Sunday, July 15, 2007

'Want to help your husband? Get a real job!'

Lately, I received several emails about my posts in which I talk about how I view my calling as a future wife and homemaker. And here's something that was repeated in all of them (I'm summarizing it): "Baking cookies and making your home look pretty is nice, but don't you think your husband could benefit more from an extra income? The modern wife serves as a helpmeet to her husband by having her own career and helping earn money for the family."

Let's get this straight once and for all. What does being a helpmeet actually mean? It means the wife is supposed to encourage her husband, have unconditional faith in him, cultivate his feeling of accomplishment. She is called to help him – not do his job for him. And yes. Call me old-fashioned, but I think that men are supposed to be breadwinners. Even if I someday start a home business, give lessons, grow vegetables, write a book or do anything else that brings some extra cash from home, I still want my husband to feel our family depends on his income alone. I want to be able to drop whatever extra activities I might have when that is needed – for example if there's a new baby or I'm simply facing more work at home.

Ladies, I certainly don't claim there's only one way to be a helpmeet. I might as well make a disclaimer here: I'm far from judging anyone's personal situation. We are all different. There are many different situations; I could never say for example that the only way to be a godly wife is to raise a dozen children, grow all of your family's food, grind your own flour etc. What about childless women? And what about women with certain disabilities, which might make them unable to take care of all the household duties? Are they less of a helpmeet to their husbands? Of course not!

What we need to pay attention to is the attitude. Think about anything you might be doing. Are you doing it to help and honor your husband, or are you doing it only out of ambition? Does it in any way interfere with your duties to your husband? For example, if you work or volunteer in a certain organization, do you come home late in the evening, tired and cranky, unable to give your husband the attention he deserves?

About the suggestion that being a helpmeet is better accomplished not by putting all of our efforts into our home and family, but by heading to the workforce and earning some extra cash: I strongly recommend reading the short play "When Queens Ride By".
This play talks about a couple that lives on a farm; they struggle with financial difficulties, and to help her husband, the wife takes on a larger and larger part of masculine work on the farm. She becomes exhausted, frustrated and is unable to take care of her home properly. The needs of her family (and ultimately, even herself) are unattended. What next?.. Go ahead and read!

You might say, "But I have no problem to have the best of both worlds. I have plenty of time to take care of my home, husband and children and earn money to pay the bills". If you say so, who am I to contradict you? You know your own situation better than anyone else. Maybe you are, indeed, a champion of efficiency; maybe at the end of a long day at work, you have time to make your house spotless and cook a delicious dinner and freshen up and welcome your husband with a smile, and then spend the evening in gracious conversation and reading to the children. I don't think I would be able to accomplish all that – if it can be done at all, even physically - without feeling tired, overloaded, irritable. My heart would not belong entirely to my husband. There are only 24 hours in a day, and I'm only a human being. I know that even if I can strain myself for a while, it will take its toll. I don't want that, and therefore I'm making a choice: I'm choosing a life that might be more frugal and simple, but will give me peace and more time to spend time with my precious – God willing! – future family. I'm opting out of the rat race and going home, and you know what? I feel I'm making the best choice for everyone involved.

47 comments:

LeChe` said...

Anna, Rejoice in your own works. I also think you are making a wise decision. Satan has many people may be jealous of your decision that's why they are so angry. Satan wants us in the workplace so we will be weary when he attacks our home, marriage etc. Stay encouraged.

Mrs. Brigham said...

Beautiful post! The attitude in our hearts and how is is displayed in our actions is very important. We are to serve God, not Mammon, and honoring and praising Him should always be first and foremost in our hearts and consequently our attitudes and actions.

The attitudes about money and work that exists in the Christian world are troubling. There are certainly cases where women must work or are required to work by their husbands, however, there seems to be many cases where women work for the want of more material possessions. Just as with everything else, the Lord should be first and foremost in the decision for a women to work. Our wonderful Shepherd takes care of His flock and will always give us what we need. He may not give us everything we want, but He will bless us with exactly what we need. He alone is our security, even when it comes to financial matters. This seems to be something that is often forgotten and I know I have sadly been guilty of a distrustful attitude myself.

Dawn Marie said...

Ugh...typical worldly thinking. I have heard something similar... "get a job and quit mooching off you husband"...."go to college"...blah, blah, blah. Gosh, another person tells me that I am going to tell them to go home and read their Bible and then come back to me.
Sure, I can go to college. Get a piece of paper that makes me 'qualifed' to do 'something' in the workforce. All the while trying to pay off the loan I had to take out in order to go to college. What's it cost to go to college these days...anywhere between $10,000-$30,000 depending in the major? Yep..certainly saving money that way... :/
How much money is ever enough for a family? I mean, my husband and I are not rich, but we aren't lacking in anything. I sell on EBAY as a hobby and whatever I make, I tithe first and then throw the rest in savings.
I refuse to make money my god in order to 'be a better helpmeet'. That's utter foolishness. Besides, do I really want to be under another man's authority for 8 hours or more a day having him tell me what I have to do, when that is my husband's job?

In Genesis 3:19 God said that man would provide bread for the family by the sweat of his face. Hard work. And God cursed the ground, so you can imagine how hard men have to work, even now a days.

Also 1 Timothy 5:8 says that if any man can't provide for his family he is worse than an infedel. That's some harsh words coming from God concerning a man's responsibility for his house.

Now what did God tell woman concerning responsibilities...
1 Timothy 5:14...youunger women are to marry, bear children, and guide the house.

