Shameless Homemaking

Sorry for the long delay between posts; there have been a lot of transitions and other writing opportunities that sapped my energy from here. Since last writing, I have: stepped down from my career, moved across the country, and continued to grow a new human in my belly. Go big or go home, right??

Needless to say, these past few months have been loaded with personal growth, as any one of these transitions alone would bring on. I am hoping to share about my experiences in a series of posts, but today I want to focus on how this move has challenged my unconscious views of feminism and the value of traditional gender roles.

I have now been working from home on an extremely part-time (generally less than 10 hours per week) status for a little over a month. Instead of rushing out the door at an ungodly hour in the morning, working an 8+ hour day, then scooting off to a worship team rehearsal, an archaeological society board meeting, or a krav maga class, as I did for years, I now spend my days at home. The chores and errands I used to squeeze into my days off are now my main source of occupation. I am being faced with my many deficits as a home-maker and wife on a daily basis, realizing that I never took the time to learn how to cook or keep house properly because I never really placed value in these tasks. I was too busy pursuing the American Woman’s Dream, running the world and leaning in, thinking I could have a career and raise a family and find “me” time and participate in my church and have a social life and and and…

And I couldn’t. If you try to grasp everything, you will end up with empty hands.

In a very physical sense, my hectic lifestyle was unsustainable and harmful. I haven’t written about this before, but I suffer from a mild form of epilepsy, and the frequency of my epileptic episodes is a good indicator of my overall health. In the months before moving here, I was having almost daily simple partial seizures. Since moving here, I have not had one. This is just one in a myriad of ways in which trying to “have it all” was doing me more harm than good. For what shall it profit a woman, if she gain the whole world, but lose her health?

I needed to prune away the excess shoots  in my life and focus my energy on those that will bare fruit: my family and my extended family in Christ.

With this comes a re-evaluation of what I consider valuable. I am slowly learning to find joy in the “traditional” roles of a woman and in truly squashing my pride to place the needs of another above my own. Running our home is not a chore imposed on me by the patriarchy, but a necessary part of adult life that allows my husband to enjoy his time off while he provides for us financially. It is also a much more efficient way of life than trying to divvy up work, chores, bills, cooking, etc. between two people who really just want to Netflix and chill at the end of the day. I treat my housework like any other work, keep it within the time parameters of a 9-5 work day, and then we both get to relax and enjoy more family time and more personal time in the evenings. There is satisfaction in maintaining a clean, welcoming home in the same way there is satisfaction in completing work of art: the progress is physical and, once complete, can be enjoyed by any who view it.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not trying to degrade those women who work away from home or insist that all women should be homemakers. By no means. We all have different callings, talents, and interests. But I hope I can help redeem the image of the homemaking woman and encourage others who find themselves in a similar situation.

rosie-the-riveter-poster-s
…At home without shame!
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5 thoughts on “Shameless Homemaking

  1. Feminism isn’t an either/or thing though, it’s all about freedom of choice; the freedom to be not-a-mom or be a mom and fulfill your dreams holding down a job just as much as the freedom to be a mom on-your-own-terms; not following some rule-book that says you have to be a mom just-so or else you’re a failure at womanhood. Not everyone is cut out for traditional womanhood; but modern womanhood can choose which traditions are worth keeping and which ones we should let go of.

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    1. Hi Jamie! Thanks for the response. That is a good point and I am stoked that modern feminism has allowed women to be able to chose what role to play and how to play it. Perhaps I should have been more discerning when talking about “feminism” as there are so many definitions and nuances to the term; my lethargic pregnancy brain was not up to the task of defining sociological terms! I was more responding to the attitude I personally had unknowingly absorbed and adopted that going to college and getting a career is of more value for a woman than being a stay-at-home-mom and homemaker. I didn’t even know I felt this way until shifting my role to staying at home so I can’t quite say where it came from, but I don’t think I am the only one with those latent feelings. I just want other women, especially those like me with experience in academia and the workforce, who chose to stay at home to raise a family to be encouraged that this work is just as important as any out of the home.

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      1. I wish it didn’t have to be an either/or, but a both/and. You never hear it the other way around for men, endless questions about whether or not they’ll pursue their career or be stay-at-home dads.

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  2. Very well said! Congrats on being able to be at home more often, and on your life changes! As a SAHM for about 21 years your words “I never really placed value in these tasks.” struck a cord in my heart. After all of these years, I can so take what I have for granted. I can can the time God has given me and use it for my glory and not His. Thank you for the reminder. BTW I wrote a somewhat similar blog post awhile ago on my blog: https://theycallmemomweb.wordpress.com/2017/01/27/dear-sisters/
    My blog is about life as a mother of 6, 2 bio adult children and 4 adopted kids. Our kids are ages 21-4. I will be stopping by your blog more often. Keep up the good work and excellent writing.

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