Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Silly Controversy On Staying Home

There have been some good things coming out of the Idaho families in the latest decade. From artists and home sewing, to homemaking classes and publishing, these people are using their rural freedoms to produce many good things.  I fondly call Idaho the new-south-comes-north state. It is nostalgic of southern ways. In some northern states the accents seem southern, as so many people are originally from the south.  Lisa Hollinger, from Country Victorian blog,  has a wonderful homemaking class which I participate in via Skype services, is in Idaho, and is well-known for her influence through hospitality and teaching.

Patrice Lewis, from Rural Revolution, is also in Idaho. She  has  written some  very good e-books available here. She offers three books on canning, one on everything you need to know about moving to the country, and another e-book which features instructions for turning your talents into a home business. 

Patrice also has written a recent article here  refuting the prevailing rumor that being a full time homemaker is a "luxury."  I don't know how that description began, but I don't remember women of the past thinking it was in any way a luxury to stay home and look after their husband, their children  (if any) and maybe an elderly parent, the garden, the laundry, sewing, and the many other things involved, as a "luxury."  The implication by the media is that women staying home is only possible if you are rich, and yet, many of those who tout this falsehood make a lot of money and are considered rich, but apparently, not rich enough to stay home and care for their own children. I don't call home schooling a luxury. It is a personal sacrifice. I don't call making your own meals or your own bread a luxury. It is cheaper than paying for it in the market, and it is a labor of love. 

I wish the media and the politicians would just leave us alone. They have made a controversy out of something that has been completely acceptable and highly valued for centuries before this.  Isn't this typical of government: to take something as natural as being a wife, mother and keeper of the home and create public discord over it?  If anyone asked our great-grandmothers why they stayed home they would have laughed at the question. To ask a woman such a question would have been tantamount to asking them why they breathed the air. Women staying home is not a luxury: it is a necessity based upon belief.


Farrah said...

I was hoping you post about this controversy. Thank you for the blog links.

I live in Georgia and here in Atlanta most of the people here do not have southern accents because it's such a multicultural and transient city.

Anonymous said...

Dear Cousin,

There are forces at work to get us out of our homes so that the government can indoctrinate our children. We must press on and be where God wants us to be as stated in the Bible.

Much love,

Mrs. A.

Anonymous said...

Some very excellent points, Lady Lydia!

Lydia said...

Dear Cousin Rosemi,

I am glad all is well with you in California. I like your blog. Keep teaching those little ones and don't be discouraged.

Heather at Hearthside said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
Thank you again for your wise words, and for your encouragement. Just this morning I was feeling a little glum and feeling very misunderstood by some friends of mine who do not share our homemaking ideals - and I thought of you! I thought "but Lady Lydia understands!"

I know you don't blog to be a famous person, but to me you are something of a celebrity (in the best possible sense) of homemaking; you are sticking up for it in the manner of an ambassador. And I thank you wholeheartedly for your good work.

amulbunny's random thoughts said...

ITA with you about good and bad things. Idaho potatoes are the best, the scenery is spectacular (I even have a tiny bit of ash from the Mt St Helen's explosion from under a cedar tree south of Moscow).

Every state has its good and bad areas. The highway between Moscow and Pullman is called blood alley because of the accidents. We've got deadpans curve in the hills above LA.

I've lived in southern CA for over 45 years and I still retain my Wisconsin accent. My husband talks with his sister in TX and he sounds like he's back there with her.

Thanks for the comment. Hope the snow blows through and spring comes back. Next weekend we'll be in Northern AZ and Southern NV enjoying desert weather we hope.

Rose said...

I think the the issue was brought up to further the left's agenda of demonizing traditional values, trying to make what is good, look bad, and what is bad, look better. Our country is worse off since feminism took root, and it is a shame that traditional roles are not valued and are undermined. I find nothing attractive about cold, insensitive women in administrative roles or management. I will never forget as a young wife and mother working part-time, when the daycare called and said my 8 mo. old daughter was sick and I had to come get her. My boss asked how soon I would return to work that day. Really. Did she think I was going to go pick her up and just drop her off at home? They have no clue about life and what is really important.

