Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Staying Home is Not a Waste of Time if You Don't Waste It

I am sure that some women feel that staying home is taking the "easy" way in life, but like any job, it has its joyful times and its grunge times. When most women were homemakers, they learned what to do with the time they had. I can tell you just a few things that are important.
1. Meals and clean dishes are a priority.
2. Clean clothes are next, and in most cases, outer clothing can be worn more than once before washing, so that the laundry pile is limited and does not get really overwhelming.
3. A clean floor and a sanitary bathroom is necessary.
Things that are not necessary:
1. Gourmet meals are not important. Families can be happy with very simple food.
2. Entertainment is not a priority. A lot of time is wasting watching television.
3. Impressing other people is not something a homemaker needs to do.
There are no set ways to keep house, because every family has a slightly different way of life. As long as it suits you and your family's schedule and style of living, that is what is important.
As for what you should be doing to fill up the time, women usually had needlework and interesting hobbies like knitting or sewing, painting, writing, etc. that they do when they are not doing the main things of the home, such as meals and getting people ready for the next day. If you will visit antique stores, you will see that a lot of this crochet and embroidery is now surfacing from estate sales.
These are works of art that were most often done in the home, during a lull in family activity, while waiting for something, or inbetween jobs of the house. Most women liked to keep busy, and doing things with their hands created some results like doilies and runners and table cloths, curtains, and various items of clothing. You can still see some of these things in the antique stores. They are highly treasured by collectors and by people like me, who know they represent the time and patience of women who loved their homes and wanted to make them beautiful.
I find it fascinating that even though our mothers at home were very busy, they still did something like this. Some of these women still talk about the "slower life" when they made their own soap or baked a pie, and yet still managed to knit a hat or a pair of socks for every member of the family in winter. They were not in their cars all the time, and the family car was reserved for the breadwinner, so they learned to stock up on things they needed, in order to spend a lot of time at the home place. Catologs contained handicraft kits you could order, which would also include books that helped you learn to knit or crochet or some other thing.
Being at home did not mean complete confinement. There was plenty to do, and if women wanted to, they could always read a good book. Some of our mothers spent a lot of time reading. In those days, people would go through their books and magazines and load them up into a big box, and give them to someone else. After they finished reading them, they would pass them on to another family. Not all the books were good, but it was easy to find some valuable reading material that would absorb a woman at home.
The important thing about being home and having the responsibility of the family and the house, is not that others think it is okay, or that anyone approves, but that it is something that God gave us permission to do. By being able to be home, women are freed from the repetitive work and endless travelling to and fro, to get a paycheck. At home, they have the liberty to use their creativity to guard their husband's money and help him make a profit. They are home to guard the family posessions and see that everything is cared for.
Over the years, there has been an attitude that it doesn't matter how we treat our clothes, our sheets and blankets, our furniture, or our dishes, but if they are treated gently and cleaned properly, repaired, and stored adequately, they will last much longer and not require replacement, which will mean there will be less money going out. The purpose of women at home go far deeper than just being in the house. She is on guard. She is looking for ways to be effiencient with time and money. She is learning to be resourceful by using things she already has. She also preserves her marriage, because her time and her emotions are not divided between the outside world and home. She has more time to think about her husband and more time to take care of him. She will be better-rested and have more patience to listen to his troubles.
There have always been women who will waste their time at home, complaining of boredom. That does not mean it is a standard or a truth. It just means they haven't learned how to deal with the responsibilities of the home. The Bible says that they should keep house, lest the word of God be blasphemed. It is like saying that Christians are supposed to be "good," but if a woman has let her house go to ruin and decay, it is a shame, because it doesn't glorify God.
To the woman who posted on the previous thread: If you have no skills, do not be anxious. Just learn to get a meal on the table that tastes good, and you will go far. After you have mastered that, you can branch off into something else.
These are watermellon berries from the homestead. We used to eat them right off the bush. They taste just like watermellon. We were never successful in making jam out of them or any kind of preserve. Maybe someone else could and would tell me how.


Jenn said...

This was very encouraging and uplifting that you for sharing.


Just Me said...

