Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Homemaking Without Worry

The Small Country Home by Lise Auger (order this poster from http://www.lovelywhatevers.blogspot.com/ )



Since there are sometimes objections from friends regarding a woman's desire to be a full time home maker, I thought I would address one way to deal with it. There are many things that can be done to calm the concerns of onlookers and outsiders, and even insiders, but I will address just one of them now.



If a woman could trace how the conversations with friends and relatives seem so often to focus on their objections to her staying home, she could possibly solve most of the problem. If she would rehearse in her memory the last exchange she had with people who are urging her to leave home and join the herd in the workplace, she might be able to see how to prevent people focusing on this and bringing worry and stress into her life.

One thing that almost always puts a stop to the pressure from other folks is to avoid anything that can be perceived as complaining or expressing a feeling of being deprived of anything.
Do not say things like, "I was grocery shopping today and I did not buy the _________because I could not afford it." Automatically, some people's solutions will be "You should get a job." Instead, say, I decided I wanted a different menu."

Do not say "It is hard when you only have one income." Who said you should have two incomes, and where is it written that the wife should work outside the home? Instead say, "I am enjoying learning how to look after our income and shop more wisely." Develop a habit of always portraying things in a good light. Give a good report about your stay-at-home status.

Avoid saying things about being alone all day or having no money to go out, or only having one car, even if it is not a complaint, because "they" will take it that way. "They" may be tuned in to any little thing you say that makes homemaking seem disadvantageous to you. Put a different spin on the entire thing.

Say things like, "I really don't miss paying for tags, insurance, repairs, and licences for two vehicles. I do not think I ever want to go back to those days." You could also say, "I appreciate having the time to really concentrate on taking care of things for my husband. If you do have a car, you can cite the many times he has called and you were able to do something for him that he needed done while at work: the banking, paying bills, getting clothes ready for the next day, and so forth.

If "they" seem to want to dwell on the subject of your staying home vs. going to work each and every time they visit with you, one of my own tactics for dealing with telemarketers might work: "You called me two days ago and if you remember, we discussed this, and it was decided that I was not going to buy this product, and furthermore, we determined that it would not be necessary for you to call me about this again. I will let you know if I change my mind. "

There are two ways of dealing with the persistent people who feel obligated to tell you that you will be better off to get a job. One way is to tolerate it, and another way is to exercise patience.
Tolerance is not the same as patience. When someone continually brings up a subject and you put up with it, ignore it, and try to be polite, hoping that they will come to a better understanding on their own, you are tolerating it.

Toleration does not benefit them very much and it does not help you show a good example to them. One way to understand this is in bringing up children. If you tolerate a behavior, it goes uncorrected. Toleration is an attempt to ease the discomfort on your part and avoid further disruption on their part. However, this does not actually work as effectively as patience does.

Beautiful Morning by Lise Auger (available at http://www.lovelywhatevers.blogspot.com/ )

Patience is a more Biblical and sensible approach to handling people who want to discuss a matter that will unsettle you. Patience is a consistency of action with the goal of achieving a result. Patience with children means that when you are teaching them to look after themselves, you say the same thing, firmly, each time, and then show them how to do it. You will remind them when they forget, knowing that one day the training will take hold, and they will remember.

When you patiently strive forward to make progress with your home and your life each day, others will see it and eventually keep quiet about their opinion of you. When you remind them that you have had this conversation with them before, and you reached the conclusion that it was the right season for you to stay home, they will be less likely to pursue it.
A Quiet Moment, by Lise Auger, available from http://www.lovelywhatevers.blogspot.com/
Another issue that people seem to want you to deal with is one of personal fulfillment. "They" worry that you are depriving yourself of some advancement in education or career. They will remind you that you are getting further behind and will not be able to catch up when you decide to go to work. This is not proven, as so many industries and needs change each year, that it is probable that the kind of employment available today will not even exist tomorrow. If you do not want to get involved in this conversation, first assure them that you are personally fulfilled and happy to help your husband by looking after him. List the number of things you do for him each day and show how much stress and time and money it saves him.

Then, learn to change the subject onto something greater than yourself and your own activities. Make a list of the great variety of things there are to talk about and learn to change the conversation by taking something in a remark and using it as a vehicle to another conversation. For example, if someone says that you are just vegetating at home, say "Speaking of vegetables, do you know where I can find a good bargain on broccoli?"

If someone says you need to bring in an extra income to "help" your husband, say, "That reminds me: I am looking for some traffic to my Etsy shop, where I am getting a little extra income. I'll email you the address and maybe you can show your friends," or "I'm trying to look after our income so that there is not so much going out, and would welcome any coupons you could give me."

These are just two examples of how to take a word out of a sentence and turn it into another subject. It should be used only when the subject matter is focusing too much on you, and causing inner turmoil. Knowing how to use it can save you a lot of problems.

With the world the way it is today, it may take some people years to finally come to the conclusion that you are trying to do things in a more natural way, and that you are a homemaker because of your beliefs. If you really have a strong conviction about being home, other people's remarks, though disturbing, will not be intimidating enough to make you give it all up and join the hunt with the men. For the most part, though, your attitude is what will determine whether other people consistently focus on the subject, or not.

Guarding your words and choosing the right things to say to lead people's minds in the right direction, goes a long way to preventing people from taking up a subject and running with it.

Other ways that could be considered are:

Having a blog that shows what you are doing -- it gives people a chance to see how important this is to you. Include lots of other homemaking links for your doubters to look up.

Having a tea for the ones who just dont get it. They will remember it as one of the nicest times they ever had.

Engage in a work that is important to you, from crochet to crafting to whatever you like., so that you will have something to show for any spare time you can get. Give your hand work as gifts. Eventually people will come back and say, "Could you make one of those for my (aunt, sister, etc)? I will give you the money for materials."

Very few women at work have time to do the things they really would like to do, and they will be glad to know someone who is available to do some of these things. This is a typical reaction of people who at first could not understand why women stay home. Eventually, if you are patient, they will understand. Patience means to keep on the road you are going and not divert from it. It means you are teaching a lesson as you go.

Jan 17---added note:
This was mainly written to young people to caution them not to reveal or "tell all" to people when it is none of their business. I used to have a sticky-beak come around my house regularly and inquire about every little thing. "Are you really happy?" "Do you get tired?" "Does your husband let you have a checkbook?" "Why is that one bedroom all messed up?" "Can't you get a job?" She had the knack of figuring out whether I was dealing with a leak in the roof or a squeaky door, or maybe had been on a trip and had a mountain of laundry, and would always say, "If you had a job, you could have someone come in and fix that!" It is best not to confide in people like this. Learn who is your friend and who will give you the best counsel.

If you get tired of the pressure from others, to leave your home and go to work, then eliminate the problem by being careful what you talk about. The woman who came often to give me advice, no longer even has a home. She did not like housework, and did not like sewing or cooking or knitting, but thought since she did not like it, no one else would like it either. She did not enjoy being a homemaker, and thought it was punishment for others to have to be homemakers.

These kinds of beliefs make it bad for them to be advisors, and that is why I say it is good if you surround yourself with the kind of talk that will reinforce your decision to be at home. Eventually you become stronger and able to deal with objections. It is the same as growing up: we do not expose babies to every thing, until they are strong enough to deal with it. Life is a process of maturing and growing up, and there is a time and season for everything.

