Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My wonderful life

I'm living a wonderful life – the full, rich, busy life of a stay-at-home wife and mother. About two years ago, at the end of my college years and with my heart newly turned towards home, I had dreamed and imagined myself living just the sort of life I have now: with a husband, and a baby, and a lovely little home to take care of. A life of simplicity and finding joy in the simplest things.

I do love my life. I know that my choices are causing many raised eyebrows among family, friends and neighbors, who don't hesitate to express their astonishment as to why a young, capable woman such as myself is "wasting her time" at home. Add to this the fact that we are not rich – we have all we need and more, but we do live rather frugally – and people are wondering how come I'm not on the lookout for employment outside the home.

I have received several job offers, none of which would have left me with any substantial amount of money at the end of a month, after deducing daycare and other work-related expenses. I must admit: when I explain why I'm at home, I often cling to this point, which makes me feel as though I'm not being entirely truthful because in fact, even if I could make more than my husband, it wouldn't make the slightest change to my belief that the woman's primary mission in life is to be a wife, mother and homemaker, and that since the Almighty kindly gave me a husband, a child and a home, He evidently meant me to be there for my family.

My days are a kaleidoscope of activity. I'm sure it cannot be compared with the mad rollercoaster of families where both parents work outside the home, but I'm literally busy every minute of the day – busy doing things I love, things that make life worthwhile. I'm sure the busyness will increase as our daughter grows, and as (hopefully) more children are added to the family.

The modern homemaker often finds herself in a situation when it seems almost impossible to redeem her value no matter what she does. She is perceived as lazy and selfish because she stays home instead of "contributing financially" by working outside the home, especially if the family is going through a period of financial troubles; or else people pity her for being horribly taken advantage of, turned into a housekeeper and nanny while being denied the opportunity to unfold her wings and pursue her talents and ambitions.

On top of all the natural challenges of being a wife, mother and homemaker, there is always the pressure to prove that you are doing something worthwhile (something that no sane person would have doubted a couple of generations ago). And God forbid if she ever complains about being tired or not having enough money – when a "working woman" says she is tired or finances are tight, she gets sympathy, but a homemaker is simply told to stop being lazy and go find a job.

So, we are not perfect and neither is our life. We all sometimes wish we had more support, or enough money to never think about it again, or more leisure time – at present, I keep apologizing to people who sent me questions for replying to their email after a month, yet if they knew how little time I actually have on the computer, they would marvel at the fact that I'm still updating this blog regularly enough.

Ah, how I wish I had enough eloquence - and time - to express the deep degree of contentment that spreads over me after a day of baking, mopping floors, washing, ironing and giving snuggles and baths! After a long, productive day I feel at peace with myself and with the world, feeling that this is just where I ought to be – right where I was placed, and where my heart belongs.

32 comments:

makingthemostofbeingathome said...

This post is so so true. I truly believe that a womans place is at home. Like you I can never say to friends that I am tired as they seem to think all women do at home is have coffee and a quick tidy up!!!

Persuaded said...

Honestly dear, I do marvel at how you have been able to keep up your blog so faithfully. I imagined that once your little one arrived you would kind of wind things down, and we wouldn't hear from you very often at all. I am so pleased that you take the time to write... and that you continue to do it so well, too! all of us out here in blogland appreciate your efforts, I know.

Blessings to you and yours♥

Terry @ Breathing Grace said...

I know that my choices are causing many raised eyebrows among family, friends and neighbors, who don't hesitate to express their astonishment as to why a young, capable woman such as myself is "wasting her time" at home.

A sentiment I can fully relate to. What a lovely post. I'm glad that all is well with you Anna. It's been a while so I figured I should click away from the google reader and say hello.

jAne said...

So true, AnnaT.

jAne at tickleberry farm

Bethany said...

A very truthful post! I, too, have a hard time expressing the true contentment that being a homemaker gives me. It's so frustrating when people assume that I'm simple-minded or lazy, because I find such joy and satisfaction in the duties and challenges of being at home.

Thank you so much for the encouragement!

Front Porch Society said...

There is most certainly nothing wrong with wanting to be a stay at home mom/wife. I am happy for you that you have found your calling in life and are enjoying every minute of it. :)

As I turn another year older in just a week's time, I must admit that my biological clock has begun loudly ticking. Not for the mere sake of producing a child as that is physically/medically impossible, but for the fact that I do want to settle down with someone and have a home of my own. And I am certainly not getting any younger.

