Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Please, Daddy, Let Mamma Stay Home

This is a summary of one of the chapters by Gwendolyn Webb, in her book "Training Up a Child" written in 1977, concerning the responsibilities of the husband:

Husbands allow or insist that their wives work for such reasons as:

1. Their mother's worked and they think it is the normal thing to do.
2. They have set their standard of living too high. It has been said that it is not the high cost of living that drives women to work, but the cost of high living.
3. The couple has gotten themselves into debt.
4. The husband may want more things.
5. The wife may want more things.
6. He may think his wife has more time on her hands and is not accomplishing much at home (something that a husband needs to become more knowledgeable about in comparing the world's definition of accomplishment with the life time accomplishment of marriage, home and family).
7. His wife may have a college degree or other credentials and he doesn't want her to neglect her profession or "waste" her qualifications and her money earning ability.

No matter what the reason for the wife working, the husband should not encourage his wife to forsake her home in order to add another paycheck to the family income. God's principles remain the same, says the author, and it is still the God ordained responsibility of the husband to make the living for the family.

Mrs. Webb then relates the story of a little girl she knew who did not want to go home. She said she liked school but she did not like to go to an empty home. Her parents were both professionals--her mother a pediatrician and her father a nuerologist. The parents were usually away at conferences or trips. This little girl had a luxurious home in a nice neighborhood and lots of things, but the watchful care of a mother at home was the one thing that was missing.

Even if the couple has no children, there is much harm in the woman working outside the home. She loses a sense of herself and her role when she is out there competing. She is exhausted when she comes home and cannot give her best at home. She cannot give her best to the home when her time and loyalties are divided. No one can serve two masters for they will either hate the one or love the other.Now instead of getting the support and encouragement they need as homemakers, young women have to go online or read books.

I remember women talking over the fence when they hung their laundry. Though they were always busy, there was a pride in what they did and they had time for each other. Now the younger women want to go back to work from the sheer isolation and loneliness of the home during the day. It is even more trying if her husband is not supportive or resentful of her role at home. I am not afraid to say that it is most unmanly for a man to be jealous of his wife at home and to insist on her working. It reduces his own masculinity when he whines about the bills or has no pride in being the breadwinner.

We can restore our families and our neighborhoods when even one woman decides to stay home. Her presence is like a light showing a path in a dark place. Her attendance to the home full time shows the seriousness of that life.
I wrote an article here a few years ago showing the meaning of the light house. While the flashing light at the tip of the tower shows the location of the light house, the lower lights send a beam across the water so that the ships can be guided around the rocks and brought safely home to the shore. The woman at home may not be broadcasting her location, but her daily work is like the lower lights that actually provide the path to life for some "poor fainting, struggling seaman." Boys who grow up in homes where the mother is present will more likely want their wives to stay home, but they can have their beliefs altered by peers and higher education, so in order to change things, it requires much,much time, and much, much teaching.

For more information on the song "Let the Lower Lights Be Burning," go here http://www.tanbible.com/tol_sng/letthelowerlightsbeburning.htm


Gail said...

Dear Lydia, your blog is sending out strong beams of light, for sure. Thank you. Recently, I got into my little "boat" to go trolling for others being shipwrecked on the shoals of the "conventional wisdom" being given to women by the world. I have finally resumed my blogging because of something sent to me by e-mail
from a well-meaning, though rather liberal friend. It is from a feminist "mothers'" website, and I felt compelled to go on there, and I hope respectfully, to sort of advertise our views, fully aware that I will probably be excoriated. Perhaps, however, someone reading on that site will entertain a thought or two about a viewpoint other than that being espoused on the website itself. I have posted my little treatises on my blog.

Thanks for your site and please keep writing. Blessings, Gail

Rean Day said...

"Now the younger women want to go back to work from the sheer isolation and loneliness of the home during the day."

This is what happened in my life. After DH and I were married we moved to a new town. We decided that I would be a SAHW. After a year at home I was so depressed, unorganized and unmotivated that we decided that I should get a part-time job. I found a full-time job instead and three years later I am still working full-time and still unorganized and unmotivated at home.

Now I have found wonderful guidence on-line and think I might be able to do it this time. Is the grass truly greener on the other side? I think I am too afraid to find out. I don't want to sink back into depression again, but I really want to be home.

Sorry for rambling on. It just hit a spot in my heart and I had to respond. Thank you for your blog, it is truly encouraging.

Anonymous said...

