“Wherever you are at this time in your life, do your best, give it your all, do it with your whole heart, be brave, courageous, strong, and be at peace. And if you find yourself discontent ask yourself why. You may, like me, be surprised to see how shallow the reason for your discontent is,… or maybe not. And then press on, in the direction that is best for this time, and in this season of life.”
If I told you that I believed that a married woman should stay home and take care of her family, and her family’s affairs, see to the children (if she as any) and manage the home; you might call me antiquated, old fashioned or maybe even sexist, or bigoted.
I believe nothing of the sort. However, I do believe there are great benefits, to a woman and her family, who lives this way under the right circumstances.
If I told you that I believe that women should work and have fulfilling careers. Because they owe it to the women who fought for equality and the right to vote and the right to an education, to be there in the work place, to show what women can do. That a woman should never depend on a man to take care of her and that staying home and not working is an offense to all women everywhere. You might call me progressive, modern, sexist, power hungry, selfish or strong, and courageous.
I don’t believe this. However, I do believe that there are great benefits to women, their families, the work place and society as a whole, under the right circumstances, to having women in the work place.
But did you know there is an unspoken, or maybe loudly spoken of at times, code? I realized this morning as I was considering our pastors’ sermon on ‘What is Your Cross?’ He asked “What do you hold high and lifted up?”, and “is it your career?” he said, among other things. (I wrote this one a Sunday afternoon).
As I considered this, I realized that I am still struggling with this, and that underneath this struggle is a desire to be seen as a career woman. To be seen as a woman who knows things and contributes, a woman who is honoring the suffragettes of the past by doing her duty in the work place. A woman with her own money, and all the conveniences and comforts it can provide and a woman of status, an important woman. I miss that identity.
You see, if you have followed our journey to the farm for a good while, you know that a big part of the plan, and even a big part of the reason for the farm, was for me (momma) to be home. When I was at work I enjoyed my work, and all of the ‘adulting’ and especially the money.
But I was always longing to be home. Home with just my home, so that I could clean it and put things away in it, and garden and cook in it and not be in a hurry
I wanted to be home with our son and teach him and watch every minute of his childhood and not let any of it pass me by. I wanted to have another child too.
We worked hard to pay off the debts and built a house that we hoped we could afford to maintain on just one income. During this time we tried for another child and lost him, tried again and then gave up. And then it was time. It was time to leave the work place. It was time to finally be home. But I just went to part time for a while to see how that worked and so we did that for, I think maybe a year. It was nice, more relaxed but still pretty busy and since we were already living in our new home, out in a rural area, it was a pretty long commute, for all of us.
So I did it. I quit, “retired” if you will and stayed home, full time. I was excited and apprehensive. I struggled to trust him to provide for everything we needed. I struggled to adjust what we “needed” and I struggled to not put all of my relational needs ‘adulting needs’ on him. My husband and I had driven to work together since we got married, for 8 plus years. It was a big change! Would we have enough time together to keep the flame burning?
Our relationship has had it’s ups and downs, as it did before I left the work place. But over all I think we are closer and I think that is due in part to my being able to have more mental energy to focus on caring and kindness and working out my ‘rough edges’. And the flame is still burning, warmer than ever,… most days I think. And well, we did have another child too, eventually, after we had given up trying;)
There have been times since I left the workplace that I have struggled deeply with returning to work, for want of money, for want of more adult time and out of concern that maybe the children would be better off with less of me, honestly.
But each time we talked and prayed about it, we came to the same conclusion; that we would all be happier and better off, if I continued to stay home.
But I still have struggled with this longing, or maybe nagging desire to return to my career and lately I have been asking myself why.
Today I think I realized why. I believe the bottom line reason why; is because there is at this time and place in our world an unspoken code. A code that says that women who stay home aren’t smart, aren’t courageous or driven, they aren’t hard working and respectable, they aren’t valuable, progressive or powerful. I want to be all of those things!
But at the same time I realized; I am all of those things, right here at home. I am! And it doesn’t matter if my career driven comrades in gender, feel that way about me. I am! I don’t need to drive 3 hours (or more) a day, pack (or buy) lunches and struggle to make healthy meals while working and creating and making money and making my mark in the work place, to be those things. I am those things, right here at home. And (as I realized a few months ago) my value is not tied to how clean and tidy the house or children are either.
And yes, you can be all of those things and manage your career too and there is nothing wrong with that. That is needed and valuable and wonderful too.
But right here, on my little 23 acre farm, where I am making just barely enough money, off of my farming ventures (see our Whirldworks Wares), to pay for said farming ventures (for the first time this year). I am powerful, strong, brave courageous, valuable and worthy of respect, whether you or anyone else thinks so, or not. And so are you.
And this, staying home and tending the animals, people and home, is the right thing, under these circumstances, at this time, for me.
Wherever you are at this time in your life, do your best, give it your all, do it with your whole heart, be brave, courageous, strong, and be at peace. And if you find yourself discontent ask yourself why. You may, like me, be surprised to see how shallow the reason for your discontent is,… or maybe not. And then press on, in the direction that is best for this time, and in this season of life.
Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1Cor 10:31
Thoughts from a pastor
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