I've been working on a book for…. hmmmm…. 20 years now. Yes, 20 years. It is slow and life is crazy but I am glad it is taking that long…. the older I get, the older my kids get, the more information I see as necessary. The title? "The Art of Housewifery" Why? Because I believe being a housewife is truly an art. One which society wants to bag as a "JUST" job.
--> JUST a housewife.
--> JUST a stay-at-home mom.
--> JUST a homeschooler.
Women: we are never JUST anything! We are so much more.
I could write on about how society gives housewifery a bad wrap. About how the WWII era sparked women to begin pouring out of households by the droves. About how the women's lib movement says we, women, are and ought to be treated equal to men but has instead evolved into a message of women superiority - a superiority only found in the workplace and diminished by choosing to stay home.
But I won't waste the page space diving any deeper on those topics here! Besides, that truly is not the point of this article.
The point, rather, is the beauty of how we are NOT like men. p.e.r.i.o.d. and God has gifted us with tender, caring traits which often shine best in our roles as housewives. Should we be treated fairly? YES. But more than all of the affore mentioned issues (and more), is the lost art of housewifery and the complete lack of understanding (and implementation) of it. Being a housewife (with or without children of any age) IS a full-time, female-'empowering', honorable job.
To make my point, let us walk this out with what housewifery (or homemaking) is NOT, in order that I might dis-spell any myths which tend to taint our mighty calling.
It is NOT….
...watching t.v. all day.
...leaving jobs like dishes, laundry or any other remedial housework for husbands to do when they get home after a long day of work.... (I will elaborate in a moment)
...sleeping in because there is no 'job' to wake early for
...needlessly scheduling so much out of the house that you are rarely in the house (this isn't Beverly Hills T.V. housewives here!)
The list of societally perceived lazy stigmas could go on, but the above are key points I hear often.
So what IS the art of housewifery? What IS it to be a homemaker?
which means it IS…
...T.V.s off to eliminate distractions (and temptation!) (unless listening to music!)
...focused on others above self
...looking at each task, each piece of laundry, dirty dish, vacuumed carpet and so on as OUR responsibility... (of course there are always sick days for ourselves or our family... health issues, emergencies and, best of all, the sweet distraction of little babies which require cuddles and feedings and come with a great deal of exhaustion! .... simply evidence that a darling little life is one of the things more important than scrubbing pots and floors!)
...waking to soak up time with the Lord and time with the husband before he darts off for his day - waking early because our home and our family ARE our beloved job
...being at.home. to tend to the need-tos before running off and doing the want-tos.
Is there, at times, monotony and drudgery? Yes. Isn't there with any job? But where else do you have more control over the sway of these ebbs and flows than in the home? There is no greater 'girl boss' than the wife who chooses to stay home and orchestrate the affairs of her household:
--meal planning with a dietician's eye
--budget calculating with the skill of a CPA
--chore orchestration with the command of a shift manager
--schedule articulating with the ingenuity of an event organizer
--decorating with the artful eye of a designer
The list can go on and is so much more than I could write in one concise blog post (which is why I am endlessly building a book on the topic!) The art of housewifery is an endless opportunity to grow in and perfect balance and prioritizing in our homes. We don't always get right, but we work hard at because no other job matters more.
If we want to look at the statistical rise in youth delinquency and divorce since wives/moms poured out of homes, or the degradation of family values since women were told they didn't need a man or the art of housewifery to "complete" them, we would find an outstanding correlation. I know not everyone can (or is called to) be a stay-at-home…. but those who are, need to know:
Your Job is a beautiful ART and you are more than just anything.
Homemaking is a worthwhile investment of time and energy. And, despite the dogma which clouds the housewifery of pre-liberation: homes, marriages, children… dare I say SOCIETY…. are happier with a housewife who realizes the value of their irreplaceable role.
Don't give up.
Write up your daily list of to-dos, don't succumb to the bon-bon eating, t.v. watching stigma... instead, invest…. invest in your family with your time and energy and watch the returns. The 'pay-out' may not happen right away and it may only trickle in at times. But the returns, truly, are eternal. The Lord is your strength for each task, each focus on others instead of self, because you know you are building a better future and deeper hope.
Each scrubbed floor, dusted shelf, fluffed pillow, clean dish and home-cooked meal = not just a house where people live but a HOME where family resides and a doorway for God's love to pour through.
I pray the nay-sayers don't sway your resolve, or that your to-dos don't do you in, rather, that your eyes are focused on the Greater Goal - the road often makes us weary but the greater Reward still lies ahead. Press on.
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 3:14~
Blessings as you embrace the art of housewifery!
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