Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Home, the forgotten realm

In our day and age, home life is – sadly - devalued, unappreciated, and sneered at; good home life, with its orderliness, cheerfulness, peace, contentment and simplicity is so very rare, that some people of my generation grew up without knowing it at all. In too many households, there are no orderly routines, no lovingly arranged decorations, no home-cooked meals, no family dinners, no welcoming neighbors into your home and showing hospitality – none of the warmth and lovingness that transform a house, a dwelling, into a home.

The incredibly important work of a woman as a keeper of her home, the woman who is present at her home, being the center and spirit of it, caring and nurturing, loving and creating, tending to the needs of her loved ones – is also tossed aside, aprons and home-baked cookies sound almost offensive in the light of the feminist agenda.

By the more tolerant, a mother of young children who stays home to care for her little ones is still seen as somehow 'justified', making a noble – even if unfortunate and unrewarding – sacrifice; but mothers of grown-up children, or married and childless women, or grown-up daughters – how dare they remain at home? How dare they to focus on the home? How can they say they are doing something important and worthwhile?

Yet I think no woman – mother, wife, daughter, sister or grandmother – should feel guilty for loving her home, for cherishing her home and making it the focus of her life, love, work, energy and creativity. No woman should feel she is squandering her talents because the role she chose isn't glorious or well-paid. No woman should feel unimportant, useless, or unproductive, because she chooses to make home her first priority.

Think of a childhood spent without ever smelling a delicious cake or pie, fresh for the oven; without ever tugging at the strings of Mother's apron (because she doesn't own one); without long, peaceful afternoons spent side by side, learning, laughing and playing alongside each other. Think of a husband coming home, each and every evening, to an empty, silent, cold, unorganized and basically uninhabited home, full of appliances and objects, but devoid of love and dedication. Imagine a tired old man who is walking down the street, thirsty for a glass of water to drink or for a few warm words of friendly conversation – but there is no one behind those closed unwelcoming doors during the entire day, and way too much pressure and rush during the evenings and weekends; think of all the loneliness, detachment, stress, unhappiness and emptiness that have been our share ever since we dismissed the home as the woman's realm, as a center of love, joy, peace, warmth and hospitality, and not just a place to eat and sleep.

What cause can be more noble and rewarding than setting our goal to re-conquering that realm? We can do that, bit by bit, with our daily work at home; each sweet-smelling, sparkling clean clothesline, each home-baked pie and hand-knitted scarf, each neighborly smile and welcoming gesture lead us on our way to become, again, queens of our households.

41 comments:

USAincognito said...

Hi, Anna!! Just wanted to stop over and catch up on your blogs really quick. I am moving...the most recent 2 posts on my blog explain everything...so I have not been on here at all lately.

Tracy said...

Queen of my household? YES! My three youngest children are sitting in the kitchen right this minute, eating breakfast, giggling together and playing with homemade Play Dough that was made lovingly by me yesterday afternoon. It is 9:05 am. They have already done a bit of school, and are having a morning break. Delightful, and non-stressful. That's how I want them to remember their home.

Kelly (The Barefoot Mama) said...

Amen to that!

I get so riled up when people make comments about women not "needing" to stay at home when they have older children. Man, when my daughter (and subsequent children, hopefully) are older, I'll finally have time to get everything cleaned and in order - impractical with a baby. Why is it then that some people feel that I should be working outside of the home when this time comes? So that my hard-working husband has to come home and either a.) help me with the daily chores that cannot be done since I'm not home, or b.) never spend a second with me since I'll be catching up on chores and children all night and weekend-long.

Lately I've had many people try to extol the wonders of working when my daughter is older, and none of them give a second's thought to what I'm explaining when I talk about Biblical family roles and a traditional foundation. It's great to see posts like this and be encouraged. :o)

Persuaded said...

Oh, sweetie... this just brought tears to my eyes...in a good way of course;-)


I think this has to my favorite post of yours, *ever*. and that is saying quite a lot!

Terry said...

While I've been cultivating our home life for years, I never owned an apron- until a week ago. For some reason, I suddenly wanted one. And then one of my daughters who absolutely loves coming in the kitchen to help, decided she wants to wear one too. So now we both have one and I must admit, it really changes the atmosphere when we go into the kitchen. It's amazing how the little things we neglect make such a huge difference. This was a beautiful post, Anna. Thanks for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

Good morning, Anna! Such a welcome post today. I had to chuckle...."aprons & home-baked cookies sound almost offensive in the light of the feminist agenda." Let's see, if I bake for my family, I'm a loser. If I run a chi-chi upscale cupcake shop, I'm some kind of wonder in the corporate world! Sigh....

