Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A meaningful life, right here at home

I got an email from a dear lady who shared her struggles and doubts as a mother and homemaker; is she doing enough, being "just" a wife and mother? Is her work meaningful enough? Does it have long-lasting value? I decided to post my reply here, thinking that perhaps it might be helpful to other ladies as well.

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Dear friend,

Thank you for writing and sharing the musings of your heart! Please keep in mind that I'm far from being an expert on... in fact, on anything. I'm 23 years old, a young wife and a new mother, and lack the wisdom that usually comes with age, but I'll still try to give my humble perspective.

You wonder what the Almighty has planned for you; don't we all? I believe that we don't actually discover our "purpose in life" until our walk on this earth is over, and until then, possibilities are open. We cannot really know His will, and therefore, the best we can do is grow in loving obedience to Him.

In your case, the Almighty has shown His clear direction by giving you a family and home. These days, when a woman doesn't seek employment outside of the home, she refers to herself as "just a mother" or "just a housewife"; and it's no coincidence that the family unit, on the whole, is experiencing its worst period in human history. How could it not, when women aren't trained anymore to see the incredible value in their calling as wives, mothers and keepers and guides of the home?

Of course, in the endless stream of everyday tasks, it's easy to forget how important your work actually is. Washing the dishes, changing diapers and cooking dinner aren't the most glamorous jobs in the world. You don't earn a paycheck, and you are far away from the public eye. You are never promoted, and even if your work is appreciated by your husband and family - and today, sadly, this isn't always the case - the rewards of your efforts, such as a well-trained child or an organized household, are slow to be seen.

Perhaps some days, you find yourself still in your pajamas in the late afternoon, with no clue what to make for dinner, ripping your hair off because your children misbehave. And then you wonder, what on earth am I doing with my life? At such moments, it's crucial to keep your eyes on the big picture: you are your husband's help mate and the chief supervisor of your home. By answering the call of motherhood, you become the guide of precious, eternal souls, and the results of your investment in them will last forever.

It doesn't mean you must train up geniuses, start an impressive home business, or excel in each and every one of the home arts to make your life meaningful. Even being "just" a good, loving wife, and "just" raising your dear children in a secure, stable environment is a highly important, challenging, indispensable full-time job. Some social movements of the past century would have us believe that the work of a housewife is menial and unimportant, so women were pushed to join the work force, babies were shipped off to daycare centers, and homes were left neglected. And just look how sad and forlorn our communities are today. Families are falling apart, with the most disastrous consequences for children. Turns out that the traditional, humble, unnoticed women's work was not so meaningless after all.

May I suggest that, if you don't do that already, you spend a portion of time with the Lord each day? Pray and raise up all your worries and thoughts to Him. Remember that in His eyes, each and every one of us is precious, not only those who have done things that the world considers "great", but also those who lead simple, humble, honest lives. Modesty, humility and those works that aren't noticed by the world are treasured in His eyes. It also helps to share your burdens with another - talk to your husband, and perhaps to an older, more experienced wife and mother who has a favorable view of traditional marriage, motherhood and homemaking.

Be strengthened. In doing what you do, you are following the will of the Lord, Who gave you a family to care for and a home to guide. You will never regret spending time with your husband and children, being there for them, supporting, teaching, and training. What you do is important and it does matter.

15 comments:

Nicole said...

What an absolutely lovely post. I enjoy reading your writings and am so glad I stumbled upon your blog.

Warm Regards,
Nicole

Clare Marie-Therese Duroc said...

What a great, great post. Thank you so much.

kristin said...

wonderful advice! Thank you for sharing this with us!
Have a blessed day!

Christine said...

"Just" a thought:
I once had someone ask me if I could name the last five Nobel Prize winners. I could not. They then asked me if I could name five people that had done something nice for me recently. I could easily think of more than five.
I think what they were trying to get at is the fact that those that nurture us and do nice things for us are more important in our hearts than those who we simply observe doing notable things. There is nothing wrong with doing notable things, but there is nothing but good that can come out of being a nurturer.

jAne said...

