Thursday, October 11, 2007

Older Women at Home




A request has been received, to explain the reason for older women to be guards and guides of the home, even without children to care for. It is sad that such a subject is even necessary to discuss, because for generations, women, whether they were single or childless, married or widowed, were protected from the pressures of earning a living, and the fathers, husbands, brothers and sons, proudly took their responsibility to be good providers and protectors of the family.




Women were allowed to stay home, and they wanted to do so. There was no pressure on them to exhaust themselves going to work day after day. It was understood that there was more than enough for them to do at home, and women knew they had to pass on their knowledge to the next generation or they would grow up without homemaking skills.

The women were then free to develop their talents in just about anything, from gardening to decorating. I had aunts who never had children, yet stayed home, and they were very active, doing many things for themselves and for others. Many older women who stay home just want to enjoy their later years in a peaceful atmosphere, taking part in their hobbies and their friendships. When older women go to work, they are not as able to share their talents with others. I always feel a loss when an older woman goes to work, for I know she will not be phoning or visiting during the week and she will be busier than ever on weekends, catching up with the things she was unable to do at home during the week.
Garden Table with Blue Chair
Garden Table with Blue Chair
Art Print

Stolerenko, Piotr
Buy at AllPosters.com



One good reason to be at home, even when the children are grown, is to be available. If women would try staying at home, they could understand more clearly what it is like to be available to their families and friends and the church members. They will notice how often they are needed, and wonder what life would be like if they had not been there to rescue someone who forgot their keys, take a packed lunch to someone else, or have tea with a lonely neighbor. Once she goes to work outside the home, she loses her flexibility with her time. She cannot receive visitors or accept invitations of other ladies. She cannot go to her children's homes and help them when they are sick, or when they need her for encouragement.
Garden Pond
Garden Pond
Art Print

Mirkovich, Nenad
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Yet another good reason for older women to stay home is to preserve their health. They have more opportunity to get adequate rest when they manage their own schedule at home. At home, there is less chance to catch every single cold and sore throat that is going around the workplace.





Another reason to remain in her role at home is to teach the younger women.Young women will always benefit from visiting these older women who love their jobs at home. They will observe all the nice touches and the things that go into making a home feel like a home. There are a lot of books and publications that have homemaking instructions in them, or decorating ideas, but visiting someone who is an experienced homemaker, has a far greater influence.

Dappled Sun
Dappled Sun
Art Print

Lombardi, Roberto
Buy at AllPosters.com



Older women being at home is a perfect way to pass on the values of marriage, home and family to younger women. Men and boys also learn from this example, and will understand the value of the women at home, when they marry. There is nothing more stabilizing than coming home to a house that has been occupied all day by a loving homemaker. The scents and sights; the feeling of it differs greatly from the house that is empty of its residents all day. The men who come from these homes are generally more happy in their business and in life and have less health problems themselves.


I know older women who use the opportunity now that their children are grown to do the following things:
-Finally get their yards and gardens the way they want them.
-Improve their house in some way, whether by painting or changing things around
-Write books and stories for their children and grandchildren
-Try new arts and crafts they have always wanted to attempt
-Start having classes in their homes to share their knowledge on various subjects from sewing to card making
-Spend more time with those who need a visit
-Enjoy viewing scenery and taking pictures
-Catch up on reading and correspondence
Finally, the church loses the people who keep much of the work going, when their older women go to work. Although I attend a church where only the men lead the public worship (preaching, song leading, public prayer, serving communion), the women do most of the work behind the scenes: teaching Bible to younger women and children, offering their homes for hospitality, providing lunches for funerals and weddings, contributing the flowers, writing letters and sending out invitations, and much more). Besides all this, they work hard at home making the home clean, neat and functional, so that the men in the family are more able to be the leaders they are supposed to be. When the older women leave home, the churches can seem silent and lonely, as there are no available women in the daytime to help others when needed. Worst of all, they will not be fulfilling their role of teaching the younger women to love their husbands, love their children and be keepers at home.

35 comments:

Jane said...

Thank you for covering this subject. So many times in the church there isa void of older women who are avalible to mentor and teach the younger women how to be Managers and Lovers of their homes.