I think young women should be left to really enjoy their homes and get into cooking and sewing or knitting, or whatever they love and are absorbed with, without too much turmoil. That is why I suggested, in this post, (which was a requested subject), that they eliminate most of the conflict by being careful what they say which will bring more arguing into their lives. I've shown a couple of ways to do it. Everyone of course, can do as they like, and I'm not establishing policy here, just some ideas to work with. If a woman has lots of friends and loves telling them everything, and does not mind if they offer objections or run her down for staying home, then she should not change her conversation habits.

I just want to add one example of how to say the wrong thing that will cause more trouble in your life, from real life experience.

My father in law was an evangelist and preacher. He was 94 when he died, and he had no refinement about what to say, which was actually quite good in some cases, but in others, it was not. One time a woman called him and asked him to visit her husband in prison. He was not a Christian, and she had become a Christian quite a few years after she married him. He was in prison because he had stabbed someone with a knife. When my father in law visited him, he asked him, "What kind of knife did you use?" Of course, he did not get a kind response, from the man who wasn't too interested in talking with a preacher in the first place. He had introduced a sore subject. We have to learn to avoid sore subjects at certain times and learn who we can talk to about certain things.

I am commenting on this because of some misunderstanding that I apparently am advising people to lie, or something. I'm not doing that at all. Just because you don't confess every little thing to all your friends and relatives, does not mean you are lying or hiding something.

It is a matter of preserving personal dignity and privacy. It is a matter of guarding the tongue and capturing the thoughts before they roll off the tongue, because they are not appropriate and will set off a reaction in the other person. When girls are young, this needs to be taught, because although we have nothing to hide, we are careful what we say to people who will argue back with us....unless of course, you want to spend the time responding to them.

It is up to the individual, but even those women who have to work outside the home, are given advice about innappropriate things to talk about in the workplace. Would this advice about not talking about their latest illness or their financial condition (debt, purchases, etc) be called "lying?" Would it be called "trying to make things look good when they are not?" No, it is termed "Too Much Information." In the old days, there were certain subjects that were considered personal, and we did not ask about them. No one knew how much a woman weighed, how much money her husband made, how much they spent, or what they had written in a personal letter. No one asked how old you were unless you were a little child. People did not talk about every thing they did or were doing. They knew that sometimes it could cause a worse problem.

I doubt that anyone would think that not talking about personal things at work would be dishonest or lying, yet today there is a column online that suggests there are 13 subjects that should not be discussed at work, if you are new at the job. I am only saying here that if you are new at full time homemaking, there are some things that you would be better off not discussing until you get more established, and more confident.

67 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent and helpful advice, thank you dear Lydia. The difference between patience and tolerance was so well explained and illustrated. I really appreciate your specific and detailed examples in your articles. Very much appreciated!Love from Linda.

Sue said...

This is a really great post! Thank you for such thoughful advice. I don't get that kind of comment yet, because here in Japan is it still pretty much the norm for mothers to stay home until their youngest is at least kindergarten age (that is three years old here, as kindergarten is age 3-5). My youngest is just about to turn two (tomorrow!), so I am still in the "safe zone";). I will file these thoughts away for when my day comes.

Candy-Faith said...

Excellent post!

Ace said...

Hi Lady Lydia, I hope all is well with you!

EXCELLENT ADVICE! The General wanted to take us out for lunch and to do some errands last week and he likes me to be very casual (I am NOT a casual girl but I do it for him) HOWEVER, I am the only homemaker that many know and I had to explain to him that since we were going out and I would most likely run into people I wanted everyone to look nice. I wanted to be a good witness. I wanted Husbands to say "wow, that family looks nice and relaxed and happy...maybe we should think about that." I wanted wives to think the same. I did not want to dishonor homemakers. He never thought of it this way and gave me some extra time.

I am finding (through trial and error) that the approach you are describing is best. I get myself together BEFORE I socialize. I rehearse things, I make sure I EDIT my speech and NEVER complain (this is not something that comes easy to me because I sometimes tell a funny story and others see it as complaining) because many would LOVE to be in my position.

I am also trying to teach this attitude to my daughters, appreciation EVEN when I am VERY, VERY tired :)

Thanks for the guidance here, I think it will really help others and it confirmed for me what I am trying to do lately in my own conduct.

Many Blessings :)
Ace

All things bright and beautiful... said...

I find this comment shuts them up straight away! I just say "Well we have a better quality of life this way as our evenigs and weekends are entirely free for us" Folk look very thoughtful then as they ponder their own rushed "leisure" time filled with chores. I find this simple statement has made a huge difference.

. said...

Very good post.

Alfazema

Anonymous said...

You said:
Very few women at work have time to do the things they really would like to do

But at least when they get the time, they also have the necessary money.

beth said...

I was just talking to my daughters, ages 14 and 16, about "framing" their future plans(as home-centered young women) in a way that helps others recognize the dignity and value of their chosen work. They are at the ages where they are starting to get a lot of questions about their future plans for college, etc. This article is helpful as we come up with ideas for helping others to respect their future plans. Today's article fits in perfectly with our discussion. Thank you!

Heart 4 My Home said...

What a great post! I too have had many (incl. family) look down upon me because I have been blessed to be a Keeper of our Home. I really have never 'argued' my family's stance on this I simply told them that "this is a choice that our family felt was right for us, although we appreciated the fact they felt comfortable enough in their position to make their feelings known that they disagree with our family choice, I respect it but on the same token , I would also appreciate the courtesy and respect of our decision." Once they thought about this we were left alone on the subject, but boy howdy are they coming to us now to get advice on how to make their 2 income household stretch like our one! Ironic isn't it!! *grin*

~blessings

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Anonymous, I find your comment very funny. It is not true that women and home have no necessary money to do the things they really want to do. Did I say that? Just because the wife does not work does not mean she will have no money to do things she likes. It means she wont have the expense of gas and car mainenance, or travel to and from work. It means it wont cost her for the lunches she will have to buy or pack for herself. It means she does not have to have as many clothes. It means that she wont be as tired and can have the time to do the things she really likes to do. The working woman does not necessarily have extra money or more choices. Often the money she earns is taken up paying debts or paying for daycare or transportation. A woman does not have to have money in order to do the things she likes. I was speaking of TIME and energy, not of money. Of course, to some people, money is the reason for many decisions they make.

Lise said...

Lydia,
I love how you share ways that women can be creative at home with very little money, using items commonly found around the house. I also love the fact that when we work at home, 100% of our efforts go straight to our families and the well-being of our households; women outside the home work to fulfill the needs of their bosses and corporations. As I see it, the woman at home gets the best of both worlds: she has time to be creative, and she can do so much at home either for free or for very little...Just a few thoughts for "anonymous" to ponder.

Anonymous said...

I find many people ask me, "So when are you going back to work?" especially now that my oldest is in Kindergarten. I simply say, Hopefully never! I love being home! And it's the truth. I also aim to just be the witness to the fact that life at home is good. Even when I just walk the dog or sweep the steps or sit on the deck for lunch or play outside with the children, I know that people see me and they know that my priority is to be at home. And I imagine what they see looks rather pleasant.

I also find that there are just people in the world who are bullies. And while we would like to just be quiet and let their comments pass, as that is our nature, sometimes it is best to say something the first, or second or third time it happens, instead of the tenth. Often once people realize you won't tolerate bullying, no matter how subtle or "well-meaning," they stop.

~ Ann

Armchair Housewife said...

Fantastic post and very well-said. This is an art that ladies need to learn; the art or redirection. I have found it to be one of hte most important skills i have developed since becoming a believer. It is so essential to develop this skill in order to continue to interact with the world, and even with those believers who want to engage in gossip or negative speech that you know you shouldn't be a part of.

