Friday, August 31, 2007

Unappreciated homemaker

A couple of days ago, I received the following note by email, which I'm going (with permission) to share with you today, together with my reply:

"Hi Anna. After reading your last post about encouraging homemakers, I thought I'd email you. I have been married for about a year now, and while we haven't been blessed with children yet, I never run out of things to do at home. I enjoy my calling as wife and helpmeet, and find true satisfaction in creating a warm and cozy home. The problem: my husband doesn't appreciate my work. Normally I try to complete all the daily chores before he comes home and welcome him when I'm refreshed and relaxed. It seems as though he resents me 'not being properly tired'! Before we got married, he said many times how much he would love me to be a stay at home mom, but it seems he doesn't see a point in me being 'just' a stay at home wife. Recently he started pressuring me to find a job. I'm afraid of neglecting my home and our relationship, and also of getting used to having a second income and not being able to quit once we do have children. This is creating a lot of tension between us. What am I to do? Any suggestions will be appreciated.
- Carolyn"


Hi Carolyn! I'm not married yet, so it might be that I can't have a really thorough understanding of your situation (and that's why, if you don't mind, I will share this on my blog; hopefully we'll get some feedback from married ladies!). However, I understand very well your feeling of being under-appreciated. As you probably already know I'm a grown-up daughter who spends most of her time at home, and more than once, I had to face the question, 'so, what do you do?'

Usually I try not to get into lengthy discussions about the way I view my role as a woman; sometimes I answer tongue-in-cheek: 'What, you mean apart from organizing, cooking, baking, cleaning, decorating, budgeting, scheduling, learning new skills, my crafts, and oh, I almost forgot, tending to the needs of my elderly grandmother?'

I also understand your point about being resented for not being 'properly tired'. In our crazy world, many people are overwhelmed and exhausted on the border of collapse, so much that it actually begins to seem normal. Isn't it ironic how it seems almost indecent to seem cheerful and peaceful at the end of the day? And even as someone who devotes herself to her family and home, there is the temptation of justifying our presence by being as hectic-paced as a woman who tries to balance career, marriage and home; otherwise, doesn't it mean we're not using our time well? Doesn't it mean we are lazy?

Well, no. And while I found out that, just like you said, I never run out of things to do at home, and could do them from morning till night, running around with my to-do list and crossing things off it, I think this would ruin much of the value and pleasure of good home life. After all, one of our major goals is creating a peaceful dwelling, right? So I think it's good and right that you try not to pile too much on yourself every single day, so that you can truly be there for your husband when he comes home. You have the energy to talk to him, hear about his day, cheer him up. This important part of your relationship would be in danger if you came from work, exhausted, and still with a zillion chores to do, instead of spending quality time together.

You could point this out to your husband, along with other reasons why you feel it's the best decision for you to remain at home. You could, together, go over the reasons why your husband wants you to be a stay-at-home mother, and see if any of them are still applicable while you don't have children yet. You want to take into consideration work-related expenses, too, which might eat away a larger part of your income than you imagine. And like you already said, you don't want to get used to a second income for funding additional, unnecessary expenses, which will make it much more difficult to come back home if and when you become a mother.

But ultimately, I think you should put your trust in God and follow your husband's authority in this area; if after you discuss it, he is still adamant about you finding a job outside the home, so be it. Maybe your work at home, which is not appreciated when it's quietly done while your husband is away, will be missed when you don't have as much time to invest in your home. More importantly, maybe your husband will miss the special time you had in the evenings, when he came from work to a pretty, clean home, a delicious home-made dinner, a cheerful, welcoming smile, and relaxed conversation.

… Married homemakers: your input will be very much appreciated, especially those of you who don't have children yet. Mothers: did you work outside the home before you had children? If you didn't, what was your reasoning? If you did, did you feel it takes a toll on your family life?

51 comments:

Jia said...

Anna it's so good of you to post this so that others can offer advice. I too am a stay at home wife. I have been on and off ever since my husband and I got married over three years ago.

Anytime I find that he's thinking about me getting a job, I dote on him more. This reminds him that when I am home, I am happy and easier to live with. When I work, I am "properly" tired and he's ignored more often.

Also, your husband may be feeling resentment because he has to work and you "get" to stay home. Make sure he knows how much you appreciate his efforts, and let him feel that he is the man of the house who brings home the bacon that you just happen to cook.

Don't ever deny the amazing things that you do, but don't forget to highlight his as well. Afterall, it's because of him that you have the ability to stay home.

And most of all, talk to him about how you feel. He'll understand as long as you are understanding of how he feels.

Jia

www.newlywives.blogspot.com
www.semiholistichousewife.blogspot.com
www.fleetingglimpseofeternity.blogspot.com
www.fangirlrantings.blogspot.com

Ron and Ginny said...

Oh, how stressful. May I suggest that a list be kept everyday of what you do. In excruciating detail. Like a journal or log. Continue to be refreshed and ready for him when he comes home, but have that log ready to report to him your accomplishments that day. Also, if he is a Christian, it may help to remind him that God's intention for wives is to be keepers at home and you are so glad to be serving the Lord in that way and that you are not having to hire the work out. I am thinking something like, "Oh, I am so glad that you are such a wonderful provider. It would be horrible to have to disobey the Lord and work outside the home and neglect my God-given role of being a keeper-at-home. Why, we would have to use up my paycheck, plus some, just to hire out all the work around here. (kiss, hug) I'm so glad I'm your loving wife!" Then hand him the daily log of your work and go get supper on the table while singing cheerfully in your beautiful apron.

Boy! I need to work on that myself, even though my husband loves me staying at home and wouldn't think of anything else...

:-D

P.S. Many years ago, when I was still a relatively new keeper-at-home, I kept a list for three days of what I did. It was illuminating to both of us. I wrote down EVERYTHING! I used a lot of paper... I might just do that again... ;-)

Tracy said...

Anna,
I worked for a short time before we had children. At first, my husband and I worked different shifts. He got tired of the really fast. No one to cook dinner, etc. Then I started babysitting full time for a teacher that lived on my street. This was actually wonderful "work" for me. I had the weekends and summers off, a long Christmas vacation, etc. Also, I was learning childcare skills. I did this throughout my pregnancy with Mac. The only thing I have done since having children is sporadic childcare in my own home.

Lily said...

"Also, your husband may be feeling resentment because he has to work and you "get" to stay home. Make sure he knows how much you appreciate his efforts, and let him feel that he is the man of the house who brings home the bacon that you just happen to cook."

It is likely Jia hit the nail on the head. You also have to realize that it is possible your dh is getting some pressure at work or from his family, such as, "Why isn't she more productive? Why do you allow your wife to stay at home? She's taking advantage of you, etc." Maybe he is happy having you at home but is getting pressure from the outside and he doesn't have any answers for the attacks? Have you ever read Fascinating Womanhood by Helen Andelin? Perhaps reading to him some of the passages from that book will arm him with the answers.

If he is under stress at work (related to the pressure of his job) and then he has to deal with the added stress of people dissing his wife, he feels he needs to prove to them he is a man and exert some control in a visible way? I don't know your husband so it is only a guess that outside pressures are weighing him down.