Anonymous said...

I have reached the point that I simply ignore the comments and go about my business. I put more weight into the comments when I tried to justify my role. Now I simply do my job, take care of my home and family, and enjoy my life.

Lydia said...

This is a good response! Just keep on doing what you need to do, despite the naysayers.

I've just finished watching a film made in 2006 called "The Singing Revolution" about the country of Estonia when it was occupied by the Soviets. While most revolutions involve hate and revenge and bloodshed, these people were able to free their country of the oppressors through singing. When the Soviets were occupying the parliament building, the Estonians surrounded it, and, having absolutely no weapons, were able to persuade the occupiers to leave. Similarly they got rid of armed soviets and their tanks in the street. They had no weapons, no army, just unified spirit. They all agreed to fly their own flag, speak their own language, have their own passports, and their own citizenship. The conclusion of the film was "how a nation was freed by its own culture."

Our culture is formed by our families and our beliefs about God, business and free enterprise, limited government, and all the things the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence speak of. The best way to restore that culture is by teaching your children and by living it. Sing your hymns and songs which reflect your values, be independent and resourceful, learn to do what you can by hand so that you wont be dependent, and learn how to live. Homemakers are really powerful at home, if they only knew the influence they exert.

Lydia said...

I add music to my playlist which reflects and helps form the culture of home and family.

Gail said...

Thank you for posting, and I think that we must do as the Estonians and your commenters, and go about our business with indifference to what the outside world thinks of it. We do have a culture whose roots go back to ancient Israel, and we have our ways, songs, art, and way of life through which we can influence society around us. "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Galatians 6:9.

♥ my diary♥ said...

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Anonymous said...

Sadly, not just in the US - here in the UK the Government are trying to bring out a new "credit" to top up the income of low-earners to what they consider an acceptable level. The conditions of claiming this so-called benefit are that both the father and mother have to work full time. This means the end of the stay at home mother, the end of homeschooling the end of a whole way of life. It's tragic and depressing that they care so little for family values. Needless to say, my husband and I, although on a low income, will not be claiming. We would rather tighten our belts as much as necessary that have our family torn to shreds. What a sad world we live in. Mrs Timothy Sellers. PS - on another note, I do adore your blog - I always get such encouragement and good ideas - thank you!

Far Above Rubies said...

Excellent point, friend.

Rightthinker said...

North Idaho wife, mother, and homemaker by sacrificial choice chiming in here!

I don't understand what is "luxurious" about finding worth in caring for soon to be seven children all day, supporting a husband, cooking and baking from scratch, homeschooling, cleaning toilets, budgeting for family needs, organizing, etc.

It's a funny paradox, because career women find "luxury" in things such as cars with payments, new furniture that is untouched by the "dirty little hands" of children, parochial school education for their children, etc...yet, when it comes to staying home, we are often met with "well, you are LUCKY to be able to stay home".

There is no luck in living within our means financially. There is no luck in being pregnant with our seventh child in order to follow our personal conviction to allow God to bless us with His defined blessings and not the world's..there is no "luck" in making a decision to do what we believe God clearly set forth to be the purpose for our lives-serving Him in a capacity of me staying home to make a life and a home and a, God Willing, Christian foundation for our children.

I'm growing rather tired of homemakers being the scapegoat for the guilt of career women who have their feminist cake, and are eating it, too.

Thanks to all the fellow Idahoans standing for these principles!

Rightthinker said...

Oh, and in case no one has ever visited Idaho, you are in for a treat..Southern Idaho, and even central Idaho is a COMPLETELY different landscape than up north.

Southern Idaho is very much a high desert, while up North is a completely different topography, weather pattern, etc.

Just a tidbit..for those of you who have been to southern Idaho, you may enjoy visiting North Idaho someday for it's differences from the South.

We are a very independent bunch..lots of homeschooling, lots of highly conservative Christians..lots of homesteads..lots of "leave me to raise my family". I love it and we never want to move!