This post rings so true to me. I am a 27yo stay-at-home mother of three. I LOVE staying home, but I am SO lonely. My entire street is EMPTY during the day. And even if, on the odd day, someone else IS home, they stay inside. I don't know my neighbors, even though I've brought over banana bread and had their children over. Your post reminded me of the "beacon" I can be, even when it seems no one is looking. It reminded me that it IS honorable, even though I sometimes get the impression from others that they think I'm being lazy or old-fashioned. Thank you for the encouragement.

Lydia said...

Taking the role of wife and homemaker seriously is not contingent upon a person's mood, any more than a man going to work would be contingent upon him liking it or feeling good about it. Once you know it is a Biblical mandate, you can adjust.Just because a woman is depressed at home does not mean she is not needed there. Even a lonely depressed woman is better off at home, and more able to take care of her health. Depression does not come from our circumstances but from the inner workings of our emotions and our minds, which can be taught and trained in any direction. I don't want to get into an argument about doctors and drugs and depression, but I want everyone to know that I'm from an era that didn't treat depression with chemicals. Everyone gets depressed no matter where they work. Instead of pills, doctors used to prescribe rest and vacations. Women would wash their hair or get a new hat or a dress and matching shoes and bag. Today they spend thousands on drugs and don't look any better. If you are going to be depresed, you ought to do it in style and make the most of it. Put on a nice meal for your family, sew a new dress, read a cheerful book, watch a nice film, relax in a scented bath, rest, have a cup of tea from a nice tea set. These things help tremendously and don't have bad side effects and are not expensive. Doing what is right is not really something that we do because it makes us feel good. We do it and then we feel good, but we also do it whether or not it is comfortable, because it is right. Whether or not the grass is greener in the homemaker's yard does not matter. It is not, in some cases, but her work is more worthwhile than the work outside, and has a lasting effect on society. The women of the Victorian era knew this, but the progressives of the 20th century tried to change all that, and now we read of an entire culture that is lost. We can only hope to gather together the pieces, through literature, letters, art, etc. to find out more about the life of women at home before modern working women became the norm.

Anonymous said...

Rean Day - many years ago when a stay @ home wife & mother I too was depressed (I was also very disorganized) and this made me scared to make another attempt at coming home - But I decided to give it a go (however I do a little paid work from home).
I find second time around - no depression - ta ra!!!!!! I am also stress free and I am very organised & my home is an oasis of calm. My husband is thrilled at how relaxed & happy I am and he is more relaxed too - no more cramming chores into the weekend. We change as we mature - you may find that you love being home.
God bless,

Anonymous said...

Yes I too remember another time. Along with buying a new hat and such for depression we were encouraged to do acts of kindness to help others to lighten our spirits. The line "Now instead of getting support and emcouragement they need as homemakers, young women have to go online or read books." is so true it seems as here too no one is home on our streets. I wish when I was young and I was that one woman home, I had the internet and the names of good books to read. I so prayed for mentors. I lived too far from my relatives etc. I did though have their examples. I am so thankful that woman like you are there to guide the newer generation{and us older ones!}. When I read the mention of the women being there for each other I started to cry. That is such a precious memory to me of how they cared for one another and were proud of their role. I do remember so well the days my mother would be hanging out her wash on the lines in the yard she had to put up each week, and would chat with the neighbor woman over the fence doing the same. I lived on that street till I married and knew every person on it and all the woman were home. Yes some worked but they taught piano in their home or did ceramics for sale or worked cleaning their churches {for free of course}..etc. Also a good percentage of the homes had their older parents living with them. FamiIy life was a natural thing and extended family too. I always thought life would remain the same as I heard no one complaining. ..and yet it sadly has.

Marie said...

Rean Day,

You should guard against depression by getting a support system going before you "go home." Your church should be the place to start! If supportive family is not around.

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia, this is another beautiful post. And it can be lonely at home. I am the only SAHM on my block and am very isolated during the day. Luckily, I am what my husband affectionately terms "a hermit" so it doesn't bother me, but I can see how it would drive other women out of their homes and to the workplace.

In comments you said: "to find out more about the life of women at home before modern working women became the norm". I live in a suburb of NYC. It already is the norm here.

in His peace,

Vanessa said...

Lady Lydia,

Happy new year to you and yours :)

Thanks again for a wonderful and well-timed post for me!

I can recall when I was working, which is less than a month ago, I knew that there were times that I would treat my boss better than my hubby! I am sorry to admit that, at that time, that's how I felt when I first started working, after being home for 3 years when I first came to Canada and being unable to work due to immigration reasons. These along with so many other teachings in the Word and good books written by godly women made me realise that home is where I should be. This role was created for me.