Understanding, love and obedience is required from you. Perhaps he just needs more information to reply with. If he insists on your working, Anna is right, you must listen. But then allow the consequences of that to effect him, whatever those consequences are. Never earn more money than him.

If you are earning a salary then don't look at it as extra household money (because when you do not work you will both miss it) rather save all of your income, or give a good amount away to charitable organizations. Once you and he are accustomed to, and enjoying more money, you will always miss it.

Natural consequences (important in parenting) are perhaps things like late dinners, or take out dinners (a good way to spend that income), frozen dinners you would never have served him before because you always cook, a messier house, hire outside help to clean for you and make sure he sees the bills. Etc. I suggest it wouldn't take long, without having to fight and say it aloud, for your dh to see the value in your being home, keeping him happy.

Gothelittle Rose said...

The list thing is a good idea. We have a whiteboard up in the kitchen. Every now and then I write down on the whiteboard each thing I get accomplished as I accomplish it. It's good for me, too, as it keeps me organized and focused throughout the day.

About three years ago, three and a half now, my husband couldn't find a job and I had to work full-time while he returned to college. I had my bachelor's degree... he didn't. For three years he went on a rigorous school program and tried to do his part in childcare and housework. By the end of that three years, he was as anxious as I was to see me back home again.

Since I've been back home, I've had dinner up for him every night (except I'll slack off a little on the weekends, he doesn't mind) and lunch for him every day except once or twice.

Even so, it's good for me to have something small that I can do outside the house, some small way to bring in a little extra money without hurting my homemaking time. I have taken on an adjunct position at the local community college, teaching a Saturday morning class. My first class is tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to it!

Anonymous said...

You know, I almost never comment on blogs, but felt I might need to on this one. I too, grew up in a stay-at-home culture, and understood housekeeping in the same terms you did--a nice dinner, "refreshed wife", time for frugal-yet-beautiful-interior-design projects, etc.

Yet, what I've learned during my tenure as a working wife, is that none of that matters one whit if that's not what YOUR husband wants. My husband couldn't care less if I cook a meal, or if we stopped down the street for pizza (to me, the cardinal sin of homemaking, at least during the first year of marriage!)He'd much, much, much rather me play golf with him than do two loads of laundry, and he'd rather me "forget cleaning!" and go to some theological discussion group. I would never have imagined me running a home the way I do now...but you know what, I have a happy, loving husband who sacrificially serves me at every turn. And I've learned that being a typical housekeeper isn't a biblical standard by any means. I'm my husband's wife, and I'm called to his needs, and his desires.

And speaking specifically to "doing it all"...don't even worry about it. I found that even after working a 9-10 hour day, there's more than enough time to cook dinner, clean the house, have awesomely wonderful conversations, and enjoy life to the fullest. There's only two of you...you're not trashing the house, creating piles of messes that need to be cleaned! ;-) And if it's the gardening, home design, "projects" that you'll miss...that's really optional, isn't it? If your husband doesn't value them, then let them be just a hobby, rather than a pillar that really amounts to your ideal of what a good wife and homemaker is--whether at home or at work. I thought working and being a wife would be hard, because I had in mind everything I thought a good wife should be doing.

The biggest thing is just expectations--my expectation of what a wife would do in the home was nothing like my husbands. And I felt terribly guilty for it at first, but eventually I had to come to understand--my entire goal in life is to be a helpmate, not a perfect-housewife. We have the best conversations, I am refreshed almost always (because we're living in a tension-free home!), my husband is pleased and appreciates me...primarily because I've learned to drop what he didn't want me to do, and now do the things that he wants me to do with and for him. My priorities are customized to our particular marriage. He didn't think I was the greatest wife when the floors were spotless, and I had a beautiful meal on the table with a smile on my face. He does think I'm the greatest wife now that I'm watching football with him and playing golf, hanging out with him and his buddies as we both relax from a long day at work...even if it means the laundry waits another day!

Sorry this is so long, but just wanted to say that being a working wife to a husband that does appreciate you is anything but the end of the world. I do appreciate your struggle, but I would really, really, really encourage you to talk with your husband and let his ideas for what a good wife is, mold yours.

--Kat, MA

Anonymous said...

Hi Carolyn, tough problem you are facing. I am 38, married with no kids and work outside the home. Growing up in the era I did, women who did not want a career were considered odd and lazy - this is a product of feminism. It is likely that even if your husband does not believe this of you, he has grown up with this ever present message. Maybe spending some time at the home of a working couple with kids may help - he may need to see how lucky he is to have you home! Next, you may want to have him explain to you - is this about wanting more money or just him wanting to feel that you are "chipping in"? I also recommend "Fascinating Womanhood" for you, a great book that will touch on the benefits of you being home.

Lastly, if he is truly serious about the work, put together some numbers of the cost of you working - money to be spent on car insurance, gas, work clothes, etc.

Most of the women I work with would rather be at home. Even without kids it is a tough juggle to do it all. And guess what - you DON'T DO IT ALL. Thank him for giving you the gift of being home. Good luck, I would see if this cannot be worked out with you at home. Worst case, try to find work to do from home. M

Anna S said...

Carolyn, I do hope you read what Kat just wrote here. I might disagree with her on several points, but there is one thing she said that is definitely true: being a helpmeet to your husband means molding yourself to HIS ideas of a good wife. If he does appreciate more the work you would do outside the home, than what you do now, you should submit to his leadership in this area.

However, from your email it seems to me more like your husband does enjoy what you do for him at home - he just doesn't realize the amount of work you put in. If this is the case, you should make sure he knows what you do. If he still prefers to give it up, then so be it. You need to have a good and long discussion about it, and talk all things through!

Jordin said...

Hmm...a year ago, I would've disagreed with Kat. Now, though, I'm more inclined to see her point. :)

Before Matt and I married, I thought that my MAIN job was to be keeper at home. Period. Maybe I wouldn't have admitted it, but that's what I thought. Matt certainly agreed that I should be a keeper at home. That was (and still is) his desire for me.

Now that we're married, I've found that it's WAY more important to him if I'm his helpmeet. If he wanted me to work full-time outside the home, I would certainly try to "reason" with him. :) But if he simply didn't agree with me, I can certainly see now that obeying him and following his leading would be much more important. Ideally, the minute Matt suggested I work outside the home, I would just do it. However, I'm not to that point yet. ;) My advice to Carolyn, according to Scripture, is to obey her husband.

"...and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." Genesis 3:16

"Obey them that have rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you." Hebrews 13:17 (I suggest reading that one several times over. It took me a while to truly understand it.)

Anna S said...

Here's a suggestion from my fiance: 'Maybe on one of his free days, Carolyn's husband should do all the work *she* normally does at home... this will enable him to see better how much effort she really puts in' :)

Kyla said...

Hi,

I have to jump in here. I have to say that I agree with Kat to an extent. Except for a few months here and there I have always worked During our first few years of marriage I wore myself out trying to be Martha Stewart on top of being gone for over 60 hours a week. I thought that I had to keep my house in perfect condition and if my husband helped I was a failure. It wasn’t until we sat down and talked about our expectations and our needs that I realized that conversation and quality time together was more important TO HIM than the perfect wreath on the front door. The only point that I disagreed with Kat is that if you are going to honor your husband by doing what makes him happy, he should honor you by doing the same, in this case the laundry.

