Saturday, September 08, 2007
Taking Time To Reflect
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The Proverbs 31 description seems to be a long list of physical accomplishments and material things. Today, we are under the spiritual law of Christ and must remember that spiritual values are more important. These spiritual values include teaching the you ger women how to guide and guard the home and how to take care of the family with a personal touch.
This list comes from Gwen Webb's book written in 1972, from the chapter about women being at home. Though it lists many homemaking responsibilities, it is also our spiritual duty before God, in obedience of Titus 2, to be keepers at home. Keeping the home is a spiritual response.
Before you read this article with intent to mock, go here http://homeliving.blogspot.com/2007/11/mature-audiences-only.html and read this. The list of 30 things was given to me as a teenager and I saved it. It was intended to help young women who claimed there was "nothing to do," or that they were "bored" at home. It was never intended to impose on any homemaker a must-do list. Most women never accomplish anything on this list because of the daily work that is necessary. It was not a list of things that would make you a perfect homemaker. It was intended to point out that homemaking is a full time job.
Young women need to also type in the words "Girls and Their Influence" and get an idea of why they cannot find a man to marry who will be a good provider and protector.
The 21st century progressives interpretation of Proverbs 31: 1-31 is increasingly biased towards the career woman who leaves her home daily to bring in a salary. I've not known the controversy over these verses until only recently, because prior to 1965, most women saw it as an ideal and left it at that. Today, they must analyze it and pick it apart until it means that she is a full time real estate sales person, and that she pulls in a salary. Preachers are liberalizing it so that they can justify the women putting careers first, skipping their duties at home, and bring in extra money for the family. Most preachers have their wives working these days and do not want to give up that extra money.
Instead of true study, many men are changing the meaning of scripture to suit the culture, rather than trying to change the culture to conform to the scriptures.
That chapter in Proverbs just gives you an idea of the worth of a homemaker, because of all that she does for her family. It was not intended to force women to work as realtors or as business women, and still expect them to manage the home perfectly. See what Miss Anna has to say about it on her blog here http://ccostello.blogspot.com/.
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I have a list of things that someone gave me when I was first married. It said, "If you can say 'yes' to these things 30 times, (for one month) you probably have time to take on a money earning job at home or go to work." This list also emphasised that women do not necessarily need to do every single thing. It was presented in case a woman said she was bored at home and wanted to go to work outside the home.
I believe that women should not take on extra work until she has the following things under control. Most new homemakers who have not had mothers and grandmothers as role models, will find it more difficult just to do the basics, so I would strongly urge you to do things in your relaxing time that really make you happy and relax you, rather than trying to prove you can bring in a second income.
The most intelligent, strong decision a woman can make is the decision to be a full time homemaker. It is not necessarily more "strong" or smart to choose a career or get a job...it is actually the easy way out of doing her duty. Strong, intelligent women at home have always been able to be artists, writers, inventors, midwives--even scientists. I've mentioned some of them in past articles. Progressives of the 20th century have always spread the stereotype that women at home are not "allowed" to do anything but house work, in an effort to persuade women to choose careers. They were told by the media and at school that homemaking is limiting their "choices," but you will find you have more choices and interests at home. At work, you are limited to the dictates of the company you work for, unless you have your own business. Many women have businesses at home that bring in extra money and give them great creative pleasure. There is nothing wrong with that, but to say a woman MUST earn money to make her of any value, or to say that she cannot do anything because she is "at home" is to mis represent women from the beginning of time.
Another thing that needs to be clarified is that although the Old Testament was written "for our learning, " as the New Testament states, it is the words of Christ that are my final authority, so, rather than anguish over Proverbs 31 and whether or not the woman was a full time real estate agent, I go to I Timothy 5:14 and Titus 2, and many other New Testament Scriptures that state clearly what is expected of a woman. The younger women were told to marry, bear children and keep house. That speaks volumes, and much more could be written about it by older women who have already experienced it. The older women were to teach the younger women how to love their husbands, love their children, and manage the home. There have been many good books that elaborate on how this is done in any given country or any given era. You can get a nice book called "Treasury of Vintage Homemaking Skills" by Mrs. Martha Greene, that elaborates on everything from laundry to cooking and more. I will add this book to the side bar.
Here is the list:
1. Do you have a morning routine in the house?
2. Are your dishes washed and put away?
3. Is your cabinet top clear?
4. Is your table clear, when not dining, and do you have a centepiece?
5. Have you cleaned your cupboards and storage areas and fridge in the last 3 months?
6. Is your porch clean and the entry way cheerful for visitors or people who see it from the road?
7. Are your carpets clean?
8. Is your floor clean?
9. Is your living room ready for company?
10. Is your laundry washed, folded, ironed and put away? (Keep in mind, I am not saying you have to do this. I am only listing it in case you think you have time to bring in another income!)
