Monday, September 10, 2007

A few words on home businesses

A lot has already been said about this article, which encourages women to put in more entrepreneurialism and develop home businesses. I'm not sure how many of you have read it, as it was pretty long; it did contain a few interesting thoughts, but there are many points on which I disagree.

First, we must remember there are different seasons in life. The amount of time a woman can dedicate to other pursuits after completing her homemaking duties is limited, and at certain periods, I imagine, will be almost nonexistent. But even if a woman has everything in order and still some free time remains, it doesn't mean she should immediately dedicate all the time she has left to money-making.

I have been working from home, on and off, during the last five years. I tutor children and do translations. 'Working from home' sounds very comforting to some women, and in a sense it's true: you have a flexible schedule, and are there for emergencies. But it still means investing lots and lots of time.

There was a summer when I took on a very large translating project, and it kept me by my computer for 7 or 8 hours a day. Of course, I could take breaks whenever I wanted to, and I was still at home to tend to the needs of my elderly grandmother, but regarding my other duties at home, it was not too much better than if I had to work a job outside the home.

Theoretically, I learned, it's possible for me to run around, crossing things off my to-do list at top speed. Theoretically it's possible for me to pile up grocery shopping, laundry, vacuuming and washing the floors, cooking for the week, washing windows and what not, in one day. It's possible in an emergency. But this will be a day when I collapse, exhausted. This will be a day when I won't have time to do anything special and memorable, anything that really makes me a homemaker and not a housekeeper.

The way I see it, insisting that a woman should have a home business isn't that different from insisting a woman to work outside the home - though there are, of course, obvious advantages, like not having her work with a male boss, having a flexible schedule, etc. Sure, if I had to choose between the two, working from home is definitely a better option; but in essence, it all boils down to this idea, which bothers me: that a woman must bring in money in order to justify her presence at home. Managing the family budget wisely isn't enough. Being a busy, creative and resourceful wife isn't enough.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think there's anything wrong with having a home business, for those who can incorporate it into their lives. Actually, if you feel you can do it, great! But not if the woman's more basic duties (wife, mother, homemaker) are suffering, or if her sanity is compromised. And what happens if this income grows and becomes regular and turns into a very substantial part of the family budget? If running this business depends only on the wife, isn't it possible to come to a situation when the husband stops seeing himself as being completely responsible for providing?

These thoughts that are always on my mind whenever home businesses are discussed. When a homemaker feels she must find some way to earn money, otherwise her presence isn't valuable enough, where does it bring us? Isn't it getting dangerously close to the very thing we're trying to avoid, as women who decided to focus on their family and home?

As you see it's far from being black and white, but I was disturbed by the tone of that article, and generally by the attitude that the homemaker must 'justify' being home, either by running around and crossing things off her to-do list all day long, or by managing a home business, or by doing volunteer work. I wish we were at the point when, if a woman said, 'I'm a wife', no one would ask her: 'So... what do you do?'

49 comments:

Shannon said...

Hi Anna,
How are you? I must say that I agree on your view of running a home business, in addition to a husbands job. You know, Proverbs 31 means much more than the pursuit of entrepreneurialism. If one reads Proverbs 31, they will see that it lies heavily on the woman caring for the needs of her family, using wise judgement in managing provisions. Some women honestly are not business gurus. Just as some women are good at needlepoint, while others are skilled in painting, etc. While I feel that all women should be able to do things such as manage money, shop wisely, etc. this is not the same as being a home business owner. My mother has her own business and she is never home, she is running all the time. If us kids were little, it would be a total nightmare. When we were growing up, she stayed at home with us and my Dad pressured her to go out and get a job in real estate. She did, and things went downhill quickly. Now what she does is a good, valuable service and she has touched many lives. She also is single and she would no other means to support herself. In the case of the married homemaker, it would be more practical and less hectic for the wife to help her husband with his business, as a helpmeet. For her to pick up another job to do at home (apparently to some think cleaning, cooking, and child-rearing is not one), while the husband works, is a prescription for stress and dysfunction in the family. Also, how could a woman pursue her unique talents if she has no time to manage the home, and was "working" another job.

I have people tell me to take up medical transcription, real estate, etc, because I do not have a "job." As a result of the "job" my Mom had to go out and get, my Dad's convincing backfired in his face. He grew abusive and jealous, then the family fell apart. My parents divorced and out of the conflict, I spent 2 and half years in foster care. Today I am medically disabled from the stress of what happened and yet people ask me why I don't have a "job?" Thank you for posting the article. Maybe it will wake up some of these people from their ignorant slumber.

Karen said...

Well, I think it can be done if you do it during spare time...which might mean you'd have no time for devotionals or hobbies. But I'm with you I don't even think it's necessary most of the time and that sometimes people do it for money they don't even need.

I'm very disturbed by the attitude that it's easy to work from home AND be a housewife and mother. It's not!

I used to work from home, and I finally gave it up because I felt like I had no free time at all!