Being somewhat new to staying at home (this is my second year), I love to read your encouraging posts. There are so many negative views and thoughts out there about homemaking, that I look forward to reading your blog and being uplifted. Thank you for all the encouragement you provide.

Polly said...

So true! I loved going 'back in time' with you on this post. Thank you also for pointing out the top priorities. With a 15 month old, I do consider it a success to have dinner on the table, the kitchen cleaned, and the laundry done most days, and tend to worry myself silly a little too much with the 'other housework' items which are not nearly as important as good meals and clean, fresh clothes!

RichFam said...

What a breath of fresh air! It is so nice to hear a message like this, that goes in the opposite direction from the messages that are thrown at us by the world. Such wonderful godly wisdom.
Thank you so much for sharing. :o)

Anonymous said...

I love staying home and keeping my home. The one thing that always keeps my days the most on-task is to have dinner planned! It is amazing how that one "little" thing can ease my day, LOL.

I have a question about the verse you quoted, about women blaspheming God by not keeping house. What churches interpret that verse in that way? Is there a specific religion that espouses this belief?


Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia, you look like Susan Sarandon in this photo! :)

Back in my working days I tend to fritter away most of my hard earned money on sweets, magazines and other such trivial, with no time to pursue the gentle arts of domesticity.

Now that I'm a homemaker I tend to become more considerate in spending money, more appreciative of the things I have, and more constructive of the time I spend at home. I'm now proud to list embroidery and bead work among my repertoire of homemaking skills, a skill I've just recently acquired!

Staying home is never a waste of time--quite the opposite in fact! There are too, too many things to learn and enjoy!

P. said...

There's nothing like to be at home.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Fill up the time? :-) Oh, but there's so much to do at home!

If I have a few spare minutes, I'll do some knitting or crocheting, or look for new recipes. Today I posted on my blog a picture of a little cap I've made for our expected baby, done during those in-between minutes.

When time allows, I hope to write a post about this first year at home as a young wife. I truly cherish every day - thank you for your encouragement.

Anonymous said...

Just a note to mention again how much I appreciate and affirm your encouraging posts on the art and blessings of homemaking. Truly, being a keeper of the home brings with it blessings untold!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post, and for speaking to my comment specifically. I hope I didn't give the impression in my comment, though, that I wasn't valuing the importance of women in the home. Quite the contrary! I think it was more a confession of the fact that the world's thinking about the value of work in the home, most especially for women without children, has really had an affect on me to the extend that while I know from faith in God's word that women being in the home is good, when the rubber hits the road and it's time to make the decision, I am wracked with confusion and even guilt about the decision. Not having been raised in a Christian home, the renewal of the mind by the Lord is a process, it doesn't happen overniht, and especially with the attitude in the church itself that a woman's work at home is not valued, it can be a large hurddle to jump over, especially when your spouse is indifferent.

I don't want to sound like, Oh poor me, because I know that if God's Word not only allows it but commands it, I should just do it, but I still have to say it's hard to make that jump when you don't feel like you know what you're doing as a homemaker and you do know what you're doing at your job, and you woder if that is where your contribution should be, in light of not having dependents.

Anyway, thanks for the post ,it was good to be reminded of and God Bless.

In Christ,

Needs Prayer

Lydia said...

Depending on which way I turn my face, I can look like any number of people!

The scripture is here

Tit 2:5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Adam Clarke, (1760-1762), a teacher and writer of a set of Bible commentaries, commented in his Bible commentary,
on this verse:

Tit 2:5 -
Keepers at home - Οικουρους. A woman who spends much time in visiting, must neglect her family. The idleness, dirtiness, impudence, and profligacy of the children, will soon show how deeply criminal the mother was in rejecting the apostle’s advice. Instead of οικουρους, keepers of the house, or keepers at home, ACD*EFG, and several of the Itala, have οικουργους, workers at home; not only staying in the house and keeping the house, but working in the house. A woman may keep the house very closely, and yet do little in it for the support or comfort of the family.
That the word of God be not blasphemed - The enemies of the Gospel are quick-eyed to spy out imperfections in its professors; and, if they find women professing Christianity living an irregular life, they will not fail to decry the Christian doctrine on this account: “Behold your boasted religion! it professes to reform all things, and its very professors are no better than others! Our heathenism is as good as your Christianity.” These are cutting reproaches; and much they will have to answer for who give cause for these blasphemies.

