*Disclaimer: This post is an opinion. It is not doctrine. I am not God nor am I the Holy Spirit. As with every written word you must go back to the Bible for your beliefs. I do not quote Scripture here. Therefore, do not take this as a word from God. I do not believe you are sinning if you work. I cannot make that call (see above where I say that I am not God).
I have been thinking a lot lately about my role as a homemaker. I had always dreamed of being a stay-at-home mom. I had dreamed about it, but I wanted it so badly that I really did not think it would become a reality. So you know what, I did NOTHING to prepare for it. I did not research it. I did not read books about it. I just wished and hoped and prayed for it to happen. And then . . . it happened. When my oldest son was 18 months old and I was pregnant with our second child I quit my part time job and became a stay at home mom.
I thought that I would give myself 2 weeks to just hang out and get accustomed to things and then I would get going. There was a slight problem though – I was not even sure how to get going and what to do. I really had no idea at all what to do. I had worked virtually full time since I was 18 years old. I did go to college but I always either worked full time or part time while I did that. My first 5 years of marriage I worked full time until my pregnancy and then I went to part time. I knew how to maintain a level of cleanliness that somehow worked for my family. I knew how to cook (basically). I kind of knew how to organize.
Yet I was so unprepared for the role I was taking on. It was almost scary getting up each new day. I just floundered. I was not sure what to do. I knew my house needed cleaned and my son needed taken care of. It was what I had dreamed of, but there I was, “living my dream” with no clue how to do it.
So I guess I did the best I could, but looking back now I know I was a mess. I was disorganized. I didn’t budget my time or money well. My husband and I would have long talks. It was during one of those talks that my eyes were finally opened. Basically my husband said that he knew I was a good employee for my bosses. All of the people I worked for really liked me and never wanted me to leave. They treated me well. So he shared with me that he thought I was a valuable employee and he thought that was where my value was.
This hit me like a ton of bricks, but not in a bad way. It woke something up inside me that made me realize I was living my dream but I was not happy about it and I was not fulfilling my role to the best of my ability. It scared me to think that the thing I valued most (being a stay at home mom) was something that I just was not good at. I vowed that day to change. I promised myself I would do research and make to do lists (and actually do them!). I checked out cleaning and homemaking and cooking books from the library. I read every homemaking blog I could find. I started cooking from scratch and looked into gardening and canning. I made a cleaning schedule. I tried to get up early. I made a daily schedule for the kid(s).
I worked on this. I wanted my husband (and myself) to see that my value was at home. I wanted to prove that I could be as good of a homemaker as I was an employee. It has taken a long time to get there, but I finally feel like I am doing my best to take care of my family.
And I know this is the part where many people might say that staying home isn’t for everybody. Well, I will not say that. If I could have my way I would have all mothers stay home. But I would train them (or have someone else). Because much like breastfeeding, it does not come naturally to everyone. Staying home is difficult. You are your manager. Your husband is the President. But you make the daily decisions that need to be made. You must make the most of your time. You must spend it wisely. You must remember who your priorities are and who they are not.
Staying home is not about playgroups and pools in the summer (although that is not bad). Staying home is invaluable for your family, your community and even your church. If you stay at home you have more time to cook meals for families that need them. You have more opportunity to help a new mom by babysitting for her for a few hours a week. You are able to invite over an older lady who may be lonely and just needs to have a visit with someone. You are able to minister to your neighbors who may just need a friend to talk to during the day.
But I cannot let you off the hook. I guess staying at home could become pretty easy if you let your child watch television all day or if you went out to eat or bought all processed food from the grocery. Because some of you may say, well, I tried staying at home but I got bored.
This statement makes me more crazy than almost any other. So could I share with you some ideas so that you are not bored? Lets look at what a stay at home mom’s day could look like.
Wake at 6:30 a.m. Do devotions for half an hour. Exercise for half and hour to an hour. Shower and get ready for the day. (and this is all IF the kids sleep until 8). By now it is almost 8 so wake the kids and get them dressed and make breakfast and then clean it up. By now it is almost 9. Straighten the house and have the kids make their beds and pick up their toys. Read to the kids and do some puzzles or color or do a little play dough.
Now it is getting close to 10 and you really should dust and sweep the floors so go ahead and do that while the kids play in their room, oh and unload the dishwasher and throw in a load of laundry and fold the load that is in the dryer and think about what you might need to fix for lunch because it is getting close to 11 now.
Play a few minutes with the kids and get lunch together. Feed yourself and the children, clean lunch up and fold some more laundry while the kids play. By now it is getting close to the noon.
Ha, and you haven’t really even sat down yet. You must be pretty tired because you did get up at 6:30. So now your are wondering if you should take the kids for a short walk to get some energy out so they will sleep good. So you take the walk and put the kids down for a nap and now it is getting close to 1pm.
You are soooooo tired and all you want to do is put your feet up and relax, but you really should finish that load of laundry and then pick up your bedroom and make your bed if you haven’t and you really need to research some school options since your son is going to kindergarten next year and you should pay a few bills and probably think about what you need to get ready for dinner.