I find it very disturbing when I get things in the mail saying "you can work from home!" and they have pictures of a child sitting on a mother's lap while she's doing work on the computer. C'mon now. In real life that child would be off her lap and off playing with the light socket in 3 seconds flat!

But most disturbing of all was an episode I glimpsed a while ago of "Supernanny". The mom worked from home and was basically on the phone all day while her 3 children ran wild. The nanny's "solution"? Try to make sure the children know that they have to be good when mommy's on the phone. No no no! How about have her get off the phone and go be a mom!!

I'm sorry for those women who have to do it for the money, but honestly working from home is still work, and you can't work and take care of a child at the same time. It just isn't safe.

Karen said...

Hmm... I just looked at that article and I didn't like the tone at all. The mothers I knew who had home businesses were far from superior in their child rearing skills, they tried but it was a real strugle to balance it all. I used to baby sit for a work from home mom, and it was no different that babysitting for a working mom. She desperately needed me there.

And how is a woman to retain her composure and be the peaceful, cheerful helpmeet to her husband at the end of the day if she's run herself ragged trying to take on everything all at once?

I always got the impression that the proverbs 31 women has older children who don't need much supervision.

Ron and Ginny said...

I agree with the article. I even had to give up going to the farmer's market, even though I don't have children, because I could not keep up with baking for the market all week and trying to keep up with homemaking, gardening, canning, making my clothing, and then trying to be a cheerful helpmeet. If I was the original Proverbs 31 woman, I would have human servants. People say we have servants now, like our appliances, etc, and I agree, but they are very much different from human ones, so I must choose carefully what will take up my time, emotions, and mind. I chose my husband and my home.

Gothelittle Rose said...

I entirely agree with these comments. (At least the ones that were up at the time of my writing this. :) )

I'm finding that it's true people are more willing to accept my being home when they know I have a part-time job outside the home, as if I am "doing something" and wouldn't be otherwise. Still, I can already see that with my homemaking and my homeschooling, this job is going to stretch me just a little thin!

And it's not even a bad job when it comes to schedule disruption. I'm teaching a computer class at the local community college, Saturday mornings, and I have the week during which I can grade work and write up the next lesson. For me, it's the optimal kind of out-of-home work.

My mother did not work at all when most of her kids were little. Now that my youngest brother is on his last year in highschool and my youngest sister is the only other one homeschooling, she works 10 hours/week at the local post office. Different seasons call for different jobs. I want to have more children, but I'm not sure I'll be teaching a course when I have a little homeschooler and an infant.

Anna S said...

Gothelittle Rose,

See, that's precisely what I have a problem with: saying that it's normal and even praiseworthy to be constantly 'stretched too thin'. Granted, there will be seasons in our lives when days just speed by no matter how hard we try to slow down, but the tendency in our culture is to do that ALL THE TIME. To pile up until our backs are about to break, and then somehow 'pull through' because 'everyone are doing it'.

We need to simplify!

Rebekka said...

I'm no expert (I am a wife with no kids going to nursing school with my husband's blessing), but it seems to me that being a SAHW/M *IS* bringing money into the home.
It would cost TONS of money to hire someone to look after your children around the clock with the level of attention that a mother does. All that cleaning, cooking, interior decorating being done WELL is also extremely expensive if you think about it in terms of hiring someone to do it. How many two-income families have to have housekeepers come in because neither parent has the time or energy to do these things?
Besides, many of these women actively keep money in the household by being smart with their family's money.

I also disagree with the article's author about how gardening/canning/etc. is just a hobby. It can be a hobby, but someone who grows the majority of their family's food is going to save a lot of money and is also being environmentally/socially responsible.

Just my two cents.

Ashley said...

I found that article really disrespectful in it's tone. Esspecially towards gardening, canning, breadmaking and such. Ouch, ouch, ouch! I do this because my husband loves it, not cause it makes me feel holy! :\

To me the article seemed to take a overly simplified view of home business, and it seemed to me that he considered women who *don't* have a home business to be inferiour to those that do! Ouch, again!

I have a very well behaved 18mo, and I'm 8mo pregnant with #2. The idea of a home business is just overwhelming! Right now I do my housework during the day so I can spend time with my husband in the evenings. Oh, wait, we could spend our evenings on the computer, running a business out of our garage, instead of reading our Bible, taking walks, playing with our son and relaxing from our day's labor. Oh, and don't forget, managed *properly* you shouldn't ever have a garage full of inventory. :(

Maybe in a perfect world!!! LOL

To people like this pastor, what I do has little value. I guess it's just 'puttering' . . .

. . . however, last week when I had a bit of time on my hands, I figured out that if I buy a 30# box of peanuts and stick them in our deep freeze, I can make natural peanut butter for $1.20 a pound, as compared to $3-$4 at the store.

My dh, who loves to sample homemade stuff (and likes to puree stuff, too! LOL), is thrilled to pieces at the idea. He's always asking 'hey, can you make this at home?' It will be nice to step into the garage and not to have to buy several jars every single time I go to the store! If I forget, 'tis rather sad, no pb&j's, no pancakes, no nobake cookies.

