Dispelling Myths About Homemaking

by Hannah on June 23, 2011 in Faithfulness

A few years ago I came across an article bemoaning the job of homemaking. I don’t recall the source because I certainly didn’t bookmark it {big smile}. The author would have convinced me to negate homemaking as a career if I wasn’t already a homemaker and hadn’t experienced the truth and fineness of homemaking first hand.  I believe these myths are worth airing out in the open once again.

Myth Number One: You need to be rich or at least well off to be a homemaker or stay at home mama.
Before our oldest daughter was born, a book shop nearby was going out of business and I picked up a short book titled, “You Can be a Stay at Home Mom”. It is long out of print and I don’t recall the author but it introduced me to the basics of being a stay at home mom and made me realize what was at stake. At that time Sean and I were making about the same income, neither one great (under $15,000), but both of us knew I should stay home with our new child.
When our bald headed beauty was born, our income was cut in half suddenly. We had Sean’s school loans, a mortgage, and monthly bills. Both of us drove beaters.   Mine was a red Ford hatchback and I could just squeeze our daughter’s carset into the back if I drove with my knees bent up under the steering wheel. We made do and were contented doing so, knowing that building and investing in our family would pay off in the long term more than anything else.
Some quick ways we lived differently and still do for the sake of building a family and home are:
1. Shopping second hand for just about everything: cars, clothing, and furniture.
2. Cooking from scratch.
3. Beginning to make a weekly menu.
4. Growing a small garden (in the city).

Over the years I have kept a home on a very, very meager income (below the national poverty level and without public assistance)and on a very spacious income. It can be done either way. The principles are the same.
Most American families cannot fathom living simply or being contented without “having”. Do you realize most German’s live well on $17,000 a year (according to the statistics). The difference is the German idea of living well and the American’s vastly differ. Most Americans think cable, two vehicles, luxurious vacations, and the freedom to buy what they want on credit are needs.


Myth Number Two: Being a Homemaker is bad for your marriage.
Yes, I can see how coming home to a (mostly) organized home and a hot fresh meal could badly influence your husband! 😉 Excuse my sarcasm for a moment. If, however, your husband is coming home to a complaining, nagging wife then, yes, your marriage will suffer. However, I believe it would be the wife’s heart issues that would be causing the marriage feathers to be ruffled and not the occupation of  homemaking.
Myth Number Three: Being a stay at home Mom may not be best for your children.
Now, is this because they are being screamed at all day or because they get read to and taught and nurtured?  I’ve never seen happier, more contented children than those with mothers intent on building their homes to the glory of God.

One of my pet peeves (a gentle way of putting it) is hearing people say that they don’t have the patience to be around children – as if God shorted them. Remember that “there is no partiality with God” the next time you hear this or consider it yourself.
Instead, let us work to develop the discipline to control ourselves and keep a quiet spirit. Then the patience comes. Patience is a virtue we allow God to develop in our spirits.
When you are challenged on this issue, encourage folks who think leaving the kiddos with anyone other than a parent to research the statistics on the matter.

Myth Number Four: Being a stay at home Mom is a waste of intelligence
Because negotiating world (home) peace is an easy thing to do, right?  And having to be an expert in everything from plumbing and poison control to kitchen chemistry and child behavior doesn’t take much intelligence? Let’s use our intelligence to better our families before letting it benefit a company we have no vested interest in. I don’t doubt that getting a paycheck might help us feel intelligent or recognized. Before I was a homemaker, I was a nurse.  I got recognized every two weeks with a paycheck for changing bandages, taking out stitches and holding retractors for the surgeon I worked for.  Woop-de-do.  I like my non-paycheck job much better.

Myth Number Five: Deciding to be a stay at home mom and devote yourself to homemaking will make you grieve for company.
Find like minded women.  If you are a homemaker or stay at home Mama, and you do feel like you need adult interaction during the time your husband is gone, invite a friend over for tea. It’s nice. I do it.
Cultivating a heart and home of hospitality is a good thing. Sitting around moping is not.

