Who’s Minding the Home?
Probably one of the most controversial issues in raising the children is whether or not to be a stay-at-home mom or career mother. Whether or not a couple can juggle their careers so that one is home with the children or whether one should hire a nanny.
After all the bible studying, character checking, training and disciplining, what happens to the children if we’re not even home? How do we know how to discipline them if we’re not there to witness their actions? How does that all important bonding occur if we’re keeping them 12 hours a day at day care centers or hiring other people to come to our homes and care for them?
These questions are very important when one is considering their role as wife and mother. Even single women should be asking these questions because there are a wave of single women nearing the end of their child-bearing years that is considering children out of wedlock just so that they can experience motherhood. Of course my easy answer to that one is DON’T even consider bringing a child into this world voluntarily without the aid of a full-time father! To me that is simply selfish and inconsiderate of a woman to do. Children need both role models in the home. (Single-parenting I’ll touch on later.)
Women, Be Busy at Home – First, let’s see what the scriptures say about children and the home:
“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” Titus 2:3-5
Oh my goodness. I don’t know about you all, but when I was first married (no Christian pre-marital counseling at all), I did so with the expectation that I would be a career woman, and then don’t “NOBODY tell me I had to obey my husband!” I asked the pastor who married us to leave that word out in our simple generic marriage vows. He honored that request. (Can’t imagine Pastor Miles doing such a thing!) And anyone who knew me wondered why the turbulence throughout my marriage?
The verses in Titus were immediately wrong in my eyes. I did all kinds of studies to prove it incorrect. But in doing so, then NONE of the bible would have been very admirable to me at that point. Later as the word of God convicted me and the Holy Spirit illuminated my understanding, it all began to make sense to me. I actually tried letting my husband have the final words as difficult as that was, but to be busy at home? After my first child called our babysitter “mama” I quickly latched on to that verse to KEEP me home! I didn’t go through the pains of natural childbirth just to have my child call someone else mama! So, stay-at-home I became.
Back to the scriptures. Titus says for the wives to be self-controlled, pure and busy at home. We know that must not mean ALWAYS because the model of a productive woman as the one in Proverbs 31 shows that she is minding her businesses. Here’s the whole section in Proverbs:
God’s Virtuous Woman (Proverbs 31:10-31)
10 A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Give her the reward she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Now even as busy as this woman was, please note in verse 27,
“She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.”
This woman is still in charge of her household. Not her husband but her! The men are the primary providers of the family while the woman’s primary job is the household! Again, our priorities must be centered upon God’s expectations of us for our families.
Now do I believe that it’s possible for women with young children to be that busy as the woman in Proverbs 31? Oh no, not hardly! Verse 28 in this chapter gives me a clue to how old her children are. What newborns can say their moms are “blessed?” They are too busy saying “feed me! change me! burp me! cuddle me!” to say anything else. What about the toddlers? They are too busy saying “Mine Mine Mine” to recognize their mother’s worth. And the teens? If they don’t tell us “I hate you” at some time in their teen years then we must be doing something wrong.
I have four adult children in their twenty’s. And it wasn’t until they grew older until that they could begin to say very, very kind things of me. Some of you are more fortunate and the kids do heap praise upon you before they leave home. It helps to have a husband there showing a great example and praising you. It may take the kids from single-parent homes a little longer because they have to hear negative things from the other parent, sometimes confusing them on what is good or bad. But when they become adults and leave home, then they get a chance to see things for themselves and give praise to whomever deserves it. That’s why I’m convinced this woman in Proverbs 31 is a much older woman. Little children just don’t rise up and proudly call their mommies “blessed.” So Dads, please don’t expect your wife to be running multiple businesses while nursing little ones and changing their many diapers! Women with babies and small toddlers have nothing else time wise but to tend to their needs! And she’s lucky if she gets any “mommy time!”
God’s curse on husbands and wives – Remember the ‘curse’ put upon us in Genesis? Where the men have to work all the days of their lives and we women have pain in childbirth?
16 To the woman He said:
“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.”