Your site promotes such wonderful ideas - thanks for taking the time to post and write about the beauty of homemaking.

Jane

Anonymous said...

I would love to find an older Titus 2 woman to mentor me. Many, many older women now are in the workplace.
This afternoon on my husband's lunch break, we walked around our cul-de-sac and I commented to him how empty all the homes were because the women were all out working. I remarked that 50 years ago women could be seen at home in the middle of the day, hanging out laundry, taking their little ones for a walk in the carriage, doing some yard work, etc. My neighborhood is very quiet during the day.
It's very sad to me the way that times have changed. As you said, I don't believe the Lord created women to bear the stress that comes from being in the outside world so much. Men can physically handle stress so much better than we can.
I love being home and I pray and trust I always will be able to. It's a rich, rich blessing to call my time my own.
jo

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia, I offer a hearty "amen" to everything you have written here about older women staying home. My married daughters were thrilled when I got to quit my job outside of home a few years ago, and when I mentioned that their dad suggested (jokingly) that I return to a job, they both protested! Just today, I spent several hours with 3 young grandchildren while their mother needed to be out. We played catch out in the sunshine, took turns riding on a little scooter (the foot-pushing kind), watched "Nanny MacPhee," and played a table game after lunch. The resulting fatigue is a more "fun" kind than what I experienced when working in an office. Being at home, I now have time to exercise regularly (in home or walking through the neighborhood), which helps enable me to keep up with little ones. The responsibility to teach younger women is one I lovingly accept; I do this at my in-home brunches, and I also lead a class at church in the spring. (Autumn is filled with sewing and knitting Christmas gifts for our many grandchildren.) My main mission in life has always been to make home a place of refuge, and I am savoring this more fully, now that I am at home. Blessings, from Desert Lady

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

YOung mothers are always tired, and it is nice to be able to take over some of the things they don't get around to doing. My daughter is so busy doing the necessary things that she is always happy if someone will do crafts or outdoor activities with her children.If the grandmothers are not home, it is harder on the mothers.

Wendy WaterBirde said...

A lovely post Lady Lydia. I liked this especially, "There is nothing more stabilizing than coming home to a house that has been occupied all day by a loving homemaker. The scents and sights; the feeling of it differs greatly from the house that is empty of its residents all day." It's so true. Plus, i think the older one becomes perhaps the calmer one becomes too...and so that could add even more peace to the home. Funny how its the thing syou can't buy that end up being worth the most really...

Peaceful Week,

Wendy

nix said...

Wonderful post. So reaffirming and reassuring. Just reading it makes me feel peaceful!

Anna S said...

Dear Lady Lydia,

Thank you for touching this important subject. Before I started blogging, I had no idea how many young women like myself are desperate to learn the arts of homemaking, but there's no one to teach them. Every week, I receive emails: "I recently got married, but no one ever taught me how to manage a household"; "I want to cook healthy meals for my family but can't even boil an egg"; "I'm a young daughter/wife/older woman pushed by my parents/husband/children to have a 'career' outside the home". When I compare my generation and yours, I clearly see how much we missed out on.

Mrs. H. said...

"If the grandmothers are not at home, it is harder on the mothers." --Lady Lydia

Oh, this is so true! Not only do my mother and stepmother work, but both of my grandmothers work as well, which means that I am often left to fend for myself when situations arise that would call for a grandmother's help. If a child gets sick, I either have to take the whole group to the Dr.'s office (I have five, nine and under), or wait until either my husband or a grandmother is off or can take a day off to keep my healthy children while I take the sick one. Then, I'm left feeling guilty if they have to take a day off of work to help me out.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post. Older women certainly are needed at home, if they can help their children with their own children, what a wonderful thing that is for everyone, grandmothers included. Grandmothers offer their grandchildren a very special love, the more of it the better.

I always wonder when people ask me when I am going back to work. My kids are under the age of 5. I always reply, never, if I can help it. There will always be so much work for me to do, although the nature of it will change, and I look forward to that.

Tana said...