And I LOVE what you said about not inviting critique into your life with your comments. I see this so often, people saying they don't want criticism and yet inviting it by bringing up subjects that they shouldn't.

Great post, thanks for the encouraging reminder!

Lady-in-the-Making said...

Dearest Lady Lydia,

I so enjoy your blog.

I cannot WAIT for the day that I will have to fend off this kind of opposition. Having been a working wife for 22 years, I only too well know the OTHER side.

They can say what they want.

Ladies, I'll tell you right now...it isn't worth it to work. My paycheck goes to convenience foods, cable tv, lunch money for my children etc.

Someday soon, my husband will see this truth. When he does, I'm outta this office! :)

You're blessed, Stay At Home Mothers.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Anon's comment, it's also surprising how much better a husband can work when he has his wife at home taking care of things.

I am convinced that my husband is making much more than both of us combined would have made, had we both kept working.

He is free to focus and concentrate on his work when he leaves for the day, without worrying about daycare pickups, nanny drama, kids getting sick, dinners, laundry, managing the house...And when he comes home, everything is done, allowing for peaceful time with his children and personal restoration.

~ Ann

Katrinka said...

I posted once on this already, but don't think it went through. This is so excellent! I've noticed that it's also important for me to be careful of what I say to my husband, as I don't want him to think I'm not satisfied with what income he provides (this is can be pretty hard to do sometimes when we're discussing household expenditures).

I especially appreciate the ideas for responses to people who think they need to tell us to 'go get a job'. I have been helping my husband in his business for several years, and it has been very exhausting. We are no longer able to keep it going and are making some major life changes. However, back a few months ago, my daughter confided in one of her friends (male) that we were struggling with the business. (I was already working in the business without pay). My daughter's friend suggested if it was that tough, that 'your Mom ought to go get a job'. My daughter was so upset she told him, 'She HAS a job! She has TWO!'

I am just speechless sometimes when confronted with people who don't appreciate the homemaker's influence on family AND country. I have such a vision for the wives and mothers to return to their homes. This young man I mentioned above is literally an emotional mess, his sister's in jail for credit card fraud, and his mother's busy out working all day. We have to be available emotionally for our husbands and children so they can just talk to us. That's what psychologists do, you know . . . let people talk. It's amazing to me how much gets worked out when I listen to the young people around me talk. They solve a lot of their own problems on their own.

Great, great comments, Lydia. I hope I can be more content and appreciative in the future as my life as a full-time homemaker again, and will have your suggested comments in my mind. Even much older women are expected to work today, even if they are not widows, so I will not escape!

Everybody's Mama said...

This was a wonderful article! I am blessed right now, in particular, because several of my children are very young and I have a nursing infant. People assume it is "cheaper" for me to be home with them. Little do they know we think it would indeed be costly for me to be outside the home but not in the dollars and cents way!

I also find it important to give my husband lots of verbal encouragement and tell him how satisfied I am. Often we are in the recesses of the home and it is our husbands who get the remarks, not us.It helps him to know how happy it makes me to care for him, our children, and our home.

Wendy said...

I can't help but wonder who all these people are that you ladies deal with, who criticize homemakers so much? I've certainly had people react with surprise that a young, college-educated woman like myself would choose to be a full-time mother and homemaker, but in 9 years of being at home, noone has ever told me that I need to get a job, or harassed me in any way about not working outside my home. In fact, most people I've encountered tell me that they respect my choice, even if they have chosen a different path in their own families. I can only imagine that you must have the misfortune to be acquainted with a lot of extremely tactless people!

Spruce Creek Farm said...

Another great post!
I've been reading your blog for a little over a year now.
I would like to thank-you for supporting what you believe in and you are a living example of what a Titus 2 woman should be.
Keep up the good work!

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

I knew a young woman who stayed home, even without children, and she had a constant visitor who always tried to help her find a job. She would ask questions like, "Does your husband let you have a bank account? Aren't you allowed to work?" She worried all the time about how the couple was going to "make it" but 10 years later they are going strong, have money saved, and she has not left her home for the workplace. It has taken her friend 10 years to realize it was a belief and not something to do with economics. Beliefs have to be strong enough to outweigh circumstances and economic conditions. People left me alone for years but when my children grew up, began asking questions like, "When are you going to work?" I always say if I could ever get the things done at home and catch up to everything that needs to have attention, and if I had the time, and if I ran out of things to do at home, maybe I would consider it. But, even if the house was completely in order, and all the photos and albums caught up and all the things I need to do completely done, I would be too old to yank myself up in the morning and sentence myself to days of hard work. By the time I am a certain age, I believe I will have earned my leisure, and should not be expected to go out to work. I fail to understand why some people seem to want to get old women out in the public working, when the old women have already worked themselves very hard at home.Why don't they save the jobs for the women who have no support and no husbands and no homes to look after? Why not leave the jobs open for the men who have to support families? There will be a lot less traffic on the road when women don't have to get up and leave home in the morning and come home at night. Gas prices will always be a concern, and they don't have to buy it if they don't have to go somewhere each day. As for knowing a lot of rude people, it is just two per family: his mother and her mother, both trained in feminism, who usually bring it up. It might be one friend that does it over and over again. So, it is not a lot.

Wendy said...

Hmmm...my mother and my husband's mother have both been homemakers since their children were born, so it seems I am uniquely blessed in that respect. As for friends who are critical, it would be very difficult indeed to maintain a "friendship" with someone who has such blatant disdain for one's life choices, and so little concern for one's feelings.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Usually when there is a critic, they have lives that are out of order, but they do not see it. They may tell you to get a job and leave your home, but their leaving their own home has caused a lot of trouble that they cannot see, despite the glaring evidence: troubled children, disjointed family life, poor health, shambled finances. THey tend to see everything in a different social light. If you are working, they see your life as being perfect. If you are not working outside the home it seems to irritate them. They don't see the expenses of working for a woman outweigh the money they earn. They do not see that they are neglecting their home and that it is falling apart. They don't see that they are doing nothing for the church, leaving the burden to the women at home with small children. They do not see how they are fraught with worry and how it has aged them. They do not see that their debt level is higher than the ones at home. THey can't see it because in their minds they are socially correct. Just look at their own lives. Many do not have homes or husbands or children, and yet feel they must tell others to go to work and miss out on life, the same way they have done. The workplace is quite limited unless you are an interpreter travelling all over the world having different experiences. The ordinary job, which most women have, limits them to the same old people day after day and then when they have a day off they want to have a party for the office, where they see the same old people again. Homelife is much more varied than that, and you get to watch your children change and grow. You can change anything you like in your home office; even turn it pink if you want.

The Southern Housewife said...

Lady Lydia....you forgot one of the biggest expenses (finacially AND emotionally) that women who work must deal with- child care. I guess some people would rather have a new car than spend a day raising their own child.

I don't know how to be patient and it's something that I am learning through my Bible study. It is a very hard thing to master. When approached about this subject, I often get very defensive and come right back with something. I know I need to stop this, as people just won't understand.

And to "Anonymous", thankfully, we have enough money to go around for me to stay home as well as allow me to learn, create and craft. Right now I am enrolled in a photography class and will be enrolling in tennis classes as soon as the weather accomodates me. I am able to do such things because of His generosity. Please don't make generalizations about homemakers, as I will probably break all of them- I'm young, have a college degree, have no children, and only worked for one year. Just because you are a housewife, does not mean you are poor, uneducated, unmotivated, dowdy, frumpy, old, or must have 16 children. You just have to believe that your home is your family's haven and it is your job to protect and nourish it.

Penelope said...

