Thursday, September 10, 2009

An imprint on eternity

It's not easy to be a stay-at-home wife/mother in our culture even if your family can easily afford it, because it's simply the norm for a woman these days to be "out there doing something", if she wants to be considered an accomplished adult.

Things become even more complicated when your family is going through financial difficulties. Most people who know you will suggest the "obvious" solution of you getting a job outside the home. Once you point out that after daycare and travel costs, and other work-related expenses you will be left with next to nothing at the end of each month, they may suggest finding a way to earn money from home, which is good for some situations but not when the wife and mother is already struggling with her domestic duties. The life of a mother of several children who are old enough to help out is not like the life of a mother who has three little ones underfoot.

As for me, I know that whatever employer that could be unfortunate enough to hire me, would soon realize that they made a grave mistake. I doubt I could be a good worker at any job outside the home, because my heart is so wholly and completely at home. I often feel that the complaints about women who are incompetent workers are nothing more than an observation of women who should really be at home taking care of their families.

It is often claimed that the homemaker's work has no lasting value, and only the work that is done outside the home counts. That is an evil twisting of the truth, for indeed, the wife and mother at home invests in nothing less than souls of her dearest ones – the images she imprints upon her children, and the atmosphere she creates in her home, is basically an investment in eternity.

The home is a woman's delight; a woman's pride and joy, and also the mirror that reflects her character. When you are told that someone's home is peaceful and quiet, and that whoever comes is always welcome there, doesn't it make you draw a mental picture of a sweet-spirited, content wife?

Here is how I picture my home: cozy and warm, generally clean but not too tidy as to make people uncomfortable to stretch out and relax, with a large variety of books, toys and craft supplies easily available. With herbs growing in the garden, and perhaps a pair of knitting needles and a half-finished scarf on them lying on the sofa. With something delicious baking in the oven, and a pot bubbling on the stove. With beautiful, though not necessarily matching mugs and plates laid out on the table for dinner. I think that'd reflect my personality as an introvert who loves her cozy corner.

I have been at home since I got married a year and a half ago, and I'm thankful for every moment. Time flies by so fast – I'm especially aware of it since Shira was born. Every day I look at her and marvel – her precious babyhood is passing by too soon. But at least, I will be able to tell myself later, I was here to enjoy every cherished moment.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the reminder. I have children 8 and under. My last two being 11 months apart. I am often told you have too many kids to do... What people don not realize there is no where else I'd rather be.

Jamie said...

What a lovely post.
I want to keep it so I can come back to it on those days when I am questioning myself and my role.
I have three children under 7 years and struggle with feeling like I am not doing enough 'worthwhile' things. You post helps me remember how important the role of a mother is, and how I really can shape our home and family.

Paulina said...

Very lovely post :) I look forward to reading everything you write.

I am also an introvert who loves being at home and thrives there too. However, my parents don't see life the way I do so I am obligated to go to college in order to "be someone" when all I want is to be a wife and a mother someday.

Maria said...

I once read the words of a holy person that said the duty of parents (and I would say especially the mother) is to create as close as possible another garden of Eden for their children so that they can truly understand God's love for them. It is certainly something I strive for and I think you are also on your way towards creating a little "paradise" for your dear Shira.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs. T,

I have been reading your blog regularly for a few weeks. I stumbled upon it one day and I have been coming back ever since. I do know that I was reading a blog by a radical and scary right wing woman that pointed to your site. I just don't remember who she was.

What I wanted to tell you is that I really like your blog. I like the way you speak of your choices and values.

I myself do not share many of the choices you make. I am a feminist (gasp!), I work like crazy (in advertising) and I do not aspire to have a family. I was born catholic but consider myself an atheist. I am a French speaking Canadian. And, I find your writing inspiring. Strange huh?

Not so much, actually. What I find here is help to believe in myself and my decisions, however unpopular they are.

I do have a home I take a lot of pride in, I do adhere to frugal living ideals, and in the eyes of many people this is incompatible with the fact that I am also a ruthless career woman, working in advertising of all things.

Your blog, the way you write, the things you write about help me reconcile the different parts of me. I'm going to sound very blunt, but bear with me: the things you say and the values you have and share here are usually only talked about by crazies. People who women like me cannot relate to at all. So usually they end up preaching to the converted.

You have opened my eyes to a new reality, confronted my values and sometimes shocked me. And somehow, I think we could have been friends had we met in 'real life'.

Keep up the good work :)


Laree said...


Lindsey said...

Thank you so much for this post - it was very timely for me. Lately, what with our financial situation, I have been debating finding work. Aside from the obvious costs-benefits analysis, I couldn't bring myself to imagine leaving my one babe - though she be 18 months already. I love this life! It's worth the monetary strife, in my opinion.

Now just to create that lovely little picture you painted - we have the myriad books and I love to cook - things just always seem to get a bit more messy than I'd like. :-/

But, anyhow: indeed, thank you! This really helped me reaffirm my values.

Lavendar said...

You have a wonderful knack of posting encouragement and inspiration just when I need them most! Thank you! :)

Anonymous said...

So very well said! I have married children now and spent every moment with them in their childhood. I thought it was vitally important then but now I see it even more so from this later/older perspective. Well done. Keep spreading the joyous news that women in the home are happy and important. From Linda

Sue said...

