I am married and have a two-year-old daughter and a ten-month old son…. I quit work, and now I just stay at home….

My husband earns plenty, but I am tired of staying home all day. I know it is a blessing to be able to take care of my own children, but I am frustrated professionally. I put my daughter in a daycare center to try it out, and it was not a good experience. She cried a lot and even lost weight. So now I’m the only one who takes care of her.

Dear Friend,

Thank you for telling us about your feelings of frustration. You describe a common dilemma in which there is no “right” or “wrong” answer. Current research has found positives and negatives, advantages and disadvantages, and generally mixed conclusions as to how a mother’s work outside of the home will ultimately affect her children. There are many variables that must be factored in, including the father’s level of involvement with the home, the ages of the children, the socioeconomic level of the family, and the quality of the available caregiver.

In your case, you describe both your beliefs and your feelings. You say that you know that it is a blessing to be able to stay home, and that your daughter did not do well in a daycare center. Those are your beliefs and thoughts, and they make you lean positively toward staying home. You also say that you are frustrated. Those are your feelings or emotions, and they make you lean negatively toward staying home. Your beliefs and your emotions are not in agreement, so you have a considerable amount of inner conflict.

Most of us have had inner conflict and turmoil at some point in our lives. The majority of us want what is perceived to be the right thing, but sometimes there is no right or wrong. Instead, there are simply two choices, and one of them is better than the other. But that choice depends on all of the individual factors involved, and it is not the same for every person or situation. And it is all complicated by the fact that our beliefs and logic do not always agree with our feelings and emotions.

The difficulty with emotions is that they can change from one minute to the next, and even more so in a week or a month. What you feel today is not necessarily what you will feel next year. Emotions can be affected by hunger, lack of sleep, hormones, and interactions with others.

Our beliefs, on the other hand, change much more slowly, and only because of new evidence or new information. When we think logically and gather evidence for our beliefs, we are choosing to disregard our emotional responses and concentrate on what makes the most sense.

It is almost never advisable to make decisions based on your emotions, because they cannot be trusted. It is healthy to acknowledge your emotions, but to then be mature enough to put them aside and make your choices based on your beliefs and on logic. God will help you to do this if you ask Him.

We wish you the best,