What a lovely (and timely for me) post! I very much enjoy reading your blog, it is so inspirational.

Anonymous said...

Even as an older stay-at-home homemaker I appreciate the advice. Many of these are new thoughts for me. Some years back I had to work for a short time. I'll tell you it REALLY makes you appreciate anew being home. My husband too could not wait for me to be home again! No matter the sacrifice I quit even earlier at his request. I was so happy!! We knew that life for years..but seeing and hearing the "other side" from the women at work was an eye opening experience. They would even ask to return to work early from maternity leave 'cause they were bored at home! Imagine!! They were raised by working mothers and never developed hobbies or Anything to do alone! They needed hussle and bussle and activity all the time it seemd. No one at home praised them for a job well done or had the latest gossip to tell them or made out a list of jobs they had to accomplish that day like they knew they had to do at work. So they felt more comfortable at work...work was now their home. A sorry state of affairs.... sigh. They were clueless. They seemed to dislike work too and were never satisfied ther either. They complained that when they were home their kids messed up the house more...they hated this. When they worked the house only got a "little" messed 'cause the kids were at day care all day and only home for a while before bedtime. For them the usual thing of children at home was UNusual!! It even seemed strange to them! It seemed like an very upside down world to me. The parents definately came first. These adults complained about their own parents working all the time but were doing the same to their own children. Yes, being an example of a different way of lif is needed. Yes it can be done. Your ideas on how to stear the conversation and the comment by Ace and Katrinka and others on presenting ourself and the famiily with honor. Honoring our husbands and not letting them think their income is not appreciated and is used wisely were well said. Remember your husbands go to work in this weird environment. He is around people that are against, or don't understand the need for women at home. Your husband may have to also defend your families decision for you to be home too. They need our support love and prayer every day they are out there. We are a team. We were made equal in the eyes of God but with different duties and temperments etc. The peace I feel being home and doing what comes natural is beyond measure by any standard. I cannot tell you how grateful I am to find such good sites as yours that support it. Jody

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Anonymous,

The comment about making assumptions is really important. Not all homemakers have children but they still have great responsibilities at home. My mother was not raising 7 children all of her life: eventually they left home and she pared down her life to looking after only two people, but still she did not find it necessary to go to work. By then, the expenses were lowered considerably and she was able to do many other things. Like the southern lady suggested, she went to interesting classes and did a lot of different social things, but never considered working outside the home. Her family was her social life, and I am glad it was. Today, the family has a plumber, an electrician, a carpenter, a construction worker, a gardener (owns a garden center store), an accountant. Her staying home to motivate these boys in their careers was very important. They also never were in trouble with the police and never had to beg for money or live off the state. I was busy most of my life raising my own children (I had three) and helping my husband.Please don't assume that large families are dirt poor. It just isnt so. Often, they produce wealth amongst themselves by the work they do. They would be poor if they were all lazy good for nothings that would not lift a finger or work. Many large families I know live in beautiful homes, much better than my own. The fact is, children dont all come at the same time. Each one is at a different stage of life, so it is not a huge burden. I had a small family but I came from a big family and have great respect for big families, as well as small. Idon't know where young girls get the idea to judge families based on whether they are large or small, or judge homeamkers based on whether or not they have children. Some homemakers have no children, and there are single women who are at home, with no husband or children yet.

Anonymous said...

Good reminder: dont bring up the subject and you will not have to defend it; don't entertain the subject when someone else brings it up. Just divert the attention off yourself.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing wrong with getting a degree, if you don't take it too seriously. The problem is that women believe they must be dedicated to the career they studied for and fear they will waste it. They then miss out on all those lovely days at home developing other skills and talents, and caring for the house.

Gregg said...

I kind of stumbled onto your post by accident looking for something else but I am so glad I read this post...truly inspiring. Patience is one of those things that really doesn't get noticed. Power, arrogance, and stubbornness get noticed...but patience...not so much. (please forgive me if I don't subscribe to your blog, I am not all that craftsy, but wanted to say thanks :)

Mrs. Wood said...

You express things with such calm and confidence, Lydia. It's a gift.

Regarding Wendy's comment that she has never received criticism, that's wonderful! I deeply hope others have experienced the same. Perhaps things are improving. Unfortunately, even some of us who have had mothers who were homemakers have had to withstand withering disapproval. Sometimes, it isn't so much negative comments as a withdrawal of support. The important thing, as Lydia said, is to maintain an appearance of confidence. At times, it would be nice to express one's doubts with others and seek reassurance. This is impossible to do with those who do not believe in homemaking. Keep it to yourself. Seek God's counsel. Know that others are invisibly cheering you on. Be assured that you are engaged in an important battle. What you do in your tiny realm can change the world. Defeatism is not for you. Too much is riding on your efforts.

Anonymous said...

To add to this wonderful post: Your article makes good "business sense", too! When you realize that we are not merely "stay-at-home wives/moms", but rather we are *career women* who just happen to be home-centered. A top executive for any corporation, when interacting with the public on behalf of the company, would be careful to word his comments about "how business is going" in a positive manner, wanting to present the company in a strong light. We, of course are representing our husbands, families, and the Lord! Thanks for this intriguing article!

~~B.

Laura said...

Thank you for those useful thoughts. I have had a lot of pressure from outsiders who think that the only way to be happy is to join the work force and make money.

Anonymous said...

Lydia,

Excellent article!!!! Well said. I don't think I could add anything else!

Charmayne

S. Belle said...

I was really blessed by your article. People ask me all the time when I'm going to go back to teaching. Someone even asked me did I miss working.

I told them I'm still working and teaching. Only it's my own children. Taking care of a household properly and teaching/training and caring for children is work.

I guess if there is not a dollar earned, then it's not considered work to some people.

faerieeva said...

Dear Lady Lydia,

I love your blog and have been a long time reader. There was something in this last post though that slightly rubbed me the wrong way. Actually... two things. The first is a general matter. I hope I am misunderstanding, but when you say the following: "Do not say things like, "I was grocery shopping today and I did not buy the _________because I could not afford it." Automatically, some people's solutions will be "You should get a job." Instead, say, I decided I wanted a different menu."
I know you would never encourage people to lie, and I am sure you are merely suggesting that they change their own thought process about the way they look at things, but it still seems like subterfuge.
Sometimes, staying at home is hard. It is worth it, it is beautiful, but at times it can be hard. Working out of the home also is hard. I have seen people complain about their jobs for hours, but then extoll the virtues of working outside of the home as soon as they stand before a stay at home wife or mother. I feel that is subterfuge, and I really would not wish to do the same thing.

The second matter is personal. I married two and a half years ago, at age 30 to an absolutely wonderful man. I have a most adorable boy of one and a half and I am absolutely content and happy. That was not always so. I made the transition from single to wife easily. I had wanted a Godly marriage for so long, that when the time was there, I was ready and prepared. Or so I thought. I had been keeping my own household nice, neat, tidy and feminine and I kept a nice, neat, tidy and family oriented house (with some feminine and some masculine details) as a new wife.
And then our first child came, a bit earlier than we expected but very welcome and invoking such gratitude and awe. And that is when my fairytale fell apart.