So, my advice is this. If your husband truly wants you to work then you need to honor him by at least getting something part time, but on the condition that your work at home is split between the two of you. If you just work part time then with this system you should still have the time to do all the important little things that truly make your house a home. Until I slowed down and started working from home, we split the chores up like this, He vacuumed at least twice a week, I dusted, we grocery shopped together, I cooked, he did dishes after every meal, we each did our own laundry and we picked up the house every night before we went to bed. If he will help you out he will see how much you truly do every day and more importantly once your home again full time he will appreciate all that you do!!

I would also say, that marriage, just like life, has a lot of different seasons. Not every season is going to be what you imagined for yourself. But if you and your husband can adapt and enjoy each season together, as a team, then you will have a successful marriage full of blessings

Good Luck to you!!

Rean Day said...

Carolyn,

I would love to add my thoughts to the wonderful comments already offered here. I am a working wife, but for the first year of marriage I stayed home. Somehow I expected to become Betty Crocker and Martha Stewart all rolled into one as soon as the wedding ring went on my finger. When it didn't happen I became depressed. Because of this I went to work full-time 4 years ago. I have been dreaming of coming back home ever since.

Working has given me a lot of strength and discipline but also a lot of frustration. I am exhausted when I get home and my homelife definately suffers. There is no doubt in my mind that women can NOT do it all.

If I could change anything from my experience, I would have focused on a part-time position. At that time in my life, I needed to have something outside the home to focus on, but I should have looked at all options before full-time work. Now I feel stuck.

I think the advice about listing the reasons a SAHM is necessary to your DH and comparing it to what you do now as a SAHW is EXCELLENT. I also agree that being a helpmeet to your husband comes before being a SAHW. There is no doubt that God desires women to be Keepers at Home but as Jordin said, we are to obey our husbands. It seems like a nice sit down coffee talk with your DH would do the trick. Stay open to what he has to say and share your heart with him for your desires. I'm looking forward to hearing how it goes.

God bless you in your desire to serve and bless your husband.

Rean Day

Anna S said...

Rean Day, isn't it funny how we sometimes expecy everything to be perfect once we get married?

I'm sometimes under this illusion, yet I know there's no magic force in the world that will eliminate my kitchen disasters and clutter-proneness, all at once. :)

got another on the way said...

I thought it is interesting that no one has discussed divorce rates among working women. A few months ago I saw on a morning news show a brief story that stated that divorce rates are notable lower among couple where the wife stays at home full time. I've had a devil of a time finding the article again. No wonder, considering how the media has vilified Michael Noer of this article http://www.forbes.com/home/2006/08/23/Marriage-Careers-Divorce_cx_mn_land.html as a mysoginist. But I did find this article that touches on the subject:http://mtsu32.mtsu.edu:11422/315/adultdiv/divfactos.html in the subjects "emloyment status" and "income". Also this article: http://www.careerjournal.com/columnists/workfamily/20040423-workfamily.html "The odds of divorce are highest when husbands and wives contribute about equally to family income". Think about it. In the work place, a woman is spending 5-9 hours a day around men who may elicit admiration, then affection, then straying. If the wife is surrounded by women, they are chosen for the work they do, and not for their godly character. Ever hear the way women deride men, even husbands, when those men aren't around? Not healthy to be around. If the wife goes to work as a nanny in the privacy of a home, but privately believes a mother's place is with her children, what kind of message is she sending to her employers? Why is it o.k. for one mother to hire out her mothering and not another (this is a tough on for me as I always enjoyed this work before marriage, and have struggled with it since then). So that's the statictical angle (yes, and some situational angle). Let's look at the Bible. In the old Testament, the only woman I can think of who had a career outside of the home was Deborah (Judges 4), and not only did she always have her husband's counsel, but her role was a curse upon the Israelites for their defections to baals. God was effectively telling them that the best man for the job of leading the country was a woman. Ouch. Please see Isaiah 3:12: "O My people! Their oppresors are children, and women rule over them." A woman ruler was as shameful as a child ruler (Isa 3:4). So there's Deborah. In the New Testament I think of Lydia (Acts 16), who sold purple fabrics. Yet there is an implication that she was head of household, since all her household was baptized with her (v. 16). If she was head of household,the implication is that there was no man. She was probably a widow. Finally, I don't understand why no one has recommended that the young woman in question hasn't saught biblical counsel from an authority in their church, either their elder or their pastor, depending on the church's make-up. I believe it was the Rev. Douglas Wilson who wrote in the book, Reforming Marriage, that modern christian men have bought into working wives for one primary reason: they get two incomes for the price of one. The man gets a nicer car or bigger home, or well-dressed, manicured wife, or padded bank account or whatever he longs for without the bother of taking a second job himself. Remember, he is still the head of household and whoever brings home the money he is the top authority on how it's spent. Nice! A visit with a wise, discerning leader should help uncover who in the marriage is clinging to earthly desires, and what is the truly biblical standard. Thanks Anna, for some great postings.

Ali said...

Anna, you've accomplished something incredible, you've made me ( a girl that was named after a hard core feminist of all things!) think that maybe, who knows, staying at home might not be that bad

:)

Mrs. Brigham said...

Carolyn- I would also encourage you to make a list of what she does at home each and every day. Maybe even keep track of her 'doings' for several days so you might show her husband what her day to day schedule is like. You might also want to sit down with your husband and see what sorts of things he would like to see happen in your home. Be it a favorite dinner, decor project, or different way to organize the linen closet, find out what might make him very happy at home and implement this change. See if there might be something you can do to make him less tired when he arrives home after a tough day of work. Along with this conversation, have an honest heart to hear about why you want to be a homemaker and why he would like you to work. Come to the conversation with a clam and clear attitude, maybe even with your points listed on paper, and be sure to pray before undertaking this task. Explain your reasons to your husband and be honest of your fears of entering the working world. Maybe he does not truly understand your desire to serve him best as wife & helpmeet by being at home.

If after this conversation, your husband does want you to pursue an outside job, do honor his request. If possible, see if y'all might use your income exclusively for savings. This way you not only have a nice little emergency fund, but also never learned to count on a second income, so when the time might come for you to be a SAHM, a money loss is never an issue. Continue to pray and trust God during what might be a rough time for you and do strive to keep your marriage and home as a top priority. This is easier said then done, but is very important regardless of the difficulties it may prove.

Carolyn, you will be in my thoughts and prayers dear sister. No matter what happens, I do pray that God will offer you peace and see you through. Best wishes!

got another on the way said...