And I just can't help but compare my creative, even *money saving* peanut butter idea to the article's interpretation of P31 Lady buying land to use for a vineyard because her family uses alot of wine! ;)

I enjoyed your blog about this, Anna!!! Thank you!!!!

Kaye :) said...

Hi Anna,

I agree with your post.

I have a dear friend who has a home business. She works more than if she were working outside the home. Her thoughts are consumed with how to proceed to her next level and how to make enough money so her husband can retire early.

My friend has wanted me to be a part of her business, but I've told her I don't have time. At one point she was critical of another friend who decided she couldn't spare time away from her family.

Working at home is just another way to distract a home maker from her duties.

Katy-Anne said...

While I agree that home businesses aren't for everyone, I don't think anybody can deny that the Proverbs 31 woman worked from home, and that she is shown as a good example of what a woman should be.

Anna S said...

Katy-Anne,

I agree with you that the Proverbs 31 woman worked from home; however - maybe it's a matter of interpretation, feel free to disagree - it seems to me as though her work was less of a full-blown, time-consuming home business, and more of a trade she did as time allowed. Again, it all depends on which season of life one is at. Maybe a young childless bride, or a woman whose children are grown, has more time for 'planting vineyards' (not that she MUST spare that time, but maybe she will find it appropriate); but for a woman with two toddlers and a baby on the way, 'planting vineyards' most likely will have to wait, unless she wants it to take a toll on her health.

I'm not against home businesses. I think working from home can be great for women who can spare the time without damaging other areas of their lives. Currently I work from home myself. What bothers me is the condescending tone of that article. To me, it sounded as though the author thinks a woman should feel guilty if her leisure time activities don't involve money-making.

Gothelittle Rose said...

To be honest, part of what stretches me a little thin is that I'm just always doing fun stuff! This past week, I went to the Woodstock Fair, attended a concert featuring a symphonic metal band, and visited with my great-aunt at my grandmother's picnic. I also made an apple peach pie last night. None of these things really 'brought in money' and some of them spent money! But really, what is truly living?

Our pastor talked about true life in his sermon. He pointed out how it couldn't be found in materialism, sex, workaholism, etc. He said that it was important just to do your assigned work and enjoy life with others. In this past week, the housework has slipped a little. But it meant everything to my great-aunt to see her great-great-grandnephew and the rest of us, I'm sure it did Lil Bernie (my son) a lot of good to pat cows, and share food with me at the fair, and my husband and I got such a kick out of flirting with each other at the concert that we 'celebrated' it when we came home, even though it was after 1am! I'm always going to remember those things, and I do feel as if I've been living life to the full.

I've been cleaning the house this morning, and I could've just cleaned it and gone right to my grading work. What's slowed me down is putting up the autumn decorations and listening to my mother tell me about the meat pie she made last night. I'll set myself up for an afternoon of study and then get a call asking me if I want to walk with my mother and siblings down to her workplace. (She works 3/4 mile away and likes to walk to work, and she likes company.) I almost always end up just leaving the vacuum cleaner in the middle of the floor and going!

AnneK said...

I have no input to this since I do not have a home business, but I do not understand you mentioning male boss. What has working or not working out of home got anything to do with the gender of the boss? Your work is work, home is home. I do not see any reason to confuse the two.

Terry said...

I agree with your assessment totally. I had a small home business a few years back and it definitely compromised my ability to fulfill my primary duties as a wife and mother. Thankfully, we were dependent on the additional income and I was able to stop. I think you've done a wonderful job of analyzing the article, and shifting the focus from the issue od earning money to what's really important: raising and nurturing godly families. If that includes entrepeneurialism for some women, then good. That doesn't mean it's for everyone and I certainly don't believe it mandated in scripture.

Anonymous said...

I wish that everyone would stop being condescending!

I find it ridiculous that working a full-time job is enough for a man to do, but a woman has to work from home to fill her time while caring for her husband and children and the house and homeschooling, etc. The image in the article of a woman homeschooling her older children with the baby on her hip while running a business made me sad. It's sooooo much work! She must be so tired!

It is draining to be the first one up, on your feet all day, and the last one to go to bed with no time to relax in between. Maybe that's the "ideal" wife-- but I get grumpy when I'm exhausted!

Interesting post, Anna.
~Emily

Anna S said...

Annie,

I just have seen too many cases when working for a male boss, especially in close contact, lead to VERY imprudent situations. Sure, it doesn't always have to be this way. But for example a friend of mine is a young, pretty woman, who workes in close contact with her young, handsome *married* boss. He's experiencing certain problems with his marriage. She's kind and sympathetic. This situation creates an unhealthy tension between them. Maybe I'm stretching it a bit too far, but I personally always felt more comfortable working with/for women when I had jobs outside the home.

Gothelittle Rose said...

I agree about the male boss problem. I worked for a male boss a few times. I always enjoyed it.. I like authority figures to be male. But at the same time, I was aware that I was spending the majority of my waking hours basically submitting to a man who was not my husband, and it does have an effect.