11. Is your mending and button replacement caught up?
12. Do you bake bread? (Once again, no one HAS to do it, but if a woman is bored, maybe she should bake her bread. It takes more time. It smells wonderful. It has far greater effects than can be listed here, both emotionally and physically or even involving childhood memory)
13. Is your bathroom shining clean and does it smell nice?
14. Does your house smell nice?
15. Have you re-decorated or re-arranged in the last 3 years? (You need not do it, but if you think you need to go to work or take on extra work earning money at home, why not put the time into re-beautifying your house?)
16. Are your beds made? Are your sheets and bedding fresh?
17. Do you hang your clothes on the line? (You needn't, but it takes more time, and is good for your health and it actually increases the life of your sheets and clothes, as opposed to the dryer)
18. Do you grow a garden, or even a tomato in a pot?
19. Are your drawers and storage areas organized?
20. Are your photos organized?
21. Are your computer files organized?
22. Is your correspondence caught up?
23. Do you make any of your own clothes?
24. Does your husband ever have to ask for an ironed shirt?
25. ARe your books organized?
26. Do you go through your things regularly for garage sales?
27. Are your windows clean?
28. Do you cook regular meals from basic ingredients?
29. Have you had anyone over for tea in the last month?
30. Do you read at least one good book or learn something new within the year, or learned any new skill?
Perhaps there are interests such as writing, crafts, hobbies, or other things that you can pursue. Some of these things also can be sold and can double your enjoyment of them. However there is always a danger of pressure and burn-out if it is done at the expense of keeping your home beautiful. I think it is fun to make something to sell once in awhile but I don't think women should be pressured to do it all the time.
NO one should feel they must do all of this, but the point is that there is always something you are needed for in the realm of the home and family. You are not NEEDED 'out there' in the same way. You can be REPLACED in a hired job, but at home you are not replaceable. There is a distinct role for you that NO ONE ELSE can fill. No one else can be the wife, or the daughter or the mother or the guide of the home. No one else can be in charge of the home but the homemaker. Even if you can say "yes" to these thirty things, there will be 30 more things waiting for you to do. If you are really bored, you can start a business at home. If you are tired of all the work at home, you can do something that relaxes you. Our foremothers used to read a great deal, write letters to their sisters and mothers, make hooked rugs, make jewelry, make all kinds of things! They loved going for walks and telling stories and I can't list all the other things. We have a generation of women who do not remember these things or have not had the privilege of experiencing them. Sometimes they do not know how to act at home.
I will remind you that these things are not all necessary, but it is important to know what all there is to do before attempting to take on more work. Now if a woman has a hobby and it gives her joy, and someone wants to pay her for making something for them, well and good. But I don't think home makers should feel any pressure to make money. They make money just by the work they do, because otherwise they would have to pay someone else to do it, pay for convenience food, pay for housekeepers, or pay for expensive clothes.
I have read several sites that recommend that women buy things instead of growing them, or making them, but in my opinion if you like to bake bread or knit, you should do it. My parents had what I call in my book, "Just Breathing the Air," a "Great Potato Enterprise." They cleared a spot in the back area and showed us how to plant potatoes. We went behind them as they dug up the rows and we plopped the sprouted potatoes in the holes. Then a brother or sister walked behind us and covered up the holes, and then another one watered it. We did a similar assemby line routine when it was time to harvest them. Since there were 7 children, our parents thought we ought to be busy and they let us sell some of the harvest. I mentioned in my book how much I enjoyed taking my share to market and what I bought with the money. Some people might argue that it would have been cheaper to buy potatoes elsewhere, but my parents liked the taste of new potatoes grown themselves, and they also wanted to help us learn to feed ourselves and learn to sell our products.
I do not mean to refute anything anyone else is writing about this, or to hurt anyone's feelings. but I just want to say that each family can do what suits them, as long as it doesn't endanger the wife's rest and health. I think in general, it puts too much pressure on a woman at home to expect her also to earn money.
Here is a sting to this list: Most people will never ever get it all done to the point they "have nothing to do." Some times the so-called empty-nesters can do a better job in their yard work, or get all the walls painted at the same time, or catch up on the photo albums. Even they are sometimes overwhelmed with the work of the home. That is why it takes a full time homemaker to do it effectively.
Also, a home maker should allow herself time to reflect. Our grandmothers and great grandmothers of the Victorian era (isn't it interesting that all of our generation had Victorian relatives--especially since so many young women seem to hate that era!!) took time to stroll in the garden, smell the roses, look at the water or watch a sunset. They enjoyed a glass of lemonade on their porches. They had time to make calls on other people and take baskets to other people. During the day, they didn't have to have people watch over and dictate to them how to live at home and what to do next. They seemed to have a natural instinct for it. The new generation has somehow had, through education, that instinct for the home removed from them, so that they are always looking for answers about how to conduct their days as homemakers. The best way to discover your routine and responsibilities is through observing daily what you seem to be doing. That is usually how homemakers operate. They do what needs to be done the most urgently, first, and then if they are able, do other things. Eventually a routine will develop.