Generation Cedar

Written in 2013, many of the 132 comments state “best post you’ve ever written.” So I figured a repost would meet a new group of eyes and you who have been around for a long time should enjoy it again! And PLEASE talk to me in the comments. I love reading your thoughts.

I received the following comment in response to another post I wrote called, DO YOU PITY THE GIRL AT HOME? FEMINISM LIES AGAIN and decided to  unpack it.

“I was raised with this idea that being at home [with my kids] is best just as you believe. So I have been at home with my babies since I was twenty. I don’t know that this was the right choice for me but then again it wasn’t really a choice for me, it was expected from me by all our conservative friends and family.

I was told this was the best way and I would be content at home. 15 years into it I’m tired. I know that homemaking doesn’t fulfill me…Please give your girls the freedom to make this choice for themselves.” -Katie

It resonates with all of us, doesn’t it? It feels right to say it. But take this comment and replace some words. Then compare our feelings/response.

 Watch:

“I was raised with this idea that career is best. After all, not one person asked me after graduation: “So, are you going to pursue a career at home, or are you going to work outside the home in addition to your career at home?”

So I have worked a full time job since I was twenty.

I don’t know that this was the right choice for me but then again it wasn’t really a choice for me, it was expected from me by all my friends and family. I was told this was the best way and I wouldn’t be content at home.

15 years into it I’m tired. (After all, I now have TWO full time jobs.) I know that an outside career doesn’t fulfill me…Please give your girls the freedom to make this choice for themselves.”

See, I wasn’t given a choice, as Katie wrongly assumed. From very early on, everyone — my teachers, friends and family fully expected me to go to college after graduation. And we all knew that one goes to college to “get a good job.”

I was betrayed

And I did. And I felt betrayed. Two years into my teaching career I wanted to know why no one told me about the gut-wrenching I would feel as I drove away and left my 5 month old baby with the sitter.

About how I would have to dry tears before I walked into the classroom, and stuff my broken heart deep down to carry on with my day.

Why hadn’t anyone prepared me for the exhaustion of rushing to get out the door early in the mornings and coming home at 4 or 5 p.m. with supper to cook, laundry to do, a house to maintain, a husband to encourage and two little ones to be a mommy to?

I still had papers to grade, for crying out loud, who has time for a home? And when and how was I suppose to slow down enough to train my children, to shape their character, to daily teach them the important things in life that look small at first, but add up after years of attention?

Why didn’t they tell me I would spend a ton of money on quick lunches and meals and gas and clothes and school stuff? And that my health would suffer. I wasn’t prepared to feel stretched in every direction all the time, unable to really give my best to anything.

No one told me it was OK

But this is “normal” they said. This is what everybody does. You just have to figure it out. NOT ONCE did anyone tell me it was OK to leave my career and manage my full time career at home.

In fact, when I couldn’t do both any more, I quit my job teaching against almost unanimous opposition, feeling guilty even, being told I was burdening my husband.

No, I wasn’t given a choice; I made it.

Not equal careers

We’re not having this conversation, are we? Why? Because an outside career is honorable and an at-home career is not. Raising children and helping a husband and pursuing creative outlets (even making money from home) is regarded as a low station in life.

Working at a bank or an office is not. This was the entire point of my original post and the comment could not have reinforced it more. If we really believed that the career of investing in family was as important as any other career, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

Now consider the comment but this time, it’s my husband (or yours) talking:

“I was raised with this idea that providing for my family is best just as you believe. So I have had a job since I was twenty. I don’t know that this was the right choice for me but then again it wasn’t really a choice for me, it was expected from me by all my friends and family.

I was told this was the best way and I would be content working. 15 years into it I’m tired. I know that providing for my family doesn’t fulfill me…Please give your boys the freedom to make this choice for themselves.”

We’re not having this conversation either. Why? Because men provide and it’s the best for families and if men suddenly felt oppressed and made a mass exit out of the work force, it would wreck us.

It doesn’t matter so much whether it “fulfills” them or not, or whether they are tired. Because life really isn’t about that. It’s about fulfilling my responsibilities and doing the best thing for my family.

The reality that few of us are willing to admit is that families need mothers and wives devoted to them. Are there women who have to work? Sure. But to acknowledge that and to call that “ideal” are two different things. (Hat tip: Matt Walsh)

My girls do have a choice. In fact, we’ve never had a conversation that suggests they couldn’t pursue an outside career. But there’s a reason for that.

They don’t have to experience something to understand it. They hear the horror stories my sister tells of two-year-olds who cry and scream all day for their mamas.

They see the women around them who do have to work who are torn between that and family. They don’t feel envy for those women, they feel compassion. They wouldn’t choose it. And I pray they never have to.

Additionally, they are too fond of the freedom they know comes with managing a home to ever desire to be constricted by someone else’s schedule and demands. They know women with full time home careers ARE tired; how much more women who have the extra load of another job.

Give them a choice

So yes, I agree with you, I need to give them a choice. A choice to not feel bad about choosing to pour their lives into raising people. A choice to say “no” to what almost everyone around them tells them they should do. A choice to be home-builders, upon which a healthy society is made.

A choice to stand with their husbands and create a shelter for him from the battering of the world. A choice to be everything to a few people and, clothed in strength and dignity, to have some left over to care for the needs of others around her.

A choice to use their gifts wisely, to continue their education, to be creative, to be resourceful, to be productive, to run a business, to flourish in a thousand ways.

We will do all we can to offer our girls this choice. And as a Christian woman, with daughters to instruct, how can I defy what Scripture has expressly commanded me, which a loving Heavenly Father has given FOR OUR GOOD:

“That the older women may teach the younger women…..to be keepers at home.”

I can’t pretend that families are just as well off without full time mothers and wives. And we are hurting ourselves to do so. Because if we were honest, we would be making more effort to support women at home and to bring women home who have to work. We wouldn’t, ourselves, be so easily swayed by the “better choice” only to find ourselves unfairly juggling two full time jobs.

Are there seasons where a woman is more free for outside pursuits? Sure!

But most young women will be married and have children. They will begin their season of adulthood with a full time job already. Let’s allow them and tell them the truth and rally behind them in their season of doing the most important work on the planet.

“The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only — and that is to support the ultimate career. ” -C.S. Lewis

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136 Responses

  1. Kelly, I LOVED this post! I just spent a half hour typing a response that was really important to me, and then my computer just deleted everything and shut down!!! I don’t have it in me to rewrite it now, but maybe later. I think this article is the best you’ve ever written–you hit the nail on the head! My heart was beating faster while I was reading it because I was so excited that you put it into words so well! Just, thank you. That’s all I can say right now to express my feelings. I so badly wish I could meet you in real life someday! It would be an honor. Blessings on your day!

  2. Thank you…. excellent post! I wish everyone in the country could read this. I especially liked the C.S. Lewis quote at the end.
    To this I say, a hearty “Amen!”

  3. Great post! Hard to argue, at least logically. 😉

    When my daughter was little, my husband and I were at a party. Someone asked what I did for work. I told them I JUST stayed home. My husband was not happy I felt that. He told me my job was not a “just” job. It was the most important job I could have. I’ve never said it again. Really, I loved staying home and knew it was important work. I was just worried what others would think. Now, I couldn’t care less what some stranger’s or acquaintance’s opinion is. Freedom, it is sweet!

  4. Kelly, I was just thinking last night what a huge difference the last few years have made in the way I think of my position in this world. I used to feel a huge pressure on me to “make something of myself.” I was supposed to be something more than wife and mother, something better, something more visible that I could point to and say “See? I accomplished something!” But the longer I go on doing the job I’m built for, the more I realize that what other people are expecting of me, and pointing out to me as the ideal, is not womanhood, but manhood. Funny how feminism managed to trample femininity into the ground, isn’t it?

    I think a lot of young women (and older ones, too) think of their success in terms of visibility–what the public can see us doing, what we can get financial and personal standing from–rather than being able to accept that our work’s success can only be judged by those few people who know us. Motherhood and wifehood–womanhood, in fact–is a private thing, but we’ve all been raised to think of ourselves as public property.

    If we’re not doing for the collective, we’re not thought to be doing anything at all. But a life outside the home is not the only thing worth striving for. In fact, a family’s life without a warm home as a center–with someone there to KEEP the center warm–is pretty barren. I suspect your commenter grew up in a rather home-centered way, and has no idea what a wonderful difference her feminine presence makes.

    I grew up in a two-income household, and I’m telling you, knowing when you’re on your way home from school that mom is not home, that the lights aren’t on, that dinner isn’t ready, that nobody really gave much thought to the family for the last 8 hours is NOT a pleasant thing for a child. It’s lonely coming in that door. Those rare times when mom was already waiting for me, it was a totally different, happy experience! Mama matters so, so much!

    It’s lonely knowing that if you get sick, you have to get mom out of her real job to take care of you. It’s lonely not having a living person at the center of the home, but rather, just having a building where everybody eats and sleeps when there’s nothing else to do. I know, not everyone feels that way about it, and a lot of women and men are so used to it that they don’t even think they’re lonely. But our culture’s extreme individualism IS lonely, and I think the statistics on depression, divorce, addictions, etc. in the decades since feminism really took hold bear me out.

    I think our lonely society knows on some level that what’s missing is mom, but we’re afraid to admit that women’s skills and talents are desperately needed in the private realm. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, and we certainly wouldn’t want working moms to think they’re neglecting their families. We’re too scared of hurting feelings to exalt “just” motherhood as an ideal, but it IS ideal.

    Only the public, only the seen, only the paid, seems to exist for us anymore. It’s no wonder many stay-at-home moms and wives feel unappreciated. They haven’t been taught to see the realm of the private as one worth pursuing. I hope this woman who thinks we ought to give women “choices” realizes what a precious thing she is to her family, just because she’s there.

    1. My mom was a SAHM most of my young life, but in High School she got a job, and I felt the void big time. There really isn’t anything more sad than coming home from school to an empty house. And I was a teen, I can’t imagine how littles feel.

    1. LOL Cindy, nothing “ew” in your response as it resonated deeply. I think I am so passionate myself about women staying home because I used to work outside the home AND because my mom worked full-time. It was sad. The worst was when we were sick and still had to go to the babysitter. I hated laying all day in the babysitters bed, by myself in an unfamiliar place when all I wanted was my mom. I am not whining, it made me more passionate. I am now like an ex-smoker. You want to meet someone who is passionate about not smoking? Find an ex-smoker. LOL.

      1. Ladies, I usually just read…as the silent observer. I’m the mom of 12, with kiddos ranging in age from 19-6 months (today ). Kelly’s blog & Cindy’s response have really resonated this evening.

        I LOVE being at home with our kiddos! As our children have gotten older, they’ve been more aware of other families’ cultures/norms because of babysitting/petsitting, or being on sports teams. It is incredible to hear their words of appreciation for our simple, Mama-at-home farm life in comparison to the broken families & empty homes of their more well-to-do friends/teammates. Their friends love being here in our mid-renovation 1880s farmhouse because of its warmth. It’s not the most spacious house in the group right now, but it’s one where they know they’re welcomed & enjoyed. There’s always activity in the kitchen, where we feast & clean up all day just to do it all over again the next. It’s exhausting, and even defeating sometimes, but our house is full of life! ❤️

        Praise the Lord for daily bread, and a shared priority between my husband & me for Mama to be at home!!