How funny it is that when I was a young girl growing up in London I desired being a mother and housewife, watching my mother do the same with my father and us 3 children. As soon as God is taken out of the mix at home, school and society, it is no wonder that some feel the need to compete with men in the working world.

Working at a daycare also made me realise that I should return home. I know I was blessed by God with this job, I believe He was also teaching me something very valuable too. In this job I was always watching how the children became frantic, as young as babies being torn away from their mothers and being looked after for 8 hours or more a day by complete strangers. I have also noticed how much these strangers then become quite attached to the children and then in turn the child himself. I witnessed a few children fighting to leave with their parent because the bond created between staff and child was quite close. How sad. There is a complete difference in the way children behave when they are raised by their mother at home.

I apologise for moving off topic there, I just wanted to share some of my own experience in this area.

rean-day I wanted to encourage you. I just left my job after being there f/t for almost 1 year and 6 mos and I know that quitting was the best decision I made. I am in control of the way I spend my day, with God's direction and leading, He is my Boss and I am a servant to Him and my husband. My days are filled with cleaning, cooking and even baking (I'm not much of a baker, God works in mysterious ways!)When my husband comes home from work, his dinner is waiting for him and he enjoys me being home. We actually did the math and we save a little over $600/mo with my staying home and I barely made that at my job every 2 weeks! God is so good. What I have learnt from this little time being home is that He always provides. Praying you will be blessed soon as keeper of your home.


Anonymous said...

Jana (and Mrs. Sherman),

I usually overcome the loneliness by going out blog-strolling...

...or hadn't you guessed? *grin*

Mrs. Bartlett

Sharon said...

Your articles are so inspiring. I have enjoyed many of them. Thank you for your encouragement. :)

Gail said...

Yes, back in the 1920's, my grandma was going through a very difficult time and would get, as my mom used to say "blue".
While not going into details, I assure you she had good reason to feel depressed. Her sister-in-law would say, "I know what you need. Lets have a nice cup of coffee and something sweet". My grandma always felt better after that and it was enough to pull her through. Between the goodies and the understanding friend, it was enough.

clevsea said...

You are so good! I love coming here and reading. The women on my block work (if they're under the age of 80). I do have a Mr. Mom but I don't feel that it is appropiate to fellowship with him. We find ourselves getting into our cars at the same time a lot and then, there we are, at the local grocery store. I've thought about telling him my list and then we could go every other day but it just would not be right. If he were his wife and I saw her leaving for the store everyday at the same time I was then we could go together and things like that. I'd hardly know how to celebrate if ever there were a stay at home lady near me, that would be so nice.
Keep posting----I check everyday!!

Lydia said...

I read an article in the late 50's in a Good Housekeeping magazine, back when GH was still about housekeeping. It was about depression and it said to clean out one small section of a drawer and then quit. Then do another section of a cupboard, and something else. The act of organizing changes things in the brain, I think. Most people say they feel better when they have organzied and dejunked. The hands engage the mind in a way that settles it.

Anonymous said...

"If you are going to be depresed, you ought to do it in style and make the most of it."

HAHAHAHAHA!!!! There is a reason I love this blog and its essence is buried in this statement. Amen, Lady Lydia. Life gives us lemon after lemon after lemon. Who else to make lemonade than the lady at home. Served with a fresh-baked cookie, of course.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
How correct you are! My husband insisted that I get a job. He probably was influenced by the worldly standards. I dutifully did. I had a very good job, with good pay for seventeen years. All I wanted to be was at home. I have a difficult time looking back on those years without tears welling up in my eyes. I was exhausted and felt alone and hurt that my husband would think so little of me working under some of the circumstances that I was working under. Praise the Lord, my husband got saved and realized his error. He made the decision for me to resign, which I did gladly! I am where God wishes me to be. God has blessed us abudantly.

Sue said...

As a fairly new stay-at-home wife I serched the web to find encouragement and came upon your site. I thought I would take a moment to post a comment to let you know how encouraging you have been to me. Actualy as a result of your blog I started blogging myself.
Please keep up the good work and my God bless you and your family.

Cherish the Home said...

The act of organizing changes things in the brain, I think. Most people say they feel better when they have organzied and dejunked. The hands engage the mind in a way that settles it.

I really believe this to be true! Although I never really knew how to articulate it. Very well-said! (o:

Anonymous said...

Another very nice and true post. I am actually reading the book "Training Up A Child" By Gwendolyn Webb which Lydia referred me to and it is actually a very very good book.