When I see the looks of contentment on my children's faces, when I observe the change in my husband's demeanor once he comes through the door at the end of the day (from tired to refreshed), & we have time to linger at our evening meal, laughing like crazy sometimes as we recount our day's activites, I know I'm doing something right.

The homemaker's life is far from glamorous...it's something more substantive. And to those of you younger women who may be afraid to take on the challenge of such a life, worried that you will somehow disappear, I can only say that you would be hard-pressed to find a better way to use your talents. The meals you make, the diapers you change, the time you spend listening to your husband & children, are all deposits made. The dividends may not be so rapidly returned to you, but in the fullness of time, they will be. And I believe you will know satisfaction, such as no paycheck could ever provide.

most sincerely,
Brenda

Stefanie said...

I second that - my favorite post!
Last night I threw a party for my women's bible study. We feasted on a formal table set with china, silver, crystal, and eight silver cups filled with spray roses arranged around tapers. It brought great joy to everyone. Most of these girls are getting engaged and just about to start their married life. I don't think any of them understand why I am at home. Already at a young age they are working themselves ragged and trying to do everything. (I too used to be like that.) I feel like they look down upon my choice. One woman was explaining how her dad was lecturing her about not giving up her career when she got married. She had this idea that staying at home was equated with failure. I don't understand, these are all Christian women. When I mentioned the question of "What about what the bible says about this?" There was a resounding silence, followed by excuses. I know being at home has brought me great joy and many blessings, but sometimes when other people so much frown upon it, it makes me a tad downcast.
As usual, Anna, your voice is a beacon, and your message surely a gift. Thanks.

Haus Frau said...

Oh Anna ~ thank you for putting words together to reflect what I feel in my heart of hearts....again. You are the voice of many. ((( hug )))

C.A. Worcesteer said...

L-O-V-E!!!!!!!!!!!!! this post. So gracefully said Anna.

Guess all that peace and organization has allowed you to actually ARTICULATE your thoughts in to something worthwhile and encouraging for the world to feast it's bewildered and confused eyes upon.

Can I also tell you that being around younger Godly women (my daughter included) has made this "late bloomer in life" mother so much more encouraged and to have the energy to persevere through all my trials and errors in trying to become a Godly woman. It is sad that women my age (40ish) that are "re-inventing" themselves, don't have many older women in their lives to lead them by example.

I am so grateful that God in faithful in His molding of us.

Lara said...

A lovely and wise post, Anna. Truly an inspiration!

Hugs,
L

Kristy said...

Eloquently stated, Anna. As a young woman, I can't think of a realm I'd rather be "queen" of other than my home... it doesn't pay a "salary" but the rewards are out of this world! ~Kristy

Mrs. June Fuentes said...

Love this post, Anna! We must reclaim the Biblical home or have it stolen from us.

Joyful blessings...

College Gal said...

Wise words Anna, thank you! God bless!

Anna Naomi said...

You express yourself so beautifully! I agree - there should be no shame in loving the home. I enjoy homelife so much more than running about all the time!

Kathleen said...

That's a beautiful post, Anna.

Jen said...

So well and beautifully put. And it's what I really want.
Thank you Anna. You are such a blessing and encouragement to me. :)

neuropoet3 said...

Anna, this post was so encouraging! I have to deal with the comments about getting a "real-life" after my boys are grown on a frequent basis - and it's so frustrating. It makes me feel like what I want doesn't matter in the light of society's "wisdom," and like what I do day in and day out is somehow not "worthy" of my talents. Thankfully my husband understands the work I do here at home, and I will be able to count on his support in the future. However, I foresee friends and family continuing to frown on my "lifestyle choice" as the years go by. Anna, thank you for providing a place to go where women can be encouraged in their calling as "keeper of the home"!

Tammy said...

I've realized of late that my comments as a woman who appreciates feminism are not really welcome here, so I was planning to stop posting altogether. However, before I do, I must say this is a lovely, inspiring piece of writing. You could easily get it published in any number of magazines.
It's beautiful, really, and I'm sure will make most women's hearts skip a beat.

Rebekah S. said...

Oh, Anna, I can't even begin to thank you enough for this post! I was truly moved nearly to tears. All to often stay-at-home dauthers such as myself(even though, currently I'm only 15, I do plan on being a stay-at-home daugther even when I'm older-until I'm msrried), are seen as unfulfilled, and as if there's nothing that they're doing that's important or that will have lasting effects(for good) on our society and culture. So, I'm sure you can imagine my joy when I read this post. Anna, you've encouraged me all the more in my commitment to being a Biblical stay-at-home daugther until I'm married. Thank you for that encouragement and joy, Anna! You truly ministered to me today! :) (and the post was written so beautifully as well!)

Rebekah S. said...