I thought it is interesting that no one has discussed divorce rates among working women. A few months ago I saw on a morning news show a brief story that stated that divorce rates are notably lower among couples where the wife stays at home full time. I've had a devil of a time finding the article again. No wonder, considering how the media has vilified Michael Noer of this article http://www.forbes.com/home/2006/08/23/Marriage-Careers-Divorce_cx_mn_land.html as a mysoginist. But I did find this article that touches on the subject:http://mtsu32.mtsu.edu:11422/315/adultdiv/divfactos.html in the subjects "emloyment status" and "income". Also this article: http://www.careerjournal.com/columnists/workfamily/20040423-workfamily.html that says,"The odds of divorce are highest when husbands and wives contribute about equally to family income". So that's the statictical angle. Think about it. In the work place, a woman is spending 5-9 hours a day around men who may elicit admiration, then affection, then straying. If the wife is surrounded by women, they are chosen for the work they do, and not for their godly character. Ever hear the way women deride men, even husbands, when those men aren't around? Not healthy to be around. If the wife goes to work as a nanny in the privacy of a home, but privately believes a mother's place is with her children, what kind of message is she sending to her employers? Why is it o.k. for one mother to hire out her mothering and not another (this is a tough on for me as I always enjoyed this work before marriage, and have struggled with it since then). This is both a moral and pragmatic issue. People often discuss "opportunity cost" in economics, that not being involved in something is comperable to losing: money, memories, etc. Let's think. If you go to work outside the home, not only might your home duties and marital relationship suffer, but you lose opportinity to serve in the less noticeable realms of commuity: meals-on-wheals, helping an elderly neighbor do her shopping or yard work, visiting a new mom with a hot meal for her family and two hands to help with her quickly massing housework, less time to visit with and comfort the lonely in your community (or beyond, with a letter). Now let's look at the Bible. In the old Testament, the only woman I can think of who had a career outside of the home was Deborah (Judges 4), and not only did she always have her husband's counsel, but her role was a curse upon the Israelites for their defections to baals. God was effectively telling them that the best man for the job of leading the country was a woman. Ouch. Please see Isaiah 3:12: "O My people! Their oppresors are children, and women rule over them." A woman ruler was as shameful as a child ruler (Isa 3:4). So there's Deborah. In the New Testament I think of Lydia (Acts 16), who sold purple fabrics. Yet there is an implication that she was head of household, since all her household was baptized with her (v. 16). If she was head of household,the implication is that there was no man. She was probably a widow. Finally, I don't understand why no one has recommended that the young woman in question hasn't saught biblical counsel from an authority in their church, either their elder or their pastor, depending on the church's make-up. I believe it was the Rev. Douglas Wilson who wrote in the book, Reforming Marriage, that modern christian men have bought into working wives for one primary reason: they get two incomes for the price of one. The man gets a nicer car or bigger home, or well-dressed, manicured wife, or padded bank account or whatever he longs for without the bother of taking a second job himself. Remember, he is still the head of household and whoever brings home the money he is the top authority on how it's spent or saved. Nice! A visit with a wise, discerning leader should help uncover who in the marriage is clinging to earthly desires, and what is the truly biblical standard. If in the end, that means a more mainstream career, check out this article: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/TakeControlOfYourLife/story?id=2371804 which may help you to find a job working form home using your computer, particularly things like customer service. Or perhaps tutoring in your home in your area of expertise. Thanks Anna, for some great postings.

Haus Frau said...

A few thoughts from a Weathered Proprietress ...

Some excellent suggestions have been made..worthy of prayerful consideration.

I married at 30 and have been married for 19 years. While a KAH I've also worked (primarily from home) as the season required. I've catered off and on and for the last 4 years as an area administrator for a private school devoted to home school families. At times my family has suffered because too much time (even part time) was spent on things other than my dear ones and their needs.

The bible states clearly that we are to be keepers at home. The bible also states, in Proverbs 31, that we have seasons for various activity in our lives. Our main ministry is to those in our home.

It is my belief and experience that a woman does better in serving and blessing her family by being a KAH. One cannot be excellent in each thing if her time/energies are divided.

I believe Carolyn should prayerfully set aside some carefully chosen time to share her concerns and desires and beliefs with her husband. It could be that he's experiencing pressure from those at work or even family concerning his wife not working outside the home. It could also be a financial concern that she isn't aware of.

As women we need to be very careful to not:

* appear childlike in asking 'daddy' if we can stay home - or any other request
* manipulate the situation to our best advantage
* disclude seeking God's best for our lives and that of our family (with or without children)

As women we need to:

* seek to simply share our concern and desires with our husbands
* seek to do what's best in the eyes of Christ and how that relates to our homelife, with great consideration for our husbands
* seek to be lovers of our homes (not the structure, rather, the people living within the walls, serving them)
* seek to honor our husbands
* seek to please our husbands
* seek to lift our husbands in prayer continually - that the Lord would speak to their hearts in ways we cannot or should not (harping/whining/nagging)

Just my thoughts...

USAincognito said...

I tend to agree with Kat and Kyla - marriage requires BOTH persons involved to sometimes compromise, not just ONE person!! For one person to do all the compromising is completely selfish on part of the one demanding it.
And for me personally, I do not view the man as being "master" over the woman. Both are EQUALS. And a marriage should be a working PARTNERSHIP.
But again, this is just my opinion. :)

lizzykristine said...

While Scripture does indicate that the main family responsibility of women is in the home (though it is worth noting that the famous Prov. 31 woman & a few NT women didn't work exclusively in the home), it is very clear how we should react to our husbands when they ask to to do something (provided it isn't morally wrong).

Next time he brings up getting a job, why don't you say "Okay." Sweet compliance will ease the tension, and perhaps you can discuss practical things such as if he'd be happy with you taking a part-time job.

Unfortunately for my human nature, submission is more than just the action, it is also the heart. To outwardly comply without also having an inward attitude of peace and joy isn't really honoring God anymore than not submitting to our husbands at all. Interestingly, our husbands can read our attitude, too, and the tension won't go away because of mere outward compliance.

My best wishes for a return of peace & joy, Carolyn!

Betsy said...

I'd like to add a hearty "amen" to Kat's post. My husband and I got married between our junior and senior years of college, and we both worked (each about 20 hours a week) and I volunteered as the junior high track coach at the private christian school in our town. Needless to say, there was a lot of sharing of the household responsibilities - one of my husband's favorite ways of 'loving' me was to do the dishes before I would get the chance to (I hate doing the dishes).

When we graduated, I was eight weeks pregnant with our first baby, and I kept working because I loved my job - working in an plant nursery - and because I was able to get all the chores done by 10 am with a free day ahead of me. I quit working about a month before our daughter was born and haven’t been back.

Now I'm completely "stay at home", although I do design work from home (for quite a lovely profit, which pleases my husband greatly). I actually chose my degree in landscape architecture because I knew that I could do design work from home once I had kidlets. All that said, the principle that I follow is that women are to be home centered. My home is my 'base of operations'. Right now, I'm here 90% of the time, because my daughter is not even two yet. Later on though, I think it would be highly appropriate for me to work at her school, where she and her siblings will be, because that is where they will be. By being where my kids are, I'm centering what I do around my home, because my family is my home.