I'm supposed to be working closely with my husband to fulfill the goals of the family, not working closely with another man daily to fulfill his goals. It does make a subtle difference in your life.

Lutheran Woman said...

The woman in Proverbs 31 did not work outside her home, rather she worked in the home and most importantly ... she had servants.

If I had servants, I too would be able to create more things to sell or be able to manage other things in order to earn extra money.

This is not to say that if you do not have servants you "shall not work at home".

That would be imposing a heavy burden of the law on women.

Some families have major changes in their lives where they are short every month and need an extra income in order to pay the regular bills. These women should not feel that they are wrong even if they are working themselves into a tizzy.

As parents, we do have times where we sacrifice more then other times. Sometimes hubby must work 7 days a week, other times Mom needs to start babysitting in order to get by.

Parents must do what they need to do. Their jobs are very difficult, we should honor them in their decisions knowing that God gave them their households to run to the best of their abilities and we were not.

Anna S said...

Oh, I'm certainly not talking about exceptional situations and dire circumstances; the article didn't actually refer to that either, as far as I remember. It just showed a very money-centered attitude. It made me feel uncomfortable.

Kyla said...

I didn't like the tone of the article and for the sake of time I just skimmed it but since I do work from home I wanted to chime in on this topic.

I am so blessed to be able to use my God given business sense and still have my focus on my Home and husband. I don't grow or can my own veggies, I am bored to death by needlework, and I don't bake my own bread. I do however take the time to talk with my husband, prepare healthy meals and do our laundry. I pay somebody to keep the yard and do some of the cleaning just because I am not doing these chores myself does not make me less of a home keeper. The Proverbs 31 woman was able to have a business b/c she had servants to help with the household. It would be wasteful to spend my time doing things that I don't enjoy or that my husband doens't appreicate when I have the opportunity to make $$ for our household and to do something that makes me happy. I know that when we have kids I will have to manage things differently but for now this is the perfect situation.

As far as the male boss comments I also want to add that I have worked for both women and men and my current boss is a man. We are actually very good friends with a wonderful professional and personal relationship. I have to disagree on the sumbission issue. As Christians we are told to submit to authorities, one another and as women our husbands. A boss is an authority whether he is male or female and as a Christian I submit to him regardless of his gender. My relationship and therefore my submission is very different with my husband than with my boss.

Jia said...

Anna, I agree that people should not force women to work from home. But there should be more tollerance for those who do. I'll be graduating soon as a Massage Therapist, and you wouldn't believe how many people ask me which spa I'm going to work at. None. I will be working from home, where I can do the most good.

Jia

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

Anna S said...

... I just want to clarify I don't imply that every case of working for a male boss will end in an affair. I've just grown to be wary of situations when men and women work close together. My own experience, that's all.

Anna S said...

Jia, what I feel we need - and the author of that article lacked - is kindness, grace and courtesty towards all people, in all situations.

Karen said...

My goodness...I read the whole thing (although I had to skim some). That was the longest article I have ever read and afterwards I thought..."What a waste of my time!!"

I have 2 little little ones and just started home preschooling (OY VAY! LOL, this is going to take some time to work out the kinks...and I used to teach preschool!).

Isn't it a man's duty and curse to go out and work and eat dust? Where does it say that is our curse or duty? Why should we pile upon ourselves the curse of man when we still have to deal with our monthlies and other womanly curses as it is!

Yes, the Proverbs 31 woman is a great example of a godly and virtuous woman. But she is just 1 example! There are many other examples in the Bible, and just because she was virtuous, does not necessarily follow that we must be exactly like her in order to be! All women are different and God loves variety. We should try to be alike her in spirit and intention, not necessarily in means or personality! You are absolutely right the main thing that made her virtuous was her character and commitment to her family's well being. NOT bringing in money!

I tell my husband, "If I have to have go through pregnancy, labor and breastfeeding, and take care of the house and homeschool, then you have to go eat dust and bring home the bread. It's not too much to ask. It's only fair." We have a FANTASTIC relationship. And the reason why is because I support him in whatever way I can, and at the end of the day I haven't stretched myself too thin to care about and listen to him and cheer him up, or serve and take care of him. Were I working - even from home, I doubt I would be able to do that with a smile on my face!

And yeah, as for holding the baby on the hip all the time...I tried that...it HURT. I started using a walker for her some of the time. Saves money on a chiropractor!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for addressing this here on your blog, Anna. I did read the article, & felt compelled to comment on two other blogs about it!

I found myself annoyed, to the point of anger even, as I got the impression the Pastor who wrote the piece has the strange notion that women are simply "playing house" by being home, & all we need is some VERY smart man to come along & tell us how better to use our time. Plain & simple, his tone was condescending.