You do all of that and now it is at least 2:30. Now you can relax! But should you clip a few coupons and look at the sales ads and get your grocery list together because you are almost out of milk. Oh fine, go do that. Okay now that you are done it is almost 3:30 and the kids are starting to wake up and you have had NO time to relax. And your kids wake up cranky. Well, you allow them to watch one cartoon and get them a snack. Now it is close to 4 and your husband will be home soon so you better start dinner and get the table set and put the laundry away that you folded earlier that is just sitting on your bed.
Now it is 5 and your husband is pulling in the driveway, the kids are fighting and you are trying to get the food on the table -ahhhhh! You finally make it and the food is on the table and everyone is sitting down and mostly everyone eats their vegetables. And then you need to clean up the kitchen and put away the leftovers – 6:30 by this time. The kids made a mess in their room. So you have to pick up the house again, load the dishwasher again, give baths, read stories, put the kids to bed, see your husband for a few minutes and crash in your bed.
So how bored would you say the person above is?
There are lots of things you can do to combat boredom. You could learn to cook more from scratch. You could learn how to garden and can. You could invite some ladies over for a Bible study. And really, we should take our roles as homemakers seriously. We should make our home a place that people want to come to. We should strive to always have a home of hospitality. Our husbands should find refuge there. Our children should find comfort there. Our friends should find warmth and caring there. This is a mission – this whole motherhood thing. But not only motherhood – womanhood. We were created for this. We were created to be keepers of the home.
I would even say that grandmas and older married ladies should stay home as well. We moms of young ones need you. We really do. We need you to be available. If you work all the time how can you mentor younger women? How can you volunteer at the pregnancy care center? You may think that you would be bored because you don’t have small children at home. But lets look at a week in the life of a “possible” stay at home grandma (or older lady):
Monday – volunteer at the pregnancy care center or church or anywhere
Tuesday – stay home and clean the house, pay bills, organize craft room
Wednesday – babysit so a mom in your church can have a break for a few hours; work in the garden
Thursday – volunteer to read books to local school children; make lunch for ladies in Sunday school class
Friday – errand day – grocery shopping, car washed, etc.
The lady’s schedule above does not look like it has very many empty time slots. The key to not being bored is to have your priorities in order. Of course she should make sure that her home and her family are taken care of first. After that she should extend her hospitality to the world around her. We are called to do this. Do not get bogged down in the culture. Remember what we are called to do and to be.
Really try to evaluate and ask yourself – where is your value?
On being a stay-at-home wife:
“am not saying that no married woman should supplement her husband’s income. I am only urging that she be sure of her calling. Too many women jump to some rather unfortunate conclusions when it comes to the concept of homemaking. They seem to associate it solely with child-raising, forgetting that in his divine order the Lord calls us to be wives before He calls us to be mothers. It is a wonderful thing to encourage women to be at home with their children, and I applaud those who have made sacrifices of their careers in order to invest in eternity. But we should be promoting the vocation of wife just as much, if not more, for the marriage relationship is the foundation of all family life. For the childless woman, home can still be a fulfilling place, as I have learned in waiting on God to bless us with little ones. To be sure, there may be less time for the tending of roses, but I think that the nursing of little rosebuds will be a fair exchange.” (Resource)
On women in the workforce:
“Women in the work force are not the objects of our debate on this site. We are not here to sit in judgment over individual circumstances. All women are welcome here. We know that not everyone working a job outside the home is a feminist. And those who do embrace feminism are still individuals and not a vast faceless entity. Our desire is to share the truth about the roots and causes of feminism and the effects it has had on society and culture. Some of us writing for LAF were once feminists ourselves. This site is not called “Ladies Against Feminists.” Any feminist visiting this site would be welcome around our dinner tables.” (Resource)
“Let’s get a definition of legalism out on the table to help us understand what we’re talking about here. Plain and simple, legalism is “any attempt to rely on self-effort to either attain or maintain our justification before God.” It’s the mistaken belief that being “right” will somehow make us righteous. That if we just get all our theological ducks in a row, cross all our t’s and dot our i’s, then God will be pleased with us and accept us as holy and good. But this is simply not the case. Our works can never earn the unmerited favor of God. Grace is a gift; it has no price tag. Saving us from our sins is totally the work of Christ and His atonement alone. We are not “more saved” if we then follow up our salvation with a particular set of good works. And let’s just get this point out as well: We are called to do good works! We are called to keep Christ’s commandments and delight in doing His will (John 14:15, I Cor. 7:19, I John 5:3).” (Resource)
What is womanhood?
“Whether you find your life as a woman stifling or freeing is your choice. The paradox of Scripture is that submission gives the greatest freedom and that death brings life. We can die to ourselves, to our dreams, and to our own desires, yet find that we are vibrantly alive and free to pursue the high calling of womanhood with intelligence, wit, joy, and zest. This is our vision. This is our calling. It is one that will take a lifetime to develop and pursue. It is far from narrowing or confining, yet it is bounded closely by the Word of God.” (Resource)
For more information, please read:
What is the purpose of home? – from Passionate Homemaking