My advice would be to first and foremost honor your husband. If he’s happier with you working now, go ahead and do it. Better to have a slightly messier home with a happy husband than a page out of pottery barn with an irritated husband. If you’re concerned about relying on a second income, do volunteer work! Help out at a local school, teach piano lessons (or cooking, or whatever!) to people who can’t afford to pay for them, be the woman in your church who organizes the delivery of meals for families with new babies - there’s lots of options! Another benefit is that it will teach you to really make use of the time you have at home, which will be a great benefit when you have tiny babies (especially the ones who don’t like to take naps or be anywhere but your arms!).

I have to say that listing my accomplishments for the day would not work for me. I would be tempted to put too much weight on it. If I had a particularly busy day that didn’t show up so well on a list and my husband were to come home and not be as impressed as I think he should be, I would find it difficult not to be bitter and resent my work at home as well as my husband’s lack of gratitude. But, that’s me.

So, honor your husband. If he starts to miss the smell of home baked bread when he comes home, pray for grace, and ask him for help in figuring out how to fit it all in with your new job. May the Lord bless you as you seek to honor Him!

Betsy

Anonymous said...

I can see some very good suggestions here. I don't know if mine will be as helpful to Carolyn, but here goes: I have been married 22 years, but we were childless the first seven. Of those years, I did continue my fulltime work for two years, but I became increasingly dissatisfied with it. To speak truthfully, I think it was because I don't have a heart for a career out of the home. But it seemed senseless to give it up, we were able to chip away at some college loans of my husband's, etc. Then my husband was transferred to a new town, & I have never worked fulltime since. I did some part time work in the same field I came from, but I much preferred my work at home.

At this point, I am virtually a fulltime SAHM (I do some seasonal garden work here & there for a friend).

My husband was never very vocal about my working either way. He just never has been. But I have learned over the years to "read" him, & I know that he appreciates, & notices, what I do here at home. Having clean laundry folded & organized in his closet is important to him. When he comes home from work, he likes having a sane, relatively clutter-free environment to unwind in, & a good meal ready (some are more humble than others, but he's never complained about food!).

I like to joke that my husband could never afford to hire me because of all the things I do here at home (including sawing & applying window trim!). If he began to push me to "get a job" I know I would feel hurt, I freely admit that. But, some seasons are different than others, & it's possible there may come a time when I might be called upon to pitch in that way.

God bless you & your husband,
Brenda

Karen said...

I am sure my opinion will be different from others who posted on this blog, but I think she should try to find work - either outside the home or working from home. Not only is it what her husband seems to want, but also because with only 2 people in the house, she may not have another chance for a very long time to pursue a career which interests her. True, many interests and hobbies can be pursued while at home or played in to being a homemaker, but until she has children, she has the chance to do what she likes AND make money at it.

I was a stay at home wife while I was pregnant, and now I have 2 children and I wish I had spent that time more wisely.

Living on one income can be very difficult! We are frugal and we still have a hard time because birth expenses, medical bills, buying a house, and saving for the future all cost money. It is best to bear the burden while you are young and able to do so. Then when you do have children, you'll have a nice little nest egg tucked away for any expenses that may occur. We just never know in life, a child may have special needs or be born prematurely, and so I'm a big fan of saving and investing.

I found that also, even with a job I liked making the transition to staying home was fairly easy. I think once you see your beautiful first born baby you will forget all about working and focus on your new vocation. Maybe that's because I just can't fathom wanting to leave a baby!

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

I am so sorry to hear of your troubles at home. I am afraid I am not much help with your problem. My husband fortunately knows how much work goes into caring for a home. I will pray for you two though.

Karen said...

Hehe oh yes and maybe this is naughty of me but I did do one thing that was against my husband's wishes. I quit a job that I got AFTER I had 2 kids. I'm not sorry I got the job, because we really needed the money, but I'm also glad I quit. He was irked for a while, but then I ended up in the hospital for a week and that showed him how much he and the kids needed me at home. It was funny, I thought I'd miss him to death and he wouldn't miss me, but it was the opposite. At the end of a week he said "Oh honey, this has been the worst week of my life...we need you back home so bad!!" So he changed his mind and now says I did the right thing.

Erin said...

Call me naive, but where does the Bible say God's desire is for women to stay at home?

Brenda said...

I agree...obey your husband. Perhaps there is something the Lord would use you for outside the home? Or a lesson for both of you? An experience He wants you to have? Who knows? It is your idea that being home is the best. I agree--but the Bible says that (terrible paraphrase coming...) in his heart a man makes many plans, but it is the Lord who determines his steps. Something to that effect. It's in Proverbs. Cheerfully obey your husband, find a part time job, and put it all in savings for when you do have kids or someone gets hurt or sick, etc. Who knows? Oh yeah! God does! I think it will be made obvious to you both when you should quit and come back home full time.

Blessings Carolyn! And thanks, Anna!

Anonymous said...

I have been married five years and the Lord has not given us any children. During those five years I have worked full-time, part-time and stayed home. I am a teacher so my husband and I re-evaluate each year before I sign my contract for the next year. We consider what is best for my husband, for us as a couple and for me.
This year we have decided that I will work close to full time and we will save all of my income and put it toward adopting a child. I am excited and motivated because of the prize at the end (a child) and I know it will only be for one or two years that I will be working full time.
Our ideal is for me to work part-time. It works for me because I teach at a wonderful school that meets only 3 days a week and then parents homeschool their children the other two days. I love being able to work in my calling as a Christian educator as well as having energy and time to fulfill my calling at home as a homemaker and my husband's helpmeet.
BL

Mrs Slaq said...

Greetings all! It makes me happy to see so many other women out there who really care about loving their husbands. I can't tell you how many times I hear women talking about how stupid their husbands are, or how they never do anything right, or how they need to be trained, etc. It saddens me to no end. So, thank you for striving to be godly wives, and may our learning and growing and love always increase!

As far as convincing your husband that you need to stay at home, I would agree with the statements made previously that being your husband's helpmeet should take precedence over being a stay at home wife. I do work outside the home, and while I sometimes feel like I have two full time jobs, I've also found myself stepping up to the challenge and feeling better about the state of our home and marriage than I have in some time. In the last couple of weeks especially, I have paid a lot more attention to my use of time, and am finding my time management skills vastly improving! My husband is thrilled with the way our apartment is looking these days (I am not a gifted housekeeper!), and I've found myself falling into a routine that includes talk time with hubby, a clean and comfortable home, and homemade meals, even if they are simple. I don't have time for all the things I want to do, to the extent I want to do them, but I am finding ways to fit them in where I can, and to give up some of my "time-wasting" activities. Here's the cool part: hubby seems to be getting inspired by watching my miniature personal revolution, and he is starting to examine his life and to change things here and there. My point is this: whatever you need to do, do your best and trust God. It might just be that you working outside the home now will prepare you for something else down the road. I'm not saying you shouldn't tell your hubby how you feel; communication is so important! But if, after you've talked to him, he still feels the same way, my opinion is that you should honor his request cheerfully, knowing that God will give you the energy and ability to fulfill your duties at home and in the workplace. And there's nothing wrong with asking him to help around the house if you need it! :)

May God bless you and your husband!

Kaye :) said...