I realize that there are people who do not think the way we live, or the way we keep house, has any reflection on our profession as Christians. I know there are women's sites that teach completely the opposite, but I can't see that this verse is saying anything else but to be careful about the message you are sending regarding your Christian beliefs. Christ allows women the job of keeping the home. It provides an avenue to be different than the rest of the world, with its noise and rushing about. It gives a woman more privacy. It is a way to exercise her own personal religion and responsibility.

I don't know which religions interpret this scripture which way. I only know what the Bible says. There are new religious popping up all the time and I just don't have time to go into what they believe. I barely have time to read the Bible, so I don't do much research outside of it.

Lydia said...

Dear NP,

Women at home without children, even the empty-nesters, get all those remarks! I never can get over being astonished at comments like:
NOw that your children are grown, how can you just stay home?

I can find you a job if you want to re-enter the job force.

How can you justify being at home when there are no children to look after?

As one commenter said, with no children around, there is not the great strain on our finances, and so it is not urgent that I go to work and earn money. Although it might be nice to have a new kitchen or a new bathroom, I can't afford to exchange my time as a homemaker, for the time it would take to earn enough extra money to hve those things. I need to be available at home for other people in my life, and I think women without children will find that they can show these people who are putting pressure on them, the fruits of their labors at home. When someone asks my husband "what does she do all day" I tell him to invite them over and I serve them something and take them around the house and gardens to show them some of the things I'm trying to do. I never thought of asking them, in return, "Without children, I wonder why you need to work? After all, there are not so many expenses at home!" The best thing I have found to do is to turn the home life into some kind of purposeful mission that you feel intensely dedicated to, so that those outside view it as a serious profession, even when you aren't able to be really professional about everything. They just need to know that you have serious convictions about it and are determined to do it. I think personally, that staying home is better for your health, and you can get more rest. My mother took naps regularly and so did other women. I don't think they do that anymore.

Domestically Inclined said...

Once again thank you Lady Lydia. We need only please our Lord.....I never knew what those berries were called or if I could eat them. We have them here as well and I see them when I am out picking huckleberries. I will have to try some next year.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for another uplifting post. I have recently entered a Bible study with the ladies at church called the 5 Aspects of Woman. This is such an amazing study. Much of what you discuss in this post relates to the Mistress of the Domain aspect we are studying now; ruling the domain God has given us.

Aelwyn said...

Regarding watermelon berries...we have never made anything of them, but love to snack on them on the trail. Apparently, they can be made into jelly. There is a book called Alaskan Berry Book that has lots of great recipes for Alaska's wild berries.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for such a well thought out post. Also, how timely! I just wrote a post this morning about the sad "us" verses "them" arguements out there about homemaking.

One thing I truely enjoy about your blog is there is no name calling that us readers can see as you so carefully filter the comments. It feels like a safe haven!

While I do work outside the home, I fully appreciate those that make such positive contributions as homemakers! And, I hope to be a full time homemaker myself.

Here is a link to what I wrote in case anyone is interested

Take Care,


Aelwyn said...

I think because I was single and career minded for so long, that I sometimes am too perfectionistic about my home and then lose sense of priorities. I liked the fact that you mentioned that families do not need gourmet meals. Sometimes lately, I have felt like I am being too simplistic because I don't want to dirty up the kitchen more since I am working on canning and preserving produce from the garden. It is a matter of seeing each activity as sacred and not rejecting simplicity. I am constantly working on this. Resting in the Lord's peace without seeking to "achieve" something that men will praise while still doing the task of the moment is a balance sometimes difficult to find.

Farmgirl said...