So many people claim they love the simple things in life. They give you a pretty good spiel, about how it's the little things that matter, God looks on the heart, a person's money is not what makes him or her important, your health is something that no amount of money can buy, blabbedy-blah.... And yet, the pressure is there, always there, from friend & foe alike, to add to the load, even to the detriment of the family as a whole, & the woman's health especially.

I don't care if the standard for women today is one of run-run-run.
I think there is a better way, & it doesn't include a home business (in my case), any more than it means going out to look for work. If, at some point, we needed the extra money that badly, yes, my husband & I would consider my working. I like to think the whole family would pull together in a situation like that. Until that day comes I'll stay right here, managing our household to the very best of my ability.

Brenda

Kyla said...

Anna, I agree that you have to be careful when working closely with men. I was addressing more than attitude (from some of the commentators, not you) that it is wrong to work for a man because of the submitting issue. You don't have to publish this comment, I just wanted to let you know that I wasn't directing my comment towards you.

Anna S said...

Karen,

Yes, to me it also seemed the article focused too much on *just one* part of Proverbs 31. There were many, many examples of godly and virtuous women who didn't earn any income, outside or inside; so while I don't think there's anything wrong with owning a home business, saying a woman *MUST* have one is, at best, a stretch, or worse, an interference with her role as a woman, wife, helpmeet, mother and homemaker.

Brenda,

The 'playing house' remark is very accurate. There were moments while I was reading when I told myself, next moment we'll be informed that what we do at home isn't 'real' work but some sort of leisurely pastimes.

Today, I spent not less than 9 hours running errands, shopping, cleaning, cooking and baking for my family (with much joy and love!). I did save some money by cooking and baking from scratch, but more importantly, we're not eating microwave pizza today!

AnneK said...

I debated quite a bit thinking whether to comment again or not. But I need to say this much and I promise this will be the last comment :)

I know personal experience can make us a little biased to one kind of situation over the other. I have had male and female bosses who were kind and unkind. The dynamics in each relationship is different. With a woman boss you could possibly be freer and talk about more personal stuff, whereas that may not be the case with male bosses. We need to exercise caution independent of the place of interaction whether it be church, office, your doctor. The best way to manage such situations is to not offer any problems to male married (or unmarried as the case may be) acquaintances to solve. Do not encourage confidences. That is a slippery slope.

I do understand where you are coming from, thank goodness you haven't said --the goals of your husband will not match up to the goals of your boss, thats why you shouldn't work outside home.-- That would have made me throw up a little. Yes, the goals of my husband and boss are different. My boss and I work for a big corporation and our goal is company profit. My husbands goal for our family has nothing to do with corporate profit, it is on a completely different level and there is never any conflict of interest.

I know many of your readers are extremely conservative and I will not be offended at all if you choose not to publish it. This is not a personal attack on anyone's beliefs and I am sorry to have taken it in a tangent. Like I said this is my last comment on this.

Gothelittle Rose said...

I'll admit that I had my own bad experience with a male boss who ended up being attracted to me. It took some speaking to supervisors and we ended up just shy of an official harassment complaint. It was pretty unnerving to say the least.

I also had a unique experience in my final work assignment. I was the only other salaried person in the department, and as such I had a special position as "second in command" in the department. The entire job position did nearly boil down to being "helpmeet" for the department supervisor. Don't kid me, there was no physical/sexual attraction there and he was entirely proper. So was I. But there was something like a bond that would certainly have been meant to happen if I'd thrown my heart into the position.

For me, with my personality, in that work position, it was a submission issue. I will readily accept that it isn't always like that, and I don't think it's always wrong to work for a man either. :)

Mrs.B said...

To be honest I didn't read the article. I clicked on it, saw how long it was and then after reading some of the comments about it felt it wasn't worth my time to read.

But I agree with what you said in your post.

As a childless SAHW I used to feel so guilty that I wasn't scheduling all of my time and busy every moment. Then I read a post that Lady Lydia wrote and it helped to open my eyes to see that I shouldn't feel guilty.

Also something I read on a blog friend of mine's blog (Julie's Jewels) was that the Bible tells us to be a Keeper at Home. It doesn't say a Keeper of the Home. There is a difference. Although house keeping is one of my main duties, it's not the only one or even the most important one. I think that our presence in the home is sooooo necessary.--Even if we aren't busy at all times.

