Last week, during my study of Esther with the Wednesday girls, we were discussing the things we found most tough about being a woman. One of the comments really stuck with me:
[What I find tough about being a woman is] feeling like I have to defend my views on womanhood that are God-given qualities, but [are] constantly criticized by “women’s movements”.
She went on to explain that what she holds dear about being a “housewife” – making a choiceto stay at home to care for her kids and husband – others continually downplay as sort of sad and demeaning. She’s a college-educated gal, after all, and she could do “so much more” with her life. As a “housewife” myself, I completely understand where she’s coming from.This, coupled with the viewing of two recent television commercials for current shows (more on those later), started me thinking about the way housewives have been portrayed on TV over the years:
The 80’s shows (at least that I could remember or find) ushered in the “new” TV mom on the scene – the working-outside-the-home mom. While some did a fine job of paying homage to these hardworking gals:
Interestingly, this was a mom who chose to stay home, but she never seemed at all content with her decision to be there, and was forever in a state of agitation as she tried to find ways to “matter.” Certainly, it made for funny television, but it always broke my heart, as it was so reflective of how the times have changed the world’s view on motherhood.
And on the heels of that view, we’ve made it back around to the commercials for the two shows I mentioned earlier.
The 21st Century’s take on Motherhood:
Now, I’ll give you “desperate”…but “real”? Is this really where we’ve come in our views of women who choose the often thankless, but always rewarding role of “career mom”? From the Waltons to Desperate Housewives?
The “real” housewives I know wear baby spit-up like a badge of honor, rejoice over a potty-trained toddler as if they’ve won the lottery and see the walls of their home not as a prison, but as a haven of comfort and nurturing and love. They know which products are best for cleaning grass stains and which are best for cleaning vomit, because they’ve had to figure both out the hard way. They can plunge a stopped up toilet while a birthday cake bakes in the oven. They can switch easily from lighting the fuse of a volcano for a science project, to lighting the fire of passion in their husband, making him feel loved after a hard day at the office. They can put together a Halloween costume from cast off clothes, and climb trees with their little explorers. They can tell wonderful stories, scare away monsters and heal wounds with a kiss. They can feed legions of hungry teenagers and somehow manage to keep an eye on every room in the house at the same time when their group is of mixed company! They have hearts that have been stomped to smithereens and yet, somehow, still have the ability to keep beating with an infinite capacity for love.
Every mom I know that works outside the home could relate to most everything I’ve said about housewives; the ones I know do a great job of balancing both roles. But this post is specifically about the ones who’ve made the choice to build their career inside the home. It’s not a sad or demeaning role unless we allow the world’s view to make it feel that way. Like my friend said, these talents we’ve been given as women are God-given qualities – qualities that allow us to build homes that provide our families with the foundation to grow, happy and healthy and balanced, to face the world that would have them be anything but. Our choice to stay home has the potential to positively affect the future of not just our own families, but their families and generations beyond.
Real housewives…real contributors to a real world who deserve real respect.
Melinda this is really good!!
I am reading a book right now by a woman in an amish community that has five grown children and has been married for 30+ years. Her thoughts are similar.
I found myself “yessing” through this entire post. I had a career outside the home at one point. I made the choice to stay home about 6 years ago – it has been the hardest, toughest, MOST REWARDING decision I have ever made. While I understand that some women need and choose to work outside the home, I am glad that I am able to stay home. The time I get to spend with my girls is worth more than an salary.
THANKS for this post.
And LOVE YOU a ton!!!
AMEN AMEN AMEN
I can’t tell you how many times that I wish I could have been at home, even though I have no children of my own, but been blessed to share my Husband’s children. I made myself available when school was out, but I think a woman that stays at home to raise her children, GOD’S WAY…is blessed.
Oh, thank YOU Melinda, for blessing these women.
Melinda – I too am doing the Esther study at church. This is very good! I’ve been having my girls fill out “It’s tough being a woman” card periodically and it is very interesting to see all the responses. Amazingly some women can’t think of anything! I’m like – come on girls! IT’s tough!!
Yes, and Amen! Excellent post. Thank you for encouraging sweet SAHM’s. So often I think their contributions to family, society, etc. are totally overlooked. This would be a much better world if we had MORE women willing to set aside career to create sanctuary in their homes.
Amen, Melinda. Stay at home moms/housewives do deserve respect. It’s a shame our society makes us struggle with self-esteem issues when we choose that role.