Lydia, I so appreciate what you are doing here! Thank you for your comments and encouraging women to be what God created us to be in our homes. We often overlook that word "blasphemed" in that verse. That tells me this is not just a suggestions but something I better listen to, blashemy is nothing to mess around with!! You are very encouraging, I also have a Titus 2 heart and a passion for helping women be at home. Thank you for your thoughts. We actually used to live near you :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. I wanted to remark on the negative comments from other people. I gave up my work 3 and a half years ago to care for my daughter when she was diagnosed with cancer. She went to the Lord on Easter Sunday, 6 months ago last Tuesday. I decided not to go back to work, I decided my husband and youngest teen (17)needed me at home and I needed time to heal in my sanctuary,my home, to find some answers and settle everything for me. Well other people have decided that times up, I should go back to work, its not healthy for me being shut up at home by myself and the subtle pressure started about a month ago. How can I make them understand that apart from the obvious grief we feel, in our home lives we have all never been so settled and contented. We too will be empty nesters soon and working outside is the last thing I want to do. I am still not as strong as I used to be and I would like a good answer to give that will get them to leave me alone! Thank you so much for your posts they have helped me a lot aong the way. Julia

Lydia said...

It is a word that has been used in several "senses" in the Bible, but in connection to the activity of Christian women, it seems to be a warning not to give the word of God a bad reputation, or not to refute it by the way we act.

Lydia said...


Not everyone has the stamina to work outside the home, AND care for the home and family. I thought when you get older you are supposed to slow down, not speed up. Yet people are urging the retired age group to go back into the workforce. If you have already worked, maybe you could say you already did that and now you are doing something else, because everyone likes a change. On the other hand you could always say you have come to the belief that it is best for your family for you to be at home.

The Proverbs Wife said...

I get so many questions and comment regarding the very topic of finding joy at home. How could I not. I am free to pursue so many endeavors in my free time such as journaling, crocheting, sewing and frugally decorating my home.

I dread the thought of ever (having) to work again although I would if it became absolutely necessary.

This was another great post. Have a blessed weekend.

Farmgirl said...

You are exactly right!! I agree wholeheartedly! I defined Blashemy once on my blog..."abuse or contempt for God or sacred things...make bad use of, abuse a privilege..." that makes this a very serious offense, we have a huge responsibility. And also, I feel rude for just saying I lived near you and not properly introducing myself, we are the May's who lived in Coburg, came to your church and teas and lovely class. Miss having someone like you around. Glad you are on here though, keeping on sharing your Godly wisdom, Bless you for doing that. Thank you, Janice

Stephanie W. said...

I enjoy reading your blog with the encouraging words to homemakers. My husband and I have been married four years, and I have enjoyed staying at home after all my working years as a single girl. As with others, I too have been asked what I do all day. We have no children yet, but I never get bored. There is always something to do, whether it's piano practice, cleaning, cooking, gardening, organizing Sunday school materials, sewing, ironing, reading, etc.!

Anonymous said...

Thank you precious Lydia for this wonderful article. The discipline of preparing a simple meal is imperative and it does take time. Even organizing a basic salad and subsequent clean-up is time consuming but going about it gently with a smile on your face and a happy heart makes it so rewarding. Also neat, clean clothes are essential. How fortunate we are able to bless our families in this manner! Love from, LML

Anonymous said...

...Also as you often mention Lydia, even if we're incapable of doing any of these things (maybe because of ill-health) just that we're 'there' for our family, in the home, available.. Our presence is so important. What a joy to be with our family, with or without children and what a blessing if we are capable to serve them in any way. Thank you so much for your articles! LML

Deborah Swinson said...

Hello Lydia, Another encouraging and wonderful post! Thanks so much for being so good at repeatedly encouraging us homemakers.
I have a book called Alaska WildBerry Guide and Cookbook. I bought it when I lived in Alaska and it is THE book to have if you want to cook with the berries that grow wild there. You might ask for it at your library. I looked for a watermelon berry recipe and they didn't have one for them. Some of those berries are just meant to be enjoyed fresh I suppose. :) Deborah

Anonymous said...

You have a fabulous gift for saying the things that are on the tips of our minds, but somehow escape articulation. I've been told that this is the mark of a truly talented writer. Can't wait to hear your commentary on the bank bailout!

Anyway, yes, it's the same here. People ask "what do you DO all day?" even though I have three children under the age of four.

Mostly, I just laugh if someone asks, as if there's no way they can be asking that question seriously.

I find myself wishing for more hours in a day to get it all done, not fewer to while away.

What I do miss is adult company. I'd give my left arm for a few girlfriends to visit with on a Thursday afternoon.