Titus 2:5 Women are to be Keepers At Home. The older women are supposed to teach the younger women.

Psalm 113:9 The Lord makes the barren woman to keep house and to be a joyfull mother of children.

Now please...someone justify God's Word. Many people do to suit their own needs. And please spare me the "Proverbs 31 Woman worked" speech...carefully re read that and see what she did for her family.

You know what...if we quit listening to the lies of the world that 'we need this to make us happy' or 'we need that to bring joy in our lives', it would be a better place.
How hard is it to learn how to be frugal? The Internet is full of resources! You can learn how to live on one income and be content. Really...having somone else watch your children grow up...I am sure that is heartbreaking...that's why women need to do everything in their power to try and stay home.
Get rid of the "I need this" mindset. All we need is a roof over our head, some money in the bank, food in the pantry and clothes on our back. That's our basic needs and most of everyone has those needs met every day. What more do you need? Manicures? Hair styles? Tanning? The latest fashion? Organic food? An SUV? Why?
Why can't we be thankfull for having our basic needs met every day? Why do we always want more?
If you have an empty void...quit filling it with useless things and start filling it with the Holy Ghost!

Now there may be instances where a woman may have to work outside the home...a disabled husband, a husband who refuses to provide, the single mom...someone's got to do it if those issues come up.

I know I may have been harsh and I am sorry if I came across that way. I just get so sick of the feministic way of thinking. Do you know how many marriages are suffering because the wife works long hours each day and when she comes home, there is no dinner, the children are probably crawling the walls vying for mommy's attention...the house is not exactly a clean haven to relax in and the husband wants some intamcy, but all the woman wants to do is go to sleep. Many women miss church related activites because of their job and that is just wrong....so of course their spiritual life is null and void.

Ever wonder why divorce rates are so high? Broken homes more common now than ever? What stops a husband from cheating on his wife if she is never there? The children are getting into mischief because they have no one to keep them within boundaries.

Ladies we have so much to offer to our home, our husbands, our children and God if we just get our priorities straight.

Bless you!

Anonymous said...

Hello Anna. I've been a reader of your blog for about one month. I am a full-time sahm. I actually became a sahw in the 2nd month of marriage. That was over 22 years ago. We haven't achieved great financial success. To the family relations, we were looked at dolefully with shakings of their heads. They (for the most part) consist of 2-working marriages/parents and have homes in beautiful areas. The only difference now are 'our' children. It is not something that one can witness unless they are in our children's 'lives' for a time. However, some relatives (and my siblings who all worked with having children) now are vocally noticing, complimenting and just about staring in 'wonder' at our children!! Why?? Because they stand out. They had the benefit of knowing that while we never had 'much', momma here was home...for them. For their father. And while we've no 'great shakes' outwardly to show the happiness we have over our decision (this has meant never owning our own home...although this looks soon to change)....the important thing is...my husband and I have a beauty in and of our relationship that is (and they have admitted to us privately) missing in the others. We have been mocked, severed from friendships; outside the family Christmas-card send-around (this was quite painful when we were younger, as we have beautiful 'playing with/growing up with' these people....because of our 'poor' status. Our children now shine so brilliantly in poise and contentment with much success in their own lives while although the other children are doing well on the outside, do not have the same peace and joy. I may sound judgemental; but if you knew NOW the scores of family coming to me and my husband 'privately' (lest anyone know how they feel) to bestow their compliments....it is a balm and testimony of Jesus in our lives. Whether you have financial success or even great stability; if the Lord is calling you HOME...your heart will be showered in His deep love and joy and it will infuse your household!! I have a sibling who is UPPER MIDDLE CLASS and all she wants to to come to my little (to us it is not little) apartment, because she marvels out the peace she is feeling when she is here. She is outwardly successful and inwardly miserable. She bought a home she cannot afford unless she works until she is 75. She is planning on that!! When I have visited her, she insults me. I already know it is the deep insecurities she has and esteem issues when I am over there. I live my life at a slower pace. This is a novel and there is much more. Your choices do not need to gain acceptance for you to enjoy your .. choices! God bless you.

Anna S said...

Dawn,

Oh wow... it really feels these comments also drive up up the wall. I agree with many things you said. For example about college - yes, college is damn expensive! And is it really necessary to be a good wife and a capable, educated human being? As someone who (almost) has a college degree, I can say - no!

Oh, and about working under a man's authority... I think working under a woman's authority can sometimes be even worse! My mom works now for a feminist boss who didn't get married, had no children, spends 12 hours a day working and expects her employees to do the same. It's crazy!

And I agree with you (and also with what Mrs. Brigham said here): there will never be enough money, or material possessions. It can't make us happy, but people fall into this trap again and again.

Anna S said...

Dear anonymous lady,

Thanks for your support and encouragement! I'm glad you came out of lurking :)

I'm sorry your family and friends reacted so badly to your decision. I'm facing some of that now, and I'm sure I will face many more mean, insulting remarks if things go as we plan and I become a stay-at-home wife. I'm preparing for that.

All I want is a peaceful, quiet life. My fiance feels the same. We both agree that today's crazy pace isn't for us, maybe not for any sane human being. And it's possible to live differently. I pray for God to guide us safely in this path.

Autumn said...

Anna,
I wonder why people always target your blog to pick on. It doesn't make any sense!
This was a very nice post. I love the blog makeover too! It is very pretty and feminine.

Haus Frau said...

Amen to your post and the comments afterwards. There isn't much I can add in the way of comments. Bless you!

Emily said...