Thanks for letting me dote on this place a bit!

God Bless Lady Lydia!

Anonymous said...

Yes, it has never been a luxury to stay home. Sometimes it took sacrifice.

Linda said...

Wow! I think I want to move to Idaho! LOL! I am tired of defending myself and my choice to be home. Now that my youngest is 18 yrs.old I am being asked if I'm going to work now.I live in the Bible-belt in Texas.I am used to not fitting in, as christians we are not suppose to.


Blessed Homemaking said...

Hmmmm, Andrea, you are making Idaho sound very appealing!

Finding Joy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I keep hearing co- workers say how expensive children are after they eat out for breakfast and lunch everyday.
I don't have any children, but the more I learn about nutrition I regret my past of getting into debt and wish I was home to shop at more stores for the freshest items. I was at a yard sale with a friend who was able to get all the summer playclothes and some church clothes for three boys for under $20.

Gerie said...

Hi Lydia,
This may be a little off topic, but I wrote a post about disciplining our children that I thought your readers might be blessed by. God has shown me that we are responsible to continually teach them and admonish them, even into adulthood. We are not off the hook until the day we die.
God Bless Everybody,


Anonymous said...

I like Gerie's comment...I have learned I need to admonish my 46 year old daughter from time to time...and that on the advice of our dear Lady Lydia. Bless her!

Now this topic that has hit the news based on a comment by a liberal feminist...that Anne Romney "has never worked a day in her life"...really dropped my jaw. No...not for money has she worked, but to raise the next upstanding generation has she worked...a "job" and "work" of excedingly more importance than helping to get a politician elected. Indeed!!!

Lydia said...

Lately, yard sales and garage sales have had sections or boxes with the sign "free" on them, where you can get free children's clothing.

Goodwill often has tag sales, meaning, the color of the tag will indicate that the price is 99cents or some drastic discount.

My parents never worried that children were expensive. People always were willing to help with a new baby. Its such a thrill, even to those who have no children, to give some cute baby thing to the new mother. And since we all have washing machines, how many clothes do we need? We can wash often and we can wear the same clothes over and over.

Anonymous said...

As an unmarried, working woman (a good man never came along), I do all I can to support my homeschooling friends. Virtually all of the families have more modest incomes. The mindset that you much be rich to stay at home and homeschool your children doesn't apply here. They all make what would be considered significant financial sacrifices.

Anonymous said...

It seems homemakers cannot win. If we say it is enjoyable to be home, we are spoiled and don't understand what real work is. If we point out all the drudgery involved to prove what hard work we really do, people say how awful we have it and that we should go to work outside the home.

I think the advice you have given in the past, to just go about your business and do what is right, is best. It is just a waste of time defending ourselves against those who have already made up their minds.

To me, the only opinion that matters is my husband's. I don't have to worry what anyone else thinks about this matter. I don't have to waste precious energy worrying what the world thinks when the man I married supports my decision to be home 100%. That is really the only opinion most homemakers need to be concerned about. If your husband wants you at home, then you can forget what everyone else thinks of it.

Lydia said...

I certainly agree! What is sad is to see feminists control the men and convince many of them in the workplace that their wives ought to be working outside the home. They then go home and stir up the controversy with their own wives.

Rightthinker said...

I so love the last anon comment, about homemakers not being able to win!

In my homemaking "career" I have been asked and told the following:

"When are you going back to school?"

"What do you do all day?" (mostly before we had a lot of if staying home with none, or with one is a bore)

"Don't you need more social interaction?"

"We aren't 'lucky' enough for me (wife) to stay home all day"

"What a luxury to stay home! I have to go to work every day and then do everything you do".

"Not all of us can make it on one income"

There have been plenty more, but these are the comments I remember.

You are certainly correct that we should only aim to please our Lord and our one else matters in this way.

I just wrote today on the fallacy of children being too expensive. Of course they are if we define today's wants as needs.

Anonymous said...

