I’ve started this post before. A few times. And I have always stopped about mid-way through saved the draft and closed my window. I never felt like I had it right. This morning, I’m trying this again. Two world’s collide for me, sometimes. I’m still learning how to be at home full time seeing as I’m still pretty new to the task. Sometimes, I get an itch. One that can’t exactly be scratched by making a pot of macaroni and cheese or watching Mickey Mouse for the hundredth time. On some mornings it would be easier for me to wake up, drive somewhere, clock in and let the work day begin while knowing that in 8 hours it will all be over. But sometimes, I forget that as I’m drinking my morning coffee and having breakfast with my children that I am now a part of a minority of women, in more ways than one. And that I should feel thankful that I can be home with them.
Statistically speaking there are more women in the workforce in either full time or part time positions than ever before. Be it personal choice or out of necessity most women are breadwinners in their own right. So while my day consists of bath time, dust bunnies and dishes, most women out there have days that consist of time clocks, paperwork and deadlines. I’m not knocking them because in some ways they are braver than I.
Seeing as how I am in the minority, I’m shocked as to how God has blessed me with an amazing group of women who are also tackling the job of being a full time stay at home mommy/wife. Not just a small group, but a whole bunch of them. Without them I think I would be much more solemn. They’re my support. They encourage me. They enlighten me. They amaze me. They are in some ways essential to me as I take on this new role. What amazes me is that while sometimes I grow discontent with where I am and what I’m doing, there is a large part of me feels undeniable gratification for where I am. I cannot explain it, but it’s there. This feeling that I’m right where I need to be. That I’m fulfilling the role of cultivating something far greater than anything I have done before.
From a Biblical standpoint I believe wholeheartedly that women are called to be at home, raising their children. Now a days, announcing those sentiments out loud amongst a large group of women will probably get you boo’ed or worse. But this is the truth. Is this the case for all women? No. Am I speaking over their lives or condemning all that they have accomplished? Indeed I’m not. After all, if women like Susan B. Anthony weren’t willing to play outside of the bounds of conventionality there would be plenty of rights that I would be remiss to never have had. But what gets me is this: If I state that scripture calls women to take on the mantle of being a stay at home mother once children come, I’m being provincially minded. But women, or anyone for that matter, who believe and say that to be a stay at home mother simply isn’t good enough or that having children is something disposable, burdensome or unnecessary they are being progressive.
After all, with feminists wanting you to think that ALL women are shouting for “reproductive freedom” and free birth control it would be easy to loose sight of what is fact and what is misleading. To loose sight of what women want. For some, our lifestyle is looked at as outdated or to be lived once you have gotten everything else out of the way. I say that we can have husbands and children while accomplishing our dreams. Be it finishing school, working some outside of the home or having hobbies or talents. I dare say that for some being at home with our babies IS the dream. And I say that these women who usurp the right do speak for all of us do not, actually. We can speak for ourselves. Equality for me isn’t living like a man. Equality for me is knowing that I was created uniquely and intimately by a God who knows and loves me best. I am equal, because I am His.
Stay at home mom’s, in the grand scheme of things, don’t get much in the way of acknowledgement or respect. Sure, you might have heard the phrase “moms have the hardest job” tossed around quite a bit, but when it comes to matters OUTSIDE of the home, there are times when housewives speak and our opinions are discarded. Anne Romney, anyone? What could be possibly know about social matters when we’re stuck at home all day? None of us would ever keep up with the ebb and flow of the news or be informed on the issues that matter, right??
Some would have you believe that most women are crawling out of their skin to get out of the house. Or that in order to be equal, we need independence and complete autonomy in all capacities from those people and things around us. If we cannot walk away at anytime from our responsibilities then we’re not equal or truly free. This simply isn’t true. If you’re a mother, you shouldn’t be counted out the moment you’re “saddled” with children or a husband. And you don’t need to seek work force accomplishments outside of the home to feel pride in what you do. On the contrary, those of us who choose to stay at home KNOW what we’re doing, WHY we’re doing it and WANT to do it.
Am I saying that society should be constructed socially and legally so that women cannot explore other avenues of accomplishment and work outside of the home? No. That is a woman’s choice and she can and should be able to stand on her own personal convictions of such. Choice to one woman may be to run a business, another may be to stay at home with her children. And there is something to be offered, shared and instructed from both points of view and lifestyles. Until due to faith or conviction a woman decides otherwise, it is her choice.
But I’m piping up here to give a shout out to the stay at home mother’s. The housewives. We aren’t all aprons, dust bunnies and baskets of laundry. We aren’t all screaming children, nap time and juice boxes. We are women. Who choose to stay home. We choose to embrace the power that is God given. Wait, back up a second…did you say power?
Yes, I did. We who are home with our children understand the power and influence that we have. And we have faith and believe that we can only fulfill this power by realizing our role fully in being here with our babies. We have the power to influence and build up future generations. How I instill faith, values and strength into my children will determine what their outlooks in life will be. What and how I show my son by being a woman who is respectable, smart and compassionate is hopefully something he will carry with him so that he learns how he will treat his wife one day and something that will point him to the One that will show him how to love and be honorable. And how my daughter sees her mother sort through problems, maintain biblical and personal integrity and femininity will, Lord willing, help her see how she should value herself and teach her how to love without loosing herself while finding validity and worth from the One who loves her most. And hopefully, how my children see their parents love, seek after and pursue the Lord will be the most important thing of all. That they would see that they must love the Lord, their God with all their heart, body and soul and love other’s more than they love themselves are the two things that I pray they will carry with them all the days of their lives, through all things and to all people.
This is the path that I have chosen. I’m not stupid. I’m not weak minded. I’m not chained to the sink. This is the way that I have chosen and felt convicted, passionately so, to teach and lead my children. I choose to do this by being at home with them. Yes, I believe in and prefer this way to all others, but this is my choice. This is my husband’s choice. This is a good, solid choice. And the idea wasn’t our making, it was God’s. Predestined, planned and authored long before we were here. This is the mantle that He has bestowed upon women, one He lays out to us for complete fulfillment. If He made it, how can it not be good? It doesn’t mean we aren’t equal. We are just simply different. Different is OK. It isn’t the separate water fountain, or in this day and age expensive birth control. It is freeing in itself. Men cannot bring forth life like we can, ladies. They will never fully realize or feel the connections with our offspring that we can. And they aren’t called to what we are. We are NOT the same as they are. To be true to ourselves and to fully find sustainment we must embrace this to be true. If I am going to exist and make it in this world, it will be by acting as, loving as, living as and knowing I am a woman. I am different. I am Ashley.
It is hard, but it is worth it. It is valid. And it is eternal. And I pray that more women will choose this for themselves at some point in their lifetime.