  5. This was so good. I used to be a single woman , with my own little apartment , my own well paying job , and 2 Kitties and after 15 years I was exhausted. LOL Probably the truth is anything can become exhausting after 15 years! Now I have been a wife and mother for 17 years. I have told my daughters the truth about both worlds and about having both worlds at once. The lady who wrote you assumes the life she didn’t get to choose WOULD have been fulfilling. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence .

    1. I love that saying, the grass is always greener on the other side!! But if you really stopped to think about it, would you really want it? I know I am happy to be a wife, mommy, and teacher (home school that is!!) and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!!

  6. Oh by the way all the air conditioners for cars and homes and even the parts I made for the space shuttle , helicopters for the military ! Where are they now? Melted down and something else completely .

  7. As usual Kelly, thank you! Spot on and good comparison. Of course women who stay at home get tired and weary. BUT, having been there done that in the career field, I was much more weary while working and having a child. We live in a sin-filled world so it is not perfect. But, let as try to be like Titus 2 and we can be a light in this world with many blessings from God.

    Women demand choice. Quite frankly, choice gets a little overwhelming after awhile. I sit and look at the gazillion color choices I want to make for my cabinets right now and think it would be easier with a smaller selection. I go into the Super WalMart and gasp at all the choices. Women get to chose abortions or babies. Choices often make us fret, and wonder, “did I do the right thing”? I looked at the world full of wonder when I graduated high school, ready for all the choices I would get to make. Guess what? I CHOSE WRONG. I chose college and a career but praise God, I have since learned and stayed home. Yes, life is hard but I believe, ironically, there is more freedom in not choosing sometimes and following God’s plan. I am not perfect, I know I chose to sin all the time sadly, but this is one choice in which we must eliminate the choice and quit acting like choosing is so great anyway.

  8. When my career-oriented sister asked my 10yo daughter what she would like to do when she was older, she replied, “Be a mom and stay home with the babes because that’s what moms do!” I never actually told her that, but I worked part time her first five years (dad was home with her and then worked third shift) and then came home to stay and she obviously likes life better with me at home.

    The truth is we DO have a choice, but we submit to the desires of everyone around us instead of hearing for ourselves (in our spirit and in Scripture) what it is we should be doing.

  9. Sigh. We’re all tired. Homemaking and homeschooling WON’T fulfill you, but a career won’t either. Our fulfillment comes from a thriving, active relationship with Jesus. We are filled (and fulfilled!) by the Holy Spirit. Our lives are’t an issue of what we want to do, but rather doing what we need to do in a way that honors and glorifies God. Then we will have joy and peace and rest.

    We shouldn’t push girls into the workplace, and we shouldn’t tie them down at home. We should push them into the scriptures and show them how to anchor themselves to Jesus. And then we show them mother who is satisfied with whatever her place in life may be, thankful in all circumstances.

    We can do the “right” thing with the wrong motives and it will never feel good. Or we can do the “wrong” thing with selfish motives and live happily in denial that there is anything better. We should stop beating each other over the head about what’s “right” and “wrong” and instead encourage each other to pursue Christ, love our families, and honor God with all of our choices.

    1. Katherine,

      “Homemaking and homeschooling WON’T fulfill you, but a career won’t either. Our fulfillment comes from a thriving, active relationship with Jesus.”

      Amen. You are so right.

      However, discussing a major, problematic issue is not the same as “beating each other over the head.” Women were specifically given the command to teach others about family. When there’s an epidemic misunderstanding about the importance of home, we must speak.

    2. Well… If we have the mindset that homemaking is biblical and valuable and is God’s plan for women, we may be physically tired from our daily duties, but we are not emotionally tired as we would be if we stayed home to raise kids *only* because we thought it was the right thing to do.
      What I mean is: When we fully embrace our roles as helpmeet, mother and homemaker, we are fulfilled. That fulfillment comes from living life the way God intended. So, I agree that homemaking in and of itself can’t fulfill you, and that fulfillment does come from that thriving relationship with our LORD, but would add that gaining fulfillment from daily life, the way we spend our days, can come from “homemaking.” (hope that made sense! it’s lunch time here and I’ve got lots of kids asking lots of questions and rushed through this response 😉 )

    3. Thank you, this was my exact sentiments when I read the comment. Pursuing our own plans for our lives will always leave us unfulfilled but to pursue His plan will give us a deep knowledge and satisfaction that we are doing what we are made for. HUGS to the woman that feels unfulfilled, I encourage you to look to God for the ultimate fulfillment of life!

  10. Someone once told one of my daughters “Girls can do anything a boy can do”…I knew what was meant while my 4 year old did not get the bigger deeper meaning…I replied, ” Sure, but I don’t want my girls to feel like they need to be like a man to be a good woman.” The conversation ended. These lies are sooo subtle and pervasive. My own dad was speaking to my husband, about my “intelligence” and my husband told me that he (my dad) said” It’s too bad she never did anything with it (meaning my education/intelligence) she would have made a great teacher.” I homeschool that mans grand-children…I AM a great teacher! This topic is close to my heart.

      1. Remember, women can’t make that child without a mans seed. That’s another lie of feminism designed to make women feel “independent.” & have a ” I don’t need a man” attitude.

  11. Thank you. Seriously….just….thank you! I’ve been in both worlds as well and am happier and better suited for my job at home. Days are exhausting for sure,but a lot more rewarding in the end.

  12. One more thought Kelly….We do look at this as the WOMAN’S choice. What about the children? If you ask any child, I would suppose almost all would say they want their mom at home. My favorite memories are not of things, but time spent together with my parents.

    My second thought (ha ha, knew I couldn’t keep it to one) is that happiness is a choice. Having joy is a fruit of the spirit. Many of your commenters have it right when they say the grass isn’t greener on the other side and that life either way has it’s drawbacks. If we want choice, may we choose to be content in whatever circumstance.

  13. Lots of men make changes when they are unfulfilled. That’s a good thing! Some become stay at home dads.

    By the way, Ithink it”s great the way you respect the different choices we all make. Thank you.

  14. Thank you for this encouraging post and the wisdom contained within it!
    I’d like to add an amen to the comment that it is only Jesus who fulfills – but at the same time I am 7 years into being a fulltime homemaker/homeschooler and now part homesteader and I have to say that I have never felt more fullfulled in what I am doing than right now. Sure every now and then the “is it worth it?” questions come, but the answer is always YES!
    In this calling as wife and mother I have found more to challenge me than I ever dreamed, and I am convinced that this is the job in which I can be used by God most effectively, and also the job that He can use best to make me become more like Him. How many of us are so passionate about trying to correct the brokenness in our culture but fail to realize that many of its problems would be cured with mothers who lay down their lives at home?
    Also, I think sometimes people assume that we live in a set up where the husband is free to do whatever he wants and pursue all his worldly dreams in a career while the wife is stuck at home serving. In our case, my husband would love to be at home, it just doesn’t work financially – but the point is – his heart is at home too.

  15. I m a working mother and I love it! Yes, I can be tired. But sahm are tired too I suppose. Im glad I had a choice, Im glad more career fields are open to women.

    Im worried about the commenter though.She might just be tired, she might be burned out. She might headed for a breakdown. My heart breaks for her. Stress is a killer. I hope she gets help, but I don’t know how or who could. I would gladly pay for her to have spa day myself if someone could babysit. My email is laura27282.lh@gmail.com. if the original commenter would like to contact. I could even just be someone to talk to. ki

  16. Another thing that might help is joining a mom’s group. I have a sahm friend that meets with other moms twice a month at McDonalds. It is good networking. In the future who knows, someone there could help you get started on a career. Also, you are never too old for college! In the future, you might be in a good place to take somw college classes. Like I said, please email me if you could use someone to talk to. We could text or chat of facebook or something. You aren’t alone, everyone thinks about the what ifs in life.

  17. I agree that being in the home is honorable, and that having a career outside the home is honorable. What I’m not understanding is-why the need to have the approval of those who disagree? If you or your daughters have sincerely sought the direction of God on the path for your life, why would it make you feel bad that someone or culture as a whole doesn’t approve or finds your choice less honorable? Does it matter what anyone else thinks?
    Just as a funny aside-I once asked my daughter what she would think about me working outside the home. She paused, and then answered, “I guess that would be fine-as long as you stay in our yard.” 🙂

    1. Beth,

      That’s funny!

      I’m curious, how did you ever ascertain from the post that the issue is one of approval or agreement?

      As a whole, society has done tremendous damage to the family because of its influence–approval and disapproval greatly sway people. I’m not discussing this topic for personal interests. How we think about families and the role of women heavily affects us all.

      1. I guess it was sentences like, “I’m not criticizing the first woman, I’m defending the second” and “A choice not to feel bad for choosing to pour their lives into raising people.” left me with the impression that we (those of us who choose home) need to defend our choices, and I’ve never felt that way. I’ve always assumed that just as Christians, we should expect criticism from our culture, but after re-reading the posts, I see that your concern is that feminism is invading the hearts of Christians as well-and you’re not preaching to the choir or defending your choices, rather making a point for those who may be struggling with that choice, because the other one has become the norm. Anyway…I appreciate your perspective.

  18. Hello Kelly! This post and the ensuing comments have struck a chord with me as well… With some shamefacedness, I have posted many many comments on this blog that are very whiny, very unthankful, very doubtful and questioning… Struggling, tired, bitter comments. Kelly, I would like your thoughts about a facebook post I wrote the other day…(laura ayars, if you have a moment to look it up), perhaps I will try to email it to you or something. But ultimately, I think I am beginning to realize a major idea that is not discussed in most churches. God doesn’t OWE us a fulfilling life. He doesn’t owe us the life that we want… the finances we want…etc. I think it is easy to hear the culture and assume that “self-fulfillment” is the be-all and end-all of existence, and if we are a Christian, then we must be really “fulfilled” (content with our circumstances) by using our “God-given talents” etc etc… God has already provided for us more than we ever could deserve, but that provision isn’t for this life, it’s for the next, and the type or amounts of trials and sacrifice here in this life isn’t directly proportionate to God’s total love for us… For God’s purposes are different than ours.

    1. Laura,

      You hit on an absolute truth. We are so self-absorbed in this culture, even in the church, that we can barely think this way. I often try to step away from the comforts of my own life and imagine the tenacity with which early Christians loved the Lord and sacrificed for their faith. It’s hard to imagine anyone being willing to live underground in dark, damp, disease-infested catacombs, some never seeing the light of day, risking death by torture daily, and yet we worry about “fulfillment.”

  19. This is a great post.
    You know, I was thinking to myself last week that in modern vernacular we hear the word ‘choice’ so often, and ‘duty’ so little.
    And like a commenter said above- the children don’t get a choice at all.

    1. Lauren,

      The point about children not getting a choice is profound. In the wake of “Pro-choice” when they don’t even have the choice to live, why would we expect anything else?

      And as was mentioned, “duty” is hardly ever talked about. Perhaps that is the at the core of everything that destroys us.

  20. Thank you so much! I needed this today. I struggle with the voices of culture that say, “get a real job!” I already have one I’m still learning to do well: caring for my husband, my children, and our home. My mom stayed at home with me and I treasure the memories of the time spent together. I want to build the same beautiful memories with my children and I know that will be nearly impossible if I try to give 100% in two places at once.

  21. Thanks for directing me to this in your reply to my comment yesterday!
    Great “unpacking” and very insightful. I liked your creative use of rewording the comments!