Just this past month or so, desires to learn how to grow a garden and freeze fruits/veges have been things I want to pursue. But life in an apartment do not afford me such opportunities.

I want a place of my own where I can grow a huge garden, plant fruit trees, take care of the farm, have a chicken that lays eggs, and further continue my own business raising/training horses while my husband (an obviously non-existent one right now) has his career.

But until that happens I continue on with where I am at. Count yourself blessed you have found someone to spend the rest of your life with. Not everyone is blessed to find their soulmate as such a young age. Maybe someday I too will have that opportunity....

Paulina said...

It's so wonderful to see that you are finding fulfillment in being a wife and mother! If only more people expressed the same thoughts!

Kaleanani said...

"And God forbid if she ever complains about being tired or not having enough money – when a "working woman" says she is tired or finances are tight, she gets sympathy, but a homemaker is simply told to stop being lazy and go find a job."

OH, how I can relate to THAT!

Jenna said...

I sense that deep feeling of contentment in the general tone that comes across in each of your writings. Some things can not be expressed directly in the form of eloquent words -- it's more the quiet spirit between the words.

I wish I could give even a portion of the same contentment you have to a few homemakers I know who lack a vision and love for their role and are seeking opportunities for fulfillment elsewhere! A love for the God-given role of a woman as wife, mother and keeper of the home seems to be a gift that has to be continually nurtured in our hearts.

How could we share the beauty and fulfillment of this lifestyle with those who do not understand what it has to offer? Prayer, showing by example and gentle encouragement whenever we have a chance?

SouthernNight said...

Oh, my, your post moved me to tears. That is exactly how I feel! I just wish I had the eloquence to say it so well...and I do know what you mean by time to blog. I think I've updated mine 4 times or so in a year and a half! May you and your family be healthy, happy, and blessed!
Take care :-)

Joanna J. said...

Beautiful post, Anna. What a blessing it is that your little family has a mama that is so committed and content to make a peaceful home.

emily said...

I think your lifestyle sounds lovely but I think you are maybe a little over-sensitive to the 'eyebrow raising' of your family etc. My experience (as a single female 30-something, full time worker on the other side of the world) is that there is always someone somewhere raising eyebrows at how other people live. Certainly, I am often asked whether I'd like to settle down, why I have no children, etc etc. It's a bit annoying and intrusive so I just don't engage with it. The important thing, I think, is to be confident and happy in our choices and smile and let others think what they will - for they certainly will anyway! :)

Pendragon said...

I think the work of caring for home and child is valuable work that MUST be done. The question is: "To whom do we assign this work?" In broad outline, each individual couple has three options: (1) assign the work to one or the other (usually, but not necessarily, the wife); (2) share the work; and (3) pay someone else to do all or part of the work, or rely on volunteers like grandparents and other family members. There are infinite variations on these options to suit individual circumstances.

To me, the only moral question when it comes to division of labor is whether everyone involved is treated fairly. Feminists argue that automatically expecting or demanding that women, and only women, do the uncompensated work of the home is unfair to women (and possibly bad for children and society). Please note that I said that any woman ever staying home is not necessarily bad under this view, but rather what is bad is the belief that it must ALWAYS be the woman. Anti-feminists argue that any other way of doing things is unfair to children and therefore bad for society.

Personally, as a feminist, I don't have a problem with any woman who chooses to stay home. I think as neighbors and friends we all should presume that the couples we know are doing their best to meet the needs of all the individuals in the family. We really can't leap to conclusions from the outside looking in whether a wife is being taken advantage of or whether children are being neglected. (Personally, I have children thrive in all kinds of different families)

Ideally, I would LOVE to arrive at the point where couples could decide that either the man or the wife stay home or not, without the decision having political meaning and without the couple facing social judgment. However, I do have a problem with the belief that the woman MUST stay home, and with social pressures and media that place all the burden of homecare on women and only women.

The fact is women get it from all sides. Whatever you do -- stay home or work -- you WILL get flak for your choices if you are a woman.

Jeni from Canada said...