I think men have a responsibility before God to allow their wives to be in their God given role of Keeper of the Home. A husband who asks his wife to walk away from what she knows in her heart of hearts before the Lord isn't truly cherishing her, in my opinion. :)

Wendy WaterBirde said...

Whoops, i accidentally sent my comment before proofreading, heres the corrected one (would you please toss the typo-ed one : ) ?)...

Well...personally i'd be really cautious about the whole "being a helpmeet to your husband means molding yourself to HIS ideas of a good wife" thing, as it can be taken too far. Its one thing to want to make him happy deep dowm, thats core stuff of course, but its another thing entirely to shift into one of the guys to cater to him not supporting you as a woman keeping at home peacefully. I hope this following response doesnt sound too harsh, but i feel its important to talk about this stuff honestly and directly with each other. And frankly, well my fiance might love it --at first-- if i made it my goal to be his buddy boy and hang out with the guys and act like one and wear my shoes in the house like one (and let them track mud in too) and work like one, but in setting a peaceful tone to the house, a woman is is supposed to be bringing things~~ beyond~~ all the chaos, not just becoming a part of it instead.

Frankly, so what if a guy doesnt care about a clean and pretty house etc (or thinks he doesnt)... if deep down a woman knows that is part of making their peaceful home, then it needs to be done. I've had this discussion with my finace btw (more below), he is not neat by nature, just the typical guy sort of thing, and he SAYS he doesnt care if things are neat and orderly. I suspected deep down he felt differently, and even if not then i myself surely would be miserable with things a mess. So I keep a focus on keeping things neat and orderly anyway, whether he complains about it or not...and he was not happy camper at all at first that outdoor shoes arent allowed in the living spaces and that jackets cant just get tossed in a corner etc when one feels like it...and frankly, i think thats just tough. I know i may sound really harsh here, but im being honest, im not going to sacrifice creating a peaceful home to cater to messy or chaotic habits, its just not going to happen.

Anyone remember that story LAF ran called When Queens Ride By? That's kind of where i'm coming from..some things a woman really DOES need to decide on her own ,the things that relate to a peaceful home, a peaceful home she is called to create. I remember Lady Lydia addressing this too in an old post, she was saying even if her husband asked her to work she would still not, the biblical calling to keep at home is a much higher call than catering to a guy's whim like that, and i agree completely. Natalie (formerly Plain and Simple) came from a kind of similar place, one day she just turned in her resignaqtion to her job, husband's approval or not, she knew that keeping at home truly was her calling to do. Its also true that the whole "civilizing" thing in history is what happens when women hold men to higher standards of being a chivalrous gentleman, not instead making herself into one of the boys just going along with whatever chaos... I think thats how you get more chaos, not the shift into peacefulness. Wanting to make your partner happy is different than being pulled into the mud...and dragging it into your house, in more ways than one. There is also a good article on this here too:

http://www.credenda.org/issues/12-3husbandry.php

With the whole homemaking thing with my finace btw, one day the truth came out. He told me something like "you know, i may complain about you wanting things so neat, but dont listen to me. Deep down this is what i want too, its just taken me awhile to realize it". I suspect thats true for many. Its a guy's nature i think to rebel against a woman's focus on order and peacefulness just like its a guy's nature to rebel against providing and protecting--that is, until that rebellion is risen above. Maybe that's why the whole Adam's "work curse" thing had to happen in the first place, to heal that running from these things.

I think a woman being a helpmeet means helping your partner fulfill his role to provide and protect, not doing it it for him, and also not catering to his every whim like he's a child or tyrant rather than the man he is called to be. And a woman is not the mistress of the home for nothing, he is the head of the home but she is also the heart. What kind of head ignores the intuition of the heart in matters of the heart, in this case the heart of what makes homeness? Even if my partner didnt think a clean ordered house or a rested and peaceful wife matters, deep down i'd strive for that anyway becuase i know in my gut it is what i am called to do. And i think in the long run we would both be more at peace if i did, and living in chaos if i did not.

Wendy WaterBirde said...

PS I totally agree with you Anna, "I know there's no magic force in the world that will eliminate my kitchen disasters and clutter-proneness, all at once". I dont think we can be perfect, i think its really harmful to expect that. Its more that we should have the freedom to truly do our best at creating a peaceful home rather than being pulled into things (like working etc) that are usually so counter to that...

Got another on the way said...

I thought it is interesting that no one has discussed divorce rates among working women. A few months ago I saw on a morning news show a brief story that stated that divorce rates are notably lower among couples where the wife stays at home full time. I've had a devil of a time finding the article again. No wonder, considering how the media has vilified Michael Noer of this article http://www.forbes.com/home/2006/08/23/Marriage-Careers-Divorce_cx_mn_land.html as a mysoginist. But I did find this article that touches on the subject: http://mtsu32.mtsu.edu:11422/315/adultdiv/divfactos.html in the subjects "emloyment status" and "income". Also this article: http://www.careerjournal.com/columnists/workfamily/20040423-workfamily.html that says,"The odds of divorce are highest when husbands and wives contribute about equally to family income". So that's the statistical angle. Think about it. In the work place, a woman is spending 5-9 hours a day around men who may elicit admiration, then affection, then straying. If the wife is surrounded by women, they are chosen for the work they do, and not for their godly character. Ever hear the way women deride men, even husbands, when those men aren't around? Not healthy to be around. If the wife goes to work as a nanny in the privacy of a home, but privately believes a mother's place is with her children, what kind of message is she sending to her employers? Why is it o.k. for one mother to hire out her mothering and not another (this is a tough on for me as I always enjoyed this work before marriage, and have struggled with it since then). This is both a moral and pragmatic issue. People often discuss "opportunity cost" in economics, that not being involved in something is comperable to losing: money, memories, etc. Let's think. If a wife goes to work outside the home, not only might home duties and marital relationship suffer, but she loses the opportunity to serve in the less noticeable realms of commuity: meals-on-wheals, helping an elderly neighbor do her shopping or yard work, visiting a new mom with a hot meal for her family and two hands to help with her quickly massing housework, less time to visit with and comfort the lonely in the community (or beyond, with a letter). Now let's look at the Bible. In the old Testament, the only woman I can think of who had a career outside of the home was Deborah (Judges 4), and not only did she always have her husband's counsel, but her role was a curse upon the Israelites for their defections to baals. God was effectively telling them that the best man for the job of leading the country was a woman. Ouch. Please see Isaiah 3:12: "O My people! Their oppresors are children, and women rule over them." A woman ruler was as shameful as a child ruler (Isa 3:4). So there's Deborah. In the New Testament I think of Lydia (Acts 16), who sold purple fabrics. Yet there is an implication that she was head of household, since all her household was baptized with her (v. 16). If she was head of household,the implication is that there was no man. She was probably a widow. Finally, I don't understand why no one has recommended that the young woman in question seek biblical counsel from an authority in their church, either their elder or their pastor, depending on the church's make-up. I believe it was the Rev. Douglas Wilson who wrote in the book, Reforming Marriage, that modern christian men have bought into working wives for one primary reason: they get two incomes for the price of one. The man gets a nicer car or bigger home, or well-dressed, manicured wife, or padded bank account or whatever he longs for without the bother of taking a second job himself. Remember, he is still the head of household and whoever brings home the money he is the top authority on how it's spent or saved. Nice! A visit with a wise, discerning leader should help uncover who in the marriage is clinging to earthly desires, and what is the truly biblical standard. If in the end, that means a more mainstream career, check out this article: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/TakeControlOfYourLife/story?id=2371804 which may help a wife to find a job working from home using the computer, particularly things like customer service. Or perhaps tutoring in the home in her area of expertise.On a final note, I'd like to add that there are some great ways for women to serve in the public sector, especially in roles that serve or protect women: Ob/GYNs, nurses, midwives, massage therapy, etc. But preferably for the more mature (I mean that in both ways) daugher of God, preferably not a married woman of child-bearing years. Thanks Anna, for some great postings.

