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Should Mothers Work Outside the Home?


Question: Should Mothers Work Outside the Home?
Is it wrong for mothers to work outside the home when they have small children? Up to what age? What about teenagers?
Answer: It's not immoral for a mother to work outside the home but it's probably not the best thing for her family.

Latter-day Saint women have been counseled for years to stay home with their children. This counsel is not given to oppress women but to build stronger families and communities. I refer to this short but powerful statement by President David O. McKay:
"No other success can compensate for failure in the home."1
The Family: A Proclamation to the World also teaches this basic truth about motherhood.
"By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners."2
It's my experience that, when considering the decision to stay home, the age of a child doesn't really matter. Some feel that once their children have reached the teen years it's not important for the mother to be home anymore and it's okay for moms to work. I disagree. I think it's as important for a mother to be home with her teenagers as it is for her to be home when they are younger. The teenage years are some of the most turbulent times in a child's life. Teens often need their mothers as much as young toddlers.

Unfortunately, we live in a day and age when many mothers need to work for financial reasons. This is not the ideal situation. The Family proclamation also states, "Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed."2

The decision for a mother to work should only come after much prayer, fasting, and evaluation of her family's situation.

Poll: Moms, Do You Have a Paid Job?

1. Quoted by President Gordon B. Hinckley in "To the Women of the Church," Ensign, Nov 2003, 113. Originally quoted from J. E. McCulloch, Home: The Savior of Civilization (1924), 42; in Conference Report, Apr. 1935, 116.
2. The Family: A Proclamation to the World, paragraph seven.
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