I so agree with your comments. My grandmothers never worked even though all of their children had left the nest by the time I was born. But they were very busy, doing things to help others, doing extra things to help my mother (making quilts and other special items for our house that we used and love but my mother did not have time for with two children). To me, their lifestyle was what I aspired to.

Tana
www.tanapageler.com/life

Melissa said...

Oh how I wish I lived in an era where men thought it was ok to be a keeper of the home. My heart is a little heavy thinking about having to go back to work at the first of the year per my husband's request. Thank you for this post any way.

Many Blessings,
Melissa

Melinda said...

This post is so true and really strikes a chord with me. A member of our church recently had a death in her family. We were able to serve dinner to the family after the funeral. Of the five ladies who assisted, three had to miss time at work to be able to minister to the family. One is an older, retired lady and and I am a home-schooling homemaker. Others did help provide food, but one person commented to me that it was so hard for everyone else to coordinate their schedules to get the food where it needed to be and that we should just provide a meal at another time if this happens again. I was shocked. Here, in the South, meals after a funeral are almost always provided by the church of the deceased or the church of their nearest, living relative. My husband and I both felt so sad at the thought of no one being available to help at this critical time of need.
My mother is a widow and must work part-time to supplement her income, yet she still has time to help her friends get to the doctor, provide meals through her church, etc . . . She also helps me with my children, when I ask. She is the "go-to" person when there is a need in her church family. I am glad she is available.
I hope many more ladies will see the importance of their work from home.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

This also happens with us! When the older women go to work, there is one less expert about funerals, and births and weddings, and it puts extra burden on the home schooling mothers who usually have larger families and are more busy at home and have limited budget and resources. Without the older women, we do a less than perfect job! It is a terrible loss to the church when they forsake it by going to work. I am sure they don't think they forsake it as long as they are there to worship each week, but the church lives during the week as well and has needs all six other days. It is sad for the younger women who stay home all day and do not have these older women available. There is such an opportunity for ministry for older women, in that area.

Mrs.B said...

Thank you for this post. I know what I'm doing is right but it's always nice to be reassured in my role as a SAHW with no children.

What's truly sad to me is that it seems that in our modern society you don't have much worth unless you earn a paycheck. I know it's hard for SAHM's but as a SAHW you get even more criticism. People are bewildered about why you 'just stay home'. I think it's partly because people don't truly understand about home keeping. Oh they may know about house cleaning but home keeping encompasses so much more.

I'm going to link to this post on my blog. (o:

Blessings,
~Mrs.B

Anonymous said...

I love this article.

On a side note, what do you do when these older women hound you for not having a job? Or for commuting to college instead of living on campus?
Some of the nastiest comments I've ever received were actually from older women.
I've just started going to church and I'm not sure how to react to some of these women. It's a nice church that doesn't mince anything else except this.

You said once that you remembered almost the exact time when women's roles stopped being taught in the church and that you might write an article about it. Are you still planning on writing that?

I love your blog and know you'r busy, but I was looking forward to this article a lot because it would help me understand the older women in my church better.

Many blessings,

Lizzy Farrow
www.Xanga.com/I_love_my_flowers

Kelly said...

Lady Lydia, well said. And wonderful comments above too. Not only has the support system for younger women/mothers disappered with older women working outside the home but the church and neighborhood community is now gone too.
In my little neighborhood I am the only SAHM and when I walk outside with my daughter there is no one, or very few women even home. It's so sad to walk through an quiet empty street. When I was a child, in the 70's, the streets were busy all day with children and mothers going about their day. There was always someone to help, usually this was the older women without children at home, but they were always there for assistance. Now young families, wives, and mothers are fending for ourselves. So sad.
Kelly

Mary Ann said...

This is a very important topic! I was raised in an environment where the grandmothers and older women were at home and available to help the younger women. But where I live now, there are no older women that I know that do not work outside the home. One that I am particularly close to is so stressed out and tired all the time and is not able to take care of her health with the fast-paced life that she leads.