Mimi said...

when we start out as a new bride we always have ideals as to the way we intend for our life to go... sometimes our life follows the pattern we have set for ourself for awhile... but then there are bumps in the road, and we have to make changes..
this doesn't mean that the changes will be forever... but as life happens we have to make adjustments in order to follow the plan that God has for us...
perhaps if we are led (or requested by our husband) to work for awhile, we may come in contact with someone in the work situation that we would not have ever met otherwise... and we may in some way be a strong influence on that particular person...
the important thing to do in the decision as to whether to work outside the home is to pray about it and make the decision together with your husband...
I know that can become a real bone of contention in a marriage if you allow it...
so remember you are in it for the long haul, and don't think that what you do today you will not have to continue to do the rest of your life... I have worked outside the home... I have been a stay at home wife and mother... and the important thing was always to do what was best for the happiness of the home (at that particular time)..I am praying for your friend that she will find peace with her decision...

Anna S said...

Thank you all, dear ladies, for your wonderful comments! I hope Carolyn reads them all and emails me to tell how things with her husband are proceeding.

USA:

"And for me personally, I do not view the man as being "master"…

USA, I will have to respectfully disagree with you here; unless someone cancelled that particular part in Genesis 3 about Adam ruling over Eve, men *are* to be leaders and women *are* to be followers.

Karen:

"she may not have another chance for a very long time to pursue a career which interests her."
That's true, but Carolyn feels she finds fulfillment in being at home, doesn't she? That's why she wrote to me in the first place.

Erin:

We are told to be keepers of our home, and build our home, which can hardly be accomplished well with spending many, many hours outside the home every day…

And Kaye, I agree with you that Carolyn's husband might not be doing the right thing here; however, right now we are talking only about *her* obligation to him.

I also agree with Wendy. While right now Carolyn's husband says he doesn't really care of the work she does, or isn't aware of it, or doesn't appreciate it, doesn't mean they will be better off if she quit. That's why she should talk with her husband, and maybe allow for a trial period of her working. If she really puts a lot of effort into keeping her home, it will be missed once she won't be able to!

Wendy WaterBirde said...

I just wanted to thank Got Another on the Way for sharing the info on divorce rates, i know i really appreciated reading that. It's not surprising at all, and i dont even think its about tempatation but about simple respect. If a man asked me to shoulder his own role and work i suspect i could not help but lose respect for him more and more... and its very hard for a relationship to thrive if respect is gone. Its a primal instinctive thing...a man's providing and protecting heals something in a woman's heart..and his trying to expose rather than protect her, by having her share what he should be doing, conversely this hurts something deep inside, a woman feels (and is) abandoned then i think, whether its conscious why this is why one is hurting or not. No surprise at all that such abandonment and betrayal (and i do consider a man not being the provider and protector a kind of abandonment and betrayal, unless it was truly not under his control like a serious injury and the like) would end in divorce.

I think the biggest reason that divorce rates are just as high in the Christian world as the secular one is that when it comes down to the actual day to day stuff, well relationships are seen in the same twisted way in both worlds really. So sad.

I keep remembering what someone said earlier in the thread about how its more important to be a helpmeet than a keeper at home. I think that's the common understanding out there, and its one that harms so much... seeing the two as seperate when they are usually one in the same. I think we have totally twisted what helpmeet means and if that could be healed then a lot could happen in healing our relationships and divorce rate i suspect. Maybe for some being a helpmate is something other than keeping at home, im not ruling that out at all, i just think its the exception rather than the rule... just like how when one looks at biblical women there were the exceptions like Deborah etc, but most women led more home centered lives....

Anna S said...

Wendy,

Again, I agree with you. It's painful when your calling is unappreciated, when your important job as a wife and keeper-at-home isn't understood. I'm blessed by engagement to a man who treasures home life and cherishes my desire to dedicate myself to home, but it didn't come automatically; we learned and discovered God's calling for men and women, together, and prayed about it a lot.

Not all women have husbands who are perfect in this area, and the question is, what's a woman to do in such a situation? It's likely that Carolyn's husband is influenced by the world's ideas, or simply didn't learn enough about the separate calling of men and women. I hope and pray, for both of them, to study it together. I think the chances of him reaching a favorable conclusion here are good, because he does want her to be a stay-at-home mother.

Wendy WaterBirde said...

Hi Anna,

Sorry to be commenting so much on this thread. But i agree with you too, and with my finace it doesnt come automatically either i must admit. Deep down he is heroic, i could feel it right away in his considerate nature and the vintage books he loves and such. But he has been mega influenced by feminism, as most have. It is the physical limits of my disability really that have led to him supporting me being at home i think, though i trust a more biblical understanding there will come later. The point is, maybe different men need a differnt "door" there...for my partner the door was him understanding my physical limits, for Carolyn's husband maybe his door is knowing he wants her to be home as a mother...from these doors things can open up. So maybe the "what's a woman to do in such a situation" is about praying he will find his "door" there, as well as feeling for this door yourself as well? I suspect we sensed these doors already when we fell in love with our partners...

Anna S said...

Wendy,

You certainly shouldn't *apologize* for commenting! :) I love and appreciate your insight.

You just made a great point, about God using different ways to work on our hearts. To me, embracing my feminine role started from modesty; to someone else, it might be motherhood, or hospitality, or something as simple as cooking or crafts! Similarly, our men grow towards understanding their role as man, through many different paths. We should just *pray* for it, and be willing to learn and grow alongside them.

Wendy WaterBirde said...

I love the way you put that Anna, you have such a kind way of expressing things. And i love that God is so personal with us, working on our hearts. Maybe our doors, and our partners doors, will surprise and deight as we go along... I just love thinking of life that way : )

AnneK said...

That was a lot of wonderful opinions, I think Mrs Slaq said it best. It was interesting to read it all.

Anna S said...

I agree with you, Annie. Mrs. Slaq, you worded it beautifully! As much as I desire to be a full-time keeper at home, if my husband, after all discussing and reasoning, said an absolute and resolute 'NO', I'd want to obey him cheerfully, not grudgingly.

Husbands' understanding and loving their role as providers is a different issue, which I would love to discuss in a separate post. But whatever my opinion on this point may be, I don't feel it frees me from the obligation to look at my husband as a leader!