Because of Christ,
~Mrs.B

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your thoughts on this post Anna S. It seems the author has based his theory on his observations of couples in his church or in his circle of friends. Perhaps they put on a "good show" but does he see the stress their home businesses bring to the family? There is nothing wrong with home businesses and no doubt the kids do learn industriousness and responsibility as they help, but my opinion is that home businesses can detract from the home and family life, especially when kids are young. I thought it was foolish of the author to insist that having good, godly children is a direct result of mothers taking on a home business in addition to a million other duties. I agree with one post that described the poor woman with a baby on her hip, homeschooling and helping with a business as MAJORLY TIRED!
I loved Brenda's comment about how women today are expected to run, run, run and are seen as in-effective if they don't "do" enough. I rebel against that worldy mindset by seeking to create an orderly and peaceful home where I always have time for people and investing in eternal things. When I see women "doing it all" at church, home, homeschooling, home businesses, etc. I tend to think that there are areas of their lives they have to be suffering in. Whether time with husband, patience and time for kids, spiritual walk with God, or keeping their house clean. No one can do it all. I know this from experience. I can do a lot and be challenged and busy, but if I am going to do things well, I can't do everything all at once. I am so blessed when I see a young woman in my church turning down offers to teach another SS class and lead the whole Children's Song time, etc. because she wants to spend more time on her family and at home. I have had to learn to say, "No." This is very hard to do, especially when many of my best friends have asked me to provide childcare for them at times and there are endless causes which I am asked to do at church. But it doesn't matter if I disappoint them as long as I'm seeking to glorify God by blessing my husband and family with a more simple life. Simple, not lazy. Simple, not boring. Simple, not self-seeking.

Mrs. Jo aka Lindsey

Candy said...

Anna I agree with everything you wrote. Oh and how I wish (just like your last sentance) that when someone asked me what I "do"..I could say "Im a wife" and that would be enough!...AMEN.
I cant say it enough, Im so glad to have found your blog and I think you are one of the wisest young ladies I know. You have a gift for writing and relating to others.

Love Candy

Anna S said...

Mrs. Jo,

Welcome, and thanks for visiting!

I also agree with you&Brenda that today, women are just expected to do too much - too much to do it all well, too much to be happy and peaceful. The toll it takes is too heavy.

Donna said...

I read the article and I too felt this was written by someone missing the true meaning of the Proverbs 31 woman. I am a stay at home mother of 4 boys (my most recent one is just 4 months old) and recently we were in a little pinch thinking we would need some extra money come this fall. My oldest son got braces and the payments were quite high and our children go to a private Christian school--we worried about the tightness of money. So I started looking online and fell onto a sight that is all about making money online. I jumped into this, drew up a blog and found myself staying up later and later and later trying to make an extra 300 a month. My husband saw me stressing out and getting all worked up--some overtime came his way and we were able to pay off the braces. But doing the "work from home" thing was not what it is cracked up to be. I found myself snappy, crabby, irritable and feeling like a failure trying to juggle a new baby, and handling 3 other children during the summer months. I soon heard God's voice softly whispering to me that my primary jobs are my family. I know now that I am truly the weaker vessel. That my gifts from God are about nurturing and caring for my children. So I dropped struggling to make extra money and turned my attention to saving more by shopping better, couponing, baking ect. My loving husband has totally supported me thru all these wrong mistakes. In fact, last year I felt a need to go out and get a part time job (not for money reason but for personal reasons and my husband was a little concerned yet wanted to make me happy) and not two weeks into the job I discoverd I was pregnant with my fourth child. I had to do fertility treatments to conceive all of my other children and yet here out of the blue I found my self pregnant the moment I tried to take a job "to get out of the house" Some people may shrug this off, but I know God was putting me back into the place he wanted me to be -at home. When the baby came and the financial pinch I found myself starting to vear away from God's primary purpose for me and my life became more stressfull and made me less patient and kind to my husband and children. Sorry this is so long but I felt compelled to give everyone a look into the mistakes I made that have really shown me that God really wants our focus to be on him and our family and everything else will fall into its proper place if we simply trust in him to lead us into our paths. So for all you moms staying home to support your families (children or no children) God will bless you! Stay strong and secure in your place as a homemaker and know always that it is the most highest calling.

Stam House said...

I personally think that if you are having a homebuisness It should not interfeered with you prirorities (ie Lord, husband and children)

I started my own compagny at home doing what I ususly do Sewing stuff( for me it's a hobby and if peopl want's to pay for it, hey I don't mind extra $$$)

How much time per week (around 1 to 2 hour per week so 15 to 20 min a day it's not to bad! (It'd my alone time that I get during the day)

BessieJoy said...

Loved your thoughts and I agree!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the welcome Anna! I found your blog through Frugal Fridays last week and was encouraged by your stories and thoughts. It is so refreshing to see a young woman who God hand-picked out of a life of feminism and molded her into the lovely woman of the Lord you are today even without the support of a father or a home-oriented mother. Your thoughts on modesty and centering on home and homemaking have encouraged me to set my standards even higher and not grow lacksadaisical in my Christian womanhood.
I'll be visiting your blog often!