I must admit that I do enjoy being home and I do have bouts of wanting to go back into the working world because of all the influence, there is more influnence for women to work and be bread winners and chic smart working women then it is for them to be proud homemakers. It is very sad that there are a lot of empty homes and that those women who do stay home do not have the comfort of talking and having a cup of tea or coffee with another homemaker who loves being home and whom takes pride in her role.

Well thanks to the internet that we can have sites like these to help us through and to give us good advice. Nice post! Have A Blessed Day Everyone!

Anonymous said...

My dear Lady Lydia and readers,
For years now, I have clung to the dream and hope that my husband would keep his word he gave before we were married that I could be a keeper at home. Sometimes, I get depressed and resentful because my husband is so immature about the whole idea. He claims to be a Christian, but has whined and said, "If I have to work, you have to work." (Meaning outside the home, of course.)

You said, "It is even more trying if her husband is not supportive or resentful of her role at home. I am not afraid to say that it is most unmanly for a man to be jealous of his wife at home and to insist on her working. It reduces his own masculinity when he whines about the bills or has no pride in being the breadwinner." BINGO... it's like you have been eavesdropping on my life! I just wish with all my heart he would repent. I feel deceived. We have been married for 4 years come this Valentine's Day, and I have been just miserable...

I feel like the only thing I have to look forward to is a life of squashed dreams and misery. My heart calls me home, and I am devastated that I cannot obey. I cannot tell you how envious I am of anyone who is living the REAL dream -- to fulfill the roll God has called us to as wives and mothers...

Just letting you know that you all are such an encouragement to me -- and a source of hope.

God Bless you all...

Mrs. Vail

wendybirde said...

Dear Mrs Vail,

Wow does my heart go out to you! I wonder...would it help at all to gather some hand picked testimonies of others and show him? I for one ended up praying for a solution and was surprisongly given a chronic disability that gave me no choice but to be home based. Now that's not what I would have chosen lol--but THAT'S how desparate it felt being non-home based that my injury actually has made me grateful in the sense that it got me home. And I'm not alone.

Anyway, the point was if he can see just *how* truly primal and deep this need is in a woman (not a mere want like it is for a man, but a need) then maybe that would be the key, a matter of his simply understanding it rather than battling about it and making it a matter of wills which which just make things miserable.

Another thought perhaps is to find a pastor who is supportive of women staying at home (rare unfotunately) and both go to him for marriage counseling. And lastly, a biblical thing to gently point out is that Adam and his sons were given the work curse, not Eve and her daughters.

And lastly, not that this is necessarily advice but more just an example: one woman, Plain and Simple (from Echo From the Green Hills) simply turned in her resignation because she knew deep inside she had to, and after being home based her husband found out just how much they actually SAVED by her being at home (she started getting frugal, cooking from scratch etc once she now had the time), not to mention her familly being better cared for and happier becuase she was now more present and peaceful herself for them.

Anyway, just thoughts...

Blessed Week : ) Wendy

Becky Miller said...

Mrs. Vail - I just wanted to encourage you to respect your husband even though his choice for you to work is so difficult for you. The Bible says our husbands will be won over by our gentle and quiet spirits...and if your husband senses even a small percentage of the disrespect you obviously feel for him, he probably won't be inclined to listen to your heart's desire.

I highly recommend the book "Created to be His Helpmeet" by Debi Pearl. I think you will find lots of practical help in learning how to be your husband's helper even while you're working outside the home. He may get to addicted to your wonderful help that he wants you to have more time to be a full time wife! Mrs. Pearl also talks about how to present your case and make a request of your husband so he will listen. I think this book will change your life in a positive way and help you find contentment in your current situation as well as help you gain the life you want at home!

wendybirde said...

small PS: I just wanted to add a thought for Mrs Vail. Some folks really have benefitted from Mrs Pearl's book and so for them it has been a blessing. Maybe it will be for you too. But I can't help but add here that there have been others who have really been harmed by it, and/or deeply offended (I include myself there). For some concerns about the book a good link is here,

Anonymous said...

That is so cool! I never knew what "Let the Lower Lights Be Burning" actually meant. I'd thought before it sounded a bit weird (why lower?) but never bothered to find out more.

This is an excellent post. I am blessed to live in a community where homeworkers are respected, but I know that is unusual, and your words are very needed. I'm thankful for the friend who pointed me here!

Blessings to you~

BB said...