My baby had a few special needs, no handicap, on the contrary, the child was so much ahead of the curve mentally that he couldn't get enough stimulation with his physical baby limits. This sounds wonderful, but it enduced ten nightmarish months of sleep deprivation (no more than two and a half hours in a row during the night, no more than one hour during the day) and not getting anything done, not even a shower. While we expect this for the first few weeks I had never been lead to believe it could last months and months. And I kept reading all these wonderful homemaking blogs about women who were happy, fulfilled, crafting, preparing healthy meals and managing to stay pretty and even tempered, all with frequent prayer of course.
I couldn't. I was so sleep deprived my normally meek character changed. I could not remember the simplest words like 'fridge'.
And underneath it all was the deepest feeling of failing and being a horrible mom, because I HATED it. Most of that was because the stay at home moms and mothers had kept an illusion before me in their blogs and words. Only when I finally found the courage to call out and say "This isn't what you told me it would be." "I can not do what you guys are doing" "Maybe I am not meant to be a stay at home mom or wife, did they confess that there had been months too when they hated it. That their houses at times were such a mess that they despaired. That sometimes, some days... they gave in and sat in their bathrobe for just a few hours to stare before them, rocking the baby with a foot. Some said that their first children were fine, and then all of a sudden there was that one child, wonderful and loved, that challenged everything they had ever known about housekeeping. But even at that point there were people who kept making me feel as if I was deficient for not enjoying motherhood or being a stay at home wife.
I finally figured out that this was a season, that it was okay NOT to enjoy it, as long as I did it with love. I am certain Our Lord also did not enjoy taking up the cross for us. But he did it. I managed to get to this realisation because of a few people who actually shared that they too at times were dispirited, that they too had felt that this was too hard, and that they had gotten through it. Their honesty was probably what gave me the courage not to give up, and not dump my baby in daycare while I went off to get a job.

The season passed. It started to better slowly after eight or nine months. But I remember the taste of near hysteric panic and failure so well.
I blog about my daily life as a wife and mother. I blog about elegance and femininity. I love being a stay at home wife and mother, it is my calling. It was my calling when it was bitter and hard, and it is my calling now that it is more enjoyable. But I wish I had been better prepared for the bitter and hard. I wish I had not believed an illusion. The situation might not have been less hard, but I would have been less hard on myself and not as near to giving up as I was.

So, after this long story, I want to ask perhaps to be honest when you can not afford something, ir when you feel shut in. Not bitter, not complaining, but open about the hardships as well as the blessings. Sometimes maytaining the illusion of 'everything is well' because we do not wish to be bothered by ill advice can be wrong. It might even at times have a smidgeon of pride in it. "I made this choice, and I defend it, but this is going to make it look I was wrong."

Thank you for considering this long post.
May you be loved and blessed,
Eva

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

I hope I did not cause any misunderstanding. I was mostly trying to show the girls whose nerves just couldn't take the criticism from a relative or friend.

It can be emotionally exhausting to some young women. Not everyone has a mind ready for battle, and not everyone really wants to engage in a conflict or answer back.

Some people just want to be left alone. My suggestion was that if you did not want to hear the criticism, you could cut down on it quite a bit by watching what you say.

You could avoid bringing up the subjects that they are most likely to argue about, and if they bring up the subjects that give you stress, you could divert the attention from yourself or from the subject, on to something else.

It is good to be honest, but I am from the old school and my parents and grandparents did not tell everyone their business. THey did not consider it dishonest to say "I'm just fine" if in fact they had a slight headache.

If husband just lost his job, they would not say anything to anyone because they didn't want people bringing them food or giving them advice. They wanted to solve their own problems.

It is harder I think for a generation that has grown up in the world of telling your feelings, to understand the restraint that I grew up with.

It was a way of having personal dignity, and we also believed you could not air your dirty laundry to other people. That meant that if you had a problem, you sought help only from those who were really on your side or you could trust.

I am saying that in this article because it cuts down a great deal on the discouragement that women at home feel, if they will not complain or confess hardship to people who are not really on their side and who are ready to jump at the chance to tell you that you can solve your problems by getting a job.

Some women would have no problem with defending themselves, and would not mind talking back or engaging in any kind of exchange, but other women just don't want to use their energy on that kind of emotional draining experience, at a time in their lives when they need to be thinking about productive things and concentrating on homemaking.

Sometimes an argument can make a person unable to focus on anything. Women are so emotion centered that they need to guard their mind from things like that. I don't want anyone to think it is dishonest to say you are fine if your husband was in a bad mood when he left the house.

I wouldn't tell anyone if mine was, because I don't want to put a bad light on the family. If I "tell all", including the financial difficulties, then I have to listen to the responses and be burdened with the pressure that some will feel they must put on me. So I learn to keep quiet about it if I do not want start too many fires and attend them all.

As you grow older and life has more responsibilities, you learn to pick and choose what you want to deal with, and that means there will be some conversations you will not pursue.

It is nice if you have someone you can trust, who is on your side, but sometimes the others can be a pain, and that is a pain that can be avoided if women would learn not to say things that stimulate an argument or introduce a sore subject.

Anonymous said...

Bless you, Lady Lydia,

This post is the kind that keeps me going.

Lady Lydia, I do have a lot of people always commenting on me staying home or having a large family.

This happens mostly while I am out shopping - sooo many comments like, "Wow, do you need any more children?", or "I feel so sorry for you!" One lady even said she would shoot herself if she were me! My kids have to hear this. My kids are extremely well-behaved, and we are often out with big smiles on our faces, enjoying each other, so I know it is not that we just look miserable or anything.

A lady at church, who seems very bitter to me, but always covers it with a bitter smile, stopped me in the parking lot just before I delivered my fifth child and told me that I had to stop this (having children) - that God told Adam and Eve to fill the earth, but not me. She was so disgusted, and she wasn't kidding eiher - she was really concerned about us crazy people. Again, my children sit through the entire church service with us and don't disturb because they are well trained. I am happy, and have never complained about having them. Why wouldn't I have more, since I do such a good job at it?

Then I do have people in my married family that say hurtful things about my staying at home, but after a long time of observing them, I know it is not tactlessness that causes their comments, but a deep belief system to which they want to win me over. They believe that everyone should "pull their weight" in the work world, and that staying around your children all day will retard your growth as a person. It is mixed with bitterness on their part, that they didn't get to be happy making their family, so it is very selfish of me to be blatantly, in front of everybody, enjoying mine, without apology! "They" equate my happiness with naivety and "simplicity of mind", and "They" somehow think it's their mission to enlighten me as to how the world really is.

The funny thing is, I've had more experience in the "world" and exposure to things than they have! That may be exactly why I know it's not "all that".

I felt like the "Anonymous" comment was a sort of put-down that we are low-class enough to "know" people who would say such negative things to us, but I feel like even the best of us might be suprised to find ourselves having to interact with people like this someday, through no fault of our own.

I have moved and am not around the long, comforting friendships that I used to have that made me feel strong.

Also, a lot of times people are very pleasant to you - until you cross the threshold of what is "normal" in their opinion. For example, you might find that you never get negative comments about staying home until you : have the fifth kid, stay home with no kids, stay home even when your husband just lost his job, etc. That's when you find yourself verbally accosted on a regular basis, which can really "mess" with you if you don't consider the source.

I must say, though, that for as many negative comments as we get, we get just as many amazed, approving comments of how wonderful our children are and what a good job I do with them. I have people constantly asking me "how I do it", and I get to witness a lot because of it.

Whenever I get discouraged, I come here and read something that turns my whole perspective around. You will never know how much I have taken your words to heart over the few years I have been reading your blogs.

Back in my early homemaking days, when I would get sooo discouraged, I knew that it was not a problem with me, that needed to be medicated. I simply recognized that I was doing a job I had not been trained to do, a job that was bigger than I was told it would be, and this allowed me to persevere through long, lonely years of trying to learn to make a life for my family, while continuing to seek the teaching that I knew I needed from older women.