  22. Wow, like stepping into a crowded room, coming to this page with forty comments already!

    Amen to this whole post, Kelly! Full of great nuggets of truth. This is one that really jumped out at me: “A choice to be everything to a few people and, clothed in strength and dignity, to have some left over to care for the needs of others around her.”

    This is just backwards of the way it is when trying to combine motherhood with a career outside the home, I have found through experience. When you try to be everything to the people and mission of your outside workplace (and shouldn’t we try to give our best for the people who are paying us?), it is the family that gets what we have left over after pouring ourselves out for others first. We can say our family comes first, but if we don’t practice it, then they’re getting the leftovers night after night after night. The whole family misses out on the feast, and family life fails to nourish as it should.

    You know, something else I really have to mention relates to your last reworking of the quote from Katie, the one as if a man were speaking: “I know that providing for my family doesn’t fulfill me…Please give your boys the freedom to make this choice for themselves.”

    Some have already made this choice. Feminism has gotten to these (so called) “men” now, too, as there are beginning to be more of them who are just happy to sit back and let their wives work. Women can shout about how they can do anything a man can do, be all they want to be, on every front within which they choose to operate, and some of their males just go right ahead and let them pull the load. These men seek to fulfill themselves first and foremost. (Sort of like some of their women are doing, but doing the opposite — nothing.)

    Are the career women with lazy husbands who don’t care about providing for their family happy about doing more than their “fair share”? Um, noooo.

    The fruit of feminism is rotting and stinks, and it’s wreaking subtle havoc on everyone in the family, man, woman and children.

    When we lose our biblical grounding (“That the older women may teach the younger women…..to be keepers at home.”) and listen to the siren call of the culture, we reap the bitter harvest. There is no replacement for woman as home manager. The joy and fulfillment in the role cannot be fully realized when a woman drags her tired body home to face everything that awaits her there.

    But thank God for His unchanging word, and for the voices proclaiming the beauty of His high calling for women. Would that we would listen and take it to heart.

    Thank you again, Kelly. Feminism sucked me into the vortex, and I’m still recovering 20 years later. I need these reminders about the blessed privilege it is serving where I am right now. Blessings to you, and God be praised!

  23. Kelly,

    As someone who was home-educated for his entire life by a stay-at-home mom, I commend your defense of this stigmatized position. I would ask this though: what is your advice for someone who experiences the antithesis of your situation? Families often replicate former generations methods of child rearing, meaning 2nd, even 3rd generation home educated children are becoming prevalent. It seems like a weekly occurrence for me to see one of my 18-23 year old female friends posting engagement announcements on facebook, almost ALL of them being former home educated adults. However, I also know a substantial amount of home educated women who recognize the tedious yet mundane nature of staying at home (because they observed it first-hand), and also are frightened of the possibilities of mental atrophy. The common theme being pressure for parents on their daughters to follow in the steps of their mothers. Should these ‘outside career’ women just choose a non-familial existence? If, like you say, households who do not have a ‘full-time’ mother suffer, wouldn’t the correct advice for women who want to pursue interests outside their home, to not have one in the first place?

    And the same should be asked for those who don’t home educate. If you’re kids leave for the day, shouldn’t you? That automatically sets up an odd image of responsibility for the child; especially boys (dad and I go to ‘work’ but mom stays home all day?)

    I take the time to say all this because I was privy to observing my mother come to several painful realizations over the course of the bringing up of her children. It is very clear to me that no one took the time, including herself, to layout the opportunity cost of this commitment. You become regulated to a certain group of acquaintances, you can’t pursue well intended passions that you possess and you may often have the feeling of ‘missing out’ on things that your ‘outside career’ friends are doing. Many creative, outgoing, formerly home educated girls I know have said something along the lines of “I think I’d go crazy if I had to be at home everyday.”

    Parents like to see confirmation in their techniques in the form of their offspring. While they may often times offer the idea of choice, it can heavily biased. I’ve heard a mother say something along the lines of “…but you would be lonely forever” in response to her daughter musing about an single life. The same goes for those considering ‘outside careers.’ “But if you get a job, you won’t be able to love your family very well.” I don’t have to tell you how effective this sort of motherly guilt inducing logic can be. It seems the real problem in the household is not that young women are making the wrong choice, but rather that they are making an uninformed one. Some parents don’t like to consider that their child may decide to become quite different than those who raised them.

    1. MENTAL ATROPHY!!! You have got to be kidding!! Will respond to that one later..No time right now..my soaps are almost on and I’ve got to get my bon bon’s out!! Good grief..

      1. As a child, I was proud my mom worked. I was proud she contributed. I thought she managed the home just fine, even with a job

    2. There is more than enough information out there to read about, study, learn, etc and if you endure “mental atrophy” it’s your own fault. It can be a challenge to find time to spend persuing some kind of interest, but even half and hour each day of reading a book on politics or whatever can give you things to chew on, open up the horizons of the home, and keep you in touch with the outside world. I think a great deal of what has changed over the years is the shift from an agrarian to an industrialized socitey, is the nature of the work that mother did in the home. Yes, she often homeschooled, but there was no state to breathe down her neck, so if they could read and figure it was enough. Also, mother’s contribution included household care/cleanliness, making clothes/bedding/curtains, food preservation and preparation, garden/dairying/chicken work, often, she spun, wove, knitted, sewed, etc both out of necessity AND enjoyment. She often sold extras of what the family couldn’t use, and good housewives were expected to be thrifty and manage the home with efficiency and know how to contrive if necessary. She also had to train her daughters to do all these things. In our day of industrialized production of nearly all the family’s needs (food, clothes, household wares etc), the need for all these skills and the time needed to do them is largely gone, and replaced with a need for “money” instead. Today, the mother who would try to sew all her family’s clothing would struggle mightily to meet the necessary homeschool requirements in the time allowed each day for example. Unfortunately, the direction our society has gone has left a gap for the mother/wife (unless you are Amish). Many of her skills are no longer needed or even wanted (try getting your public schooled child to wear patched jeans, for instance). So, not faced with these sorts of pressing needs, the wife and mother may struggle with how to fill her day… swinging from bored to too busy to bored again… And compared to a time when men’s work WAS too hard and heavy for women to do (usually), like cutting down trees, farming with horses, blacksmithing, etc., they had their sphere to fill, and did so, seeing the necessity. Now, many many jobs are office/desk jobs that no longer are too “hard” for women, and require more mental processes than physical strength. I still am a proponent of mothers staying home and raising the children and caring for the household, but I also recongnise the fact that our society has made the housewife more and more decorative, and less and less of a necessity… And this is a shame. As to how each woman and family is to address it? I have no idea. I do know that a woman getting square with herself and God, is important… See my comment above about God owing us fulfilling lives… I think it’s easier to be reconciled with your life (regardless of what it looks like), if you have your assumptions and expectations in the right order…

    3. I stopped reading at “Mental atrophy” then began profusely giggling. That’s hilarious…. I don’t have the time to sharpen your iron, so I best put the keyboard to rest on this one.

    4. I really wanted to respond the right way to Brad’s comments. I couldn’t resist the bon bon and soap opera comment because it really is what a lot of people think we do all day.I just want to address a couple of comments he made and then I’ll be done with it. I think…

      There are times in all honesty when being home with little kids is tediously mundane.(lets be honest here). There are also times with a job that the job is tediously mundane.

      For the remark on “mental atrophy”, I’m not sure why anyone would Honestly think that was possible. I have honestly been more challenged in anything I have done, while homeschooling my children. It has been hard, exciting, and on top of all that, I believe I have learned more from homeschooling my kids then I ever learned in school!

      Brad says he was privy to observing his mother come to several painful realizations over the course of bringing up her children. Well, I will say that there are painful things that are going to happen in the course of us raising children. I don’t know what she went through. He also states that it was very clear to him that no one took the time, including herself, to lay out the opportunity cost of this commitment. He says that you (I am assuming he’s talking about moms here) become regulated to a certain group of acquaintences, you can’t pursue well intended passions that you posses and you may often have the feeling of “missing out” on things that your “outside career” friends are doing.

      I would like to just say here that we are just not homeschooling moms. I am a Christian, A wife, A mom, A daughter, A sister, A friend, and the list goes on. We all wear many hats, I guess you could say.

      I know what it’s like to have hard days with a bunch of little kids and trying to balance life. Those little kids have grown up. I was and still am not a perfect mom! I still have two teen sons that I am homeschooling.

      Let you tell you some of the “costs” of this commitment. I now have four adult children in their 20’s. They are responsible, hard working, walking with the Lord, attending church and serving the Lord there. They are our best friends!!

      Let me tell you..we made many mistakes..BUT..If we will Love the Lord with all of our heart, soul and mind..(Matthew 22:37) and when we mess up..ask for forgiveness, they will forgive!!

      One of my very favorite verses is found in Deuteronomy 6:5-7. There is great truth in God’s word and his ways!

      I do have friends who work outside the home. This is a weird economy we are living in and if you have to do that right now, this does not mean that your family is necessarily going to go down hill but I would make sure that they stay the priority when you are off work.

      There is a tremendous amount of pressure on woman to do it all. There is NO WAY we can but with the Lord’s help, he will give us wisdom to do all we need to do in our days!

      I have a huge burden for mom’s! I recently had someone say to me that she could NOT serve God by being a wife and mother. She was a Christian young lady. My heart broke for her because I realized she had let the good old world get into her and convince her she could not do this. This way of thinking is even happening in our churches and Christian circles.I told her that there was no doubt in my mind that I was where the Lord wanted me to be. She disagreed! I recently had a Christian friend walk away from her Husband and Children for someone else and she truly believes she is doing what is best. We need to stay in the word and Renew our minds with it.

      We as wives and moms need to stay Strong in the Lord! Stay in His Word! Renew our minds daily with His truth! Love our families as God intended. Go to Lord and ask him to show you what to do. For the working moms…Go to Him!! When you are home with your family, give them your all! I have done this in different seasons and it is tough but we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us! My husband finally got tired of not seeing me in the evenings and had me quit.

      As far as “not being able to pursue well intended passions that you possess” and the feeling of “missing out” on things that your outside career friends are doing(comments from Brad).

      My first passion is my relationship with Christ,My husband, My kids, and then a whole list of them that would hijack this blog…lol..

      Don’t grow weary in what you are doing Moms! Be joyful in your mothering and let them see it. It is amazing that when they grow up they tend to forget the “really stupid things” you did when they were little and remember the funniest things. That is a Blessing from the Lord for sure…lol..!!!! Have a Blessed Weekend all of you!!

    5. Brad,

      Your “mental atrophy” comment has gotten quite the response so far, LOL, so, though I, too, find it humorous, I’ll skip adding to it!

      I do want to address this paragraph, though:

      “And the same should be asked for those who don’t home educate. If you’re kids leave for the day, shouldn’t you? That automatically sets up an odd image of responsibility for the child; especially boys (dad and I go to ‘work’ but mom stays home all day?)”

      I don’t think you understand the many things that a mother at home can do while her children are in school. Stop and think about what a mother working outside the home has to do when she gets home — laundry, meal preparation, meal planning for the next day, other housework, etc. When does she have time to simply have one-to-one face time with her kids after they’ve been away from her all day? The mother at home can do all these things while the children are away from home so that she is freed up to be attending to them, and not the house, when they are home.