Last summer a mother in our church had her 4th child plus many health issues surrounding the birth, including post-partum depression. Her husband traveled for work so when he was gone, she was alone with all 4 children and she had no family close by. She desperately needed help! I was able to help her some days, but what would have been ideal would have been an experienced older woman to step in and lovingly help and encourage this tired mother! But there was no one available because they were all working.

I pray that someday I will be able to be that Titus 2 "older woman" that so many young women need to have in their lives!

Anna said...

Thankyou again. When I was growing up I never thought to question any woman who stayed home and kept home. It wasen't till recently that I heard anyone speak of it. Besides it being a personal choice and not for me to question, it was so natural to see when I was growing up. There are like you mention, a myraid of things we can do in our homes or for others. The list is endless. What would happen if no women were in the neighborhoods?...who would be there use to get other's mail for them or put away their trash cans or keep their children after school when they did not get home on time etc etc? I am just glad I can be there. I have even had mothers drop off their children un announced in front of my home. They stayed in the car and just before they sped away told me they would be right back and so watch their child as they knew I would be home!! Such sillyness! I did not have a mentor even though staying home was done then. I did observe my Grandmother and such but was never taught. What else I learned I learned by doing and reading. Oh how I prayed and prayed for a mentor though...I once read that no matter what your love gather as many resorces and good books on that subject as you can to study them. I have therefore bought or gotten many from the library. First sourse though is the Bible. Now that the internet is available I even at this age, have learned many new ways through it. Your writing and many others of the good women in your list on the home page have improved my skills. So you all have become mentors to a lot of women you may never know but who are forever grateful to you all. Mrs.b you have been one of them for me too.

Pam said...

A wonderful post and very necessary. I found it encouraging to me since I don't have a lot in commone with most women in my church. Most of them work out of the home. I know I'm happiest at home fulfilling my God intended role, but as Mrs. B. mentioned in her comment, it sure is nice to be reassured of this sometimes! God bless.

Mommy Lynda said...

http://domestichousewives.blogspot.com/

I couldn't agree more. Being at home as a homemaker has so many benefits I'm surprised that our society has chosen to ignore them and even deny them! It's almost as if a blind eye is turned against us.

Candy said...

Thank you for this lovely post.

Mrs. Candy J.

Jill Farris said...

Lady Lydia,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this important subject. I, too, feel a "pang" in my heart when I observe older women choosing full time employment. I remember being a young mother all alone in a city neighborhood because everyone went to work. The older women at many of the churches we have been members of also were unavailable for the same reason.

I have often wondered about their years of raising their own children; did they not realize their own worth at that time? Did they do a poor job and fail to build deep relationships with loved ones which resulted in a lack of ministry when their nest was empty?

When women leave the home the very old and very young (the weakest in our society) especially suffer. Our empty neighborhoods offer no protection to the shut-ins, the children walking home from school, and the elderly.

We need to build a vision when we are younger women so that we can be active, ministering older women!

Haus Frau said...

A resounding ***Amen*** to your post!

I'm an older woman now I suppose. I'll be 50 in April and our daughter is in college. I work in my home - not only my precious homekeeping but also for a private school devoted to homeschoolers.

I love being available to my daughter and having things taken care of for my husband. I look sooo forward to being available after my daughter marries and especially when the grandchildren come.

I do *not* plan to work outside the home and my husband supports me 1,000% in this. I'm truly blessed.

I came from female working stock though...with the attitude that you're nothing if you don't have a career (an approved career). I'm going against the flow, hm? :o)

Bless you for writing this.

Anonymous said...

I have just read your blog on "Mood Swings", I think from June (July?) 20. It was so good, I have bookmarked it to read often. You talk in it about how you were once overweight, and were able to lose it by just working around the house? And that you were in a cycle of sleeplessness and overeating. I know this is personal, but I'm sure many of your readers are in this place (I know I am), and would love to hear what you might have to say. You have such a way with words, and you are the older lady in my life-please share your thoughts on some of these issues we ladies are dealing with. Maybe you could write another book???

Feeties

Victoria said...

Wonderful post! Thank you!