Anonymous said...

Ha! And you DO look like Susan Sarandon in that picture!! Except, you know, friendlier.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the encouragement!


Anonymous said...

What time do you suppose these women got up in the morning? Or bed down in the evening?
I want to be these women so bad. I homeschool .
I have 4 children. And we are country folk. My children are in and out all day. They play and they work and they study and they play some more. I find it impossible to keep up with their messes. They clean alot- alot.
So , it usually happens that in a day they may clean their rooms, straighten living room, daughter cleans bathroom- maybe twice, clean clean clean-yet never gets clean enough to please me. What is your advice?
My husband is full time Pastor and works odd jobs at odd hours and days-He also works in the prison Ministry. We can not have a stable organized schedule. But I want it, so what do I do?
My home my look beautiful for 2 weeks-and just as soon as I let my guard down, I let something go in the house. And THAT is when someone will stop by. I love every thing this site stands for. I want to be that sweet old timer baking biscuits and making pies. But where is the time?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your response, Lady Lydia!

I am wondering if you would consider this--that the entire passage is referring to older men and women (whom Titus is written for) who are to teach a Christian lifestyle, in what *their* responsibility is while teaching younger men and women-- and, that the last verse, "that the word of God be not blasphemed" (to speak of irreverently) is in support of the first verse of Titus 2:

1But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia, here's a quote from Charles Spurgeon that I think you will enjoy:

"It is shocking to find men and women speaking fluently about religion, and yet their houses are a disgrace to Christianity."


Lydia said...

Every now and then there is a passage or verse that is written in that pattern: a statement, followed by explanations or proofs, and then a summary, supporting the first statement. It is seen often in the poetry of Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, and is also scattered throughout the New Testament.

Lydia said...

Woman of the house: Did you get your name from "The Quiet Man?" It made me smile.

While I do not embrace everything that Henry Makow writes, I did include on the side bar under the For Feminists section, an article he wrote about the results of feminism. He told how it explains why women will go on for hours and hours arguing theology or politics and yet cannot clean house or cook a meal. That seems to be paralell to the quote from the preacher you just posted.

It is a disgrace to Christianity because people naturally perceive Christians as being good and kind and full of hospitality. When women are not good and kind at home and are reluctant to make the house smell nice with the scent of good cooking, it brings a reproach on the teachings that they claim they follow--such as Titus 2 and I Timothy 5:14.

There are those that think young women, not married, ought to be in ministry somewhere. Unfortunately, these ministries often replace husbands, and the girls never settle down and marry. In a way, feminism is kind of like that, because it tends toward being discontent with the simple life that God so generously gave to women, to be guides and guards of the home. Occasionally there may be a necessity to do something else, but it is not the role model, and honest women will admit it. Though they may have to work outside the home, they know it is not the ideal or the example.

There were many warnings by parents of the past, against creating too many distractions for young girls. In one old magazine, I read that if they got too interested in vice, like gaming, smoking, drinking, socializing, etc., they would find it more difficult to settle down to serious things like marriage, home and family. The 20th century modernists laughed at this notion and set about to tear down (with a vengence) the stability of the family, by issuing easier divorce and daycare. Now, women are even more restless and more upset, less content and less happy. The author I mentioned, above, had an article about the things they substitute for fulfillment, when all they need is the home and their families.

Anonymous said...

anon, is it possible that your household has accumulated too much stuff?

I find that when I'm constantly at wit's end with basic housekeeping, peace can be restored only with a pretty stern pruning of "stuff." Amazing what a difference it makes to give away 85 percent of the unread books, unworn clothing, and abandoned craft projects.

It's sooooo easy for clutter to pile up, and once it does, keeping house really is like constantly rolling a boulder up a mountain.

Anonymous said...

I did borrow my screen name from "The Quiet Man," Lady Lydia! It was my husband's idea, and I like it. :-)

Thank you for your very edifying thoughts!

The Chatty Housewife said...

Thank you for this post, it was a very good reminder of how as keepers at home we need to be careful in what we do in order to honor the Father!

Dianna said...

Thank you so much for this inspirational post. I have really been to improve the way I spend my time at home lately.