This weekend, I had the opportunity to attend True Woman 2010. I knew it would be a great conference on biblical womanhood, but I didn’t realize how affirming it would be.
I love being a stay-at-home mom. I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to spend the past four and a half years at home with my girls. But to be honest with you, I’ve often used them and the fact that they’re too young for school as justification for why I’m a homemaker. It’s definitely not PC in our culture for a woman to want to make a career out of keeping her home and serving her husband, but even so, most people will “allow” it if there are small children in the picture.
Now that Ana is in school and soon BOTH girls will be in school all day, a whole lot of people have started asking me, “What are you going to do now?” (And some have even said, “Well, now you can finally DO something!” If I’m not doing anything now, then why am I always so tired?) Before this weekend, I felt guilty for not having a great response to this, for not knowing exactly what I had planned, and for… well, for having spent nearly five years out of the workforce. It’s wonderful that women have the same rights as men in our modern world and that we’re able to climb the corporate ladder just as high (and higher in some cases!) as our male counterparts. But it’s pretty awful that our liberation has brought a certain amount of shame to choosing to live life as a homemaker.
I’ve always had a bias, even as I’ve been a SAHM these past few years, that women who don’t work must be, in some way, not as intelligent as working women, lazier than working women, and a drain on society. Why do I think this? I have no idea. But when Social Security sends me that helpful little newsletter showing me that I’ve earned NO Social Security over the past four years, I count it as confirmation that, in the world’s eyes, I’m not doing much of anything. My bias and my thinking was at its worst, ironically enough, when I got married. Girls who I started seminary with as classmates quickly dropped out of school as soon as engagement rings were put on their fingers. Suddenly, they had no need to be any more educated than they already were, and their ministry goals seemed to disappear entirely or (horror of horrors!) morphed into a calling to life as a pastor’s wife. I would complain to Wes about how ridiculous it was that these girls lost all ambition and purpose once they got married. I was perhaps a bit too proud when I finished my degree, shaking my fist at the world that I was intelligent, not at ALL lazy, and a big contributor to society. I wasn’t just someone’s wife! I was SOMEONE! Take that!
And not even a year later, I was settling into life as a SAHM. And was just a little disgusted with myself that I had become one of THOSE women, who was content to clean the house, do the laundry, cook the meals, love the hubby, and kiss babies all day. Not that I didn’t love it and feel for the first time ever that I was doing just what I was made to do, but… wasn’t I supposed to be something “greater”? I was content being a homemaker. What a waste of a perfectly good college and seminary education, right?
So, this was my thinking. This IS my thinking. Trying to reconcile what I thought was truth — that we’re past the era of homemaking being a respectable career choice — to what I feel — that being a homemaker is what I’m made to be.
And this conference… really, really helped. You know, they probably talked about a million other things more than they talked about this, but all I seemed to keep hearing was that there is dignity and worth and value and honor in CHOOSING to be a keeper of the home. And there is NOTHING wrong with me for CHOOSING to stay at home even once my children are past the age of “needing” me. (I remember hearing Dr. Richard Ross say in an adolescent psychology course once that there’s never a point in the first eighteen years of life that a child doesn’t NEED her mother. Because the needs in the teenage years aren’t as obvious as those in the toddler years, we mistakenly believe that they’re fine without as much attention when, in reality, they need it even more.) And there is nothing chauvinistic about Wes affirming this decision, encouraging it, and frankly ENJOYING his role as sole financial provider for our family. Praise God that He’s made this possible! I don’t know if He will continue to do so for our lifetime, but I’m SO thankful that this is our reality right now.
I’m not bashing working mothers for their choice. But I’m no longer going to bash myself for MY choice. I’ve spent too much time these past few years worrying about what the world thinks, but I’m done now. I’m excited about the future and about spending my energy and my time ministering in my home and in our church, even if it never brings in a paycheck. (And I’m pretty sure it won’t!)
So, thank you, True Woman 2010. What a great weekend! And thank You, Jesus, for making me a “liberated woman” who is finally liberated enough to proudly be a homemaker!
Does anyone else out there love being a homemaker?