I'm a working lady, but I have friends whose "work" situations are all over the spectrum, from totally stay-at-home to part-time to teaching yoga an hour here and there to full-time. They all "work", if you define work as laboring at a task instead of limiting it to receiving a paycheck. I've seen how living on one income may be different from my situation, but a lot of it is in how the non-paid person can make the paid person's income stretch further... there is work in getting more bang out of those bucks, so to speak.

Don't be fooled by the media. They find the harshest voices and put them on the bullhorn. They magnify things and make them seem more of a controversy than they are. They have the ability to twist words and provoke fights. Please don't let them make you think that everybody is solidly in one camp or the other. I work because that's the choice I made (and I may one day dig a tunnel out of Cubesville). I love all my friends and respect all the choices that they have made, no matter where they spend their days. There is more to the economy than MAKING money ... it's also taking the time to use it wisely, and I think being at home gives one that time. I think if people in general relaxed about what other people are doing about their own income, we'd all be happier. I know a lot of women who are paid laborers that have no issues at all with women who full-time home school, and vice-versa. We are a quiet bunch, but we are out there.

I wish we had some new terms for the discussion. "Working mom" implies that moms who "stay at home" don't do anything. We all know deep-down that isn't true. WE ALL WORK. Some of us get a check somewhere in there, and some don't. Some run their own business with the family out of the home. Do we always need a price tag on a task in order for it to be valid? People's economic situations are not as simple or black and white as those terms make it seem. We're all sisters, in the end, no matter where we are. Could we say something like "paid laborer" and "homesteader/home entrepeneur" or something like that instead, if we HAVE to talk about the differences? I think half the problem is the vocabulary involved. (With a wink I say, but if we solved that little problem, the media couldn't sit back and enjoy the Mommy Wars with a big tub of popcorn, could they?)

I think one reason for the push for dual-income households is this ... the more you work outside the home, the more likely you are to have to outsource the things you would likely have to do yourself. If you do something for yourself (laundry, for instance), the government doesn't get a piece of that action. If you take it to a professional launderer, that chore becomes a taxable transaction. More people working means more income tax paid and more sales taxes paid on more purchases. I'm not sure if that's an explicit goal or anything, but the paranoid parts of my brain can't help but wonder about that.

Thanks for your blog and for giving me things to think about and for all the lovely pictures and crafts.

Lydia said...

Possibly another reason for media to push the outside-the-home work for women is so that taxes may be extracted for running numerous gov't programs, and also much of the media is female and they are indeed as you say, loud.

Rightthinker said...

Amen, Lydia!

Politicians who are women are by and large liberal, and therefore push the hardest for the feminist agenda.

We've now seen our tax dollars funneled into programs such as the NEA, the Teacher's Association, unions, Planned Parenthood, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. When people "donate" to "good causes" they must be very careful..all the dollars given to the Susan B Komen Breast Cancer Foundation...and most had no idea they have been funneling dollars to Planned Parenthood for decades.

The above anon comment about most women not being concerned about what other women do with their time hasn't been my experience.

Perhaps the media does use the loudest feminist voices, yet society as a whole generally devalues women who are homemakers-for not contributing financially, from not contributing to the community, and perhaps the most frustrating is asserting that we are home because "we can afford to be".

Those are some lofty assumptions..and the work it takes to stay home on one income isn't luck at's work and sacrifice, and it's something a lot of women are more than capable of doing, yet it is not very glamorous, and certainly won't indulge what America defines as many "needs" that are in all honesty, wants.

I don't care if women work, but I don't like the assumptions about those who do not work for pay doing so because they are "more fortunate".

Anonymous said...

Many women work because the economy was created to make it impossible for them to be home.

That being said, I do wonder what would happen if the same media and govt voices said that women at work were neglecting the family. Imagine the backlash.

Rightthinker said...

I do agree that the feminist movement has created a climate that makes women believe it's impossible to stay home on one income.

It clearly is NOT impossible..unless, of course, so much debt and reliance on a certain lifestyle has been created with an inability to see a way out.