Myth Number Six: (This is a biggie in some Christian circles) Being your children’s mother keeps you from “real” ministry.
I cannot even imagine a good argument for this. I’ve never heard a scripturally supported one, though I’ve heard many.
Ministering from your home matters more and will more likely have a more positive impact on those around who need Christ (and perhaps a genuine friend) than being away from home during the week so you can use your gifts in a church setting. Bring baked goods to your neighbors, offer to watch a pregnant mama’s kiddos so she can rest or grow a little extra food that you share with a needy family. One of my girlfriends and neighbors ministers to me when she texts me from the grocery store to ask if she can pick up anything for me while she’s out. Ministering to your own little ones every day matters much. Just because they can’t give you recognition, a paycheck or testify up front on Sundays as to your faithfulness does not negate your home as a ministry.
Putting “ministry” before your children and family is like putting the horse before the cart in my mind. If we do not have the patience or will to minister effectively to our families, how can we minister effectively to others?

When we sift out all the misconceptions about homemaking the truth that still remains is this: people will form most of their opinions about the career of homemaking by watching us, the homemakers of the early 21st century.  Perhaps more importantly, and I’m sure this has been said, but bears repeating – our daughters and sons will form their opinions about homemaking from observing us. Are we complaining about our lot in life ? Do we running errands with disheveled and unwashed children? Do we look like the misery society envisions us to be? Join me in dispelling some of the myths about homemaking this week.  Smile.  Thank your husband for working hard to support your family monetarily.  Praise God for this opportunity for growth.  Pray for the patience He freely gives and ask Him to direct your days and your activities in your home based ministry.

How do you cultivate a joyfulness in your homemaking  career?

P.S. The foodie photos are mine.  From the top: Our kiddos lunches ready and waiting washed hands; The Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls bake up a huge batch, always enough for passing on a tray of them; lastly banana muffins, I bake up extra batter into mini muffins for quick and healthy snacks for the kids.

By Hannah, Cultivating Home

Hannah

Hannah is an ordinary woman, saved by an extraordinary grace. Married for fourteen years, she and her husband have a house of joyful mayhem with three sons and three daughters. Hannah loves lattes, re-arranging furniture, thrifting, handcrafts, and writing and counts falling into bed exhausted as a sign of a really good day. She blogs at Cultivating Home.

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{ 15 comments }

Jamie June 29, 2011

I so needed this. Especially the Last few. I find your blog very refreshing and I love your linky days. I wish I had time to explore all the good things I find here.

Susan June 29, 2011

Such a wonderful read for me today & so encouraging. I need to cultivate patience!
Thank you for a lovely post. We make less than 40K a year, have no debt (aside from our mortgage) and feel like we live a comfortable life. It is possible, but takes discipline and prayer.

Shari July 1, 2011

This was a great article! I especially like the part talking about being a stay at home mother keeps you from “real” ministry. I am a pastor’s wife and get this ALL THE TIME!!! “Oh, you stay home with your children. How nice. Once they are in public school, you can do real ministry with your husband, right?” First, we will homeschool. Second, GOOD GRACIOUS PEOPLE, I have these little humans that I live with and disciple 24/7/365. How much more “real” can this ministry of motherhood get?

Keep up the good work, Hannah! I loved this post!

His,
Shari

Loretta July 5, 2011

Thanks for the encouraging words. I need to be reminded of these things, often.

Kristi Roe Owen July 5, 2011

I love this post, but I have to admit I am secretly changing the pronouns as I read. After having our first baby and planning for me to be at home, my husband went through some brutal layoffs and I was forced to work as a college professor full time. We didn’t want our kid, later kids to suffer, so he became a stay-at-home dad. Now he is learning the homemaking arts and teaching them to our son. We wish we could swap places, but we are making the most of our situation! We DIY everything and live a very frugal life. I taught husband to make his own laundry soap, to plan meals, and to organize the household, and I am thinking of teaching him to sew!

Cynthia July 18, 2011

Thank you for this! We are going through alot of changes in our life and I needed this bit of encouragement!

Nixxy December 25, 2011

I’m really thankful that there are Christian Women out there who agree with me. My three sisters and I are proud of our mom; she has been a home-maker since before I was born, and I want to do it for my own children. She has raised us in a Christian home, with Christian values. All three of us have been home-schooled and as I prepare to go off to university this has changed my whole perspective on life. Plus with my fiancée and I thinking about when we have our own children, it is really nice to know that I am not the only one out there who thinks that being a stay at home mom is a blessing! God Bless you as you continue to bless HIM as you build up the women in your community.