Great post Anna, I agree with you. And do you know what? Statistics show that working wives/mothers do not often actually add to their household income by working as well - with all the expenses of daycare, travelling, work clothes, eating out, etc etc, they actually use up what they earn! I'll try and find the site with the stats....

P.S. Loving the new layout of your blog - it's beautiful!

Lindsy said...

Wow. I can't believe the attacks Anonymous and you have gotten over staying at home! But it really shouldn't be surprising, given what leche pointed out about satan's attacks.

I'm glad to see you so intent on investing in other lives above investing in material things. I think your children, if God grants some, will be so blessed for your ability to perceive the importance of home!!

Anna said...

I'm a working wife, married one year now. My husband will be returning to school for the coming year (Aug-July) in order to gain better work skills. For that time, I'll be the main bread-winner. We understand that this is temporary and that the point is that I can come home after that time.

My husband is such sweet "Mr. Steady" that he willing to achieve the right education so that we can have a happy home! [Our family is supporting us financially for the school costs...so no extra debt, Praise God!]

~Anna

Tami said...

Anna, thank you for your comment on my blog. I have been able to 'look around' your blog for a few minutes, and have been blessed by your kind attitude in expressing what God has laid on your heart to be your life goals.

I am also a stay at home homemaker, who has been blessed with three little ones and one who will be joining our family in several weeks.

I was a little taken aback at some of the 'tones of voice' coming from some other commenters. I have been questioned in the past as to our families' choice to be a single-income family with Mom staying home, but thankfully have not been persecuted as much as it appears others have been.

A defensive attitude about our own convictions can really hurt our relationships with those who do not live as we do. It's hard not to imagine that family members or friends perceive those attitude in us and in turn feel the need to distance themselves or criticize our way of life when they feel like we are looking down on them for their choices.

Just a thought. I look forward to reading more from you and your readers!

Blessings,
Tami

Mrs.B said...

Hi Anna,

Love the new look of your blog! It's so pretty!

You know the marriage book I'm always talking about on my blog called Are You Serious About Marriage?.....Well she has an interesting chapter on women having home businesses. I haven't read it in awhile but if I remember correctly she thinks it is best, if a woman is going to have a home business, that she does so with the mindset that the husband is the CEO. That way if the business is successful and the man can leave his job, he can easily and smoothly come home and step in to the role of boss. It would be awkward and a complete roll-reversal if it were her business, he comes home and then works for her.

Any way I thought that was an interesting point and it seemed to fit with your excellent post.

Blessings,
~Mrs.B

Laura H said...

Anna,
Amen to everthing! I agree with it all! No woman should even consider getting a job outside of the home, thinking her husband needs the extra income. That is stupid! If she thinks that, then let her find an occupation at home that will help enhance the income, but not to leave the home. I make bread and munchbars to help with the family income, but I hated my outside job. I am thankful that I am home now! The best income is when the wife is in the home, using her resources, to help with the family! Baking bread or pies or such, once a week, and pulling in an extra 300 dollars a month is a help! But don't consider working out in the world, to get those expencive things, like a new car! Find a cheaper one, that will serve your needs! I believe in being thrifty! My Mom and Aunt shop at thriftstores all the time, and find good deals! I like that, and it saves money, too!
Just some thoughts!
Laura H

Serena said...

I agree with what Mrs. Brigham said. To add to that, I think that many women want to stay home, but feel like they HAVE to work--it's what's expected. It's so sad that so many women feel like they have to work outside the home to prove their 'self-worth'. (I won't get started on 'self-worth'.)

I know a few women who have had babies and gone back to work. From observing them, listening to what they say, and seeing their attitudes, especially compared to my friends and I who stay home with our babies, it's EASIER during the day to drop your baby off at 'school' (also known as strangers watching dozens of kids) and go to work. Oh, of course they /miss/ their babies, but they don't have to 'deal' with the baby all day long. They just get to cuddle when baby wakes up and goes to sleep. It's very sad. They're missing so much. It goes to show how children are not seen as blessings anymore, but as burdens.

Kyla said...

Anna I want to start by saying that, you do a great job of expressing your thoughts and desires without becoming judgmental. I feel that you realize what works for you might not always work for others. This is a spirit that is not always found when discussing this topic.

I agree with the others who have left comments that the Bible calls women to support our husbands and to be keepers or our homes but to say that the only way to uphold those callings is to be a stay at home wife is shortsighted and judgmental. Titus 2 tells women to be keepers at home and Genesis does tell men to toil the soil. But it doens't say that women can't bring home a paycheck or that men can't wash the dishes. Those duties and responsiblities are just that: duties and responsiblities. I personally hate vacuuming the floors, so my husband does it every saturday. This does not make me less of a helpmeet because when he comes home I am happy and our home is peaceful and inviting. My husband also pays all of our bills, I give him a portion of my paycheck but he writes the checks for each bill. This makes me feel provided for and protected. I don't ever worry about our electricity being turned off b/c he always pays it on time. He provides a well lit house for me. This is what works for us, this is how we honor each other best.

Just as you said, It is all in our attitudes and our hearts. We should make our husbands feel encouraged and honored in every situation just as our husbands should make us feel protected and provided for in every situation.

Anna S said...

Autumn,

I think it started when LAF linked to one of my posts, and someone has been trolling ever since. But oh well, there's comment moderation, and it does give me stuff to write about :)

Emily,

You're so right! I just had a conversation about it with Mom not long ago. She was telling me about her friend's daughter: "Oh, but of COURSE she has to work! Daycare alone is so expensive!"... "Um... but if she stayed home with her child, she wouldn't need any daycare, right?.."... "Oh, right, I didn't think of that!"
But you know what. Suppose the extra income isn't all eaten up by daycare, a second vehicle and expensive dry-cleaning work clothes. I still don't think it can measure up to the priceless effect of a wife and mother being home with her family.