Yes, the backlash would be tremendous if the media said that. The gov't and media can speak against homemaking, and society makes it seem like a worthless goal...only college and career seem to rate nowadays.

That's why we need to serve our Jesus and care only what He desires for us, and the fact that our husbands, families and homes are well-cared for and loved.

jill farris said...


I have nominated you for a Versatile Blogger award. The details and button are at my blog

I hope to send lots more ladies your way to be blessed!


Gail said...

First, may I preface my statements with the hope that you will read them for their intent, which is to have an honest and charitable discussion. I am a lady who stays home, but we were able to buy our house before the prices became so inflated. I did a study for my blog awhile back on the cost and standard of living, and on salaries. I looked at what salaries were about 50 years ago (when I was a child, and virtually all families were one-income). I found it wasn't the food, clothing, or even energy costs that had become prohibitive, relative to salaries today, but rather it is the exponential growth of the cost of housing. E.g., my father's humble (even for back then) income of about $4,500 enabled him to purchase our home for $8,700. We lived in a decent, lower to mid-middle class neighborhood. So the house cost him roughly two years' salary. Now today, my daughter's fiancee makes about $35,000 a year, and I can assure you there is no house available here for $70,000. Nor for twice that, unless they move to the most run-down, dangerous neighborhood, in a different town.
Now, the insidious thing about the loose lending that went on, which drove up house prices, is that anyone who bought in the last 12 years or so is stuck with such a high mortgage payment that in this transient military town in which I live, those who move or otherwise choose to rent out these houses will also charge the requisite arm and a leg for rent, hence why couples struggle to find any accommodations, whether buying or renting. So it does put folks in quite a pickle. I realize that people do not need more than one car, or cable, internet, meals out, electronic gadgets (cell phones, Ipods, pads and the like), and quite a bit of money can be saved there, but until the housing market is allowed to crash, burn, and return to realistic levels relative to salaries, those who wish to return to the one-income model have quite a tough row to hoe. Nothing is impossible with God, but right now the deck is stacked quite heavily against the traditional family.

Anonymous said...

Commenter at 2:36pm, the Eastern Seaboard of Australia has some of the most ridiculous house prices in the world; higher than paris or London, and for modest homeunits (apartments) or pokey shabbily built tract housing. This produces a second incidious effect; the split of families as young marrieds and even older marrieds have to move interstate or inter-region to find housing, thus fracturing the family, and this after they've spent time at home when newly married with parents to save a few dollars. the deck is stacked by the moneymasters, but their artificial bubble cannot keep growing forever. It has to burst, and I believe the GFC was only the dress rehearsal, but fear not; as you've stated, the 'crash and burn' will re-allign people with the important things, faith, family, fidelity, community, caring for one another and looking after our own. parents, in the meantime, give your young marieds some leeway and make yourselfves available to help them with a roof over their head so they can save. or if you've a bit more colateral to play with, buy a larger home, separate it and portion it up for two families, or buy adjoining properties and reno for extended family; this is common among our Asian, Greek, Italian, Lebanese etc families here in Aus so the grandparents, Aunties and mothers can pitch in.

I do believe in one last game changer in favour of god's truth and a flowering of orthodox Christianity - what many denominations term the 'Latter Reign of the Holy Spirit', or 'the Reign of the Sacred Heart of jesus Christ'. Those of us who have lived through the past 20 years as young a into middle age adults will be less willing to subject our children to more of the same; govt hates it that part time work is growing and women who are in the crunch you describe do part time or home based, doesn't suit the feminist agenda; and most of these women would love to be at home. Let us pray for them, that their eyes can be open, and that the madness comes to an end.

Gail said...

Amen, Aussie friend. In fact, when my daughter marries later this year they will be staying at his parents until they have enough of a down payment saved for a house or townhouse. My daughter actually let her young man know that if he had any expectation of her being a career woman he needed to let her know now, because that would be a deal-breaker for her. So there are some young ladies out there who are staunchly traditional, and yes, we must lift them up in our prayers, for they are standing against a tidal wave of resistance. But with God, nothing is impossible!