Scripture Motto

"Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." Matthew 5:16

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Saga of a “Not-So-Desperate” Housewife (Part 1)

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15 NASB

“You iron his shirts?” The teenager in my Sunday school class hopped onto her soapbox. “I’ll never iron my husband’s clothes. He can do it himself.”

My example of ironing shirts lit the 15-year-old up, as it probably would many young women. Jesus wasn’t talking about being a slave to another and neither was I. The point I was trying to make was “if you love another, you’ll do what they ask you to do.”

Last week I shared my review of “So You What to be a Stay-at-Home Mom,” which spawned a need to share a few things I’ve learned as a Stay-at-Home Woman (wife and mother) for more than 35 years. However, I don’t want to stun you as I did my SS student.

Lesson One: It ain’t easy

Key definitions:
Housewife = someone married and committed to the care of a house
Homemaker = someone dedicated to creating a family sanctuary
Helpmate = a constant, consistent partner, cheerleader, best friend

Even before our wedding vows, and way before our first baby, my husband and I decided my job title would be housewife. My mother was a housewife, however, I had no idea—no definition of what it meant.

Mind you, this was at a time when the women’s lib movement was riding its second ardent wave. Women not only went to college but dreamed of high-level careers, and considered the title of housewife as demeaning. And so the battle for my role as a housewife began on the playing field with a powerful opponent.

Typically the role involves cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, and laundry. None of which I truly knew how to do. I only knew my mother did them but she hadn’t taught me and I hadn’t paid close attention. My husband, on the other hand, had been taught by his mother.

With my patient new husband, I learned on-the-job. He showed me how to clean a toilet and mop a floor. With his help, some remembrances from my 8th grade Home Ec class, and my most precious asset—the red-and-white Better Homes and Garden cookbook—I accomplished the skill of cooking. I began to make menus, clip coupons, read store ads, and pick out fresh meats and produce. The back side of detergent as well as most washing machines instructed me on doing laundry. Because I knew how to sew, I knew how to iron.

The first couple of years weren’t easy to ignore the debasing murmurs of society, but I worked hard at my new position in life. I was never desperate, bored, or miserable; in fact, it gave me great joy. My house wasn’t the cleanest—no white glove inspections for me. I would never win a cooking contest, but my simple, edible meals sustained us. I could starch and iron heavy 100% cotton fatigues, yet didn’t love ironing. My husband was pleased. I was fulfilling my role of housewife, which was all that mattered
…or was it?

God sent more coaches (lots of them) to guide me to the level of homemaker.

In the next few weeks, I’ll explain how we, as a very young couple, derived at the decision for me to be a stay-at-home-wife.I’ll share how I went from novice housewife to experienced homemaker and loyal helpmate. And, I'll suggestion ways for you to be a stay-at-home-woman, wife, mother.

Please, share your comments, experiences, or ask questions below.