Anna,

As I said, I can't say anything about anyone's personal situation. I'm sure your family thought about it and chose the best decision for all of you in the current circumstances.

Tami,

I agree with you. Why should we be defensive, when we're just deciding what we want to do with *our* life and what's best for our families? We're entirely within our rights to do so (freedom of choice, right?). But I think it's understandable that sometimes, after the 100-th person who says, 'well, you could have done something so much more worthwhile with you're life', or 'you're a lazy bum, stop mooching off your husband', we just... lose our temper for a moment. Hasn't happened to me yet, but I can't promise it won't!

Mrs. B,

Very good point! I think that a home business shouldn't be a way to make us 'independent', but only to enhance our husbands.

Laura,

And we should be VERY careful about that, too - it's possible to forget our priorities and neglect our homes even if we're working at home! If it's stressful and time-consuming like a regular office job, what have we achieved?

Serena,

I agree with you. And there are also many women whose hearts are being torn apart by having to leave their babies because they are 'supposed' to work. Especially in some countries where maternity leave is miserably short (I'm now remembering some posts of PandaBean's, I know you've read them...)

Coffee Wife said...

"What about childless women? And what about women with certain disabilities, which might make them unable to take care of all the household duties?"

I'm so glad you pointed that out! I'm in that exact situation - childless and with an injured ankle that hampers my domestic abilities. My house is TRASHED and my father-in-law keeps ordering me to produce an heir!!! (He's an interesting old man...) I sometimes feel like a complete failure on the Helpmeet front as I barely scrape together a meal and serve it in a messy kitchen - and my husband does the dishes. But I've learned that instead of feeling sorry for myself I need to just beef up my emotional support of my husband!! I can still be a helpmeet even with limitations!

Hmmm. So getting a job is the only way to help a husband?? I don't think so. Having a job is a way to make yourself be out in the spot light looking good. It's a very difficult thing to work an "invisible" yet very noble and necessary job in the home! I've found more fullfillment scrubbing the floor then replacing an engine on a helicopter, stocking department store shelves or going on a fire call! And THAT is proof enough for me!

Anna S said...

Michelle,

I hope your ankle gets better. If I remember correctly, you've been suffering from it for a while now...

andrea said...

Your posts are so inspiring. Thank you for them! Sometimes it's scary with the pressure in the world to get a job. I really have to pray in order not to worry about my college loans that will have to be paid off in a few years. But, I believe it will be alright--there are so many options of working from my home--like tutoring, piano lessons, crafts, gardening...etc. So then I will be able to tend to my home at the same time. It's more fun to think of what creative jobs I can do at home than get an outside job. So far, I've not liked any but one of the part time jobs I've had to work at as a student. The one I like is the job I have at my school's library. In the summer, I substitute at a day care that's run by a church. While the ladies and most of the children and their parents I work with are very nice, it's sad to see so many very young children who are left in daycare for so long!

Anonymous said...

Regarding the word "helpmeet":

From what I can tell, help is the noun here. God says, "I will make man a help," somebody who helps the man.

Then there's the word meet, which is an adjective modifying help. It means suitable. You can find this word in 1 Cor 15:9, Colossians 1:12, etc. (although obviously it is not the same word in the original language, since the OT is Hebrew and the NT is Greek).

So basically, in this verse, God is saying that He is creating a "suitable helper" for man. For some men, this suitable helper is a SAHM who keeps the household. For other men, it is the wife who works in the world, contributes financially to the household, and still finds a way to provide for the care of the children and the upkeep of the home. Childcare is expensive, but for the woman with a strong career choice (here I'm thinking of nursing, midwifery, law, even full-time teaching), the financial benefits of working far outweigh the costs of child care and perhaps even maid service.

Some women can be a better help to their husbands outside the home, particularly if they are very unhappy or feel empty staying at home. This is not a lack of the Holy Ghost but an emotional frustration that has spanned time. Being a SAHM as we know it is a relatively new thing. Women of old did SAH, but so did everyone else. Yes, the men tilled the ground, but so did the women, provided they weren't too unhealthy to do so. These women were fulfilled because they got outside, got out of the four walls of the house, and did something physical. They went to the well and drew water, carrying heavy pots into the house. They contributed to the work of their family, and so did the kids! Everybody pitched in together in the fields to bring in crops, and the woman helped - just as God intended.

But then the work moved to factories. These weren't normally safe for women, and they kept incredibly long hours since there weren't any work laws.

Then we started "educating" our kids, and they weren't required to work anymore. Then we moved our women inside, put them in four walls all day long with a dishrag and a vacuum cleaner, gave them birth control, and lowered their family sizes. The men were the sole breadwinners for a generation or two, and then all these frustrated housewives (who were given v*brators to relieve their "frustration" via org*sm), who in generations before would have been out in the fields with their husbands, revolted.

They wanted equality. What they got was worse. I think we know how that all turned out, but if we hadn't promoted this idea of being a "lady" and only working inside the home, rather than being outside in the sunshine, we wouldn't have ever gotten there.

