I never pictured myself in a traditional homemaker role. I grew up in the 1970′s when the women’s movement had already come of age. We had figured out that we could do anything. We could be leaders, serve in the military, have careers. We could sing “I am Woman, Hear Me Roar” and no one batted a fake eyelash at it.
Unfortunately, along with all of the advancements came a subtle undercurrent of disdain for women who chose a traditional homemaker role. It certainly always overt, but I grew up with the sense that women who chose that role were selling themselves short. That they could do so much more.
And so, with my college-diploma in hand, I set out to become the successful career-gal that I’d always wanted to be. I worked hard and created a successful career for myself. I didn’t always love what I did, but I was good at it and I was rewarded for it.
Then came marriage and children…I married my dear husband and when our first child came along, we made the decision that I would stay home. I was in favor of that because by then my attitudes had changed remarkably and I really felt like that was where I should be. We were lucky that it was an option for us.
But I was a bit stuck…I didn’t understand my new role. I didn’t know how to be the primary caregiver to my home and family. Not because my mom didn’t try and teach me as I was growing up (thanks, Mom!) but because I wasn’t paying attention since it wasn’t a role that I cherished (sorry, Mom!).
I can look back now and honestly say that the first few years at home, I felt devalued. Like what I was doing wasn’t as important as what I could have been doing. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to be at home but something didn’t feel right on the inside.
Whenever I met someone new and they asked “What do you do?”, my answer went like this, “Right now I’m a stay-at-home-mom, but I USED to…”. As if I had to justify my service to my family.
Through lots of prayer, study and reflection, I have since let go of those misconceptions. I won’t bombard you with a bunch of bible passages talking about a woman’s cherished role in her family (Prov 12:4; Prov 14:1; Prov 31:10-31, if you’re interested). But I will say this…
What you do matters. Listen to me closely. If we were having coffee together, I would lean across the table and look right into your eyes and say it again. What. You. Do. Matters. It is not beneath you. It is important work. Don’t just gloss over that and say “uh-huh, uh-huh”. Go back and read it again. I’ll wait.
Every diaper you change, every load of laundry that you fold, every carpool you drive, every meal that you make…it matters. Even for you moms who are working because you want to or because you need to. You set the tone in your home because you matter.
Serving your family is an important calling. You should never feel diminished or unimportant because what you do matters.
In light of my announcement last week, it seemed like an appropriate time to revisit this post from February 2009. The comments on the original post are worth reading all by themselves. Best comments ever.
photo credit: Shereen M