Tracy,

Homemade play-dough? How neat! How do you make it?

Rebekah S. said...

Terry,

I know what you mean!! :) It makes you feel so domestic and old-fashioned when you wear an apron! :) Mama and I were making bread yesterday and had our aprons on. A few hourse later, the bread baking was all done, yet we looked down at ourselves to discover that we still had our aprons on! :) It was funny. We just enjoy them so much.


Blessings,
Rebekah
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Brenda,

You said: "Let's see, if I bake for my family, I'm a loser. If I run a chi-chi upscale cupcake shop, I'm some kind of wonder in the corporate world! Sigh...." You've noticed that too, huh? Mama and I often have discussions on the subject of feminism, and I said the exact same sort of thing you did. It just doesn't make any sense does it?? In the feminists' eyes, you have to be known by people and be making a whole lot of money to be worth while! Good grief.


What encouragement you offered as well, Brenda! Thank you. :)

In Him,
Rebekah


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Stefanie, I know what you mean! I have countless Christian family members, etc. who look down their nose at stay-at-home moms and wives. How sad!!! What a tragic thing when in the Bible itself, it commands us to be homemakers! When you see the tremendous joys and blessings of homelife, and you see the command in Scripture to be a homemaker, you see all the more the love for us that God has, and you discover that His plans for us are always all-wise and for our good. Bless His holy name for His goodness!

PhDCow said...

Home should always be a haven from the noise and bustle of the outside world. A freshly made meal, a clean and welcoming bed, soft towels -- those are the things that truly make us human again.

Mrs. Brigham said...

I must say that I agree with Tammy- this piece certainly could get published. Your writing is beautiful, Anna. :o)

Your bit about aprons has me smiling. My wonderful mother sewed a beautiful apron to give me as one of my birthday gifts, but I am "allowed" to wear it right now. Peapod is just too in love with it to give it back right now. Something tells me I need to learn to sew very quickly. Mommy and Me aprons are in the near future.

Shelley said...

You said it all Anna, and in such a beautiful, moving way. Each time I read your blog I become more aware that my home is where I belong. Your portrait of the elderly man walking in the empty street touched my heart especially. I work in long-term care and many of our residents would be perfectly fine living in the community in the loving arms of their family. Unfortunately, nobody is home to make sure grandpa takes his pills correctly or that grandma has something to eat. Nobody is home to do these things because the daughters are too busy out working and living their own selfish lives to have time to care for their parents. It bothers me especially when I consider that many of my lady residents stayed home and "made do" scrimping and saving and working hard to make a home for their family, only to be "warehoused" in their final years, this seems bitterly unfair. Thank you for helping me remember what really matters:)

Cristina (a.k.a. "Stramenda") said...

Beautifully written. Wonderfully encouraging. Thank you.

PS: Had my baby, a beautiful boy !! Lots of work and little sleep, but so worth it ! I thank God for my gift every day.

Greetings to all,
Cristina

Mrs. Gillet (Katie) said...

I know that when I was little my grandmother made a homemade playdough with a salt, flour, water, and food coloring, although I don't know the amounts.

Kari said...

Anna,

What a great post! I am surrounded by many dear friends with master's degrees that can't for the life of them understand why I would want to stay at home with my sweet daughter (and any other little blessings that come our way!). I have come to realize that being at home is where God wants me, and it is where I can best serve Him, my husband, and my family. And how it blesses me to see my husband's face light up when dinner is ready at 6! Ah, and to think that so many other women miss out on such sweet, simple joys!

Rebekah S. said...

Thanks so much for that info, Mrs. Gillet!

Calamity Jean said...

Just to echo what the others said, this is a beautiful post. I actually thought about it last night when I was doing some laundry. I have inherited my grandmother's and great grandmothers aprons. I don't wear but have them hanging in my laundry room. Its such a reminder that keeping my house is an old art and one my Mimi was proud to pass on to me, my mom and my sisters.

Mrs.B said...

This was just beautiful......

Daughter of the King said...

~~A KEEPER of a post ANNA~~
although I come here from time to time..this time I was sent here from dear Mrs.B's blog...and I am so glad that I did.
~*~*~
This post needs to be published...
your way with words and the thought put into it is timeless and said in such a way that we all need to hear this.

You are wise beyond your years.
Deby

A Note From Theresa said...

I love this post!! Thanks for posting this.

Hello, I came here from Mrs.B's blog,, and I WILL come back and visit you again.

And if you don't mind,,, I'm going to make a link to this post on my blog.

May the Lord Bless your day.

Coffee Catholic said...

"Imagine a tired old man who is walking down the street...but there is no one behind those closed unwelcoming doors during the entire day.."