I agree that women today are supposed to be busy, busy, busy and never have a moment to reflect. I think this is why I enjoy books like Stepping Heavenward or Little Women so much because they took time to gather round a fire for reading on a cold winter day, to act out plays, to laugh and talk with family, to make delicious homemade foods and sit in a rocker and do handwork. They gathered flowers, visited neighbors, and lived such an uncomplicated life. Yes, it demanded more physically and there was more worry about food and essentials and obtaining the basics of life, but sometimes I'd trade my modern conveniences for the emotional and mental simplicity of regular, old-fashioned chores. I appreciate what someone said about how life today contains many more commitments and responsibilities outside the home. In some ways life today seems harder, even with all the wealth and technology we have. One is expected to keep up with current events, information flying at you constantly, unlimited books and resources on every subject, get an education, have a back-up plan for anything and everything (health insurance, life insurance, retirement, etc.) Sometimes I just sigh and think that in the past, they had more time to just reflect as they labored at home without phone, internet, radio, movies, magazines galore, to distract. However, I am so grateful for the conveniences we have today and the age we are living in because many of my friends would have died in childbirth without the technology we have today. I am grateful for running water and electric heat and disposable diapers and meat that I don't have to butcher, etc. Physically, we have it easy nowadays, but mentally, it is challenging to find peace in our busy world.
Mrs. Jo

rosesylvia said...

Hi, thanks for that wonderful article, I agree with your thoughts..


Cash Magnet

Serena said...

Oh, if I could have reached through the computer while reading that article...
(As you can see, I have a temper, too, Anna.)

I agree with everything you said, Anna.

One thing that particularly irritated me was his comment that most families he knows are strapped for cash. Welllll, maybe if we didn't BUY so much stuff we wouldn't be in such a dire situation. I didn't see him addressing THAT issue.

I live in a very expensive state. My husband has his own business painting houses. He doesn't have a job right now, and he doesn't know when he will have one. Come winter, jobs are few and far between. Yet, somehow, even though I don't run a business out of the home, we aren't "strapped for cash".

I thought his comments about gardening were entirely out of line. Not only does a garden beautify a home (yes, even a vegetable garden in rows), it's a science lesson for homeschoolers, too. So what if you're not saving tons of money? If it's something you enjoy (which, I do not, having a dominant plant-killing gene), why not? Besides, you won't have to buy organic produce imported from Chile, which is sooo much better for the environment. (I am blessed to live in a community with many local organic farms, so I don't have that dilemma.)

As to sewing not being beneficial--I BEG TO DIFFER. When you look at the lousy quality of clothes available at 'affordable' prices, it DOES make sense to make high-quality, long-wearing items, if you have the ability. And gifts can be made from scraps, costing little to nothing, and I could go on and on about this!

Well, those were the three things that really struck me as I skimmed the article. Besides that his attitude was not nice at all.

Brenda said...

And when I quit my part-time job in June...me, with my husband and 2 children, was asked by several people, "What will you do?"

Huh?

Wendy WaterBirde said...

Hi Anna,

I know this is an older post but i'm a little behind here. As usual, you hit the nail right on the head : )

Peaceful Week,

Wendy

got another on the way said...

Hello, I'm sorry I'm sort of tailing this thing out, but I read the article in question the day you posted it and was so livid and full of hateful, deriding language that I dicided not to respond for a while. It took four full shifts to schlepp through that offensive stuff. Read a while, cool off, repeat. He actually makes a few good points in his first and last few paragraphs, but the rest is terrible. Yes, not all women are cut of the Prov. 31 cloth. But he says, in summary, basically those who have the sense and ability to run out of home work will. Those who can't, or are too distracted by "hobbies", won't. A little insulting. Let's say for the sake of argument, that growing a garden really is just a hobby, like reading a good novel, as he claims. Well, fine.
then it's a hobby that improves the property value of one's home, gives all involved good exercise ("she strengthens her arm" remember?), is good team work for the family (like he claims of home business), and you get the food for free. Not a bad return on a "hobby". I love a good novel (to a fault), but it hardly holds a candle in the use department. And speaking of food, this man clearly hasn't gone grocery shopping, or looked at a grocery receipt, in ten years! I pay $3-$4 dollars a pound for "vine-ripened" tomatoes, and the bland, pink tomatoes aren't that much cheaper! I know for a fact that I can grow them for less than that! And on a sunny porch/balcony no less. And a trip to an organic food store would mean 30 miles of heavy traffic. That's close to $8 just in gas money, and 45 minutes of tense time, not paying attention to family. Finally, many sensible people are proving him wrong every day (and you and your blog, most recently) that a man's employment supposedly can't support a family. Maybe he just lives in an area where the taxes and cost of living are too high, and should move. I'm sorry, but this article simply dosen't speak well to the kind of provider he and his male congregants are (even if they do better, he has ill-represented them). He should have kept silent on a subject he has so little wisdom regarding. He is giving us reformed folks (like my family) a bad name. Ouch and sigh.

Kimber said...

Hi Anna! I came over from Lady Lydia's site after she posted that you had written about the article on your blog.

I agree with your take on that article by Pastor Abshire. I used to work from home at times to help make ends meet, but always that was in an effort to ease things while my husband was going back to school in order to do better for us. Eventually my health totally broke and I no longer have the strength and energy to work from home at all. That article made me feel like I do not measure up to HIS idea of the Proverbs woman. Thank goodness that sense prevailed and I realized he is not my husband or my master and he has no right to be telling me what to do in my home! I found the tone of the article to be arrogant.