By the way, ladies. I just got an email from Carolyn, expressing her gratitude to you for your wonderful and wise input, and to me for publishing her question (my pleasure, Carolyn!). You are ALL very kind and sensitive! Carolyn said that now she will have a *real*, calm conversation with her husband about it, without bitterness and bickering, but instead with much prayer and studying the role of women as keepers at home, and if he is still convinced she must find employment outside the home, she will submit to his leadership.
Thanks SO much to those who commented (of course the comment section is still open, and if you have more highlights and suggestions, keep 'em coming!)

Kelli in the Mirror said...

This is very new to me and I am encouraged to find that there are so many ladies out there who do this. I've never HEARD of anyone without kids staying home. I'd love to know what kind of church you go to that promotes this so beautifully, because I've never once heard this kind of stuff mentioned where I live. Most of the people I know would probably say she was lazy. I've been married 11 years and have always worked, although it's been at home since the kids were born- I do inhome child care so I can be with my children. We have huge credit card debt and there's no way I could quit working. I want to get there though, and I'd LOVE to raise my daughter to know God wants her to be "just a housewife"- it's what I've wanted to be and never could.

Carolyn, you're very fortunate to have the option! I wish my husband and I had known more about money before we were married, because we both made bad decisions that we're still paying for.

Anna, I love this blog. I just found it and it's quickly becoming one of my favorites.

Anna S said...

Kelli, thank you for sharing your experience. Yes, good financial decisions *right from the start* are very important to enable the wife/mom to stay at home.

Sarah said...

I just came across this post and had a suggestion. Perhaps try a temp agency for a week or two. The money earned could be earmarked for a vacation or something fun, but NOT to be contributed towards bills since in the future the second income will not be available. By working for a week or two, Mr Hubby will get to experience what having a "working" wife is like...what things do not get done around the house, where he will need to contribute more, changes in attitude and moods, overall change in marriage dynamics. Since it is only for a few weeks, should he decide he misses his Mrs at home, it is an easy fix. I'll be praying for you!

Another on the Way said...

Check out this article:
http://heartsforfamily.blogspot.com/2007/09/women-leaving-home-one-problem-leads-to.html

The third comment, from Word Warrior, is especially apropriate.

Anna S said...

Oh yes, I read that post by Kelly today, and her comments too; as always, she's able to really pinpoint the problem!

Karen said...

I'm so glad Carolyn was helped by your post and the comments! I hope things go well with her and her husband!

I know she finds fullfillment at home, but I think you have to look on the bright side of life at all times, and if it ends up the only compromise they can reach is for her to work outside the home, the plus is a little saving for the future (hopefully) and I hope she finds work which interests her. Usually I found work which did NOT interest me at all!

And no it is not true that Deborah was the only women in the Bible to do any work outside the home. The famous proverbs 31 women did as well! What she did was basically equivolant to real estate nowadays, which is such flexible hours and still allows a lot of time to be with the family. So yes, I think you can still be a virtuous woman and work outside the home part time, as long as your heart is in the right place!

got another on the way said...

The thing about the Prov. 31 woman who keeps popping up in casual mention is that she worked largely from home; she only went to market occasionally to sell her wares (this is a safe assumption since 1: it's unlikely that she could have been sooooo industrious that she had enough wares to warrant daily trips to the market -and still have time to weave, hunt real estate, cook and otherwise provide for the famlily- and 2: in most communities, market day was only an occasional, if regular, occurance, like once a month or at most once a week. furthermore, it seems that both (all?) her endeavours were self- or family- business employment, whether making and selling fabric or buying and monitoring vineyards. (VisionForumMinistries.org has some very helpful materials about this type of industry)I can't tell where she went to work away from the family unit or for an outsider. Look, I don't necessarily think that a woman must always work in the home at all times. I agree with (author and Reverend) Douglas Wilson who has put it well saying (to paraphrase), if the Bible dosen't expressly forbid/speak out against something, then we as Christians should hesitate also from that, or even refrain. Again, these are issues explored in the link I gave earlier. Let me state (re-state?)I'm talking about young (married) women of childbearing age here. And going back to scripture (which we should always do if we are to be in submission to God), I don't think the scriptures cited for wives working outside the home are entirely applicable. Another article that I thought was helpful is: http://www.reformedonline.com/view/This article is primarily regarding courtship, and while I do not agree with everything stated here, in terms of marrying a man in the fist place I think the author is dead on (for those reading who have yet to choose a mate) "a son must be trained to support a family financially and must receive instruction in financial responsibilities. This responsibility is exhibited even before the fall. Note that Eve is created "only after Adam had proven himself responsible by discharging his duties faithfully and well. Responsibility is thus clearly a prerequisite to marriage for the man." [130] Rushdoony writes: "Man was required to know himself first of all in terms of his calling before he was given a help-meet, Eve. Thus, not until Adam, for an undefined but apparently extensive length of time, had worked at his calling, cared for the garden and come to know the creatures thereof, was he given a wife. We are specifically told that Adam named or classified all the animals, a considerable task, prior to the creation of Eve....This responsibility is also taught by the dowry system. In the Old Testament a man had to give a girl's father a bride price (the mhar) before the marriage took place. The bride price was a large sum of money that served a number of purposes. (a) It served as a sort of insurance policy for the wife in case the husband died or turned out to be irresponsible and left. The father kept the money for his daughter so that she would not be impoverished if calamity occurred. (b) It also served as a sign of man's financial responsibility. Today it would be the equivalent of a man having thirty thousand dollars in the bank as a down payment on a new house. Men who are slackers, who are irresponsible financially, do not have that kind of money in the bank." A husband should not be asking his wife to help pay off that bride price. Savings shouldn't (idealy) have been an issue. A husband shouldn't be pushing his bride out of the house, which is I guess the rub here. And I still don't get why folks keep talking about being his helpmeet where there is an appropriate implication of wifely submission, without addressing a higher authority, namely the church. A young husband can use biblical mentoring (especially these days)as well as a young woman. Not everything needs counselling, but if a wife is feeling mowed over or led away from her God given calling, then it seem appropriate. Blogs are great and encouraging, but despite being sisters in Christ, we are yet strangers. One's pastor has a vested interest in the success of his flock's marriages. Finally, if comes comes from study, discussion and appropriate counsel that she should hire herself out, then I agree with Karen, "A cheerful heart is good medicine" (Prov. 14:22) And happily, many of those Proverbs 31 endeavors can still be done from home, by marketing online. All kinds of professions can be practiced from the home or by tele-commuting.

Anna S said...

Got another on the way,

Wow! Thank you for your amazing input. If Carolyn is still following this thread (I'll email her to make sure), she's probably very encouraged.

I, too, often see how the Proverbs 31 woman's projects are pulled out of context by saying, 'well, she worked!'. Yes, she did; but nothing implies she spent 8 or 10 hours outside the home every day, concentrating something that has nothing to do with the needs of her household.

About home business. I think it can be a great venue of resourcefulness and creativity for a woman, *but*, one must be careful; as someone who works from home, I know it can actually steal as much time as 'normal' work.

Got another on the way said...

Beg your pardon, I meant Prov. 17:22, not 14:22. And I quite agree with you Anna, about home-employed time demands.