Women who don't enjoy SAH shouldn't SAH. They are not doing much good anyway. What we can't give to God or family joyfully, we probably shouldn't give at all. SAH is difficult work and is not for everyone. If it does not bring joy to the woman, it will not bring joy to the household. A truly good man will not enjoy the cleanliness of his household if he knows his wife was miserable making it so. Some women are just miserable at home, particularly before they have children.

I understand that you are not called to work outside the home, but the fact is that God calls us all individually. I know you are accepting of that, and I know this post was a response to a perceived attack by someone else (i.e. "wouldn't you be a better helpmeet by getting a job?"), but I just wanted to point out that for some families, this is true.

Some women are eminently more capable of helping their husbands through work than they are from SAH. You are not one of them. I applaud you for standing up for what God is calling you to do. I just wish that some of your commenters weren't so adamant that everyone else is also called to this lifestyle. There is more than one way to be supportive of our husbands (even drawing a salary by being his secretary), and I wish that some of your commenters would understand that.

We are not all apostate sinners, just because we work outside the home. I should add that I am childless and trying to conceive, and when I have children, I plan to try SAH to see how it works out. However, I don't feel bound by the Word of God to stick with it if I am miserable doing it, and probably in that case my husband would practically order me back to work anyway because he loves me and can't stand to see me significantly unhappy.

Anna S said...

Anonymous,

While I'm not judging anyone's personal choices, I'd like to point out that:

1. Being able to afford a 'good' daycare does not make that daycare a better option for a child than being cared for by his mother.

2. Being a keeper-at-home does not necessarily mean being cooped up - not more than being in a regular job like a secretary, cashier, accountant etc.

3. It wasn't expressed in this post, but I'll only accept one form of birth control - and that's God's control over the size of our family.

But what I think is most important is that whatever we do, we should look inside our own hearts and ask: does it really work with my God-given role as wife and helpmeet? Or am I only justifying my choices to better suit my own wishes? No one else can answer this question for you. It's between you and God.

Mrs.B said...

Anonymous,

I just wanted to chime in on a couple of points of your comment. To give a little background on myself, I am a SAHW, married for 15 years, with no children.

Just because a wife is a SAHW doesn't mean she doesn't 'go outside the 4 walls of her house' (to quote from your comment). I know of no SAHW/SAHM's who never leave their homes and don't get any sunshine. And as Anna said every outside the home job I've ever had was MUCH more restrictive and confining than what I do as a Keeper of my home. As a KAH (keeper at home) I have more freedom than I ever did working a job.

I think what most of us SAHW/SAHM's are realizing is that fulfillment comes from serving others instead of worrying about whether or not we ourselves are feeling fulfilled. It's a very strange paradox that when you concentrate on serving others the unintended result is you end up feeling fulfilled and satisfied yourself. I believe that is one of God's sweetest gifts. (o:

And of course women who work outside the home aren't 'apostate sinners'. I also realize that not every one's circumstances are the same. But I will say this.....I grew up in daycare, a VERY GOOD daycare and all I wanted as a child, was to be able to go home after school and have my mom there. I HATED being a daycare kid.

Blessings,
~Mrs.B

Coffee Wife said...

I wonder were people get the idea that SAH women sit around inside of the house all day being cooped up and miserable? I had ten times less freedom when I was a working woman! And I was often lucky if I saw the sun our even a window from the depths of the department store or whatever!!!

I think this idea that women are sitting around inside holding dishrags and pining for the outdoors is a bit disordered to say the least. So is the idea that women need toys to relieve sexual frustration because they are SAH women!

And I haven't seen anyone calling working women apostates or horrid sinners either. What I *have* seen is the honest critque of the nonsense SOCIETY has been stuffing down the throats of girls and women, by force, for the past 40 years: that a woman is only worth something if she dresses like a prostitute, gives it out like candy and persues her career at all costs simply to satisfy HERSELF. THAT *is* sin.

Christian Homekeeper said...

Growing up, it really effected me that my mom worked. I would cry and wish she was home so many times. I hated getting off the school bus and there was no food waiting for me.....no one there to greet me or ask how my day was. When my mom did come home....WATCH OUT! She was tired, irritated, complained because she had to work all day and I would just go to my room to get away, all the while I longed for my mom.

She used the excuse "I'm helping out by making money, so the kids can have things." I DIDN'T WANT THINGS!!!! I WANTED MY MOM!!! It really had disastrous effects on me and I left home to end up in Alaska, where I found God and he turned my life around.

My mom apologized to me a few years ago. She said she should have stayed home with me as I do with my daughter because it makes a difference.

Anna S said...

C.H.,

It sounds as though my childhood was similar to yours. Of course, my mother didn't really have a choice, as she raised me all by herself, without help from my father.

I want the best for my future family. I want to go home!

PandaBean said...

This is such a wonderful post!
Now that I have a daughter of my own, I'm trying to think back on all the things my mom taught me that I want to pass on to her, and I'm having a hard time thinking of any. :( I can't remember a time my mom didn't work. At one point my dad did get laid off and her income was the only steady one for many years after that (dad started his own business). I remember there used to be dinners around the table, I doubt my brother does and he's only 6 years younger than me. I can't remember a time I wasn't responsible for my own laundry (nothing wrong with that, but I don't remember being taught how and sometimes feel I could use a refresher course!). I never really learned any of the domestic arts. The crafty things I know how to do I learned from G-ma G. My standard of cleanliness (not that I ever really reach it) is from my G-ma M (who was "daycare" for all 7 of us grandkids).
I am learning that the best way for my daughter to become the lady I want her to be is to be that lady myself. I want to have the time and energy to teach her all these wonderful things I know and am learning. Thus, I am finally coming home! (praise God!) I will be there for her first laugh, her first crawl, her first word; I will be there for her first serious illness, her first tooth. I want to be there for her and any other siblings God sends our way.
I used to say we only wanted 2 children, God willing, now I'm starting to think I want more. (I haven't discussed this with DH yet! :) ) If I am home, I will be able to teach them proper manners and decorum and respect and self-discipline so it wouldn't be a "chore". They wouldn't be at daycare or school or even a relative's house to learn bad habits or manners. I am the only one in my family to really think the way I do (I think a few of my cousins might think similarly about the family structure, but I haven't disscussed it with them) so it's difficult to explain it to them. They are also not very spiritual, so giving the true and simple answer "God says so" doesn't really cut it for them.

