages you to be faithful as you set your hands to the task!

  5. I have to say thank you so very much this post. Especially addressing the women, like myself, who being a stay-at-home homemaker is virtually impossible. It was refreshing to see someone on the more conservative, traditional side of the fence offer that grace.
    My husband is disabled and works part-time, so I am the breadwinner. I do remember going to something while we were still dating and the woman who was speaking bringing up the fact of women working outside the home and how it was wrong. When I brought up the situation that I was pretty sure I would be in (I knew I wanted to marry him and vice versa), she couldn’t give me a satisfactory answer.
    So this post was especially precious. Thank you.

  6. It brings me so much joy to know that this was such a blessing to you, Emily! I really wanted to encourage women like yourself in knowing that even if we have to work outside the home, that doesn’t mean we aren’t being obedient in our calling as homemakers! It’s about our hearts. All God desires is that we are faithful to pursue His priorities to the best of our abilities! Your husband is blessed to have you!

  7. Thank you so much for posting this. I’m currently working outside of my home while my husband works part-time & goes to college. Like you mentioned about your own husband, he knows & desires for me to stay home when he’s finished school, but the biggest way I can be his “helper” right now is to support us while he finishes college. This post was such a huge blessing to me, I can’t even put it into words. Thank you so much!

  8. This is a really nice post. I’m always looked up as the untidy lady but I feel that I’m not alone. I work only 3 days of the week but its so hard to keep the house tidy with the 4yr and 2yr old kids. I know its my duty to be the homemaker but its just not easy to get organised. I need help. I make sure my family has clean clothes everyday so I keep washing the clothes but hardly have time to fold them and get them organised in the wardrobe. I have to make different meals one for my little guy, one for my daughter and another for us, my husband and me. my husband isn’t very picky on food but I want to give the best and I get frustrated when I cant get thins done the way I want. I always wanted to be a good wife and a good mom but I feel that I’m not being the best I want.

  9. While we have very different religious beliefs, this post has been incredibly helpful. I know I’m not alone now, and that working and being a homemaker can happen, even if you don’t have kids.

  10. This was a great post. What if you feel God has called you to a career outside the home, yet you also have a desire to be a mother and homemaker? I know God has called me to be a nurse…I am so passionate about it and have worked so hard over 5 years to go to college and then university to get my nursing degree. I am always taking post grad classes to increase my learning and knowledge and want to get my masters so I can be the best nurse I can be. I feel I was made to be a nurse…and I truly feel God has called me to this profession to show His love and compassion to the sick,…I believe my calling and passion is important. I will probably always work outside the home as a nurse….and I don’t think by any means that it isn’t “optimal.”

    I also am married and hope to be a mother some day….I have put this off to complete my studies and focus on this calling. But when I do become a mother…I hope I can be there for my children like they deserve…while also perusing this passion. I don’t think that is wrong!