17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:
“ Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:16-19
Work is the “men’s curse” and not ours. Why are there so many of us trying to participate in both curses? Having children AND working all the days of our lives while having to be under a man’s rule? Now mind you, the children are the blessing part – its the pain in HAVING them that’s the curse! I’ve cursed my husband during each pregnancy, but as soon as the baby came out I wanted another one! I loved the little babies! Early childhood was such joy to me, the happiest time in my life! But I hated being pregnant and the actual childbirth! That’s why there can’t be two mommies or two daddies as a family model because God has specific curses and blessings for each one!
So here it is, biblical examples of the models God wants us to have in our homes. The husband as the head and ruler of his family (godly ruler) and the wife as the primary caretaker of her home. For the family to be well balanced, we must recognize our roles. Does it mean we never hold jobs outside our homes? Of course not. As long as the jobs don’t interfere with our primary responsibility in minding the house. Does it mean the fellas never help with housework? Doesn’t mean that either. If a man is loving his wife as Christ loves the church, then he will be sensitive and compassionate to her needs, as she with his.
Now back to the future. Here we are in the new Millennium with the high cost of housing (if you live in Southern California), gas, food is spiraling out of control and it is just plain ridiculous to make it on one paycheck. Isn’t it foolish to have the wife stay at home when she’s needed to work?
That is the question most asked of us today. Let’s consider the cost of a comfortable lifestyle to the cost of children getting out of control.
When I first became a single parent, I went to the meetings that the police departments would hold here in South East San Diego, (almost the equivalent to South Central Los Angeles in terms of dangerous areas to live), and one of the statistics that stuck out the most to me was the time that most juvenile crime occurred: between the hours of 3pm – 6pm. The hours right after school, and right before parents usually came home from work. These stats were years ago, and looking at those stats today, they are now saying between 2pm and 6pm here. From this same website, it even reports that over one million teens are left unsupervised after school, blaming it on the lack of after school programs. Moms and dads, are we to leave that responsibility to the government sponsored or private schools?
I consider myself a witness that those stats were true. Because in the neighborhood I lived, I can remember the number of times I called police because of fights that were forming at the bus stops after school, and the number of times I met my children at school to walk them home and seeing the gangs gathering. I even ran in the middle of a “bloods” initiating ritual while they were beating someone up after picking up my child from school (six police cars were quickly behind us)! I remember taking home not only my child, but his friends who parents were working and not able to pick them up on such short notice.
I remember my neighbor’s daughter having her boyfriend come over while her parents were away at work. You can imagine my guilt when the daughter came up pregnant later and I could have told them what I was witnessing. I didn’t want to be known as the “nosy neighbor’ back then and kept my mouth shut.
This was all happening while the parents were away. I lived with my parents in a very nice middle-class neighborhood. The gang members being arrested were not only from poor families, but families who had working moms and sometimes dads too! They just weren’t home after school was out.
If we must have more than one parent working, we just have to remember that one minds the house while the other minds the work. It can be done. As a single-parent, I’m expected to work and not depend upon the government. Strangely, the same folks who say that of the single parent also say that it takes two incomes to make it. If the single-parent can make it, why not a husband and wife with one staying at home?
It can be done. Too many single-parents working and making it are a testimony to the possibility to living off of one income – for the sake of the children and minding the home! If single-parents are expected to work, then what kind of help do they have in minding their children? Is the answer by having the children in school eight hours of day then an additional three hours of after school programs? The children aren’t learning their godly mother’s values, but the public schools values. These same schools that are equipping them with same-sex education, contraceptives, and even abortions. That’s who we are giving are children over to without help. In order to make it, single-parents need much support and help to watch their children while they work and make a living.
All the biblical teachings we can give our children and all the admonitions about no condoms, no pills, no sex, no drugs, no porn and the like are meaningless if we aren’t home to give them training, monitoring and direction!
It’s time to make some sacrifices and it must be in our fancy lifestyles and not our children’s lives! Women, we must ask God to return the love of our homes back to our hearts and get out of the”‘money-making” mode. Fathers who are being spoiled by their wives money making abilities, we must ask God to shape their hearts and minds to peacefully and economically find a way for their wives to be home minding to the children as they work for the primary provision of the family.
It can be done even in this day and time of great economic oppression.
Anyone DON’T think so?