Okay, my inspiration has run out for now. :)

God Bless!

Anonymous said...

This is the same anonymous from yesterday. I'm sorry if I came across incorrectly. Let me explain what I was trying to say.

Each woman should talk to God about where she should be, and no blanket statements should be made about whether she should SAH, WFH, or WOH. That is a decision between her, her God, and her DH. I think what you ladies are doing for your families is great. I am not suggesting that you need to "get a job" - you have a job! You care for your families. I'm just saying that you need to be equally respectful of others' choices and not so condemning of women who choose to WOH, or are forced to. Women who WOH are not necessarily stupid or under the influence of Satan, and to say so is more than a little judgmental. That's all I was intending to say.

Satan wants us in the workplace so we will be weary when he attacks our home, marriage etc.

No woman should even consider getting a job outside of the home, thinking her husband needs the extra income. That is stupid!

Statements like these are every bit as bad as saying "Want to help your husband? Get a real job!" and they are every bit as hurtful. Some women are just miserable being with their children all day long and SAH is probably not for these women. I have a friend who SAH with her three children, and she cannot WAIT until they are old enough to send to school. She originally wanted to HS, but the kids just drive her crazy. She's a deeply Christian lady and she feels like a total failure because she has done all she can and her church teaches that all women should SAH. I feel so sorry for her because she is so overwhelmed and unfulfilled. I don't know that she is doing her children any good SAH, other than teaching her kids that she resents them.

I didn't say (or didn't mean to say) that all housewives or SAHMs or KAHs or whatever you ladies like to be titled are repressed, forced to stay inside, and miserable. All I said is that SOME women are miserable and unfulfilled in the home, and these women should consider WOH because their lack of joy does not add anything to the household. For those of you who are joyful and fulfilled SAH, I think that's GREAT! Please keep SAH. You are making a wonderful investment in the future of our family and the world. What I did say is that our modern society has experienced a major shift into the home instead of the field, and that has had a MAJOR impact on our mental health, no matter what our vocation is. The 1950s saw a huge surge in both SAH and in public education. With the advent of BC, we were looking at a woman with two children who are at school all day. Some women would still want to SAH in those conditions, but others wouldn't. This was a huge driving force, IMO, behind the rise of modern feminism. When most of the work moved into unsafe work environments (i.e. factories), we pulled our women and children out of the workforce and placed them at home. This is a relatively new phenomenon, and some women just are not made for it. Homeschooling does alleviate some of these concerns, but again, education is not what it used to be, even in the home. Education used to revolve around WORK rather than algebra, and society was better off. SAH then was a totally different thing from SAH now.

I want to be a SAHM when I am blessed with children. Right now, I WOH. I have seen WOHMs who are really frustrated that they can't be with their babies, and I have seen SAHMs who are really frustrated that they never get away from their babies. That's why it's important not to criticize other women for their choices (Anna, I know you don't, but commenters on your blog DO).

And I haven't seen anyone calling working women apostates or horrid sinners either. What I *have* seen is the honest critque of the nonsense SOCIETY has been stuffing down the throats of girls and women, by force, for the past 40 years: that a woman is only worth something if she dresses like a prostitute, gives it out like candy and persues her career at all costs simply to satisfy HERSELF. THAT *is* sin.
While it may be the case that no one has outright said that working outside the home is sin, the tone of the comments has certainly been sanctimonious to say the least. A woman has a responsibility to determine what GOD has called her to - and it's the honest truth that not all women are called to SAH. I would agree that the sexing up and dumbing down of our culture are both highly sinful. I do think, to a degree, that a woman has a right to be fulfilled in life. However, she does NOT have the right to sacrifice the needs of her family on the altar of SELF. But then neither does a man, so I'm not sure I see the difference.

Anonymous said...

(same Anonymous)
Now to you, Anna, because I think you raise valid points.

1. Being able to afford a 'good' daycare does not make that daycare a better option for a child than being cared for by his mother.

Oh, but Anna. Sometimes it is! Some women loathe SAH so much that they are terrible mothers to their children. I have a friend who is like this. She is not a terrible mother, but she does not particularly like her children, she does not like SAH, and she gets frustrated because she never gets a break. She is so tired of her children she could scream, and it is not because she lacks a Godly perspective.

2. Being a keeper-at-home does not necessarily mean being cooped up - not more than being in a regular job like a secretary, cashier, accountant etc.

That's true. I wasn't saying anything about the difference between SAH and WOH here, I don't think, but I was generally bemoaning the change in society that made being a KAH totally different than it was 100 years ago, when it could not be properly called SAH and mean the same thing.
3. It wasn't expressed in this post, but I'll only accept one form of birth control - and that's God's control over the size of our family.