This is one of the things that shocked me when I became an at home wife: there's no one else home during the day! The neighborhood is practically abandoned! It's very different being a stay home wife now compared with twenty years ago!

Lady-in-the-Making said...

Wow! I was floored by this post. I am in the process of 'de-brainwashing' myself from the Feminist movement and this post stunned me. I hope you don't mind that I referenced it on my own blog Feminity Revisited (http://femininityrevisited.blogspot.com/). I have subscribed to your feed and I'm very grateful for your insight. God bless you.

Mrs M said...

Anna,

I found your blog via "CHERISH the HOME" and wanted to read this posting in its entirety.

All I can say is WOW! You said what I have been thinking these past several months. You have such an amazing way with words and of sharing your heart that you've been a real encouragement to me!

I am so blessed to have been able to stay at home with my children and to have played with them, read stories with them, listened to their fears, dreams and shared God's love for them, using all sorts of moments in the happenings of their everyday lives.

Even now that they are all grown, the Lord has laid on my heart to be a Titus 2 woman who can encourage younger women, be available for my family, church, friends and any strangers that He may bring across my path in my daily walk.

I look forward to all your future posts ....

Blessings,
Mrs M

PS: Since this posting is so pertinent, I just want to let you know that I plan to quote some of it and place a link to it on my new blog:

http://aboundingtreasures.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of the change from women being home-centric to career-oriented has to do with the affect of the industrial revolution on the value and sphere of women's work. Before, it was profitable for a wife to be a home-based manufacturing "machine". Now, it is cheaper to purchase most things that we used to make, which leaves us with too much time on our hands and a lack of community support because we are no longer "economically profitable". I believe that this stigma can be erased as wives and mothers run businesses out of the home- with whatever time is available. Look at how blessed we are today to have online auctions to help us connect with customers! One can satisfy one's desire for intellectual stimulation while being a good wife and mother, perhaps even homeschooling, and also be economically productive- I am trying to make enough to pay the taxes, utilities, and food bill (rough goal) while being home so it does not place an added burden on my husband and allows my mind the daily exercise of running a business- does anyone have any advice on how they have made this work for their family?

justme27 said...

What a lovely post! I'm a new reader and I'm reconsidering my old ideas about when I should stay at home. Currently, I'm a young married woman with no kids.

This fall, I'm making the leap to staying at home!

Mardi said...

Dear Anna,
I came across your blog earlier today from "Maidens of Worth" and I have enjoyed reading the posts I have read so far. I wanted to comment on this post and let you know it really spoke to me, and is a great encouragment. I am soon to be 22 and a stay-at-home daughter. I honestly have no desire to go out into the world and get a job, and my parents have not told me I had too, so I consider myself blessed, But there are several times I have these moments of pity, and feel discouraged and like I am doing something wrong, or have no significant worth because I do not have a job outside of my home. I have no reason to feel that way, because there is no pressure at all from family or friends, it's simply the devil trying to discourage me and the pressures of our modern feminist culture (which I don't like!) I said all this to say, thank you for the encouraging article. I read a comment someone left about this is great publishing material, I completely agree! Thanks! I needed the extra encouragment! Have a blessed day in the Lord!

Seeking Him said...

"Think of a husband coming home, each and every evening, to an empty, silent, cold, unorganized and basically uninhabited home, full of appliances and objects, but devoid of love and dedication."

This about sums up what my husband comes home to since I am gone from 7:45 a.m. till 5:45 p.m.! He deals with it so well, but shouldn't have to. This really spoke to me. I can only put in so much time and dedication on my 2 days off per week that for the rest of the five days, it is very devoid of love. It becomes a pigsty! We need a home-oriented women's revolution!!!

Awesome post!

Sarah

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post. I often turn here when I am in need of inspiration and energy, and you never fail, Sister :-). Though I once believed day care while mom worked was actually better for children, as it "prepared them for school", my opinion changed radically when I had my own child--it was so obvious that I was meant to be with her, and she with me. Some years have passed now, and I've really come to believe that in almost every situation, it is best for the children that the mother remain at home. I would even go so far as to support government programs such as TANF, as we have here in the states, that allow mothers to do so even if they have been widowed or abandoned by their husbands, however briefly. Granted, their families and their houses of worship should be assisting them, but as this is seldom the case, programs like these can be the only source of support for a mother who knows that her most important job is caring for her family. This is an issue that I don't often see addressed on many pro-family blogs/websites, so I thought I'd mention it. Blessings to you, my friend, and to all.

Pinkkihelmi said...

I definitely love this post!
Culture is very different here in Finland, people think that I am really weird because I prefer homemaking instead of professional nursing.
(I think I should start to pray for ladies in our country. Mental problems are very common among children.)
Thank you!