      There are also many other things a woman not employed outside the home can be doing in the way of ministry. A dear friend of mine whose youngest child goes to high school has been ministering from home since all five of her children were in school. She leads several Bible studies, using some of her alone-time hours at home to prepare for those. She volunteers to do some bookkeeping for our church. She takes her elderly mother, who was recently widowed, to doctor appointments and other things, and coordinates family communications with her siblings who live farther away about what is going on with her care. This is not an exhaustive list of how she, or many other women at home, uses her time.

      A Christian woman who “stay[s] home all day” is not doing nothing, as you seem to imply. We need more women who are available to provide these types of ministry I described above, but there is such a dearth of available women because so many are pouring themselves into careers and have little left over to give to their families, much less to needful ministries that serve the Body of Christ or other volunteer ministries outside the church.

      The possibilities for service (inside and outside the family) are endless. Please familiarize yourself with these areas of responsibility before you go asking “If you’re[sic] kids leave for the day, shouldn’t you?”

      1. It is certain that people can make themselves useful and fulfilled anywhere they are. It is a fact that most people don’t. My mom was a SAHM mom, and the fact is she was really bored. She didn’t homeschool, she lived in suburbia, with all its modern conveniences, manage-ably sized houses and small yards. She didn’t have many contacts outside the home. She would have been better off getting a job.

        The role of SAHM mom whose kids are schooled outside the home is about the most difficult role to be in, because it requires a seriously concerted effort on the part of that mom (and supporting dad) to take initiative and pursue activities and contacts to fill the time.

        It’s the same with people in the work place, many coast complacently, doing their job but being somewhat bored and unfulfilled, while others actively pursue challenges and take initiative. Those become managers and CEO’s.

        In the past demands from the home were much higher than they are now, sufficiently filling time without the need for much initiative (just keeping the stove stoked could be an all day job).

        So as Christians, where is our mandate? I believe caring for the home and the family is the first priority, for a man or a woman, and I also believe training the children is a huge part of that. I believe the discussion about women staying home is more related to the discussion of homeschooling than not. If homeschooling is not on the table, then I don’t see any Biblical precedent for women to be home all day. The ones that do, and take initiative to be fulfilled, don’t. They (as you describe) are volunteering at their church, helping the elderly, running a small business etc. etc.

        1. Lucy,

          I agree with much of what you said, but could you clarify what you mean in this statement in your last paragraph?:

          “The ones that do, and take initiative to be fulfilled, don’t.”

          I assume you’re talking about non-homeschooling “SAHM”s, but what do you mean by “[They] don’t”? Don’t what?

          Sorry if I’m missing the obvious. The fact that it’s Monday might have something to do with that 😉 I’m just not clear on exactly what you’re getting at there.

          1. Sorry, it was a little abstract. What I meant was, those that stay home (without kids, or with kids in school somewhere else), and take the initiative necessary to find their life fulfilling, actually don’t really spend a super lot of time at home. They are out and about helping others, serving in different ways. Even if they run their own home business, there is a lot of “busyness” involved with that that takes a body away from home.

            I am of course contrasting this with my own SAHM, who only went out of the house to go to the school bus stop, or the bank/grocery store.

          2. OK, gotcha 😉 Thanks for the clarification.

            I should also clarify, myself, that in my reply to Brad, I didn’t mean to give the impression that I think women are bound to the home and their duties there (and related out-of-home duties like what you mentioned your mom doing — grocery shopping and the like). Not that you necessarily took it that way, but I just wanted to be clear about my stance on that.

            I do still think, though, that because there are a lot of needs within the Body of Christ (and in the world, too) that are going unmet, a woman whose children are not at home during the day is in a good position to help meet some of these needs. Outside paid employment, if it’s not really ministry-related, does oftentimes get in the way of a woman’s ability to serve in that way. And like I said to Brad, a woman without outside employment and someone else’s work schedule for her is also freed up to take care of the home at opportune times, as well, instead of her or her husband having to do all of those duties when they could be reconnecting with their family in the evening hours or whenever they’re all home together.

            But you are right, unfortunately, in making this observation: “It is certain that people can make themselves useful and fulfilled anywhere they are. It is a fact that most people don’t.”

            I think a lot of that is due to most people’s experiences having schedules and expectations dictated to them throughout their schooling and career years. It is like Laura (yet another) said elsewhere in this thread: when the external motivation for using our time well and working to the best of our ability is removed (no more worry about getting poor grades in school, or getting fired from a job), it is up to us to develop the good character to use our time and talents well. With freedom comes responsibility. It is a temptation for all of us to gravitate toward doing those things in which we truly take delight, and be less than diligent in the areas we don’t care for, especially if there does not seem to be much reward for doing the things we ought.

            I don’t necessarily believe that the solution to that, though, is to go out and simply get a job, where a woman is again subject to those external motivators. When there is an opportunity to build up one’s internal motivation, one’s resolve to do the right thing whether we want to or not, through the development of good character, both the family and society benefit.

            Anyway, that’s my two cents. Thanks for your thoughts on the subject, Lucy.

  24. This is a great post! The more I read your blog, the more I find that we are much alike. I, too, was expected to go to college and get a job. I, too, felt terrible leaving my child at daycare while I went into my second year of teaching. I, too, was told that I shouldn’t stay home. All that in addition to me giving birth to our 10th child just weeks after you did, bind my heart to yours.

  25. This is such a great post. I worked until my son was 15 monthes old and HATED every minute of it. Even as a child I remember wanting to be a SAHM. For the most part my husband has always been for this and in support of it. But lately, now that my children are 12 and 9 and go to school, he has been on me about finding a full-time, “career” job. I am against this in every way, but I started praying and decided to submit to my husbands wishes, even though this is very hard for me. I am an introvert, I don’t know how I am going to be around people again, especially people who I know that I am different from. So I have started to look and have put in 5 or 6 apps and have found that since I have no experience, I am not finding a job. Yes, I could easily find a waitress job or at walmart but don’t feel like I want to settle for that sort of job. But I am determined to find a job even though honestly, it is breaking my heart. I pray that my husband changes his mind. I think when he realizes how much slack he is going to have to pick up and that may cause him to realize all I have done. By the way I have a Bacherlors degree, grew up with a work-a-holic mother, in a divorced house, and ran the whole house by the time I was in the 8th grade.

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Would your husband be open to your working part-time? Obviously, you’d have more time at home and you would fulfill his wishes by working outside the home.

  26. I’ve been a stay at home mom, but only for a couple of years. I now work full time & wouldn’t have it any other way. If you felt as though you didn’t have a choice, (homemaker vs career), then you simply weren’t surrounded by open minded people who truly had YOUR best interest in mind. Now I’m not speaking in a selfish manner, rather in a fulfilled manner. To be a great mom is different different for us all, but for me, to be the best mom means that I have to take care of myself & that means fulfilling me BEFORE anyone else. Selfish? Possibly. But I take care of my family without resentment & it works wonderfully, but only because-&I cannot stress this enough – I am surrounded by a husband & family who support me. It takes a village, not a supermom to raise healthy well adjusted children, children who will be supported as they become parents, and will be able to forge their own path. & I most definitely WILL encourage my daughter to go to college because that will end up giving HER the power to make her own choices, whatever they may be. I will support & encourage her whichever path she chooses. My path was a combination of the two. It doesn’t have to be one or the other, and no one has to do it ALL alone. No one has to be perfect, just themselves & comfortable. That’s what I want for my daughter. To be comfortable with being her.

  27. This was a great post! Yet I feel very ambiguous about it…my whole life I watched both my mom and dad work, rarely getting more than the evenings and weekends with them. I often say my grandmother was a bigger influence on me that them because I spent so much time with her. So I grew up knowing I would go to college, I would get a career, it was just a given. I spent 8 years in college and working at the same time while raising a child and managing a home while my dear husband worked 5 hours away for 8 days then came home only for 3. It was hard and tiring! But I look at friends now who have lost husbands to divorce and many did not go to college and are barely scraping by with one job to support multiple children or my mother in law who was a stay at home mom for years, suddenly her husband left her after 25 years of marriage. She had nothing and no one to fall back on. No work experience that would help besides cleaning the occasional house for little pay. And I would often think, if she had worked, she would be able to support herself now instead of having to rely on the government to care for her. Of course we’ve tried to help her but in this day and time, every penny goes way too fast and stewardship is a struggle for so many. I’d give anything to be able to stay at home with my little boys, homeschool them, see them grow into the young men God intends them to be. Yet I know if I were to quit and go without a job and something were to happen to my husband (he works on a dangerous oil rig), I would have to go back to work without any recent job experience and probably make very little pay. It’s a tough thing to consider in this day and time. I know God intends for us to be the keeper of the home and the husband is the provider but nowadays, how hard is that? And if you are not savvy enough to “work” from home to help support, how do you do it if something were to happen? Life insurance and disability only go so far. Personally, I admire and am so thankful for the women who are at home. I truly feel their children come out as kinder, more loving, well-rounded, and if God is the center of the home they are more likely to become men and women of God. Not that children of moms that work won’t but I think the chances and the influence is truly better in a situation where the mother and father are the primary influence on a child rather than school systems. I constantly feel guilty and reading this I about cried thinking of the fact that I left my little 6 mo old with the sitter this morning and my son at a school that doesn’t support out beliefs. I guess it’s where you are led, I’m praying that God shows me and brings opportunities about that will allow me to become a stay at home mom one day and still have the ability to support our family in a stable way if something were to happen to my husband. Thanks for the words of wisdom! It’s a topic we all seem to struggle with on either side!

  28. I commented earlier, but I’ve been pondering these posts and I have a question (for whoever feels like answering..). The role of women is to be a help meet to their husbands and keepers at home. Does one trump the other? If it is more helpful to a husband to have his wife work outside the home, is she then forsaking the keeping of her home? Also, how about a self-employed husband who needs his wife to work alongside him, so the children are sent to Christian school, would this woman still be considered a keeper of the home because she’s not homeschooling? I have a friend in this very situation, and although her heart’s desire is to be home with her children, her husband needs her help, and she does so without complaint.
    (Please know I’m asking these questions with the sincere desire to learn other perspectives-not to stir up any argument or debate..)

    1. I believe that the Lord asks us to put in our best efforts in whatever circumstances life finds us, and it is not always best, or possible, for various reasons, for the mother to be at home fultime. So long as our decisions are made under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and we do what we do for the glory of God then where is the problem? God knows her heart and her desire to please him. And in that she should find comfort and rest. Maybe the time will come when she can be home with her kids as she would like… Our maybe Good has another plan in mind for her family. Peace be to her.

  29. Back for round 2 🙂

    It’s so interesting reading all these anecdotes and opinions! I always love to add my own, too, as regular readers of this blog are well aware 😉 But this time, I just want to ask a few questions for anyone who would like to answer. I ask, not with a hands-on-my-hips, let’s-see-if-you-get-this-right motivation, but out of sincere inquiry, as I don’t have all the answers (not even close). I’m still trying to figure out a lot, and am curious about what input any of you might have on these questions.

    My questions have to do with the living out of Titus 2:3-5, particularly the part that says “That they [the aged women] may teach the young women to be…keepers at home…”

    1. How does an older woman who is working outside the home teach a younger woman to be a keeper at home?

    2. Does teaching involve only telling? Is modeling what you’re teaching not a necessary part of teaching?

    3. How does “I’m giving my daughters a choice about whether they work outside the home or not” fit in with teaching them to be a keeper at home? How do you balance teaching one thing (being a keeper at home) with saying “Do whatever you want?”