While I'm not quite to the quiverfull perspective, I am definitely to a point where I am morally opposed to most forms of family planning. I was not condoning birth control in my post, if you'll look. I was actually blaming the Pill for the moral breakdown of the family, and I do believe it played a significant role - don't you?

But what I think is most important is that whatever we do, we should look inside our own hearts and ask: does it really work with my God-given role as wife and helpmeet? Or am I only justifying my choices to better suit my own wishes? No one else can answer this question for you. It's between you and God.

I 100% agree, Anna. I could not agree more, in fact. It is between a woman and her husband and her God what her role and vocation are, how she can be a suitable helper to her DH. It is about prayerful consideration.

Some women who comment on your posts seem to think that SAH is for every woman whose family can afford it, and that those who do not are under the influence of Satan. This is unnecessarily condemning, and it is the attitude I was responding to when I left my original comment. Certainly it was not your attitude.

Speaking of attitudes, dear, I just wanted to say what a great and shining light you are before God. Your spirit is just so sweet. You are what my niece would call "glowy" - everyone who notices you sees the Lord in you. I think that you are doing your absolute best to glorify God by leading a redeemed lifestyle and following Him wherever He leads. You are a testament of grace. May we all be that way, and may we all love each other.

"In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, love." ~ Augustine

Mrs. Brigham said...

Anonymous,

I mean this question respectfully and am honestly trying to understand your thinking on this matter, so if it comes out wrong, please forgive me. All of the points you made were very interesting, and I agree with quite a few of them, but there were several that would be interesting to learn more about, if you have the time.

If a woman does not like her children and cannot cultivate patience and joy in this season of life, how is she displaying a Godly attitude or a servant's heart? If a woman holds this sort of attitude and resentment in her heart towards the children she has been blessed with from our Heavenly Father, how is her work status the problem or the solution? Isn't it probably something deeper than that? Where does "personal fulfillment" enter into our great responsibilities that come with our faith and service to God?

Anna S said...

"If a woman does not like her children and cannot cultivate patience and joy in this season of life, how is she displaying a Godly attitude or a servant's heart? If a woman holds this sort of attitude and resentment in her heart towards the children she has been blessed with from our Heavenly Father, how is her work status the problem or the solution?"

Just what I wanted to say... but you put it way better!

Mrs.B said...

Some women are just miserable being with their children all day long and SAH is probably not for these women. I have a friend who SAH with her three children, and she cannot WAIT until they are old enough to send to school. She originally wanted to HS, but the kids just drive her crazy.

Oh my!--I find that sentiment very disturbing. I hope your friend can repent of that attitude and ask God for a change of heart because those children will know that is how their mother feels about them.--even if she never says the words out loud. It will wound them deeply and strip away their sense of security and worth. I don't mean to be unkind but that attitude/feeling is sin.

Mrs. Brigham's question is the same question I had(only stated much better than I could).

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Good discussion. The friend who doesn't like her children needs to do a heart check. She is going against her God-given role by feeling that way. Plain and simple.

A woman's place is in her home. Our society has gone down hill more since women have left the home than when prayer left the schools.

Abandonment by a husband, or a husband's inability to work might be the exception. I don't know why women can't see they've been brainwashed into thinking a woman is more content or contributes more to the household when she works for someone else and brings home a paycheck. I thought men use to pride themselves into being able to provide for his family by himself. All of us want too many material things and it's costing us dearly.
Most women's "career" involve office work, teaching other people's children, running a cash register, etc. What's so high and mighty about that. A monkey could do it...oh wait...that's what society says about housework. :)

Just my thoughts on the subject.

Carolyn

Anonymous said...

Hi Again,

Sorry for the way I put my post. I mean no disrespect, just expressing another point of view and trying to add a bit of sarcastic humor. Not always effective I'm sure. :)

Carolyn :)

Anna S said...

Carolyn,

No need to apologize, you raise a valid point: there's nothing very uplifting about being a secretary or standing by the cash register.

But even if women can have interesting and high-paying jobs, the toll it takes on their family life and mental health is often too high. Imagine a woman who values her family above everything else but has been taught to think she *has* to go out there and work. How horribly she must suffer because she isn't able to be there for her husband, children and home!

Anonymous said...

Anna,

Yes, even high paying jobs aren't valid reasons for a woman to leave her post at home.

Carolyn :)

Kyla said...

I just have to say that God does not call us all to the same things in life. All parents are called to raise their families in a Godly home. Some women are called to stay at home and others are not. My prayer is that one day I will be blessed with children but I do not think that will be my first and/or last calling from God.

I am greatly saddened by this statement.

"Most women's "career" involve office work, teaching other people's children, running a cash register, etc. What's so high and mighty about that. A monkey could do it...oh wait...that's what society says about housework. :)"

Who are we to question what another is called to do by God? And correct me if I am wrong but isn't being a SAH wife or mother about more than housework? Isn't it about influencing your home for Christ? Maybe a monkey could work a cash register or work in a "meaningless" office and physically clean a house. But a monkey can no more replace the value of a Christian's influence in the workplace than it can in the home. God uses us in every situation and he needs our lights for him out in the world.

I cannot imagine not wanting to be around my future children, but I do plan on working in my Career once I do have children. Once I am no longer in this career I plan on travelling in Foreign missions, whether I have children or not. It is sad that there are Christian women out there who will judge me because of choices that my husband and I prayerfully make.

Anna S said...

Kyla,

You're right that we are not - nor should we be - carbon copies of each other. What suits one family might not suit another. We all, however, have some basic values and duties, given to us by God. Instead of judging each other and pointing fingers, we should study what God teaches us, and follow. And then look how our own plans and ambitions might fit into the greater scheme.