Your blog has been my main source, since most other teachers try to teach women to apply their business place techniques to the home, which I think can make you feel pressured and harried in your own home.

I also want to say I went through years when we had NO money to spare,and it was not fun, but now it has turned around. Just because you don't have a lot of money to do crafts doesn't mean you give up on your calling.

Please keep showing your happy crafts because it can give us something to think about when we can't afford to do them ourselves, either in time or in money.

Your posting about these negative commentors has allowed me to feel I'm not alone in having this happen to me. It has been a long process of learning to let these roll off my back. The comments that I HAVE let sink in have made me make the wrong decisions in homemaking - they have had a direct affect on me when I have let them. As I said before, the comments come A LOT, not just the few I have posted.

I don't know any other girls who are doing what I do. All of them that I know are enduring the stay-at-home years until they go back to work. Most of their conversations are based on what they used to do, and how important it was, and how they have big plans after this. I am not saying this is everyone's experience, just mine, and that is why I'm thankful for your blog.

You always keep me strong by seeing the importance of what I am doing, and the ultimate goal. You are on my side, and I can't thank you enough, because not a lot of people are right now. Thank you, Lord, that my husband and I are in agreement, and this is all I really need, but I find that most ladies I know do not know the truth that you are teaching, and that makes me lonely.

I know that eventually, I can make a difference in influencing others if I will work very hard at my own testimony, and give it time.

You are a comfort to me, and have taught me to love my little home, which in turn has been a great comfort to me through the last years. Every bit of effort I put into my home and kids comes back to me as a reward later on.

Thank you,

Zulielew

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

I think also, that we need to have faith that things will change. If one day every child in the family has a cold, or your husband is having less success in his work, and money is short, it is a bit silly to report it all.

That is because the next day it might not be like that at all. Sometimes you will get an unruly child who is hard to handle.

If you tell people "he is hard to handle" that is what they will believe. Your patient effort with the child can eventually make him compliant, and then things change, but unfortunately, the ones who know about the original "label" will always have a picture of failure in their minds and always think a certain way. That is one reason I believe that in the ups and downs of life (including unemployment, illness, losses), it does not hurt to give a good report. One day it will all pass and you will be just fine.

So many times women will report an upheaval in their lives to a friend or family member, and in a couple of days it gets straightened out, and they wish they had not said anything about it.

It is just a different focus on things. We could say my mother had a terrible time because she first lived in a tent with 3 children under the age of 2 and a half, and had to pack her water and heat it.

The way I reported it was that it was and adventurous way (she always looked at everything as an opportunity or a challenge)of getting their house built. It was the most convenient way because they were camped out right next to the new house that was being built.

I could say it was just awful the way they had to cut down the trees and peel the logs and soak them and put the house together themselves, but it was actually more sensible than driving a long distance to get prepared logs or paying a huge amount to have it done by someone else.

If people really want to help, then they can offer to have a meal for you or help with housework. Most of the time, though I have noticed they just want to help you out of your home into an office somewhere earning money, and they want to impose their belief on you. If you want to avoid that kind of talk, you can avoid the subject. I tried to show ways to do that, in the article.

In all the hardships my mother had, she was careful not to portray it to others as though she was downtrodden. If you did that, they might put a lot of pressure on you and insist you come and live with them.

Help was appreciated but I think she would rather have had people help her build the house than try to remove her and the children away from her husband and the house.

The example of sending out a good report was something that I grew up with, and it is also shown in the Bible where the spies brought back a bad report and were not allowed to see the promised land. The two good reporters got to see it. I think the way we report things can make a big difference on how people perceive homemaking.

Mary Jane Liegl said...

Wonderful advice given here, keeping every statement positive, how can anybody object to one’s lifestyle when all that is spoken are encouraging words?

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Zulielew, I think you should always say something to your children, after these rude remarks. You never know if one of them will store up too much of it and dwell on it and get in a stew over it when they are older. You should tell them, as you walk away, even if it is in hearing distance of the talker, "That was HER OPINION. An OPINION is not always the truth. Truth has to be compared to the scriptures. She may think I am crazy, but the Bible says that I have a sound mine. She may think I do not do anything all day, but you know what really goes on in our home." I think you should make sure and arm your children with some responsive thinking, so that when they hear you attacked with these thoughtless comments aimed at imposing their will on you, they can automatically reject them mentally when they hear them in the future.I think it would be part of making them completely on your team.

Anonymous said...

Very lovely post! I'll see if I can develop that subject-changing skill. I really, really liked those pictures, too.

-Christine from Arizona

Anonymous said...

Just reflection more on this piece. Perhaps the most detrimental effect of complaining is the negative effect on the homemaker's mood and attitude too, and therefore the rest of the family.

~ Ann

Anonymous said...

I have a policy to never burden others down so bad that it depresses THEM. There is also the problem of destroying your chances at some opportunity that may depend on your stability or your good report or good attitude about things.

Mrs. Wood said...

I would like to respond to the thoughtful comments of Eva.

It is true that housewives should sometimes be open about the hard work and difficulties involved. Many blogs paint only romantic pictures of homemaking because they are on the defensive. They could be more blunt if they were not worried about discouraging those already discouraged.

For years, I hid the financial difficulties we faced. Whenever I was with others, I only spoke of the positive. But, one day, my sister began to taunt me viciously about my views. I suddenly broke down. I wept like a child. The result was something I would never have expected. She was so moved. "I never knew," she said. She was filled with tenderness and consolation. So, yes, Eva is right. Sometimes we need to be honest with our struggles. There is a difference between being honest in simple humility, however, and being whiney and narcissistic.

chicory cottage said...

thank you lady lydia for the lovely post and to all the other commenters for lots of food for thought and encouragement. i find it difficult, sometimes, to endure in the face of remarks that disparage my choice to stay at home as a wife, even though we have no children. most of these remarks come from my family and some from my in-laws. may GOD grant us all wisdom in dealing with such criticism!

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

I posted this mainly to give a few of my own ideas to those who have received constant objections from relatives and husbands about being a full time homemaker.

I was mainly saying that you can't confide everything to people who are not completely in agreement with your beliefs. It took me a long time to figure that out, because when I was really young I thought my friends and relatives were my friends and relatives and therefore would never say anything rude or argumentive. After receiving puzzling comments and objections to anything I did, from making things myself from raw materials, to teaching my own children, I finally figured out that you just cant tell just everyone or anyone the things that bother you. You cant express alarm at the price of things or be dismayed at your children's behavior because they will always blame the fact you dont have a job outside the home. They will blame your lifestyle.

One woman said that she and her husband had never had a serious argument, because they were never together long enough to talk. When you are a homemaker, there is more interaction between you and your family, and a lot more talking, and there may be many more things you have to verbally work out, so it might sound like you have more problems.

I dont think women should report their family conversations and disagreements to people who are not on their side or in line completely with their beliefs about being home, because they will only deflate you and never lift you up.

I was only saying that you have to be careful not to dwell on the subjects that will require you to defend yourself.

Dont bring up certain topics and do change the subject when possible.

Women at home often look like they are living in ease, and maybe they are, but they make good choices about how to spend their time. Instead of being out with the girls shopping, they are catching up on things at home, so that it is a place of comfort and beauty. Instead of spending money on transportation and lunches, women at home may spend the same amount on pretty fabric or some new dishes, which give them something that lasts for generations instead of just for a moment.

We learn to size up the value of our time and money and do the things that count. Husband and children will remember the talks you had with them more than the toys or the material things you bought. If you consider that a sacrifice, it may be, but ultimately it pays off.