    4. Does “Do whatever you want” in this case relate to “And everyone did what was right in their own eyes” (end of the Book of Judges)?

    I am honestly searching here. When the Bible gives us older women a directive (and I would say any of us who are old enough to be raising children would qualify as older than at least some younger women 😉 ), do we have the liberty to just decide they can make their own choice without our saying anything about being a keeper at home?

    I think we really need to know what is the biblical meaning of being a keeper at home, searching the scriptures to learn, and then speaking about it. But I don’t think we’re going to arrive at that kind of understanding simply through our experience, or our mother’s experience, or anyone else’s.

    I’m open to comments that speak from a biblical perspective rather than an anecdotal one. I love reading all these stories, like I said, and they can be helpful to a certain extent in thinking through some of my own opinions, but I really would love a discussion on what all this means biblically.

    Thanks. 😉

    1. One answer to reply to the questions about being a Keeper of the Home. As I said in my post – I have worked p/t during most of my 8 years married.
      However, my jobs (even owning my own company) have always come SECOND to my family. I was a Keeper of the Home FIRST. I was never torn about my responsibilities. I could / would easily walk away when my children were sick or had schedules that conflicted.

      The difference now is that I have a work commitment that challenges my ability to provide for my family. If they are sick? How bad is it? If they are tired? Owell. Even though my job is “family friendly” – it doesn’t even come close to the dynamic before.

      Of course, I have two changes, because I got a job AND my children switched to brick&mortar school. It still applies though, simply by taking this job, homeschooling was no longer truly viable. That, in an of itself is not “family friendly”.

      You can have all kinds of jobs and still be primarily the homemaker. When you ask your family to wait, repeatedly, while you meet other needs, you might not be prioritizing your home.
      Just my two cents.

      1. Thanks much for your reply, Heidi 🙂 I found this statement to be so true: “When you ask your family to wait, repeatedly, while you meet other needs, you might not be prioritizing your home.” Such an important point to make, and that can be the case with women who work outside the home or those who work within the home. A great reminder for all of us!

    2. Here’s a thought about Titus 2 that has come to me recently. I was raised with the mindset that, according to Scripture, a married woman is supposed to be a keeper at home. This was what my mother did and I expected (and still expect!) to do the same. But when I read Titus 2, it was in the context of “the older women are supposed to teach the younger WIVES to love their husbands and children and keep the home and all the other things that are mentioned …” After all, can you love your husband and children and keep your home when you aren’t yet married?

      My answer is a resounding yes! Because … as you look at the original wording of that verse, the word for “younger women” does not mean “wives” at all … it means “young” and “youthful”. So my belief is that the younger women being referred to in this passage are actually unmarried women. Does it make sense to wait until you’re married to learn to love your husband and children and take care of your home and acquire these character traits? How many young women with college degrees enter marriage with hardly any knowledge about caring for home and family? Wouldn’t the unmarried years be better spent in learning and practicing what we will (most likely) be doing for the majority of our lives? This is my passion now … to help unmarried young ladies understand that Titus 2 isn’t just for married women – it is for us!

      1. Thank you for sharing your perspective, Hannah 🙂 I agree with you that there are certainly many women (both younger and older) who did not learn adequate homemaking skills before marriage and parenthood. I was one of them. I spent years preparing for college, getting a degree, and teaching school before I came home (after seven years of marriage and three years of parenthood). I had lots to learn about home management, and it would have been so much easier to have acquired proficiency in keeping the home before I had a husband and a child with whom to concern myself!

        Blessings to you as you serve in the sphere the Lord has provided for you!

  30. 6 Arrows – I think you first need to define “Keeper of the Home.” The Bible uses that terminology, but what it means from a practical standpoint is not crystal clear. I’m fairly certain what it doesn’t mean is “stay home 100% of the time and in all stages of life.” Where lines can be drawn in a million places, we need to be careful not to draw those lines for others. When we think we can do that, then we start dancing to the drums of a million humans and their small opinions, and we expect them to dance to ours. Not a healthy, graceful, joyful place to be. Ask me how I know. 🙂

    1. Thanks for your response, Natalie 🙂 I agree with you that defining “keeper of the home” should come first, and that we need to be careful that we don’t establish boundaries for other people when the Bible doesn’t clearly give such constraints.

      Yet I often wonder if I’m missing something in my interpretation of the Titus 2 passage, if I’m not defining “keeper of the home” correctly. There are those words at the end of verse five that are, quite frankly, scary: “…that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

      Blasphemed is a very strong word! So strong, that I sometimes wonder why it’s used in reference to something that is a gray area, which “keeper of the home” seems to be. How would it be possible for anyone to blaspheme the word if each of us can simply choose for ourselves how to define it and where we draw the line?

      Is it a matter of choosing our own boundaries and then not violating our conscience that keeps us from blaspheming the word? Or are there perhaps other parts of scripture that narrow the definition of “keeper of the home” that make it a little easier to know if one has crossed a biblical line and blasphemed the word?

      These are just general questions, BTW, not one I’m demanding you answer, Natalie 😉 It’s just something I wonder about — not wanting to be legalistic, but hoping not to miss something in scripture, either, that helps clarify a passage that appears as if it can be broadly defined.

      Thanks again for your discussion! 🙂

      1. I think Proverbs 31 would give us some insight into what it means to be a Keeper at Home. Wouldn’t it? She is quite an example to follow, and not easy either.

        1. Proverbs 31 — Good example, Kara. Thank you 🙂 I think verse 27, one of my favorites from that chapter, is especially applicable here: “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.”

          And yes, she is quite an example!

  31. I was a homeschooler for 6 years. I have had to work p/t for most of that but recently started a a 3 day / week job at a school. My children are enrolled in the same school. My 19 month old is with a sitter. My husband thought we needed more routine and I am attempting to honor his leadership. Now I am unexpectedly pregnant with #5.

    I ache to be home again. Please keep praying for all those mothers who would prefer to be home and can’t. This nation needs them!

    My heart is heavy for this culture that has rejected motherhood.

  32. I can relate completely. I wasn’t given the option to stay at home either. It never even occurred to me as a choice. So I went to college & grad school and racked up lots of student loan debt — all for a degree I felt guilty using and felt guilty not using, because I had children who were far more important than the money I made. When I was at work, I wanted to be at home with my kids; and when I was at home, I was thinking about the work I needed to get done.
    Homeschooling is tiring! And I don’t always feel fulfilled doing it. But my feeling don’t negate the fact that it is worth it! Plenty of people work jobs they don’t enjoy, for long hours, and come home exhausted. But it’s worth it to them because they get lots of money that will be spent and gone. Nothing fulfilling about that.

  33. I was one of those. Expected to go to college to get a ‘good job.’ I wanted a professional career, it made all the adults respect me more. Until I met my husband, my hard-working, family loving husband. His mom was a working mother, but died when he was young. He understood the value of having a mom around, because he didn’t have that anymore. So when I shared with him one day, my deep dark secret that I wanted to stay home and raise my kids, he said, absolutely. And that was that. That slowly evolved into homeschooling as well which he jumped on board and is my biggest advocate.
    I give my girls a choice, they know we went to school, I have a degree, but they love having me home. They see the difference in their friends with working moms and all the homework. They love the freedom, and they’re still little! I encourage my oldest (7) to run her own business. She loves making money and yet, I’m training her to think outside the career ‘box.’ There’s no reason to work for someone who doesn’t value your family like you do when you are smart enough to do something yourself from home! She’s already thinking of ways to expand her business and do more with it, and we’re letting her.
    It’s not easy, most people think we’re horrible parents when we say that we don’t encourage our daughters to go to college, and we definitely won’t pay for any of our kids to go to college. Not because we don’t want them to, but because if they want it that badly, they will take ownership and pay for it themselves. We’re weird, we’ve just conceded that!

    1. Lindsay, Loved the “deep dark secret”! That was me, too. Oh, and I love what you say in the last paragraph about not paying for their college–we feel the same way. We have sons. IF one or both NEEDS to go to a 4-year college to do what God has called them to, so be it. But, they will pay their way through. Obviously, we encourage them down skilled labor paths and computer tech that would be easier and cheaper training. Anyways, I’m rambling. Just wanted to say you’re not weird, or at least, you’re not alone if you are weird.;-)

  34. Very well said, Kelly.

    I think what I hear in the original comment is not so much fatigue as it is lack of vision. As a full time homeschooling mother to five I *am* tired. Perpetually. And it’s worth it, because the job that I have is supremely important. What I’m called to do matters for eternity to my little ones.

    I wasn’t raised to be a homemaker, either. I was told that “smart girls don’t take home-ec, they go to college”. So I didn’t. And I did. And I, too, was a teacher before I had my own children. I never questioned whether or not I would work, but I remember coming home to my husband shortly after we were married and saying, with tears, that I would never put our children in daycare. I had a classroom full of broken preschoolers who desperately needed their mommies to be home with them. It was heartbreaking.

    I am thankful for the things that I learned in college, but there are so many things that I wish I had learned (you know, those home-ec subjects that I wasn’t supposed to waste my time on) that would make my life as a mother so much easier. I think it is sad that this mom who commented on your post was told that she should stay home without being given the vision for why. We typically don’t have to tell young men why it is important that they work hard to support their families, but it seems that, in our culture that despises children and motherhood, that young women need constant reminders that their work at home is indeed valuable, lest Satan tempt them to believe that what they are doing is a waste of their time and talents.

  35. I recently had someone comment on one of my posts (http://shiningstarsmagazine.com/2013/10/23/being-a-helpmeet-to-whom/) with the statistic that the average American child today spends 19 minutes a day speaking to their parents. This brought to mind the instructions found in Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” I’m still trying to figure out how these instructions can be followed when parents and children spend approximately 20 minutes together a day???!!!

    I know that often in our society today, fathers are unable to support their families by working from home – those who can are so privileged! But mothers have the opportunity and ability to spend the day instructing their children in righteousness through word and deed. You know … the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. How could any other occupation be more important or necessary???

  36. A word of advice. If you stay home to raise your children do everything in your power to be a joyful mother. A sour miserable woman will kill the spirit of her children if all she does is manage them. Joy will cover all your short comings and any lack of homemaker skills. My poor sahm hated her life and couldn’t wait to be finished of “all that”.It greatly affected me and thus I had no desire to follow in her footsteps. I guess I feel the need to warn young mothers that attitude is everything in this sacred career. Prepare yourselves well.

  37. In some ways, being “given choices” takes away choices. I was a homemaker for 15 years – and loved it. I loved being able to provide a refuge for my family, and to raise my four children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I fell short of what I thought I should be every day, but felt I was doing a true ministry for the Lord and felt very privileged to be able to do so. When we were first married, we were in a church that didn’t give much of a “choice” – all of the ladies were homemakers, and were expected to be.
    For the last 12 years, my husband has pastored a church where most of the ladies did choose to work outside the home – at least part time. They all had a much higher financial standard of living than we did when we arrived. When finances got tight, my husband felt that since the precedent had been set for ladies to work outside the home, I should too. I had to get a full-time job so we could have health insurance. It broke my heart to leave my kids. I didn’t find my outside-the-home job even remotely fulfilling… and I watched my kids’ walks with the Lord deteriorate. I felt terrible envy and bitterness as my husband would complain about the inconvenience of having to take the kids to doctors and other appointments – how could he complain about something I missed so much?
    Now my kids have all moved out. My empty nest feels even emptier because I wasn’t able to make the home for them I wanted to when I was so exhausted from a long day at work… and now it’s too late – and I struggle terribly with resentment toward my husband as he clearly valued my wage-earning value over the love and creativity I brought to my home. This is what “choice” brings you.
    The world would have a woman believe that expecting her to stay home and raise her children shows a contempt for women. That is a LIE! NOTHING shows more contempt for a woman than the implication that ANYONE can raise and love her children better than she can!