Although I've worked most of my adult life, these are some things I do since I've been home for a few years:

watch my granddaughter everyday after school
volunteer once a week at the hospital
help lead small groups at ladies Bible study
bake bread(using bread maker)
bake cookies
cook more from scratch
garden
learning to decorate my home
cook dinner daily for my husband
sewing
making dolls

and many other things. I am in the learning mode and my husband is happy that I'm fulfilled. Do we have lots of money? No. I don't know my tomorrow but I'm trusting God for one day at a time.

Blessings!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for addressing this issue. I too wish I had an older woman to mentor me but they are at work. Plus I find that many have not had many children, did not homeschool or some other issue that I feel convicted about and so when I need advice they are not really in a position to help me with it. Like was already pointed out, many times the women who already have the most burdens (such as homeschooling large families) have more burdens placed on them. Sad! But then doesn't God give more grace when more is needed?!

Rosemary said...

I am so glad to see this topic aired,we older women are often ignored.I am 60 and retired from the part-time job I undertook when my children were older,I was widowed 12 years ago and lived on my own for 9 years,exhausted with stress from my job and misery from having nobody to care for.Now I live with my daughter and SIL and my grandchildren,I cook,clean and garden just like the old days and have a good amount of involvement in the upbringing of my grandchildren.My daughter and SIL can go out without worrying who will babysit and the children are not upset at a relative stranger looking after them.This is the ideal arrangement I think, for women like me who's beloved partners have died.

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia, As a SAHM with a mother who works, and MIL who works it is very frustrating at times - I do often wish they could be home, not just to 'help me' but it's nice to have their perspective on things, even at work they can't field phone calls. Often I have to call my pediatrician when I think an experienced mothers' wisdom would do the job.

On a separate note - I would love love love to hear your perspective on affordable housing! You wrote an article that touched me deeply a few weeks back about the modern tract house. I could not have agreed more but we are finding that living on one income that seems to be all we can afford! Having a college degree and a lot of work experience, I am very tempted to get a high paying job to be able to afford a beautiful home but then would not be home for my son and wouldn't be able to enjoy the home!

Any perspectives on owning an affordable home?

Mrs Pea said...

My mother is in her fifties, but she works part-time, as did her mother until she retired. To be selfish, it makes it hard to bring up the next generation without knowing that she is available to come and enjoy the baby at a sensible hour or come and help me when I am hyperventiliating!

I would delight in a world where older ladies as well as younger ones were aavialble for each other - just to be able to sit and talk and just be with mothers/women who are at a different stage to me - with older children, with "empty" nests (except for the daddy bird!)

Elizabeth said...

As an older woman, I am glad you brought up this subject. When I was a young bride, there were many older women at home. They were such a valuable resource in our church! They were available to teach the Bible to other women, to help younger moms, to bring food to people who moved into the community, to serve meals after daytime funerals, to sit with the sick, etc. There were enough women at home, that each woman could take care of her own home and still be able to meet some need. Between them all, a lot got done!

Now, it's hard to find so many women who are at home, and the few who are get asked to do more than they can do and, therefore, have to say no to some things. Most of the women who are at home have young children. They do serve, but they just don't have the flexibility or the time that a woman whose children are grown has.

Mrs.L said...

Thank you for the great post.I am a homeschool mother that has had many a discussion with my husband about the topic "Where are the Titus 2 women?" Even some of the SAHM that are older do not take the time to mentor these young ladies.I have observed that many of them fill thier time with things to do but are still not mentoring young ladies.In my search I found out about a ministry that does this and thought I would share it.The ministry is called www.applesofgold.org they teach you how to start a group of older women mentoring younger ladies through a 6 week Bible study that also teaches cooking skills.There was an article about them in the Oct/Nov 2007 issue of Taste of Home magazine. This topic has been on my heart for many years as I have felt the Lord tugging at it in this area.I am just this week having a group of young and older ladies in my home to test the waters so to speak.Older ladies,we need you!

Mrs M said...

What a timely message!

I've noticed over the past 25 years that there are very few SAHM or SAHW anywhere! As you point out, the fact that so many older woman return to work once their children are grown leaves a huge void in our churches, families and neighbourhoods.

Oh that the Lord would open more older women's hearts to being Titus 2 women, able and eager to mentor young women and mothers who seek encouragement and help.