If you talk about these things to people who are not completely on board, you will get into an emotionally exhausting conversation that will leave you unable to function the way you want to in your home.

If you are really confident, you can teach such people by your example, and you can verbally refute them,but if you have no energy to do this, it is in my opionion best to keep quiet about some things.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lydia,
A great idea to add the article on using discretion in what you share with others in the workplace.

Some things in life should just be kept private to be worked out with the Lord and one's family. There's certainly nothing underhanded about having a private life, LOL!

Having been a wife for 22 years, I am no longer young, but I still am careful how I word things around the various people I talk to. If I tell my sister, who is a very well-off, childless, world traveler that we are struggling financially, she will roll her eyes and comment that maybe I shouldn't have had so many children and that I should get a job. So, that's not a conversation I will ever bring upon myself. I've got more important things to do!! Thanks again,
~~Katia

Homemakers Cottage said...

Wonderful post, Lydia. I appreciate your thoughts on being careful not to complain about our roles as homemakers. So often we portray our lives in a poor light and wonder why people feel sorry for us or try to "fix" us! ~Kristy@ Homemaker's Cottage

Fruitful Vine said...

I needed a refresher today and came to your blog and as usual was not disappointed. Thanks for sharing in such an open and honest way. I will definitely be more on guard about what I share with whom. I've tucked away the response examples you gave for me to pull out if needed.

God bless you much.

Mrs. Anna T said...

I must say, it's always better to radiate positivity - whether you are a homemaker or not! Excellent advice.

Jessica said...

I recently began reading your website and following your blog not too long ago. I love reading your insights, and how you are encouraging homemakers. I found this post to be very helpful! I feel as though I am constantly receiving criticism from others for not being in the work-force. I am 27 years old and married without any children yet. I have been taking classes on-line to earn a degree in Christian Studies. My first goal in life is to be a homemaker, but I felt college would be a worthwhile pursuit. If I find myself in a situation where I do need to work I would love to work in the ministry. I love being at home and serving my husband! With the exception of baby-sitting, I do not think I have ever enjoyed working! I chose to baby-sit instead of applying for service related jobs in high-school. I saw baby-sitting as a valuable opportunity to learn skills I would someday need for motherhood. I chose to devote much of my time volunteering in the community during high-school and did not want a job to interfere with those plans. I viewed serving in a nursing home as a more valuable contribution to society then serving people fattening foods at a fast-food place. I realized that I was earning less money then my friends, but saw my choice as a valuable opportunity to learn how to be frugal. I have been telling people how my first choice in life is to ultimently become a stay-at-home mom someday since high-school. It has saddened me on a number of ocassions that my goal was not valued by others. I have worked after high-school because there were times I thought my husband and I needed the money. After learning money savings tips I have made it home. I only wish that my family members could be more supportive. I am so glad that I found your website! I really like knowing that there are others out there who share my views, and to receive encouragement! Thank you for encouraging me when so many others have not!

Anonymous said...

Katia said:
If I tell my sister, who is a very well-off, childless, world traveler that we are struggling financially, she will roll her eyes and comment that maybe I shouldn't have had so many children and that I should get a job. So, that's not a conversation I will ever bring upon myself. I've got more important things to do!!

But isn't your sister right?

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Anonymous, no, her sister is not "right" unless you have a different Bible than the rest of us...maybe the gospel according to social correctness or according to the thinking of world planners, or something?

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Whether the sister is right or wrong is not the point in this case. What is the point, which you failed to get, from the article, was that in order to keep away the stress of objections, it is helpful not to give out too much information. Maybe you should also read the MSN link I posted, on that article.

Anonymous said...

There's not a lot she can do about the number of children she's already had, but if her family is struggling financially, and if a wife is supposed to be a help to her husband, it seems obvious that by getting a job to help pay the bills, she can take some of the struggle away from her husband--which might make him happier than a new quilt, a new scrapbook, or a spotless spare room.

Whether or not she wants to talk about financial struggle, she still has it. Fortunately, she also has the power to do something about it (but won't).

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Anonymous, it is obvious to me that you are focusing on and picking on the commenter named Katia, rather than on the subject at hand.

What she has the "power to do", as you insist" is to keep quiet about subjects that others tend to want to dwell on or use as points of criticism. It doesn't matter what that is, whether it is a religious belief, a way of life, a type of food you are avoiding, a political view, etc.---the POINT is: if you dont want to get into the stress of arguing back or having to explain all the reasons dating back to Eve, for being a homemaker (instead of putting your kids in daycare and neglecting your home and family) the POINT is, you have to avoid hot subjects and divert them into things you would rather talk about.

You seem to be changing the article to be a debate about whether a woman should get a job instead of "making a new quilt". I would debate that she probably would not be making a new quilt unless she had the time to do so. My daughter has four children and her husband has gone back to university. There is NO WAY she would leave the children to earn a buck to pay for the school loan. Her responsibility is to look after him and the children, his responsibility is to make provision for the family. She cannot make a quilt or a new scrapbook or a spotless spare room, as you put it. What in the world is a "spare room?" And whose business if a woman has more children? Although I personally only had 3 children, I am the oldest of SEVEN children. I lived in the 50's when no woman I knew went to work, even with larger families than my own. A few miles north of where I grew up, anther woman had 8 children and she never had to leave them and get a job. None of us were rich and none of us wanted "things" and when there were expenses, we paid them off eventually with our father's salary, which was not always large. The POINT IS, money is not the most important thing in a family. It will not give the values or make the family what it is supposed to be in Biblical terms. One makes God happy first and husband happy only second so the POINT is not to make your husband happy. It is to be pleasibng to God, and The bible says for women to guard and guide the home and b e keepers at home, that the word of God be not blasphemed. When we neglect that responsibility, it is an insult to the word of God. I feel in your comments you are attacking the one person because she nmentioned several examples of things not to talk about. You have made a problem out of something that is not a problem at all. This woman did not say she didn't like her life the way it was. She and her husband are happy. Isnt that important?

Hannah at Home said...

Ha ha! Anonymous you have proven a great point of the article: Be careful what you say that others can pick up on and criticise. Katia casually commented on a few things about her life and you took off on a critical spree with it. Great example!! Thanks for the comment. She perhaps revealed a few things that triggered off your criticism. Therefore, these would be some things you would have to be careful of talking about unless you want to argue. Good point, Lydia, and good example, Anonymous critic!! Ha ha

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Anonymous critic: this is the third time YOU HAVE MISSED THE POINT.

Point #1: It is okay to talk about anything you want, but dont complain if others critize what you say. If you want the critics to stop, then keep your mouth shut about your problems and go to those who are in your camp, on your side, wise Christian women who have stayed home and raised their own children, or others who would re-inforce you.

Point #2: It is okay to be honest, but not all your business is just anyone else's business, and we can't in the name of honestly just blurt out, tell all, and then be surprized when the first thing someone tells you to do is go to work. The go-to-workers are feminists who will not support the Biblical stand on women's responsibilies at home. They will not sympathise with you.They will have no real solutions--they wont tell you how to avoid spending or how to keep out of debt or how to save up some money without resorting to putting the kids in care of someone else and working for some one else's husband. The only solution they have is to leave your duties and work for someone else. They wont really have any solutions for you, so quit telling them things.

POINT #3 --This applies to everything, including your religion, political things, beliefs about health, your personal habits, purchases you make, or complaints about your weight. If you do not want to battle the backlash, then keep quiet. If however you love the commotion and want to talk back and argue back, or go into long explanations for the 100th time then the easy solution to bring peace and a normal heart rate is to stay off the subject. Of course it does not mean the subject does not exist. It means they are not part of the solution.