I love the way you described your home. That sounds like my ideal, too! Well, once I learn how to knit ;-).

sarah said...

Oh man...I have been sooooooo not motivated to keep my home up the way I want to. Maybe it's depression...but this post paints a lovely picture of a warm cozy home. I need to get motivated!!!!!!

Mrs. Anna T said...

"I'm going to sound very blunt, but bear with me: the things you say and the values you have and share here are usually only talked about by crazies."

No, Marie-Eve, you do not sound very blunt... not compared with all the "you're a raving lunatic" comments I got on this blog since starting it. :o)

Anonymous said...

You know that I am of the same mind here, Anna! I never doubted that what I was doing was a good & worthy thing (staying home to rear my own children), but I see more & more the impact this can have. The world needs us (SAHM), & I don't think this is a prideful, narcissistic thing to say. The good we homemakers do will have effects far-reaching. On days that my confidence wavers, when I'm very tired, when I'm discouraged & disappointed by the insanity of the world, I just keep telling myself, "One family at a time." I cannot, by myself, solve the world's problems. But I can try to create a happy, pleasant environment for our little world. And then, some years down the road, my children will try to do that for their families. So, I believe I am doing my part to multiply goodness in the world, instead of adding to its woes.

May God bless your efforts at home, Anna. Your husband & baby are fortunate that you are centered on their well-being.


Muriel said...

Thanks again for the inspiration Anna !

Anonymous said...

Reading is like visiting your warm cozy "Blog home" I always come away calm and often times with something to turn over in my mind like a sea shell. It is almost funny to think of this way of life that families have lived for ever and that some of us still do, is now branded lunatic and crazy.How could that have happened in just 100 years??? It is laughable and sad...My "lunatic" home sees many children come through its doors..for meals and caring stability, I begin to feel like this is a calling from God as year after year my home is a haven for children left alone. You may find this happens also when your daughter begins to have friends. I could turn them out but they are lonely and feeling unloved .

Audrey said...

What a wonderful post! I absolutely love it! How encouraging for those of us who have no encouragement otherwise! Thanks for reaffirming what is in the hearts of so many women, yet is constantly shot down by society.

L.H. said...

Lovely post! I loved the way you described your ideal home.

Mrs. Lady Sofia said...

Wow! What a very touching post!

I currently don't have children (I'm 40, and it's unlikely at my age I will have them), but my husband and I, in the past, had been praying for me to be home full-time. So, since the middle of May of this year, I have been home full-time, and it's been wonderful and stressful at the same time.

I'm still in an "adjustment period" (we recently moved into a new home at the end of July), but the more I work into my daily homemaking schedule, the more natural and wonderful it feels to be at home. I actually care about making my home comfortable, organized, clean, relaxing, and cheerful.

My husband is happier as well. He's always telling me what a wonderful job I am doing in taking care of our home. He also enjoys coming home to a wife that is happy and content instead of seeing a wife who is stressed-out and complaining about how I had a nasty day at work. It's also nice to be appreciated for what I do. My husband is forever giving me compliments! That hardly ever happened while I was working outside the home (especially the last job that I quit).

I really couldn't imagine going back to working outside the home unless I really had to and even then, I would probably not enjoy it so much. I've never really wanted to be a "career woman." It's just not my style. I'm an introvert that enjoys freedom and peacefulness. The business world alludes me anyway . . .

I know people would consider me odd to actually enjoy being a homemaker, especially for the fact that there are no lovely children in my home. However, my life is quite "full," and even during my "down times"' I don't get bored or restless. I take care of my husband, our home, my widowed mother, and get to spend time with God on a regular basis as well as pursue hobbies of interests and enjoyment. What could be more full-filling than that?

Anna said...

This is so true! Even as a big sister, I find it hard to 'detatch' myself from my home and little brothers. The accomplishment of doing something outside the home doesn't hold a candle to what gets done inside. Hearing a little one, groggy from sleep, walk in the kitchen and say "Good morning!" is worth more than anything.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs T,

Thanks again for your wonderful articles. You and maybe some of your readers might be interested in reading a blog called What Women Never Hear written by a sweet older gentleman (sometimes his wife and grown son too.) From, Linda

Anonymous said...

I too, found your blog a couple of weeks ago and truly enjoy reading it. I have four children, 3 are now young adults and our youngest is 16. My husband has M.S. (11 yrs. now) and I have striven to be a stay at home mom although I have done cleaning for others to have gas/grocery money. I am also a caregiver and the Lord opened the the door when a friend had a great need for help with her mother...then for my brother who died from brain cancer and more and more for my husband as his MS progresses. My heart is to stay home and always be available to my family. We homeschool and it is not with the intention to have our daughters have a career. I love your encouraging words to women and look forward to reading more.
God bless you...SMA

"I am not a homemaker
because I had too little ambition
or education to make anything else of myself.

I am a homemaker
because God has given me the infinite honor
of being a wife,
and I delight in employing
every ability that
He has equipped me with,
in this glad career."

Mrs. Lanier Ivester

Sheri said...

Anna I love this post!!

Rightthinker-Andrea said...

Hi Anna! After a two+year break from blogging, I come back to find this...more wonderful posts such as this!

Thanks so much for posting this, and for upholding the God-given career that is being abandoned at a record pace for self-fulfillment!

God Bless!