If we can accomplish them without neglecting our duties - great. If not, well, something has to go! If there's something in our lives that interferes with our duties as wives, helpmeets, mothers and homemakers, I'm not sure it should stay in our lives even if it gives us personal satisfaction.

I think it all comes down to this question: 'whatever I might be doing - career, community activities, special projects - does it in any way interfere with my duties? Does it take too much of my time and energy? Does it fit in with my God-given role, or am I trying to twist and turn and wrap what God says on the matter to fit my own wishes?'

Well, you might ask, how does one answer such a question? How much can I give to others without hampering my own family life? Surely no one but you and your husband can answer this question! The answer will be found in your heart when you open it to God's calling.

Kyla said...

Anna,

I agree with everything that you said. This was my point exactly, we don't know what purpose the girl at the cash register is fufilling. It is between her and the Lord.

I do wish that everybody had the same respect that you show, for their sisters in Christ.



Kyla

agodlyhomemaker said...

excellent blog anna! i'm so glad i found you.
i always have to wonder how and why some women twist titus 2 around and make it sound like it's ok for women to work outside the home. God doesn't want us to twist His commands around to suit our desires!
and who says we aren't equal to a man who works outside the home? only those women who twist the bible around!! we homemakers have no trouble with it :)

Anna S said...

Dear fellow homemaker,

I'm glad you like my humble blog!

The biggest problem I see with women working outside the home is the attempt to 'have it all'. Maybe it works for some... who am I to judge? Maybe someone does juggle it all successfully! I know I can't. I think it puts a horrible strain on the average woman. I wrote a post about it which I will publish in the next couple of days.

Anonymous said...

Kyla,

My intentions were not to offend those working outside the home, although I disagree with a woman who chooses to work for the sake of working. My intention was to inject sarcastic humor into the conversation. I was using a "monkey" quote that's out there and just gave it a different twist.

After I sent the post I regretted it because of the "monkey" comment. That's why my second post offered an apology.

I didn't mean to hurt anyone's feelings or be a tool that would sadden someone. Please accept my apologies.

Sincerely,

Carolyn :)

Kyla said...

Carolyn,

Thank you for your apology.

In Him,
Kyla

Rightthinker said...

I realize this is an older conversation, but I thought I would add my thoughts, as well.

Women who claim that it is more helpful for women to work are generally selfish and biblically ignorant. Plain and simple. Taking the load off your husband is a fallacy, since a two income household ALWAYS means more money is spent. Plain and simple, one income means less money spent..two incomes means more. That's the truth.

I have written about it numerous times on my blog, and a few can be found on my sidebar as favorite reads. (Mother's raising your kids or working outside the home, and some marriage articles)

Women who work are unwilling to sacrifice anything for their husbands. Husbands have been conditioned to playing both roles, becuase women have demanded such! Nothing makes a man happier than a biblical helpmeet to meet all of his needs...and, the commandment for husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church is reciprocated. The love, support, committment and effort of a husband who has his needs fully met, are like nothing else.

It is not natural or positive for a man to come home from work to children who have been raised by someone else, fast food or junky meals made as quickly as possible, dissarray in the home, and a wife who is consistently exhausted and aggravated, thus demanding.

There is no greater job for a Christian woman, than supporting her husband, raising her children in Christ, and making a home. Proverbs 31, Titus 2:5

If we say otherwise, we are lying to ourselves. Yes, feminism has created a situation that makes it more difficult to have material possessions without 2 incomes, but is that our reason for living?

To anyone who thinks that raising and homeschooling 4 children, supporting a self-employed husband, being frugal, saving and waiting for things we want, and taking care of the home isn't work, I point you to my home.

I work from sun up to sunset..and as a result I have an overwhelmingly happy husband, happy, healthy, intelligent and stable Christian children, and personal security and joy from fulfilling my God given role, and giving such happiness to the man I love. Additionally, on one income, God has proven to bless us beyond compare. We are never without, have a beautiful new home and everything we need. That came from years of sacrifice and struggle and a committment to not use credit and WAIT for what we wanted in order to meet our children's needs!

Women need to start putting Christ, their husbands and their children first, if we want to see this situation of divorce, unruly and neglected kids, and unhappy coexisting marriages to an end.

Rightthinker said...

Oh, and to anonymous:

"Women who don't enjoy SAH shouldn't SAH"

Why has everything in society become about our feelings? Why must we enjoy everything? Is that what the Bible teaches? Is there a special blessing in completing the work that is God's will, and not our own?

Maybe, if we are unprepared to fulfill our biblical role-ie: don't wish to raise our children or provide support and a home for our husbands, we should consider remaining chaste and preventing children with a NFP method until God changes our hearts.

Having children we don't wish to raise, and creating a life that requires we work outside the home to pay for our expenses, means our priorties are not in line with God.

I mean no malice with my statement. I love all my Christian sisters-working or not. We are all at risk of having incorrect thinking-particularly in today's world. However, most things Christ teaches are "either or". Narrow gates and narrow paths to righteousness prevent us from always doing what feels good.

God Bless all you ladies, and I will be in prayer for all of us. Loving Christ means doing away with our old ways and following His Ways This is usually not easy, not always immediately gratifying..however, we change so much in Him, looking back over our sacrifices and how He changed us through them brings immense joy!

Anonymous said...

Kyla,

You are very welcome.

Carolyn

Anna S said...

Right Thinker,

Thank you for your insight!!