R March 2, 2012

Myth Number Four: Being a stay at home Mom is a waste of intelligence

Because working moms don’t have to do all of those things?

Shadlyn Wolfe April 29, 2012

Sure, those things always have to get done. The big difference between a working parent and a stay at home parent is that the working parent *theoretically* has more money and therefore can hire out some of the more obscure tasks.

Having lived on a shoestring budget, I can stay that I had to learn to DO a lot more things, or else they just didn’t get done. When I’m working, I often run up against a daunting task and hire someone else to take care of it.

That doesn’t mean everyone does, nor does it mean the working person isn’t using just as much brain power…but how much intelligence you waste is about how lazy you are, NOT about what you do all day. I just got off a two month job where I literally separated paper for 8 hours a day. That job certainly did not use my intelligence. *bleh*

LuAnne March 3, 2012

Great post! I love that you refer to the “homemaking career”! Staying at home with my kids is probably the best decision my husband and I have made!

Rebekka April 9, 2012

That was a very good article. I luckily hadn’t heard too many of those”myth” It could be partly be because I live in Utah. There is no success than can compensate for failure in your home.

I grew up in the 70’s during the cold war. And I remember being taught by my teachers about how awful it was in the Communist regime because mothers were put to work and the state raised their kids. Fast forward 20-30 years and now women are demanding government funded childcare. Unlike the old Soviet Union where mothers were forced to send their kids to daycare, we American mothers are now demanding that their children be raised by the government. It’s hard to financially afford to be a stay-at-home mother, but for most it can be done. Sorry for my rant I could go on but i won’t. I think you get the gist that I completely agree with you

Shadlyn Wolfe April 29, 2012

I’ve seen “I want to be a stay at home X” hurt a lot of relationships, but it’s not the stay at home part, it’s the “I want” part that causes the problem.

If both parties are on board with it and communicate what they want and expect from the other, then it works just fine.

If Party A feels that the other *should* stay at home, or *should not* stay at home, and Party B feels the opposite, and both are pushing for their own views and they aren’t able to find a common ground…yeah…that hurts really bad. It’s a case of differing values, and often neither is entirely wrong.

I’ve been the breadwinner, I’ve been on equal salary, and I’ve stayed at home. All three ways, I’ve made sure to communicate and to PUT THE OTHER PERSON’S CONCERNS FIRST. I get to have an opinion, too, but if I give it more weight than theirs then I’M the one dragging things down.

Shadlyn Wolfe April 29, 2012

I do have to note one more thing, though. I found this blog through stumbleupon, and probably would have followed it…but I have a serious problem with the idea of raising our “daughters” to be homemakers.

Raise your KIDS to be homemakers, people. They are useful skills, regardless of gender, and not enough people have ’em. Let your kids figure out where they fit best – working or home – when they get there, but along the way teach them to be capable, compassionate, and loving.

Thanks, and sorry for that little rant.

Carlene May 27, 2012

Greetings from Ireland. So, I don’t have any children, and would just like to say that being a stay at home wife is every bit as rewarding and important as being a stay at home mother. It’s not that we didn’t want children, it just never happened for us, but my conviction that being at home supporting my family in the myriad ways that are non financial, is still the right thing for me to do. Necessity has often meant we have had to do it the other way around, and it sucked! Neither of us enjoyed it. But sometimes I’m treated as if being a housewife when I have no children is akin to being lazy and to those people who think that I have two words, ‘not so’.

Ron July 16, 2012

Hi Hannah:
This is a wonderful post. My wife was a stay at home mom and yes, money was tight, but the benefits far out weighed the down sides. She is an amazing mom and her efforts to add to our family far exceeded any contribution that a job would have provided. From my perspective I have always been grateful to her for her contribution. It was always about her choice. I would have supported her in what ever she picked. Being a stay at home mom is more a vocation than a job.

Keep up the great work Hannah. YOU make a difference.
Ron

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