Thank you for such a wonderful article! I am a 30 year old SAHM, and I am so tired of hearing how I am "wasting" my degree staying at home with my four kids! I love being at home and think it's sad that so many women choose having a career over raising their own children and taking care of their homes. I do sometimes deal with depression, which is made worse due to a thyroid problem, but I would be more stressed and troubled if I was having to work outside my home AND deal with it. And, I like what others have said about just picking yourself up and DEALING with it.
My husband wants me at home because he says that I am less stressed when I don't have to work outside the home, but doesn't appreciate all of the work that a SAHM does. He thinks I sit around all day...so I appreciate webpages like yours where I can feel that what I am doing is valued and is important. I have three young boys and a baby girl, and I think it will be so important to them later on to have me at home, too, when they are older and needing a steady and constant presence at home. Anyway, I will start coming here more often. Thank you for uplifting me today and reminding me that what I am doing as a SAHM and homekeeper is very important and valuable to my family, even if my husband forgets to appreciate it. Thanks!

Lydia said...

It is just as important to be home when your children are teens and young adults. I can remember being away from home at an early age and thinking how much more I needed my parents and my home. When they are 3 years old they might not notice the conversation, but at 16 or 17 when they are able to communicate, they need their parents even more. If they don't have a bond with their parents, they will bond with their peers instead and not develop the values that you worked so hard at home to protect.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lydia, thank you for so many things so well said. I would like to encourage your young readers to just keep going in their efforts to stay at home as wives and mothers. There is so much pressure to leave their blessed places given them by the Lord our God.
I'd just like to say that their efforts will pay off...My own dear husband has, all the days of our lives which equal 39 years, held a grudge, been angry, felt robbed of his life and feels, still, so jealous of all those men whoes wives obeyed and went to work... In the mean time I have tried my best to be all that I could and can be and even to this day have raised our six children and now helping with seven of our 17 grandchildre who live in our home. Still he feels these emotions and yet the Lord has shown me that the path I have chosen is a righteous one. I have, from time to time worked outside the home for a short while. Everytime I was put into the work force my earnings were wasted on this or that.....sometimes on his unworthy relatives and sometimes on sheer strangers. My point is not to run him down....my point is that all around us many who are considered more wealthy are also experiencing marriages failing. Mine has been somewhat painful and yet I've chosen that pain rather than to experience being attracted to another man or being hit on my other men or having my husband ragging on me about not having this or that done around the house. My point is that those of us who obey the will of the Lord will not be left unsupported. It is not my wish to whis upon others that their marriages fail and yet even the very best, or so it looks that way, marraiges are failing because, as I see it, their wives were sent to work out of the home. I have seen homosexuality rise out of otherwise perfect homes where both parents worked. The blurring of roles mentioned by Helen Andelin in Fascinating Womanhood comes to my mind. My dear husband is "good enough". I should expect flaws in him and yet because of my choices he's had the free choice to man up, except in private with me, to his responsibilites. He's so giving that he sends not out of his home our married children who have needed help nor our divorced son who has three children and whoes ex-wife just up and took off after
the world. Life is full of trials....lemons as one has already mentioned. May I say that it is a woman's privilge to help her husband carry the load and sometimes that means that her tears can wash his soul as he releases his load of his heart. Sometimes the load is so heavy and the drudgery of it's exacting price needs releasing when it's not manly to cry. Her tears can help him save face and release pressures and it often softens his heart as well. I do not condone crying very often. Mrs. Andelin advises that "a little tear be released and that is when....". Mr. Guy from What Women Never Hear says that a woman has to love herself so ladies lets do just that. Even the Lord says, "Love the God with all thine heart and love they neighbor as thyself." First we must love ourselves tenderly and then love all those around us just as tenderly. Men will love women who love themselvs and show respect to themselves. I have so much to learn in that department and yet I'm well on my way. Amid all the griping my husband has done he is, slowly, coming to count his blessings and one day there will be no more gripes left .... they will be water under the bridge. Did we expect to be perfect first? Did we expect to be 90 years old in experience when only 25? There will be challenges both in staying at home and in working. Staying at home has the results of nuts and chocolate chips along with sugar in life's mix. Working seems to only to substitue sand for the sugar and the results in the baking and eating of the fruits of our labors results in an undescribable grittiness. Do what is right let the consequences follow. Live your religion first then be easy to live with.

Anonymous said...

The New Testament says that if a woman lives with an unbeliever, she has to show him the truth by her good conduct. In some ways, even Christian men are unbelievers in areas like the women's role in life. So even if your husband is a preacher, you have to show him what is right by what you do. If you go to work, you are following the dictates of the prevailing culture. You may think you are "obeying" your husband. Its by proxy, though, because men are listening to another voice than the voice of the Bible. They are following the dictates of the prevalent popular culture when they ask wives to work. So, you arent really obeying them--you are obeying what the world told them to do.

Niki said...