Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Ten Commandments for Working Moms

(And really, aren't all moms working moms?)

1. I Am the Lord, thy God.
That's right, He is God, not me.  So whether I am worrying about our finances, problems at work, my next career move, I have to remember that God already has it taken care of.  He has provided for me in the past, and I need to trust that He will do the same in the future.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
We working mothers have to remember to put God first, our family second, and then our work.  If working is interfering too much with our relationships with God or our family, then we must reevaluate the reasons for which we are working. 

2. Thou shall not take the name of the Lord in vain.
I think there is a danger when working outside of the home to be exposed to people and situations that may not be the best influences on us.  Some coworkers may have potty mouths or encourage us to participate in immoral behavior.  Because we are outside our comfort zone of home and family, we need to be extra careful to be true to self.

3. Keep Holy the Sabbath
This one is difficult depending on your work schedule.  For my brother who is an ER doctor, there may be weekends when he is working and there is no possible way to get to Mass.  Or you may have 17 children at home by yourself all weekend because your spouse is working, and taking them all to Mass by yourself is just not practical.  I think we have to remember that missing Mass is a serious sin, and when it happens, we can receive the Sacrament of Confession, and try, try, try again.  Maybe we could arrange for a babysitter, or ask a boss to take a Mass break instead of a lunch break...whatever works.  Also, if at all possible, we should keep Sunday's holy and avoid working.  It's tempting to get paid overtime, but keeping God's commandment will be even more valuable.

4. Honor Your Father and Mother
I think in the workforce, this can be changed to "Honor Your Superiors".  No matter how much they might overwork or undervalue us, we should treat them with respect.  You know, the Golden Rule, and all.

5. You Shall Not Kill
Even those really annoying people with the cackle laughs.
 I'm kidding. 
Sort of.

6. You Shall Not Commit Adultery
Ahhhh, the subject of workplace romances is a popular one in the media today.  That forbidden love may seem tempting, but as it is written in Matthew 5:28 "I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."  We need to define our co-workers as friends and remember that our spouse is the only person with whom we should be flirting, dating (spending alone time), and desiring.

7. You Shall Not Steal
Back when we were working at my parent's ice cream store, I remember my mom saying that if we were being paid to work, we should actually be working.  If we were goofing around, eating ice cream, sitting in the back room, then we were essentially stealing from her.  The same holds true in a professional job.  If we spend our time chatting with co-workers, perusing the internet, coming in late/leaving early, etc. then we are taking money that we are not earning.  Now, of course we all deserve breaks, we just need to limit them to lunch and break times and keep all other social and media distractions to a minimum.

8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
 Like the second commandment, I think being in the workplace, amongst colleagues, can naturally lend itself to gossiping. It didn't take me long to realize exactly which coworkers of mine I shouldn't be telling any secrets to!  While gossiping is such a hard temptation to resist (for me, anyways!) we can connect with coworkers over other topics than what so-and-so said about so-and-so, and what they were wearing when they did it.

9. You shall not covet your neighbor's spouse.
See number 6 and remember that even desiring someone's spouse in against a commandment, no matter if you act on it.

10. You shall not covet your neighbor's goods.
Oh, this is another difficult commandment for me to follow!  When I was a stay at home mom, I was almost in a bubble and didn't know what material goods I was missing.  Since I've been a working mom, I feel like my eyes to the world have been opened a bit, and suddenly everybody has a nicer car, home, clothes that I do.  People are scheduling vacations or getting iPads or buying their children gifts, and I start wishing I could do the same.  Instead of being happy for their success, I start to feel ungrateful and forget all the blessings I have in my life.  We need to remember that we should be thankful for whatever we have been given in this world.  For a thankful heart is a happy heart, and a happy heart doesn't want for anything.


Being a mother and having a job will require some family sacrifices, and though we may not be able to see our children every minute of the day, as long as their needs are being met and they are generally happy with the situation, then we are doing okay.  And right now, okay is more than okay!


  1. Colleen, Thank you, I needed this. After being a working (outside the home) mom for 6.5 years I quit my job (radically) and stayed home for two years. The past year was spent doing contracting from home. I am now considering returning FT to the workforce (to the same company/department I left). It's tearing me apart to make this decision. But if I do return, I love your rules. LOVE them. Especially 6,7,8,9,10. The rules are simple. Obeying them in the strictest sense is quite simple. It's the subtle gray areas that are so very difficult.

  2. I think the potty mouth thing is worse for men. My husband has had numerous jobs and amongst men their talk is horrific. Then it carries over to home life and the kids hear it. I understand tho that being around that talk all the time it would be hard to just shut it off internally when you go home. I think for women it's gossip that internalizes from work and carries over while for men it's potty talk.

    Then the comparing thing or coveting goods. I think that is pretty bad for anyone that uses the Internet. Ppl post their stuff online via Facebook or blogs and it's hard to not compare. I had this issue more when I was younger with like 2 kids but at this point with 7 there is no way I could ever keep up with the joneses so I have reached an acceptance of what is important and what isn't.

  3. #3 ~ A priest (who obviously has to work on Sunday) once spoke a group of us nurses & doctors about the idea of Sabbath as a day of rest and devotion ~ so if my work schedule prevents me from attending Mass, during the next week I try and attend daily Mass and focus on Christ during my off day.

  4. wow, this is great! i totally agree with what you pointed out in #10. i liked the steubenville bubble!


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