Every mother runs a small country called home

Painting by Jessie Wilcox Smith

"Women carry the puzzle of family life in our heads."

Allison Pearson argues that it is not possible to be a committed mother and excel in the boardroom, because the world of work still does not accommodate for the realities of motherhood.

"Every mother in this room ... runs a small country called home, she is its health minister and the secretary of state for homework and in charge of policing unsuitable boyfriends." Allison said.

"Let me tell you, those women at boardroom level are not having it all, when I wrote a novel ... I spoke to hundreds of high achieving women and what did they tell me privately ... the women said that they were failing to meet their own high standards at work and at home.” (source

Whilst I am a working wife and mother (to adult children), I completely agree with Allison Pearson. Women cannot run a household, raise children and be in a high-powered job. It just doesn't work. If you want the high-powered job, forget marriage and children. No matter which way you look something has to give.  As Pearson states in her speech (which is well worth watching), women are running a small country called "HOME" and if we neglect this, everything falls apart as in a puzzle that is suddenly dropped. We, as women, have a responsibility that we need to take seriously. We are the guardians of our home and our husband's "helpmate" and we can't do this if we are married to our high-powered and come home exhausted. 

The Bible is clear about the role of younger women. When Paul wrote about young women being keepers of their home and caring for their children, it is important to note that women at that time were not out working in offices as they are today. However, they weren't at home; they were having coffee with friends (or the equivalent in biblical times),   busy gossiping over the back fence or meddling in affairs that they shouldn't be meddling in. Their focus wasn't on their family, they were not taking responsibility of their "small country" and they were neglecting their husbands. Their behaviour was unbecoming of a married Christian woman - they were falling into the ways of the world and all that was ugly.  Women who are at home also need to be mindful of this - you can be at home and still neglect your family.

As I wrote in a recent blog about women and work (link), if you do need to work outside the home (or even run a home-based business), it is important to only choose those jobs that do not impact on your "small country". Many mothers in Australia work part-time hours for this reason. Many are in lower paid jobs that allow them to take their children to and from school and many women are willing to sacrifice promotion so they can spend the time with their families and remain a dutiful manager of their small country. However, there are women (particularly younger women these days) who think they can have it all.  If a woman want that high powered career, go ahead, but I wouldn't suggest you marry or have children.  Marriage and children require far too much attention for a woman in a very senior position of a company to dedicate to. 

Like anything in life, find the balance and if you choose the boardroom, be willing to sacrifice the family. But if you choose family, be willing to sacrifice the boardroom for something less ambitious.

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Titus 2: 3:5



  1. At one of Dan's jobs in NSW, one of the bosses of a big company was a mother - and she had completely dropped the ball, so to speak, when it came to being a mother. She had no idea where her son was or what he was doing or who he was spending time with - he had even gone away on a holiday and she had no idea where or for how long or anything. She wasn't a Christian - but that is an example of what you're talking about. You can't have both worlds. I completely agree.

    1. By the way - her son was in his early teens. He could have been up to ANYTHING. :( To me, her behaviour is also a prime example of parental neglect.

    2. It really does puzzle me why women behave like this. I think it was the head of Yahoo (I can't remember the woman's name), but I think she returned to work when her baby was 6 weeks old - and I think that is just terrible. Why bother having the baby if you get a nanny to care for it at 6 weeks. And more and more women think they are entitled that that sort of career - I say, go ahead but forget about the children.

    3. I agree... 6 weeks is so early to leave a baby - what is the point of having children if you are not going to raise them yourself? Even leaving a baby at 6 months or 12 months is terrible in my opinion.

    4. Sorry Clara - Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer back at work full time just two weeks after giving birth to her first child. Even worse than 6 weeks :((

  2. Dear Jo,Good point; but we are also called to have children! We will see the effects of abortion and only 1,2 children very soon! So many homes are overcome with drugs and missing Fathers in this country. Biblical truths will always stand no matter the culture or century we live in! I hope you have a wonderful week dear Jo.
    Always, Roxy

    1. Yes, women are called to have children, however many non-Christians no longer believe this is important or not interested in having children as they see children getting in the way of their dreams and ambitions and they are often the ones who want these boardroom/high-powered jobs. However I also know some non-Christian friends who have a very Christian view on child-rearing and would never dream of that high-powered job. I also think dad needs to think careful about the job he has - if he is never around because of his career, the poor children are not really going to see their dad much.

      You too have a lovely weekend.

  3. I think you hit the nail on the head one time when you said what each person does is between themselves and God. Having said that what one does always has consequences and often on others as well as ourselves. But let me ask you, did you, or others who have commented, ever work outside the house when your children were small, or your babies weeks old? Did you always know where your children were or what they were doing at every moment of the day as they were growing up? Or did you just have to trust that God would take care of those you loved knowing that even if something bad did happen to a loved one that God would be there with you and get you through?
    Did you as teenagers always tell your parents where you were and who you were with?
    Some women have no choice but to work, and we CANNOT judge them for that. Do you know the whole situtaion of these women who work... was the head of Yahoo single, was her husband/partner sick, did he stay at home and look after the baby? Maybe her job was easy with little stress do you know and should you judge her??

    1. Dear Anon,

      To address your points:

      1. If you read my post from the 24th March on understanding the situation of other families you will see quite clearly that I am not one to judge other women. Quite the opposite. I work in a full time job myself because I need to so I completely understand WHY some women NEED to work.

      2. I am not a supporter of women with young babies/small children working outside the home - the infant is so young and needs their mother more than anything. But I understand why some do.

      3. Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer returned to her full time just two weeks after giving birth to her first child. How can this be considered in the best interest of her child. Plus a CEO of a large company is earning millions of $$$ so we know she didn’t return because of financial problems. She is married to a man also earning big $$$$. An no CEO ever has an "easy" job.


      4. Yes, I did make sure I knew where my children were growing up - that is the responsibility of parents. And I am sure my readers would also be fully aware of the movements of their children. However now that they are adults and independent I don’t know what they are doing and I trust in the Lord (as I do with all things).

      Thankyou for your comment.

  4. I agree! There is a place in the home that only a mother can truly fill and if she is over-worked then she can't do her mothering duties properly :-)
    I am very grateful to have the ability to work part-time so I can drop and collect my child from school & also do what needs to be done around home :-)

    1. I would love to work part-time, but sadly, now that my husband is retired (not by choice) I really have to work full-time. However I am in a great job that is quite flexible and I can be finished by 4pm which is great.


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