Man…that was good. Beautifully written. Lets encourage one another and build each other up.
Love you much!
I say yes and I agree with your comments…being a wife and mom are awesome choices!!!
Thanks for this Melinda. I’ve been at home for the past 10 years, and while I’ve had many moments of feeling isolated and unused, I wouldn’t trade a moment of what I gained.
With the economy as is, I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to stay home, but I am forever grateful for the time I’ve had to simply live my life without the constraints and pressures of punching a clock.
On a side note, we launched Esther tonight, and I had the girls fill out a survey with their top 3 things. I’m going to review them and perhaps do a similar post to this.
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Eleanor Roosevelt
Thank you for your post topic today. Your historical depiction of tv moms is great. And you know what, I am proud to say that I am most like Caroline Ingalls!
Work hard, have a soft touch, care for friends & neighbors & strangers, protect & nurture my child's heart & spirit, love & respect my husband, and do it all with God as my beacon of Truth.
Now, if you pardon me, I have chores to do. And water to haul by the bucketful–no kidding!
Melinda, this is exactly the encouragement my little stay-at-home heart needed to hear. I often joke that I should have been born to an earlier era. A time when being a Mom full-time was not only acceptable, but praised. Staying home was the ‘norm’ and women found profound pleasure in keeping their home, caring for their children, loving their husbands, being a good neighbour etc…
The first series of pics you posted were/are all my favourite shows. The only one I didn’t see was “Family Ties”.
Thanks for making me feel valued today. Now…off to clean my bathrooms!
My goodness..I pop over here at just the “right” time don’t I?? 🙂
I’ve been an at-home Mama for 9 years…homeschooling for about 4 1/2 of them…and I can say YES and AMEN to this post…
I am leading Esther at our church and my girlfriend and I were JUST discussing this last night afterwards…
This tends to be the question I get all the time “How long do you think you’ll stay at home??” I instantly feel pressure to give an answer that makes me sound smart and articulate or that maybe people think I need a timeline or I should cut my time short “to get back to my career”…but yet my answer is simple “Until God tells me otherwise and releases me from this calling”
I feel like my kids are where I am “making a difference” in the world, they are my ministry and it’s funny how a lot of folks tend to think that happens outside of the home rather than in…I hold a Bachelor’s Degree that I’m very proud of but in the words of the “lovely” protagonist we’re studying “for such a time as this”…and I want to be right where I am for this time..
I appreciate your sweet words of encouragement, Melinda!
Love that post!!! Thanks for posting that…
That is a really interesting point! I’d never thought about that before!
I’m stumbled onto your blog and so glad I did.
I don’t make any apologies or choosing to be a SAHM and Housewife. My energy and time is an investment in my children and my marriage. It is so worth it. God has blessed me so much and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m a mom of 2 teens and they need me now as much as when they were little. My kids value relationships over material things. It’s been a true calling and a blessing.
Love your blog!
I too found your blog at the perfect time. I love being at home with my children and writing “at home” when I fill out papers that ask for employer. Yet our culture does make us feel inadequate and unimportant for this “career” choice. Thank you so much for your encouraging, uplifting post! I am currently doing Beth Moore’s Living Beyond Yourself but will recommend Esther to my group. It looks wonderful.
This is a GREAT post and I ma sure will be a word of encouragement for many women who read it. ‘A Woman’s Place” is where God has called her to be!! I love your emphasis on the value of choosing to focus on keeping a home and a family as your full time ministry! Praise God for the freedom to follow His perfect and individual plan!
keep those good words coming,
I found your site from our dear friend, BooMama. Thank you for taking a stand for the Lord Jesus Christ.
I will link to your blog and join in on praying for our President. I was invited to write an open letter to Michelle by the Commercial Appeall on my thoughts on Christian mothering. I write and teach a weekly Bible study for MOMS, so they were intetested in my thoughts. Anyhoo, stop by my site if you ever keep a chance. I beleive we are likeminded. Please link to my site if you think your readers would be interested. Blessings.Jean Stockdale
Melinda — WOW! I loved your post on this subject and it made me gasp when I read it–you know why! I loved the tv examples you shared–it almost made me cry remembering the qualities of these moms that I’m sure have influenced me. I still watch Leave It to Beaver and the Brady Bunch thanks to my dvr! Thanks for your post!
Melinda – preach it sister! I was a SAHM for years and then a working mom in the last few. Both are tough jobs, but being a SAHM was the smartest thing i ever did. I built relationships with my girls — and that is precious.