      1. Hate to butt in this late in the conversation, but Becky’s sad situation brings to mind that we should really be praying for each other as sisters in Christ.
        Trust me, the current economic climate is tempting a number of “one-income” families to become ‘two-income’ families to obtain benefits such as affordable health insurance. Oh that they could hear Becky’s testimony! But then, I wonder if they would actually HEAR it???

    1. I am praying for you, Becky. Your post was heartbreaking. I am so sorry for the emptiness you are feeling. May God restore to you what the locusts have eaten, easing your emptiness, helping you to strengthen the bonds you forged with your children in the years you were home with them, and restoring peace in your relationship with your husband. With God, all things are possible.

      Thank you so much for the wisdom you imparted in your post.

  38. Kelly, I appreciate the overall point you’re making in this post about valuing a mother’s role at home.

    In my experience though, the statement “one goes to college to ‘get a good job'” is a rather limited and negative view of college. My college years were rich in educational, relational, and spiritual value. I didn’t attend college to increase my earning potential and neither did many of my friend — we wanted to develop our skills and enjoy life-shaping experiences.

    I and my closest college-graduate friends are home with our children. I was raised by a mother who was at home despite having a college degree. She was raised by a mother who was at home despite having a PhD.

    Is it wise, practical, or necessary for everyone to attend college? No. Is attending college a universal predictor of whether or not a woman will work outside the home? Absolutely not.

    Incurring debt is something a young woman can do without attending college. Working outside the home is something a mother can do without a college degree. Because you have attached college to these two negative choices in your recent posts, I am humbly asking you to clarify one issue: are you opposed to women earning college degrees?

    1. Ellen,

      There are several factors involved in my answer.

      1. I think college is mostly overrated for anyone. Besides a few specialized jobs that really need a degree, most jobs don’t. Mike Rowe says,

      “Of the roughly three million jobs that companies are struggling to fill, only 8 to 12 percent require a college degree.” (“The Worst Advice in the History of the World.”

      Forty-five percent of the workforce is underemployed–working in jobs that do not require a degree.

      And education can be obtained VERY easily, without going to a university, in a number of ways, very cheaply and in many cases for free. Same goes for experience. There’s nothing like living and working in the real world to experience the important things in life.

      2. I’m not “opposed to a woman earning a degree.” My own daughter is studying from a college on line. The question is, what is the purpose? As a woman who believes a woman’s primary role is her family, in addition to the above mentioned facts, where’s the benefit? Education? She can get that without a degree. Experience? Most certainly without a degree.

      Another factor is that the atmosphere of college is highly opposed to the choice of home career. If a woman desires to invest her life as a home builder, she is not going to find support and encouragement in a traditional college setting. I know. I was there and my professors made no apologies about bad-mouthing traditional practices.

      So maybe my answer is that I’m not necessarily opposed, but I think there are wiser directions to go, in most cases.

      1. It may or may not be true that a college education is overrated. Much of that particular discussion relates to the field of study and the student’s career ambitions. (I think college has definitely become overpriced in recent years, but I still find value in the education itself.)

        The point I take exception with is that a woman’s primary role is her family. May we agree that this only becomes true when that woman becomes a wife and, particularly, a mother? Although I hold that conviction for myself, I do not expect my single girlfriends (all of whom at one point have desired marriage and family) to live by the same conviction. And what about women who are married but experiencing infertility or waiting on adoption? If they are able to work and also meet the needs of their husband and home, is there anything wrong with that?

        God does not guarantee a husband or children for every woman, and I would encourage any young woman to think independently (meaning without the assumption of marriage and children)about her future, with the knowledge that God holds the timing and length of her career in His hands.

        To use the word “woman” interchangeably with what should arguably be the word “mother” is careless and hurtful to those whose lives God has taken in a different direction.

        1. I didn’t mean to be careless or hurtful.

          And certainly, this is not a black and white issue. There are all sorts of things to consider and I want make an absolute statement about it.

          With that said, I think any woman pursuing a traditional college degree can be a slippery slope.

          I’ve already mentioned the bias existing on most college campuses (Christian or not). It’s rampant, not just gleaning from my own experience. Feminism abounds. Feminism is mostly opposed to family and home. That’s no small thing. Anything opposed to the building of family and home is counter-productive to the building of society. This is a real problem for a Christian woman, no matter what her station in life.

          Because of the expectation that women should especially pursue a career if they do not have children, there is a gaping hole in the ministry of the church. Needs aren’t being met, the sick and broken and needy and lonely remain that way, and the government ends up picking up the slack.

          Women are no longer encouraged to give their lives to serving and ministry. Homes are still beacons of hope and service and productivity, with or without children. And a husband needs help. There is a huge need for women who are more available to mentor, teach, serve, and do a thousand things to advance the Kingdom.

          But the pursuit of career hardly leaves room for that. Which is why I’m a HUGE FAN of women earning income (Prov. 31), just with more freedom to keep priorities in place.

          Those are just a few of my concerns as we think objectively about the role of women and the church.

          1. Is a college degree a slippery slope for a man? A man will confront feminist ideas at college also, possibly shaping his thoughts about wife, family, and home. Is it only college where women must wrestle with feminist ideas and challenges to biblical truth? Bias and feminism are not limited to the college campus — they are absolutely pervasive in our culture. The world is the slippery slope. Our sin nature is the slippery slope.

            I am sorry you had a negative college and career experience. Certainly, God has used that to shape or reinforce your convictions. Your experience, though, is not universal, and there are many women who can testify to God using their college and career years in very positive, formative ways.

            If a young woman feels led to a college education and is capable of discerning truth and thinking critically, should we discourage her from attending? She may have the opportunity (as I did) to form friendships with the very women who most need to see how a Jesus-following woman will prioritize and live her life.

            To imply that career women who are single or childless have created a ministry and service vacuum is incredible. Absolutely every Jesus-follower — male, female, married, single, parent, childless — is commanded to be involved in ministry and service. We are never released from that, regardless of our marital or parental status. Yes, some people have more discretionary time, but the same can be true of issues such as money, skills, etc. The huge need we face for mentors, teachers, and all other roles advancing the Kingdom is not an matter of misplaced priorities for single or childless women. It is a reflection on the church as a whole.

            You may wonder why any of this concerns me when we are in agreement on the issue of a mother being valuable in the home. My main concern with your views is that they so imitate the approach feminists take. While feminists cling to the idea that women should pursue education and a career to the rejection or detriment of the home, you support valuing the home to the rejection or detriment of education and a career.

            These do not have to be mutually exclusive values. To paint education or pursuing an outside interest as diametrically opposed to or harmful for living out biblical womanhood is just plain wrong.

            As much as we may disagree with feminist choices or convictions, is it necessary to then become the opposite in every area? (Certainly, we will be opposites on matters such as abortion, but education is not a moral issue of life and death.) When possible, I believe Jesus-following women need to speak in such a way as to come alongside those who don’t share their convictions and lovingly, graciously proclaim Jesus’ freedom for all women.

            I know and love several non-believing, feminist women who would be confused, angered, and hurt by your statements about education. While you may not care about their opinions of you, I care about their opinion of Jesus.

            To truly be beacons of light to our confused and hurting world, we need to proclaim and show the value of a mother at home. We need to do so boldly, but we also need to do so with grace, compassion, and careful words. There is no need to muddy the waters with statements that will confuse and alienate those we wish to reach as well as a large number of fellow believers whom God has led in a different direction.

          2. Ellen,

            To answer your first question, yes, I think college can be a slippery slope for men too, absolutely. But you asked about women, so I didn’t see the need to qualify that. You may remember that I said at the beginning that I don’t think college is a wise choice in many circumstances for males or females. Necessary sometimes, yes. But overrated in many ways.

            You also keep implying that I’m against women getting an education. I am not. This is one of the ways I think we are confused about college. The word seems to be synonymous with education so when I speak against college, I’m accused of speaking against education. Not true.

            You say I’m not gracious or careful with my words. I think I have been. I have not made a definitive statement against college for every woman in every circumstance. What I have done is offer a warning: pursuing a college education almost always accompanies pursuing a career and for women with families, I do find those things to be mutually exclusive. I wouldn’t say that if I had not heard from hundreds of women and had not myself, tried to do both and experienced the fallacy of “doing it all.”

            You said my experience shouldn’t enter this discussion, but then you proceed to give me yours and your friends’. There’s no escaping that feminism has largely deteriorated the value of home and family, resulting in devastating consequences. Hand in hand with that is the idea that women should pursue a college degree and then launch a career. It would be insane (heresy?) for me not to offer a warning, at best, to Christian women, in light of what Scripture teaches contrasted with the strong sway of feminism.

            I’m curious, would you accuse Paul of lacking compassion and being careless and exclusive by his words, “that the older women teach the younger women to be keepers at home….so that the word of God is not blasphemed.”?

            What do you say of those in Jesus’s day, and all throughout history who have been confused, angered and hurt by biblical teaching? They killed them all. They killed them because their words were hard and it made them angry. I care about people’s opinion of Jesus too. But I will not be a false teacher and lead people astray in order to avoid making them angry. How is that loving? Jesus had some pretty strong words to say about those who do that.

            “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but having itching ears, they shall heap to themselves teachers in accordance with their own lusts.” 2 Timothy 4:3

            So yes, because I love people and care about women, I will continue to tell them that they were created for the most important job on the planet: raising disciples for the Kingdom of God and living out the gospel alongside their husbands.

            I will not say “college is bad”, neither will I encourage them to follow any path that might sway them away from building a family. I will tell them there are lots of ways to get an education and college isn’t magical. I will proclaim truth boldly, with grace, compassion and careful words. I will not muddy the waters with confusing words.

            I will say “who can find a virtuous woman for her price is far above rubies?”

            I will be hated and my words will be twisted and the Bible tells me to not only expect that but to rejoice when it happens.

            I want to proclaim Jesus’ freedom for all women. And that’s why I write.

          3. I just have two final thoughts and then I will leave this discussion. My only goal is to insert a perspective that doesn’t appear to be represented on this blog, so you may certainly have the last word.

            1. Women (and men) were created to glorify God. Women are to love the Lord with all their hearts, soul, and strength. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

            To say that women were created for the roles of marriage and childbirth is not true. Yes, those are incredibly important roles IF we are given them by God, but a woman who is not married or who is childless hasn’t forsaken or not lived up to her created purpose. This is no minor distinction, and it has a lot to do with the tone and words we use when discussing these issues.

            2. We are apparently operating under different definitions of the word “career”. A dictionary definition of career is a person’s “course or progress through life (or a distinct portion of life).” A career does not necessarily take a woman away from the home, and that is why I don’t believe a career to be mutually exclusive with the role of wife and mother.