You are so precious, Anna. And such an obedient servant to the Lord. I pray that more young moms all over the world will realize what a joy it is to be at home. Thank you for always encouraging those of us who are at home already...

Anonymous said...

Have you ever considered distancing yourself from these disapproving people? This is not always possible or advisable, but there are places on the planet that are not so negative about these types of choices. When it is your own family discouraging you, that is the hardest. But if your life values are so dramatically different from your family, maybe some distance is a good option. I live in a suburb in the North East US and I'm the only stay at home mom for blocks around, the only homeschooling mom as well. But people generally keep to themselves or say "Wow, I could never do that, I would go nuts". A few are positive about it. But we are looking to move to a more rural area that is mostly populated by Amish folks who share similar values as us and are all sahm's. I really don't feel the need to explain or defend my choices to anyone, but if I was questioned I would likely just state that raising our children full time is something that is of utmost importance to us, much more important than a second income. We would make every sacrifice in order to raise our children full time. This is not a defensive statement, it is just the facts about what is important to *us*. If I was being discouraged constantly like you are, I would consider making a life change that would distance me from the nay-sayers and put me around like-minded people. Good for you for doing what *you* know is right for your family.

Beth

Lanita said...

Thank you so much for sharing. It is a blessing to be at home, something that women in the workforce will never understand. We choose to be at home, caring for our children and actually saving our husbands money. If we were in the work force, we wouldn't cook many homemade meals from scratch (no time, too tired), we would have to have business clothes, daycare, more fuel for the car, maybe another car, etc. I am glad my husband let me know that he didn't want me to work, even before we were married. After more than 29 years, having raised two children into adulthood and two young ladies still at home, I am so glad I have been able to stay at home and take care of my family.

TheRetroHousewife said...

I used to give people the same answer, because it wouldn't be worth it to work after deducting child care and gas but now I am much more comfortable just saying that I am happy being a homemaker.

Anonymous said...

As a working mom, I would like to tell you what I think you do is wonderful and I would never for a moment think that a SAHM has nothing to do. I'm sorry that people have told you that.

I wish all moms could simply enjoy discussing parenthood instead of trying to decide what is best for others families.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post! I too feel a deep sense of contentment with my days at home. I'm so glad I made the choice I did, to come home after some time in a professional career. I can relate to to the "raised eyebrows" you refer to... Anyways, we persevere and have so much to be thankful for!

Sincerely,
Rosemary

Lena said...

The best position to be is a stay at home wife and mother. When my babysitter comes to my house to watch my girls, she gets paid, she is worth her money. But if I stay home and watch my kids and bake, cook, clean, do laundry, take my children on field trips, and so many other daily things, I am considered lazy... what a weird world we live in now. I am glad you have the support of your husband on this issue. It makes everything much easier. Take care.

Anonymous said...

I can see where you are coming from. Israel is a very pluralistic society on the one hand, and on the other there are certain norms that everyone MUST follow. It's tough being different; I know very few moms who stay home for more than a year or two (even that is rare). Those who do stay home long term usually have huge families, where it really doesn't make sense to work just to pay for daycare.

I don't see, however, how so many women here claim they wouldn't earn anything from their paycheck. Unless you have a baby every year or two, daycare is a temporary expense. I work - albeit not full time - and the bulk of my wages go to the bank. I'd wager many working women are in the same position.

How much does the average working woman spend on clothes anyway? I mean, most of us aren't working on Wall Street. And those who stay home like to look nice too. Gas is of course an extra expense (as for men) - but unless you are working minimum wage, it should not take a huge cut of your salary. In Israel, anyway, many places of employment (maybe all?) cover transportation costs to and from work daily.

Personally, I think women with a good vocation could contribute a lot to the family finances (again - unless there is a baby every year - and even then, in Israel, daycare is much cheaper than in the States). Every year a woman works adds to her seniority, and after a decade on most jobs she will be making much more than as a young woman. And don't forget she will get an old-age pension.

The best 'excuse' to give busybodies about staying home is not that you wouldn't be making much anyway, because in the long-term it's not quite true. The best 'excuse' is you are staying home because that is where you want to be.

Anyway, here's to hoping you can change something in the local consciousness and make staying home a respected choice.
Tammy

ps...it's also a good idea to listen to family sometimes. Not to cave in, but to understand their reasoning. Yes, there is nothing more annoying than meddling family, but they do have your best interests at heart, and sometimes more life experience to boot.