You may be 23 years old but you have the wisdom of a far older woman. Bless you dearly for putting into writing what so many of us believe. :o)

jAne
http://tickleberryfarm.blogspot.com

Love Abounds At Home said...

Such good advice :)

Kyle, Amanda, and Tobias said...

As usual, I enjoyed this post immensely! I've been feeling overwhelmed and ill-suited to being a homemaker recently and your suggestion to spend some daily time with the Lord stood out to me. I feel just a bit more motivated now to begin making small changes to work harder at my job of being a wife and mother. I truly love the job I've been called to, but like any calling, it has its difficulties :) Thanks again, this was motivating to me!

Becky said...

Beautifully said!

paula said...

You are a beautiful writer. So wise in all things important in life. I wish I had such such insight at your age! Now, at 38 I am discovering so much of what you know! God bless you and your family. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Anna, as usual you have addressed this with such insight & honesty. Your advice to this young woman (indeed, any woman with doubts about her calling as a wife, mother, & homemaker) was spot on.

We have such a problem anymore with obscurity...it's really very sad. But I hope your reader will heed your words, Anna. What we do as homemakers is crucial to the health of our families, & will have such far-reaching effects. No good thing is ever wasted!

Brenda

Anonymous said...

As a working mom, I have to tell you my family is not falling apart. Both my husband and I make every effort to put our family first. I'm sure you hate the sterotypes of homemakers/SAHMS. Please realize that the problems today are a result of an increasingly godless world, not women in the workforce.

Anonymous said...

Anna,

If a woman is going to work (regardless of her field of employment) do you think it is better that she remain unmarried? Do you think it is possible to be a good wife and/or mother and work outside the home?

Mrs. Anna T said...

Anon number 1,

"Please realize that the problems today are a result of an increasingly godless world, not women in the workforce."

Women in the workforce, in such overwhelming numbers, is a result of an increasingly godless world, which doesn't value the contribution of wife and Mom at home.

Anon number 2,

"If a woman is going to work (regardless of her field of employment) do you think it is better that she remain unmarried?"

Far from it. I'd look at it from the other way around: if a woman is going to be married, she'd better consider if and how and when she'll combine family life with working outside the home, and many times she'll see it's just not worth it.

Analytical Adam said...

Hi Mrs. Anna. I know I am one of the few men that comment (I think more men are for feminism then women sadly) but to be very fair I am not against a women using her talents in the supply and demand world but am against this idea of androgyny (and women wanting male type jobs) and women wanting equal results and to punish men who are smarter and wanting special privileges in male type jobs. All this has done is push men wages down not raise female wages up. Men wages have gone down adjusted for inflation by about $10,000 for men 20-29 while women have only gone up about $200 since 1970. But there is nothing wrong with a women using her legitimate skills in the supply and demand world and being paid for it to help the family. Not this affirmative action which I think is wrong and immoral and wanting the government and men paying taxes to go to help women. The problem is more this forced equality and women wanting to work like men.

In Leviticus Chapter 27 when it discusses the average valuation of men and women men in their prime (20-60) men are worth 50 and women 30 (a woman in her prime is worth more then an elderly man) which interestingly before the 1960's a woman's wage was about 60% of men on average which isn't because women are less skilled but because they spend less time in the supply and demand world but don't have to be completely uninvolved in it. The torah warns not to be go too far to the LEFT OR RIGHT and I 100% agree that family should come first but if a woman can help with a legitimate skill without neglecting their children there is nothing wrong with it.

Also, WOMEN DO GET PAID. Not by an employer but by the husband. That is why a man has to support his wife. Because she provides other services that help him.

That is my 2 cents on this topic.

Adam

Nurse Bee said...

Anna,

Regarding your comment to Anon #2, that is really just not true...many women (including myself) are going to be working. and le I have found, while not easy, one can work and have a family. But there are some important factors:

-I have a very flexible, part-time job (ie. if I need to switch my days off or start or end my day a little earlier it is not a problem)
-I have a flexiable, very reliable babysitter
-my husband and I equally share childcare. I am not the "primary" parent...that is very important. If I tried to do everything myself, I would fail and probably find myself resenting my husband.

It may be unconventional and not ideal, but we find that it works for us.