            You have a career as a writer and a blogger, just as I have one as a graphic designer. Neither of us makes those roles our main priority and neither of us is away from home, but certainly these are skills we use while generating income. Can you admit this to be true? You and I are not out of the house the way a full-time employee is, but I would argue that we are self-employed and, therefore, have a career. My mother, who had a large gap in her employment history while at home with her children, has a career. I take a very long view of the word career, one which can include decades long gaps if so desired. In that sense, I see no conflict with the role of wife and/or mother.

            To anyone who had negative experiences with college, I never said those experiences were irrelevant. Of course they are, and God obviously uses past experience to shape our present convictions. All I am asking is for the acknowledgment that there are many, many women — women who stay home and are fully committed to their families — who had very positive, God-honoring college experiences. It is that voice and perspective which appears to be missing here, and that is why I felt compelled to join the discussion.

          4. Ellen,

            I agree with you on both points. A single woman or childless woman is, of course, no less fulfilling God’s plan for her than other women. But the post was about families, specifically, and it’s impossible (and exhausting for the reader) to clarify every possible situation when writing about a topic. So to state the point of the post isn’t simultaneously casting a negative light on single or childless women. I think most people get that.

            I also agree with your second point. I stated that in the last comment: “Which is why I’m a HUGE FAN of women earning income (Prov. 31), just with more freedom to keep priorities in place.”

            I think there are all sort of ways women can use their gifts without sacrificing the priority of home. When I use the term “career”, I’m referring to the general idea of one that requires an employee to devote herself to that company, on someone else’s hours on someone else’s terms. Home business and self-employment allow for the flexibility a woman needs to maintain her priorities and lets her husband be a part of the decision-making as he is responsible for the good of his family.

            I think you struggle with the idea of my stating that one thing is inherently better than another.

            And I wouldn’t presume to assert that onto an individual’s experience. However, I’m making a broad statement, statistically known to be true, that yes, a wife and mother at home, if possible, is better than not. Just like carrots are better than french fries.

            And I believe that our refusal to admit one thing is better than another is part of a huge societal problem. If there is no acknowledgement, then there is no remedy. If people were saying, “Yes, moms, you need to be home with your children if at all possible; it’s better for them.” Then we would all be working for that ideal. But if it’s not on the table, we just keep doing second best and kidding ourselves and our families, to our detriment.

          5. Just a thought on your comments. I attended a state university, and while I didn’t finish my degree (I got married instead), I spent about 4 years there as a fine arts major. The change in myself was subtle… But by the end of those 4 years, I was rather addicted to the hustle and bustle of dorm living, the constant stimulation, the constant people around all the time. Before this I was content to spend hours alone at home. Also, I spent four years divided from responsibilities to anyone other than myself. Sure I worked part time. I was a good student with good study/work habits. I was responsible and didn’t party or drink. I led Bible studies on campus. But all my activities were what I wanted to do, for the most part. There was very little sacrifice or putting others first in a way that was hard or self-sacrificing. I spent HOURS painting and throwing pots in my art studios. Sure I “loved” it, but did it prepare me to follow Christ? Not really. Mostly it just made me want my own will more than anything else. It made me abhor the drudgery jobs at home more. Mundane things like dishes and laundry were a drag… And over time and after I got married and started having babies, I have struggled more with management and motivation to tackle the “drudge” jobs around the home, I think, than if I hadn’t left home entirely during this time. In a way, it is almost like you are still a child slotted into your own cubby at preschool, it’s just a really cool cubby and you get to choose it yourself… but you (if you live on campus) still don’t have to make your own meals, wash your own dishes, clean your room, etc… You are a grown up in age, but often not really in action. I spent HOURS with friends talking, playing games, and being silly. I spent tons of money that I shouldn’t have and left college with $11K in school loans that took 6 years to pay off…on one paycheck (I’ve always stayed home). Also, I think the years of school mentality takes away initiative if there is no incentive. In school, I was motivated to earn the “A” from my teachers, so I was a good student. You want money? Earn it at a job. But when you leave those incentives to stay home, it can be hard to force yourself when no one is making you wash the third load of dishes or tackle the huge pile of mending or laundry, or hang plastic bags for economy’s sake…no one sees, few care, and since there is no grade or paycheck it is hard to see or feel the accomplishment (compared to the “F” or the firing notice). I was a motivated student and employee both… but all the motivation was external. Motherhood at home removes those things and exposes the real heart within.

          6. Laura, I couldn’t agree with you more. I have two degrees from a state university, and college brought out the selfish/self centered in a HUGE way. It didn’t help that my parents paid the bills. There is no doubt in my mind I would have been better off if I had had to work for what I wanted.

            I don’t really agree with the other posters’ praise of the college experience as an education. Other than meeting my husband (which I am convinced if God wanted us together would have happened no matter what) and the book learning which I use at my job, I don’t see anything that happened there as invaluable experience that can only happen during the most expensive 4 or 5 years of your life.

  39. Thanks for your insight and positive encouragement on this topic Kelly. I have posted a quote and link to this on my blog.
    (http://mothersarehome.blogspot.com/2013/10/more-encouragement-for-just-mothers.html)

    I think so much damage is done to ourselves, and to everyone else in our lives when we buy into the idea that we were put here to “make ourselves happy” or “fulfill” ourselves. Only disillusionment can follow that, one way or another.
    As Christians we live in faith unto God. Our lives are now caught up in loving our neighbor, and the central place that happens is that place where life begins and is sustained – in our families, in our homes, and flowing out to the community from there. We don’t have to “make something” of ourselves (Very good point Cindy! I also quoted a bit of your comment. 🙂 or prove our “success” to anyone, starting with ourselves. Besides, who decides what success looks like anyway?
    It may look a lot different from an eternal perspective than it does from a temporal and cultural one.

  40. LOVE LOVE LOVE the C.S. Lewis quote.

    About your post: Ugh! Why must this be such an issue? Why oh why must women get online and say, “Hey, the better choice is to marry, and serve your husband and make him a better man and raise those children for the glory of God?” (rhetorical question of course)

    This frustrates me to no end! Bible. Bible verse (Titus 2). Bible is God’s Word to us. Titus 2, etc. is GOD telling human women to stay home and care for their own husband, children and home. This is easy peasy stuff. We’re not debating nephilim here. Common sense says that wives/mothers in the home are more of an asset to the family than a woman who leaves the home by choice to earn something as fleeting as money.

    It’s only when you take the Word of God and boldly try to apply it in a society that hates God and does what is right in their own eyes, that women everywhere, Christian women even (!), rise up and demand freedom from “oppression,” and demand their “rights.” It’s utter nonsense and wholly unbiblical. It is wrong, ungodly and WRONG! (Did I say that twice? 😉 )

    Who said that we are to strive for fulfillment! When did that even enter into this equation? Aren’t we supposed to be following God and His commands? If we’re talking with heathen women, then it makes sense that they resist this teaching. But for the somewhat mature Christian women, this is a given. The demon of feminism has gripped your heart tightly if you are a Christian working wife/mom that thinks you are within God’s will as you willingly walk out the door each day and leave your home and children for others to tend just so you can be “fulfilled.”

    1. I hear you about the “fulfilled” thing, but seriously, the idea of personal fulfillment is everywhere you look. On Oprah (dr’s office), in magazines(even Christian ones), on tv, on radio, on the internet… and mostly, in our own hearts… but instead of truly believing that our hearts are evil and wicked, we are told to “trust” our hearts and to “follow” our hearts… and so on… It can be soo easy to lapse into the mindset that because I don’t feel fulfilled or content as I homeschool, do laundry, wash dishes and clean up messes, means that my circumstances must be “wrong”. Also, even from Christian people who are well-meaning talk about things like “balance”… Which I assume is another way of saying, “you don’t have to serve others all the time. You need time to yourself etc…” And yet as a homsechool mom of four (almost five), BALANCE doesn’t EXIST for me. And honestly? It can’t. And trying to find it is just tiring… Accepting this season for all that it is, is easier than the myserious “balance”. Also, realizing our assumptions and expectations toward God can help our mindsets. The name it claim it mentality is attached to this idea of fulfillment, just with Jesus attached to it. It is so easy to become disillusioned over what God’s role is exactly in our lives each day… And to lament over why we are so “unhappy” in our God-given role… But pastors preaching the opposite of this won’t exactly bring in the numbers…

  41. Farther upthread (comment #40), I asked some questions relating to Titus 2:3-5. I appreciate the responses I got, and decided to do some more digging into the scriptures and other readings, as well, to help define “keeper of the home” more clearly in my mind. I thought the following article I found was quite good, and relevant to the discussion:

    http://ancientroadpublications.com/Studies/BiblicalStudies/KeepersofHome.html

    Based on the King James rendering one might draw the conclusion that the point is for the woman to “keep” or “stay” at home. However the emphasis seems to be on the woman’s responsibility to the home. Vincent claims – “The meaning is not stayers at home, but keepers or guardians of the household” (Vol. IV, p. 342). This word is a compound of oikos (o‰kow) – “house” and ouros “a watcher”.

    Scholars tell us that this was a common word in the ancient world. Liddell & Scott claim it carried with it the idea of one acting as watch-dog (8th ed. p. 1032). In Athens 400 years before Christ there stood a pagan temple called the Erectheum which housed the figure of a snake. The snake symbolized security and protection of the city of Athens. The playwright Aristophanes calls this “the GUARDIAN (oikouros) Serpent” ( Lysistrata 759, p. 212, 252). Four hundred years after Christ a preacher named Chrysostom used the word to describe a wife’s proper conduct. He writes – “The woman who is KEEPER OF THE HOUSE (oikouros) will be of sound mind; the KEEPER OF THE HOUSE (oikouros) practices management of the house; she is not about luxury, nor unnecessary goings-out, nor will she be occupied with such things of others” (taken from Alford, Vol. III, p. 416).

    I found that article to be very thought-provoking. I’ll leave off sharing my specific thoughts on the information in it, as my stove timer just went off and I’m about to resume my keeper-of-the-home duties and serve my family supper 😉

    I’m enjoying this discussion, Kelly! Thanks for another excellent post 🙂

    1. That was a good article.

      It goes along with things I’ve heard Nancy Leigh DeMoss say regarding women and home. She says, in so many words, while Scripture doesn’t declare it a sin for a woman to work outside the home, it DOES clearly maintain she is to manage the affairs of her home, husband and children WELL. The emphasis is, then, not on the “what am I allowed to do” but rather, how best can I manage my home, help my husband and shepherd my children, and how can I make sure nothing is in the way of that?

      We’re left with logic. To juggle a full time job both outside the home and inside the home is extremely difficult, at best.

      I like the term “guardian.” I’ve written about that before. I picture the Prov. 31 woman in this way. Guarding her household from so many things. Finance, health, influences, weariness–she is to safeguard her family from a thousand things.

      1. Good thoughts, Kelly. You always say it so well! I won’t add anything to it, and that’s all I’m going to say 😉

        P.S. (because you knew I couldn’t just leave it at that!) I like the term “guardian” too. Off to my guard duties now. 🙂

  42. Kelly, wonderful post! Keep encouraging your daughters! When my husband and I married almost four years ago, I was 20 and we had our first son when I was 21. My parents were two of the very, very few people who did make it clear that being a wife and mother was a valid, God honoring choice and use of my “abilities.” It is wonderful to know my husband and I have their support when the rest of the world (and much of the church) stands in opposition. It is especially encouraging now (as I enter my third trimester with baby #3) as I face some days that pass in a succession of training opportunities that do leave me feeling tired. Knowing that, in addition to my husband, I have the edification of my parents, speaking biblical truth to me and spurring me on to righteousness, telling me not to grow weary of doing this good work but instead to continue to lay down my life for my family is wonderful accountability. Your daughters (whether they marry or not) will always be grateful for your joyful acceptance of their choice to pour their energy into those they love most, as they seek the Lord.