Today I saw that LAF site has a refutation for all of us who disagreed. She pretty much just said she agreed with him. She is still a young, energetic woman and I suspect IS doing these sorts of things out of her home. She gives an account of how they figured out how her gardening was costing rather than benefiting their family. I hope her "busyness" doesn't at some point leave her with exhaustion and possibly stress related illnesses.

I have heard many a sermon on what has been called 'the cult of busy-ness.' It really made me aware of the gracious and beautiful service that we find ourselves unable to give to our own families and friends or within a church when we are just simply TOO BUSY because of all our commitments. I think it is very wrong for this man to assume every wife should be adding a home based business onto her "to do" list so they can gain prosperity. Being "rich" is not so much about MONEY as it is about being content with what one has, seeing what has real worth, and being wise with our blessings. I suspect that man has missed that point entirely.

I know I surely didn't need the discouragement I felt from that article.

Anyway, you have a lovely blog here! It is very encouraging to know a young lady has her head on straight and is growing up so beautifully in the Lord. I'll have my daughters come look your site over. It will be a real encouragement to them!

Emily said...

Very interesting post Anna! As you know, I run my own home business and absolutely love it, and hope to continue it when (God willing) I get married. Of course, I wouldn't want that to interfere with being a wife and homemaker, and would only continue my business with my husband's blessing. This is a good point you mention: "When a homemaker feels she must find some way to earn money, otherwise her presence isn't valuable enough, where does it bring us?" Very true. A woman's worth should never be defined by how much money she makes (or doesn't), but rather her value as a homemaker should be greatly esteemed.

Anonymous said...

I must be the only person to read the article and agree with it, to a point. I think many people are upset because perhaps they didn't read the whole article or they read too quickly to let everything he said sink in.

When he mentioned gardening, sewing, bread baking etc., I did not get the impression that he was condemning the practice, only pointing out the simple fact that if it is indeed done to "save" the family money, it most likely is not doing it's job. It is cheaper to buy.
Also he did mention there are seasons in a women's life where she may not be able to help with a home business, such as a women with many young children.
I have also noticed many women talking about working from home, which is different from HELPING your husband with a home business. Helping your husband with a home business was the point of the article.
My husband and I have a small home business, besides my husbands job. I have two toddlers at home and a third baby on the way, so I have a very busy day caring for them. But I still "help" my husband with the business. I make sure checks from customers are ready to deposit on Monday. I take orders from customers once a week for an hour while my husband plays with the kids. I make sure his suit is pressed and his briefcase full of the materials he will need when meeting with a customer. And I also do some general bookkeeping. All of these things help my husband in business without ME doing all the work. That I believe is what the article was all about.

God Bless,
Rachel

Anna S said...

Rachel,

I read the article through and through before writing this post, and I do think he made some valid points. However, I have a problem, mainly, with the condescending tone of the article. He could have made his point so much better, simply by showing more flexibility and true understanding and compassion.

Anonymous said...

I think the Proverbs 31 woman mostly managed (instructed) her servants to do all the actual housework and cooking. That's very different to doing it all herself. She probably was hands on at times, but spent most of her time supervising and decision making.

Cristina

Anna S said...

Cristina,

I think it depends on the actual size of her household; if it was large, of course it would be unreasonable to expect her to do everything herself; she probably had quite a lot of help from servants and her older children.

Rebekah S. said...

I have a feeling that this comment is going to be quite long. I don't even know where to begin!

Praise God that there are still women in the world that have heads on their shoulders!! I agreed with the majority of the comments that were left here.

You said:
"Sure, if I had to choose between the two, working from home is definitely a better option; but in essence, it all boils down to this idea, which bothers me: that a woman must bring in money in order to justify her presence at home. Managing the family budget wisely isn't enough. Being a busy, creative and resourceful wife isn't enough."


It's pretty sad that this man who is supposedly a pastor writes as if he's never heard 1 Timothy 5:8 which says, "But if anyone does not provide for HIS own, and especially for those of HIS household, HE has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." Clearly, according to Scripture and God's perfect plan, the man is to be the main provider. Period. A woman is to be a helpmeet and homemaker and possibly have a home business if that is God's will for her, but the plain and simple truth is that it is the man's job to provide. If you read Genesis 3:16-19, it is clear that that is the curse that was given to the man not the woman. If she does that as well, she is making herself double cursed.

As to having a man for a boss, the Bible is clear that God's will is for women to be homemakers and work there. If, they work outside the home, it is to be under her father's or husband's blessing and is to be for a Christian woman. (like I do with cleaning my neighbor's house). This is for the woman's protection. And Titus 2:4-5 says that women are to obey and be submissive to their OWN husbands. The fact is, if you go out into the work force and work for a male, your are submitting to a man that is someone other than your father or husband and that is unbiblical. Crystal Paine writes an article all about this in So Much More that is well worth the read!!!

And, for most, it is actually cheaper to grow your own food than go to the market. Mrs. Brigham shows that very clearly from her own experience.

I could go on and on, but I probably should stop here for now. Thanks so much for your wonderful post, Anna!!!