I am planning to link to this post on my blog and thank you SO much for taking the time to share it.

Blessings,
Mrs M

Mrs. Gunning said...

Thank you so much for this article, and all of your articles! I am so incredibly encouraged by you each time I come here, and long for an older woman (I am 25) such as yourself to be in my area that strives for godly wife-hood such as yourself.
My mother-in-law stays at home, but does not keep it. She believes that because of our difficult financial situation, I should be out in the work force, and we have never discussed why I guard my family rather than work for a stranger.
This was one of the articles I left her the last time we saw each other. I left her others from this site, along with other papers that I myself have written and from other websites, all siting God's Word as to why wives should be guarding their home - with or without children in it. :)
I am praying that her heart and mind is open to all that I gave her, will you please pray for her to? I don't mind hearing differing views from mine, but my heart yearns for her to know that where she is now, in the home, is God's best for her, and she has no need to feel useless there.
Thank you so much for being a huge encouragement. God's blessings,
Mrs. Gunning

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Regarding older widows and re-marriage: I have been asked to address this subject.

I have known younger widows or divorcees who remarried the second time and had a wonderful life. In the case of older widows, past the age of child-bearing, and having already got grandchildren and even great grandchildren, I have not seen remarriage a great advantage to them, except in very few cases.

If they are already in their 60's or 70's, there seem to be fewer men their age available to marry. If they do marry someone their age or older, there can be some emotional trials, as children and grandchildren sometimes create jealous and posessive behavior.

If their fathers or grandmothers re-marry, they may feel they will get less attention and even less inheritance. I've seen older (elderly) widows re-marry and it has created more stress on their lives because of his kids/her/kids/step-grandkids/step-this and step-that, etc. as well as his sisters and brothers and her sisters and brothers.

It could be one big happy family, but most of the time there is a lot of pressure on the elderly couple, in situations like this. If the children would properly care for the widows, they would not want to get married again. They would be too busy to involve themselves in another relationship.

Unfortunately, in the west, many women go to work, kids go off to institutions, and the widow is left alone. This increases the desire to get married, and if she does, she may end up with a younger man. Elderly people would be better off in the homes--maybe in an attached apartment, or in a small "mother in law house" on the same property, than to be left alone, the way they are, today.

Younger men sometimes wish they could have children, and later find that they are not as happy as they thought they would be.

Perhaps there is a reason the Bible says that younger women should marry, and then gives another role for the older women (teaching the younger, working in the church, being a good example, etc.)

Marriage is very hard work, and if you as an older person remarry, you do lose the freedom to come and go and visit your grandchildren as you please.


You also will have to take care of someone, in the housework area. As you get older, you hope your housework will get less and less, as people begin to grow up and leave home.

So to take on another person, and maybe even that person's children, will be stressful.

Emotionally, a person can get really caught up in a relationship, and then later on, reality sets in and it becomes more of a burden than a joy.

There are many exceptions, of course!! I am not saying elderly widows and widowers should not remarry! But I am saying they should look at the bigger picture because it won't be just the two of them, unless all their relatives are out of the picture.

It may involve a lot of things that they aren't prepared for. I do think that elderly widows should leave the younger men to find younger women. Think of all the young women who are really wanting to get married, and cannot find anyone. I believe it is only right to let them marry and have children of their own and not take them away from younger women.

I would say, "You have already been married and had many good years of marriage and children. These younger women have not had a chance to marry, even once. Let them have the younger men. Take yourself out of the market and get busy doing good works. If an elderly gentleman comes along and is healthy and able to be a good companion for you, go ahead. But I don't see the point in marrying a younger man, especially if you already have had a husband, and women younger than you have a great need to marry and have children."

Trish Clark said...

Thank you for reminding all ladies of our high calling.
I have recently become a widow and I still know I am able to honor my husband and my Lord God in my new position. I have 40 years of marriage to draw upon for sharing the joys and the work of marriage and homemaking.
I thank God for your ministry and boldness in proclaiming truth.
May our faithful GOD bless, strengthen and encourage you.

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