  43. My MOm was a SAHM but she told us our whole life to have a career. I did have a career but in my heart I always wanted to be a SAHM because I saw how blessed she was being at home and what a blessing she was to us (the kids) and my Dad. All my other aunts had outside the home careers and had no time or energy for their kids. So when I finally got married and was able to stay home that’s what I did! I have had more experiences now than when I was behind a desk.

    Another thing people don’t realize is that all these women outside the home are robbing men’s jobs. They accept lower pay and are more easily manipulated at work.

    I know men who have over 30 years of experience in their professional field and have been replaced by women fresh out of college – females who are receiving less pay than the men that had those positions, with less experience than they had and/or no certification whatsoever.

    How does it make sense to give a job to a 22 y.o. woman who is not even married, instead of keeping a husband and a father of many children on the job? That’s your upside world for you.

    Praise God, as Christians our source is not the world but Jesus!

    BTW, great post!

  44. Awesome article. As someone who has done both I wholeheartedly agree. I see nothing wrong with either choice and sometimes we get to do both at different seasons. I always planned on marrying after college and having a career until the babies came. Well, I married really early and attended college through graduate school. We adopted 10 years later. By then I was pretty set in my ways and the children had so many problems. I tried staying home at first but had to return for sanity sake. Then when we had a baby I knew it was time to stay home. I did not wait that long to have a baby only to let others raise him. Things didn’t really improve though until I brought the girls home from school. Now we love the freedom of not being on anyone’s schedule but our own. It took us a long time to get here but we love our life and my girls are thinking about doing the same when they grow up. They may or may not attend college but when they have children they want to stay home and homeschool them.

    My mom was a stay at home mom but we attended public school. she had no friends and her life was generally dull. When my dad became disabled she had to go out and work a full time job without even a HS diploma while keeping the home still. This was part of what pushed me on to do well in school. I wanted a back up plan in case anything went wrong. I wanted to be able to support my family if I needed to. I still recommend going to college to anyone who has an interest but I also know it is not for everyone and you are not “less than” if you decide early on to stay home and raise a family. Each woman needs to do whatever the Lord is leading her to do. I just wish all women would support each others choices instead of making each other feel bad for whatever they feel led to do.

    I love my life but I also know its not for everyone. I had to change in a lot of ways before I could do this well. I think though as more people choose this life and do it well each generation will choose it more and more until it becomes a more natural choice in our society. Right now, where I live, we are looked on as weird but I hope someday as more moms are tired of their children falling through the cracks it will become a common way to live.

  45. The sad part is that more and more Men are also being led to believe the lie of feminism. I am married to a man who believes the lie that a real woman not only takes care of her home but should also help her husband with an extra income. I am raising two daughters and you better believe I will teach them to choose a husband that will do everything in his power to make sure my daughters stay home to raise the kids. No one ever taught me how to choose that kind of man. Don’t get me wrong, I definetely married for love and looked past some of the flaws and by Gods grace I am still very much in love with my hubby. He is definetly a very loving husband and Dad. I chose him so I don’t hold any resentment and I just make the best of it.

    1. Maria, I prayed over you and your husband. That’s terrible when even men buy those lies! I really hope he’ll come to see the light and will appreciate your job.

  46. I guess we also mustn’t forget the husband’s role: of being the family binder – not just provider financially, but spiritually, and emotionally. He is to bind the family together and to God. If we place too much undue pressure on them to be working all the time (long hours, or multiple jobs) so that he can ‘provide’ and we can be ‘homemakers’ then there will not be any real or important ‘provision’ going on, nor will there be sacred ‘homes’ to be making (or keeping). Sometimes we have to look beyond the practice to the principle of what God is teaching. I’m not at all saying that a mother’s role is not sacred, nor am I saying that it is not best accomplished (in most circumstances) by staying at home – but there is far more to this discussion than just what I have seen presented in many of the comments above. And when we do miss the principle point, and look more to just the practice, then we fall into the trap of judging others and discouraging people in their walk, rather than encouraging them. In whatever we do, we should do it for the glory of God. And sometimes it takes courage to evaluate your own circumstances and be open to the Lord’s leading – espeically if it goes in a direction different to what we expected. …. Seperately, sometimes it is not about ‘fulfilment’ (though in some cases that may be the words people use), but about mental health. And this can have a grave affect on the children and create the opposite outcome of what we intend to achieve.
    All in all, it’s so important to remember that God knows each of us intimately, and though His standard never changes, He looks at each one of us through eyes of grace. May we look at one another in that same light. Blessings to your ministry. xx

  47. From the bottom of my heart thank you! I have two small children, a six year old girl and a one year old boy. I was a single mother with my daughter. I had to work two jobs to make ends meet. It ripped at my heart and soul to be away from her. I didn’t have a child for someone else to raise and love. When I met my husband I knew he would be a man I could stand beside. He is the love of my life. When I became pregnant with our son I was very ill and was off and on bed rest. I could no longer work. We had a very long discussion and decided for me to be a stay at home mom. I’ve always had doubts as to wether or not this was the right decision. Money is tight and sometimes towards the end if the month it’s so tight it feels like a noose. But I have faith we will get by. I love my children I love being at home and this is exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you.

  48. This is such a WONDERUL post. My mom worked everyday since she was 14 years old and IS STILL WORKING…I am 37 mind you. I saw my mother in abusive relationships and situations and here reasoning to her 3 daughters for not leaving was “I cant financially support us”. I swore my whole life this would NEVER happen to me. NEVER!!! So I worked in fast food through high school in a very rough neighborhood. I saved every penny. Any extra jobs I could find like weeding, cutting grass..I was game. By the time I graduated high school I had maybe $8,000 saved. This was in 1993. I had alot more money than my mother as she was in debt. I put myself through University on loans and savings.Only because at the time a 4 year degree was going to be quicker than the “wait lists” at the Associate programs. I earned a Bachelors Degree in Nursing in 5 years due to some surgery I needed.

    What does all this mean now? i met my husband who was a medical student at the time that first few months of Nursing. We met and were engaged 9 months later and married that following summer. We had enormous loans as this was his 3rd degree after Math and Philosophy( his parents and scholarships paid for the first two degrees)

    Immediately I began to work less after we married. Not alot less, but only 4 days a week. He was in Residency at this time to become an ER Physician.

    We then went on to start our first adoption journey a few years later ( we are now starting on Homestudy #5!!)

    I currently work two 4 hr shifts a month. They take half of that for my retirement. I feel so much security when I fall asleep at night. I know had I grown up in say the family and financial life we have given to our kids it may have been different.

    I know if my husband lost his job, was injured, died, or just plain went off the deep end and left us I would be able to provide financially for our family starting tomorrow. Complete with Health Insurance. I dont know many jobs that you can still keep after all these years only working 8 hours a month. Half of those hours are when they are in bed.

    As things are now I strongly believe in staying at home. Home educating. Being a help meet.I currently have all boys and one daughter. I feel at times torn between two worlds if that makes any sense. One that is practical and fearful of the unknown so you better prepare for it. And the other world of being content and loving God with all my heart and wanting to glorify Him by staying home and keeping a home. MY choice.

    I now know as a mother my own mother was not as “helpless” as she made herself out to be. I used to think “poor Mom..this awful man…” But when I started working I met women who had left for less reasons than affairs and abuse..all while making about the same amount that my mom did as a nurses aide.

    So i guess what it boils down to is my daughter will have a TON of support if she chooses to stay at home. I will caution her about college. I had a very different upbringing than my daughter will and has had. I knew “the streets” where is my daughter has a very nice suburb lifestyle going for her. Much more comfortable than I ever knew. She only knows a loving mother and father and brothers. It will be amazing to see how her life unfolds.

    Your experiences shape you. My earlier life experiences left me with the feeling that you were an absolute fool if you didn’t go to college and get a degree as a woman. I used to think you were setting yourself up to be taken advantage of and manipulated like my mother was.

    Now that I am more “mature” and have had a much nicer experience with my family life I can clearly see that my “education” at college wasnt what shaped or molded me or made me happy. it was the security the job gave me. Now that I have my husband I don’t need to chase that anymore:)

    Sorry this was a total ramble. took alot for me to post here.

  49. It is ideal to have women in many job areas, including and especially medical arenas so they can be there for other women.

  50. I am maried years and I am tired LOL. Raising a family and work is big time trouble. I would advice against it! And that is from experience, unfortunally…

    however, i would state that a good formal education is like assets in the bank. Just a high school will get you nowere if you donot marry or if you need to provide for a family..

    My dad always said: girls have gotten a brainfrom the lord too, and they donot have to be returned unused”

    So my advice: seek to be a stay at home mom, but be prepared for if it is not turning out as planned

  51. As the old Danish proverb goes, “it takes all kinds fo make a world!” The problem that both feminists, and conservaties get into is that they will often try to tell the world that their way is the right way for everyone. The truth is, there are feminists who are iving ideal lives, homemakers and housewives who are living ideal lives, and those in both categories, who are unfulfilled. As long as anyof us feel that our way is the only way, there will be conflict. We ALL need to step back, and let people do what works for them. I am about as radical a feminist as they come however, I’m not here to tell you to change your ways, or leave your life, anymore than anyone can tell me to do the same.

  52. First, what saddens me about this article is this paragraph:

    “Why hadn’t anyone prepared me for the exhaustion of rushing to get out the door early in the mornings and coming home at 4 or 5 p.m. with supper to cook, laundry to do, a house to maintain, a husband to encourage and two little ones to be a mommy to? I still had papers to grade, for crying out loud, who has time for a home? And when and how was I suppose to slow down enough to train my children, to shape their character, to daily teach them the important things in life that look small at first, but add up after years of attention?”

    Yes, there in most cases there is a problem with both working an out-of-home career and coming home to an in-home career – it’s exhausting! But why is the woman expected to do this “double shift”? In the above instance, where is the husband when it comes to laundry, meals, cleaning, and encouragement and support?

    Second, I’m disappointed that this article (and related articles on this website) doesn’t explore the option of stay-at-home dad (either full or part time, shared with the mother). If the “homemaker has the ultimate career”, why is it still shameful for a man to be the caregiver and housekeeper?

  53. “A choice to stand with their husbands and create a shelter for him from the battering of the world. A choice to be everything to a few people and, clothed in strength and dignity, to have some left over to care for the needs of others around her.”
    I love these words.
    This is such a difficult topic to talk about well because even among believers there is so much baggage attached to words and phrases that even when we use the same words we often mean very different things.

  54. In reading the last comment to your original post the commenter asks…”why is the woman expected to do this “double shift”? In the above instance, where is the husband when it comes to laundry, meals, cleaning, and encouragement and support?” As as man I can remind her that after we get home from work, we have have our own “double shift, doing things like keeping the lawn mowed, the house painted, cars staying properly maintained, etc. A man’s work day doesn’t end when he arrives home from his job either. Like it or not Ladies, the patriarch built and maintains the infrastructure we all enjoy. Just imagine if every man in the world took a week off all at the same time.

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