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My wife is a stay-at-home mom – I’m jealous

Brad says: When Marie was pregnant with our oldest, she decided that she’d prefer to stay home with the children and I agreed. I thought it was a great idea – I have a good job and am able to financially support us. For the last few years, however, I’ve been struggling. I just don’t like what I’m doing anymore, maybe I never really did. I don’t get any sense of fulfillment in this work. I’ve often felt almost jealous of Marie because she has, I think, the important “job” in our family, and seems very fulfilled. I understand that I have a responsibility to take care of my family, and I will gladly do so. But I’ve also always felt called to do something else. I figured I could wait until the kids are grown, but the stress is really getting to me.

The expert says: Catholic social teaching emphasizes that the family is the central social institution and must be supported and strengthened. However, Catholic social teaching also says that work is more than a way of making a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation. Thus, we have a responsibility to use the talents God has given us to contribute to the overall well-being of the community, including the family. Read the parable of the talents in Mt 25:14–30 for a perfect example.

Brad is more than happy to support his family, but he would at least like to explore the possibility of whether he may be called in another direction relative to his career. Brad might consider the following approach in dealing with his dilemma:

Although it may not be prudent to simply walk away from your job when you have a family to support, it is important to discern how God is calling you.

Realize that this discernment could take awhile.

During this discernment, pray for the grace to joyfully, lovingly and thankfully go about your daily work.

In your discernment, through prayer, open yourself to God’s direction. If you are truly called to different work, God will help direct your path.

Discernment may require education, information gathering, and contacting people in your area of interest.

Patience is the key. Even if you are not happy at work at the moment, you are there for a reason, and you must trust God’s plan. When the time is right, you will know it, and God will make the necessary resources available to you.

Embrace the joy of the journey.