Sheri said...

Beautifully written Anna! *Hugs*

Anonymous said...

I am beginning to think that in the world of today, a strong indicator of a deep,abiding faith and trust in G-d is one who is (and/or completely supports) the biblical order of a woman's G-d given blessing of children and of staying at home. Our children are the only thing in this world we can bring to heaven. How great a value then does the Lord place upon them?
Ella

Anonymous said...

My experience is the opposite. I work part time and enjoy 2 hobbies and I am criticized by the SAHM's and others because my children go to school and I am not at home full time.

Those posters who've said that no matter what our life choices are, there will be someone who criticizes them are so right.

I hate that you're criticized or looked at judgmentally, but realize that there is another side to it, too. I'm often looked at as neglectful and selfish.

Maybe we all just need a thicker skin, to trust in God, and to realize that we all make the best decisions we know how to make for our families, honoring all the individuals within them.

Sally

Phebe said...

Thanks so much for an uplifting post, Anna! I needed that today...

Mrs. Lady Sofia said...

Anna,

This is a lovely post, and I appreciate that fact that you continue to post encouraging and positive blog posts regarding being a full-time homemaker.

Full-time Stay-at-home-wives/mothers will always have to deal with the "outside flak" from society which doesn't understand why we are contented to serve our husbands, children, and elderly family members. I feel that as long as our society continues to down-grade the importance of the family and the home, these crude judgements against full-time homemakers will unfortunately only increase and not decrease. What a shame!

Cassandra said...

I struggle sometimes with feeling like I'm wasting my life. I'm "only" a housewife, not yet a mother. And I know people look down on me because it's even less acceptable to stay home when you have no children. :( It's hard to feel worthwhile sometimes.

Kat said...

The Biblical place for a woman is wherever God chooses to place her...be that at work or at home. Quite frankly, it is no one else's concern or business. God nudges some women into the working world, some into ministry and others he places in homes. Sometimes, He chooses all three! Far be it from me to begin challenging the plans of the Almighty! The ones who choose to tread into this territory certainly have more gumption than I! Blessings Anna!

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna!....just popping in to say hi after a few days away. My oh my, you have been busy!

I just thought I'd leave my comment here on this post, because it touches me the most of your recent ones. I have not had the experience of the severe nagging, the "eyebrow raising" you mentioned, etc., when it comes to the choice of home or work for a mother. I know there are some in my circle of acquaintances who perhaps wonder at my reasons for staying at home, but I am mostly left alone on this particular point. Some of the comments I read here address the fact that sometimes it doesn't seem to matter what one does...there will always be individuals around to pick & criticize. Unfortunately, it's too true! :o/

Hang in there!

Brenda

Anonymous said...

We live as you do and have for many years. I have been home and stayed so even when my children left home. Now we have grandchildren and I am still at home and find plenty to keep me busy. As you know, being home you have the time to help your husbands pay stretch and stretch. You can be so creative in many ways. I too could not put into words the contentment I feel being home. I will though admit that home will be different when soon my husband will be there too as he is soon to retire! I am used to having some time during the day to pace my tasks and can get the house a mess in so doing before I clear it all up again. When he is home my time is not my own as it was. This will take a bit of understanding to get used to.!! Never-the-less I would not trade my life for any one's life in the 9-5 world. Thankyou for saying what we feel. Also throuogh this blog we can find other like minded ladies and hopefully influence new ones! Jody

Mrs.M said...

Thank you for this post. I have tried repeatedly to explain to my family and friends how I feel about staying at home with my children and they don't understand. I get told on an almost daily basis how Im wasting my life and how much better my girls would be if they went to daycare. Its nice to read someone who understands. I love being a mother, I love being a wife. Its fulfilling and a wonderful life for me. I just wish I could make everyone else understand.

Rose said...

We have a family business which we had before our children arrived. Currently, I come in to the office one day per week, occasionally stopping for a few moments between errands on other days. It is here that I take a moment to catch up on your blog, a bit ironic that I go to work to read about staying home.

When I am home, I revel in taking care of the children (homeschooling too), tending to the farm animals, and making a home for my husband. This one day--ONE day--is a stress for me because I enjoy being home with my children so much.