Is a woman's most important work the care of her home and family? Or is she allowed ambition beyond her front door? The domestic scripts are changing today, and as 21st century women, we entertain new freedoms—even the privilege to ask these questions.
For those of us with a stake in the Mommy Wars (who do not return to work out of economic necessity), we are largely deciding our fates, not by convention or obligation, but by desire. We stay at home—or we choose career— because we want to. Desire is our new freedom. For many Christian women, it is also our fear.
What should Christian women want?
Like the majority of women today, I live at the intersection of work and family, even the work of family. I am a wife and mother, even now a writer—making the "rhetorical" questions of the Mommy Wars anything but rhetorical. They are not benign curiosities at which I play like a fascinated cat with her ball of string. The answers matter. What is my calling as a woman? Or better said, what does God require of me? The answers to these questions, theological in nature, beg to give meaningful shape to who I am and what I do. They are value-driven, even "teleological," if I may borrow an idea from James K.A. Smith. They mean to tell me what makes my life good. Is it children? Career? A complicated choreography of both?
I've spent the past 12 years of motherhood caught in the questions—and tangled by my desires. I have wanted to be a godly wife and mother. I have believed these to be God-valued callings. I have also wanted to write, a discipline begging something quieter than the spin cycle of home. The desires war. And I feel splintered.1