We do love stuffing people in boxes, don’t we? I’m guilty. And I’ve been stuffed in a box or two myself.
In the 21st century, the homemaker gets put into a box almost always. She’s either “dumb, incapable and dull”, or, often from Christian circles, she’s “mislead, brainwashed and micro-managed”, or worse, “dominated.”
Where there is talk of “biblical submission” or “Keepers at Home”, there is no way around throwing most main-stream thinkers into a hissy fit (excuse my Southern idiom), while they jump up and down to correct this antiquated notion.
And the funniest thing of all? After all the efforts to convince the masses that we are not in this box they’ve put us in, when once we attempt to live our lives to prove it, we become a “hypocrite.” ”You say one thing and do another”…”No, actually I’ve been saying what you refuse to hear and I live out those beliefs as well.”
It seems a no-win situation.
So, here are some myths and facts about what I believe is the biblical understanding (given through directives and examples) of a Keeper at Home:
Myth: Being a Keeper at Home means I’m imprisoned within these walls, bound only to my household duties of laundry and dishes, where it would be useless to be educated or continue furthering my education.
Fact: Being a Keeper at Home does entail many, practical, household duties. Some can be (and should be) delegated, often at different seasons of life. Practical duties are good within themselves and homemaking allows opportunities to go way beyond the menial into the magnificent as we look for ways to expand our natural gifts and bents, serving even in the menial tasks, to the glory of God. But being a homemaker allows me to further my education continually; an important asset to a woman. It also allows me the free time to do many things I love. I can grow and thrive in ways I never had the time or energy to do when I worked two full time jobs.
Myth: Believing in the biblical role of marriage means your husband must manage and control all you do.
Fact: That’s a lie. Our home is my domain. I am the manager, the guard. Our family is run by the two of us who are jointly one flesh. We have the same goals and visions as it regards our life purpose and how our family plays into that. But I am responsible for managing my home and if he has to micro-manage it, I’m not doing my job. He trusts me. He’s there if I need him. I’m so glad he’s there to solve problems that feel too big or to help me get my bearing straight when I lose focus. That’s his protective role. It is not his job to give me permission for every detail of life. We discuss things together. If there is something he doesn’t want done a certain way he tells me and I either appeal if I disagree or I fulfill his request because I am on his team.
Myth: A Keeper at Home shouldn’t be involved in business or extra activities–she doesn’t have time.
Fact: That could be true. It all depends on seasons of life, family interests and dynamics, specific details of a family’s structure, or a woman’s discipline. I’ve been scolded for blogging, for running an internet business and anything else “extra”. It’s that box people desperately want us to be in. Extras must be prioritized. If our endeavors are hindering our job to manage, guard and keep the affairs of our homes and children, then perhaps the extras are too much. But all women have “extras” that are, in my opinion, very healthy both to her and to her family. The difference is, my extras may look different than yours.
One woman likes to sew and devotes a certain portion of her time to it. That’s usually OK because sewing is very “homemakey” thing to do But what if she doesn’t sew? What if she finds her gift in writing? Or marketing? Or internet business? Some women delight in culinary arts and spend time watching cooking shows to enhance their skills. Some women love to read extensively and spend a set aside time doing that. Some exercise more than others. I think creative outlets are essential to the overall spirit of a woman (and thus, her family), as long as they are kept in check and do not displace her mother/wife duties. (I warn here that we should be very careful to keep our extras in check. It is easy to neglect the menial (which is a necessary part of life) or much worse, to neglect the emotional needs of our husband and children. ”I need my creative outlet” can never be an excuse to neglect our far greater duties.)
Myth: Some women are called to be a Keeper at Home. But many simply aren’t.
Fact: I disagree. A man is to provide for his family if he has a family. He doesn’t wait to feel “called.” Same goes for a woman who has given birth. She is a mother. She doesn’t need to be called to it.
From Scripture, it is ideal for a woman to be a Keeper at Home, if she has a home and family (Titus 2). We shouldn’t make apologies for encouraging the younger women to be keepers at home. It is precisely what we’re instructed from Scripture to do. It is a full time job and it ‘s cruel to put demands on a woman expecting her to take another full time job in addition to the one she already has. Unfortunately, there are times a woman isn’t able to be a Keeper at Home. This reality doesn’t negate the fact that families need her.
My desire is that “homemaker” or whatever word one prefers, would lose its stigma and would evoke a positive emotion in us. I pray that we all come to recognize the importance of the stability of the family and unanimously agree that it’s a good thing in which to invest a life.