One morning as breakfast was finishing up, a mother asked her child what she might like to be when she grew up. The child thought for a moment and then answered hesitantly, “A baker?”.
“Oh!” the mother said, giving the stovetop a final swipe with her sponge, “That would be fun! Anything else?”
The child couldn’t think of anything, so the mother prompted, “What about being a stay at home mom?”
The mother smiled. “I, for one, think it’s an awesome job!”
The child, without hesitation: “Why? Because you don’t have to do anything?”
The child had a fun time pooper-scoopering the backyard that afternoon once the family got home from church.
* * * * *
Words sure do hurt, sometimes.
Even though I try to be productive during the week: grocery shopping; cleaning; washing, folding, and putting away clothes; getting the dishes done; making dinner; packing lunches; getting said child ready for school and being at the bus-stop in the afternoon to collect her; as well as the other tasks I’ve taken on (joyfully!) to save money/ up our nutrition/be a help to others, still it’s easy to feel like those words are true: “You don’t do anything.”
It’s easy to look at moms who work full-time and still seem to be holding everything together and feel “less-than.”
And society reinforces it, equating busy-ness and exhaustion with success: the closer you are to a nervous breakdown, the more you are killing it in life!
This week in our book study at church, the chapter just happened to be focused on “pressure”. We can feel pressure from ourselves, from others, or from society to do everything; to be everywhere; and it’s to our detriment sometimes! We have to have margin in our lives, or we will end up dropping the ball in one or multiple crucial areas: in our walk with God; in our relationship with our husband or with our children; in our home; or in our obedience to serve where God is calling us to serve.
It is not wrong for a woman to work outside the home. Some have to. But I am making the decision to reject the world’s derision of homemaking (which was totally normal up until the so-called feminist movement just fifty years ago) and instead choosing to rejoice in the blessing of being able to prioritize the things that truly matter to me: my faith, family, home, church, and my friends and neighbors!
I am also choosing to believe that God’s words are true and good:
These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. -Titus 2:4-5
I am choosing to thank God for a life in which I can create rhythms of routine and rest; for space to prepare so our mornings aren’t hassled; for peaceful evenings connecting over a home-cooked meal; for quiet moments in the garden, seeing God in new ways as I marvel at his creation, for time to sit with a hot cup of coffee and soak in God’s word; for the satisfaction of sourdough rising and fresh-swept floors and home-grown produce and a sink that isn’t overflowing with dishes. I am blessed with margin in my life and the ability to love my family well because I’m not pulled in a million directions. There is a wholeness here, and I embrace it with my whole heart.
Audrey may choose to have a fabulous career when she grows up (I would be totally okay with having a professional baker in the family!), but I want to teach her the value of home, too. I heard a story recently of someone’s daughter going off to college and realizing she was the only one out of four suite-mates who knew how to run a vacuum. That will not be Audrey.
It’s important to teach our daughters to pitch in around the house; to contribute and to take pride in keeping things clean, to lovingly craft a delicious meal, and to serve their family with joy! Boys should help out too, but the aim is -gasp- different: boys should be taught how to become godly men: strong, loving providers and protectors. And before you protest, tell me that isn’t desirable in a husband! Isn’t that what you would hope for your daughters to find? For your sisters and your friends?
As you might be able to tell, the gender roles laid out in the Bible don’t offend me. They give me permission to fully enjoy being a wife, a homemaker, and a stay at home mom.
I am thankful to have a husband who provides. I am thankful for a home to care for and in which to create a warm, welcoming nest for our family and friends. I am thankful for a daughter to love and raise and teach, even when she doesn’t fully appreciate the effort, as evidenced by recent conversations.
I am thankful for the freedom to let go of the values and expectations of others and to thrive in the life God has blessed me with.
A quiet life.
Faith in the One who set it up this way.
All the ingredients that make life sweet.
It’s more than enough.
It’s a gift from God.