Point #4 - The article was about avoiding problems for yourself by being discerning in what you say. It was not about going to work. It was not about having children. It was not about getting out of debt. It was not about pleasing your husband. It was not about having a "clean spare room" (whatever that is) and it was not about making a new quilt--although some people who do not want to make a quilt would rather buy one made by low paid female workers in China or elsewhere--and it is not about money. The point was not about money, because if it were, it would apply to working women, too. They run out of money, often, and complain about their wages and their long hours. The point though, was not about how to fix everything with money. The point was being able to enjoy homemaking without having critics attack you and how to put them at bay.

Since this is the third time you MISSED THE POINT, your party here is over.

Hannah at Home said...

The critics never can bring themselves to reveal a real identity or a blog where we can go to see what they are writing. A critic always posts anonymously.

Katrinka said...

I recently had an extended exchange of emails with a male relative who was pretending to want to have a reasonable discussion about an issue that we were on different sides of. It didn't take me long to realize that he didn't really want to have a reasonable exchange of ideas or to understand my position or work out our relationship so that it was more agreeable . . . he only wanted to pick at me. He purposely misunderstood my comments and purposely attached meaning to my words and actions that weren't intended by me. I finally told him that I would very much like to improve our relationship and would work at that end if he would SINCERELY make the same effort and to attempt to not draw me out to snipe at me and mock me. That unleashed an incredibly vitriolic response, but in the end was cathartic to making change, I believe, because he knew I had seen through him. But he still cares to have somewhat of a relationship with me. If an anonymous blogger is not sincere in an attempt to understand or impart, that person is simply an agitator. PERHAPS it's important for us to understand how these people think, but don't get too stirred up, ladies, in explaining/defending if that is what you feel is going on here.

Katia said...

Dear Anonymous Critic,
I wanted to take a few minutes to respond to your comment. You asked, "Isn't your sister right"? I would have to say no, and here is why:

Let's pretend that my life's goal was something other than my current one of serving God through service to my family. Say I wanted to become a neurosurgeon. To achieve such a goal, I would endure the following hardships: massive debt to pay for medical school; meager income because I am too busy studying to get a job; all-night study sessions; early morning lectures; skipped meals; stress; fatigue; headaches and eyestrain from excessive study; lack of enough time for relaxation, going to the mall, eating out, or spending time with family and friends. When people ask me about my life, I have 2 choices: I can tell them that I am working hard on earning my medical degree and convey my excitement about what I am learning, OR I can complain about my debt, meager income, aches and pains, and the fact that I have no time for anything beyond studying! A woman who has accepted the call to become a doctor will set her face like flint toward that goal, and will press on to achieve it, no matter what suffering is involved. She will find a way to cross every hurdle and overcome every challenge. She is determined to make it work and determined not to quit. And this determination is conveyed in the way she communicates about her life to others.

While she may have a close circle of supporters with whom she shares her struggles and from whom she receives encouragement to keep pursuing her goals, she will choose not to share her struggles with the wider world. If she tells her woes to people beyond her support network, she risks exposing herself to two types of interference: 1) well-meaning people who , seeing how hard she is working, encourage her to quit the struggle and seek an easier path or 2) scornful people who belittle her dedication to her goals and who believe that any suffering she is going through is her own fault, and that "if she had any sense, she would quit and do something else."

Women with a calling on their lives simply don't have time to be distracted or diverted from their work, and so they choose carefully what they share and with whom. A simple concept, really, and everyone does this to some extent, no matter their occupation. No one wants to invite into their lives someone who would trample all over their calling and tell them to quit.

Like the example of the aspiring neurosurgeon, I am 100% dedicated to my calling. I have set my face like flint. I'm determined to make it work, and determined not to quit. My goals are more than worth the struggle, and so I will pursue them until I achieve them.

And regarding this comment:
"Whether or not she wants to talk about financial struggle, she still has it. Fortunately, she also has the power to do something about it (but won't)."----Yes, I have struggles, as do we all, even you. That's just life! But the fact that something is a struggle doesn't mean I should "do something about it" (ie, forsake my calling in order to pursue ease and comfort). I'm not a quitter. I'm on a mission. And Lydia's post was intended to give other mission-minded women suggestions about guarding and protect their missions from those who would tempt them to quit.

And so, Anonymous, to answer your question: Is my sister right? No, she would not be right, because she would want me to forsake God's calling on my life in order to pursue a life of relative ease and comfort. And choosing ease and comfort over the will of God is always dishonorable and always wrong.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Katia, thank you for such a thoughtful and spiritual response. We are living amongst people who cannot accept the purpose of hardship. I once heard a woman say she couldnt understand why anyone would go to the trouble of having a baby if it was so uncomfortable. What they miss out on with this attitude is the joy that results from the effort. There is a poem:

The heart shall reap in joy
The heart that oft has sown in tears, shall reap some day in joy.

With a life of total ease and no suffering, there cannot be the kind of joy from triumph or achieving a goal. I recognize comments like "if she had any sense she would quit.." as coming from those who need some more time study and to experience and grow and mature in life.

Mrs R said...

It was a big help for me to go back and read this again today. Several times a week recently, I have had someone criticise my choice to stay at home (we haven't children yet, but are praying hard for God to bless us).

I find it difficult because every person who is negative about our choice to do this is a Christian! It's so strange. My non-Christian friends never fail to be supportive, and often say that they'd love to do the same.

Yesterday I was told by two church-goers that staying at home was limiting any woman's personal & intellectual growth, was a terrible thing and would eventually cause a nervous breakdown.

Has anyone else had a similar experience of negativity from Christians only?

Blessings,
Mrs R

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

It is because these people are not coming from a Biblical perspective, but a worldly one. Many of them have been educated in the public education system (schools, colleges) and are saturated in careers. Add to that the magazines and the news media spin on everything, and they come to church with this kind of thinking. Many people want the benefits of salvation, but beyond that, they do not read the scriptures or take them seriously or think it is talking to them in this day and age. Most of the women older than me are saturated in feminism. Today there are people in the medical profession that are spreading the false belief that homemakers will become sick or lose their minds. Even some religious ministries are saying the same thing, and part of the reason could be that they want women working in their ministries. Still, it will take people like you to live the truth in front of them, even if it is difficult. You could alway show them the open Bible and point to the verses that you are following and ask them what they are following.

Ace said...

Hi Lady Lydia,

Your Anon commenter is a TROLL, they are people who basically google a topic, find blogs and start trouble. They may never come back or they may come back again and again and cyberstalk someone. It is sad that this person has so much time on their hands.

You might want to save your "breath" because you didn't do anything wrong, they just want to get you in a tizzy and get arguments started.

Sweet Lady Lydia, those of us with integrity who may need to ask you a question or disagree with you have the courage to sign our names.

You did nothing wrong and were more than courteous.

Many Blessings :)
Ace

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

When I first became acquainted with the web I was astonished at these people who trolled. Something as useful as the web is sullied by people like this. I just dont understand it at all. I do not know what the equivalent of it would have been without the web...any ideas? Maybe ringing a doorbell and running? Or sending anonymous notes in the mail? How many of them will grow up and regret it? Who has time for things like that? The people I know in "real life" are serious about their responsibilities and have plenty to do. Who has such leisure that they can spend time trolling? And, most imortantly, are we paying for it in some way?

Civilla said...

This was good advice. It is important to watch your tongue and what you say, or you will bring criticism upon yourself. Great post. Thank you.

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