I am not a wage-earner, but I will laugh if you assume that I don't work. I work AND I get paid. There needs to be more discussion on the currency of the parental investments we make.
I'm going to speak bluntly, because I believe we are intelligent enough to be honest with each other. I am concerned. I honestly feel that women are devaluing womanhood. I feel that Feminism is taking something good, like the idea that women and men are equal, and allowing this concept to devalue every role that is traditionally female. (Don't believe me? Go visit the Seneca Fall's National Women's Rights Museum. They do no celebrate equal rights for women, they celebrate women being freed from their subservient roles as a wife, mother, and homemakers.)
The result of Feminist ideas might very well be laws that allow women the right to vote, laws that protect women in abusive marriages, and laws that enable women to work and get an eduction. All those things are so good, and essential.
But, we are missing something!! This same philosophy seeps into our brains and causes us to be so very conflicted. As we serve in our homes, doing menial tasks, we hear society telling us that we were meant for greater things. We overlook our investment and focus on our sacrifices.
We are so kind and sensitive to the many women who work (and we should be), that we're afraid to really acknowledge the benefit of a mother's influence in the home. Even working women, whose husbands stay at home with their children, should celebrate their unique contribution to their home. Frankly, you do not even need to have children to create a holy home. I watch my young children learn to be homemakers as they make their beds with care and prop their beloved stuffed animals neatly on their pillow.
Women, our roles may expand, but let us not forget where we came from! Let's not trade our birthright for a latte'. We are fighting to grow our branches by cutting off our roots. The results are imminently dangerous.
I actually believe that we are quite amazing, adaptable, and capable. Living in this day of time saving devices and wealth, I believe women can do anything they put their mind to. Meaning, I believe that women can work, husbands can do laundry, life can be a tag team effort-- however you choose to manage your home, I believe you CAN do it successfully.
Turning this discussion into a black and white discussion on whether or not mothers should work outside of the home conveniently masks my whole point. Homemaking is a job that all parents share!! This is a discussion that should unite (not divide) us.
I absolutely feel that the menial tasks done at home are of value. Devaluing home work does not empower women. Devaluing home work weakens a society. When children are raised in a house of peace and order, society is strengthened.
So, what exactly do I do all day? What is my job? Why on earth would any educated, capable, intelligent woman (which I am) ever choose to stay at home "cleaning toilets and changing diapers" all day?
Thanks for asking.
My life's ambition is to create an orderly, happy, peaceful home. I have not figured out how to do it yet (I've been learning and creating for 15 years), but I do believe this ideal is possible.
Why? Why do I wake up every single morning of my life and try to create my dream home? Because I believe in my core that no success can compensate for failure in the home. I believe the family I created deserves my best efforts. I feel hypocritical performing for strangers when my home is chaotic.
I value the physical and mental health of my children, my husband, and myself.
My main jobs as a maker of the home are to nurture and nourish. I nourish and nurture and in so doing I am nourished and nurtured.
As a nurturer, I create a home environment that is safe, orderly, inviting, and supportive. I hug, I wipe away tears, I soothe on stressful days, I carry Band-aids. I listen. I encourage. I love. I cheer up the cranky, inspire the lazy, distract the angry, heal the sick, clean the dirty, and some days raise the dead! Oh, how I yearn to learn the great skill of nurturing.
As a nourisher, I feed my family healthy food, I feed their spirits with inspiration, I feed their hearts with love and affection, and I feed their minds with knowledge of good things. Nourishing is, by divine design, a task of refining repetition.
There is grace in the daily opportunity to nourish again, keep feeding, keep teaching, keep filling. The moulding of both physical and spiritual happens over time and is a result of years and years of input. Thank goodness! I would not want my children's health to be determined by one boxed Mac n Cheese dinner or their social character ruined by one maternal tantrum. Daily nourishing to body and spirit, over time, yields beautiful results. It's pretty hard to "ruin" a kid because we are programmed to be quite renewing and resilient.
(Oh, I could write ten blogs on Christ as the ultimate nurturer and constant nourisher. How I cherish my weekly bite of bread and sip of water that symbolizes Christ becoming part of me. He nourishes and changes me day after day after day, in small and simple ways. I become like Him as I feed His lambs. And, they become like Him as they see me trying day after day to be more like Him. It's beautiful really.)
Every time I resent the repetitive nature of nourishing, I recognize how grateful I am for the chance to try again and again and again and again and again to fill my family with good stuff!
I find great value in routine and order. Children respond well to routine and order. Adults respond well to routine and order. I absolutely believe that mental health is affected by your environment. I find illness in homes that are too clean and too messy.
Unfortunately, my family is all awake now and my time for philosophizing has come to an end.
Quickly, here is a list of what I do...
I establish routines.
I set the tone.
I provide physical touch.
I reach out.
This week (or two) I want to talk about these topics in some depth. I think there is great value in basic things.
Yes, I cook, wash dishes, wipe bottoms, and clean toilets. And in these menial tasks I feel that I am absolutely shaping the next generation. Societies crumble when their children are hungry, dirty, and neglected. Marriages and relationships crumble when no time is spent strengthening them.
I find nobility and honor in my work at home. I am grateful to be alive to serve and teach and enjoy those that I love most. Yes, homemaking for me is a full-time job. I believe I am paid in excess- I can't give a crust without getting a loaf in return. My bread basket runneth over.
Everyone who has ever struggled to make a home knows that we all have individual strengths and weaknesses. You might be better at cuddling your kids and I might be better at organizing their closets. The point of any discussion is NOT to say that we all should be equally skilled and judging each other.
The point is not to condemn ourselves because we are not better than we already are.
The point is to say-- home skills are IMPORTANT AND VALUABLE. Homemaking is not only an honorable profession, strong homes are the bedrock of strong societies.
Life is good, when our homes are strong.
I know it.