Housewife, Homewife: Remembering the Why Behind Our Work

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housewife

You either are one or you know one. Me, I am one. A year ago, I just knew one. What I thought I knew, pft… I was way off! There are a few stereotypes of housewives. ‘Susie Homemaker’ (has anyone actually met this person?). She is perfectly dressed for every occasion, lives in a spotless home, and can roast the perfect turkey. Then there’s the thrown together, minivan driving, mom-jean wearing housewife that always signs-up to bring snacks to class. There’s also the nanny-having, housekeeper employing, “I-spend-3-hours-at-the-gym-every-day-and-my-kids-are-signed-up-for-every -activity” housewife. Me? I’m none of these (not yet, at least), and honestly – I think these “housewives” only exist on TV and in the movies.

Granted, I’ve only been a housewife for 3 little months. And there are times when I’ve roasted the perfect turkey. I fully intend to sign-up to bring snacks and I only wish I could spend three hours at the gym! God knows I need it. All those things are okay. But in addition to my limited experience, I’ve known a few housewives over the years and we are far more dimensional then portrayed.

When my husband and I decided that I would stay home to care for our daughter, it wasn’t an easy decision. We discussed it while we were dating and although I was always open to the idea, the reality of leaving the workforce behind – or at least on pause – hadn’t set in. Once I left my job I realized I didn’t automatically morph into a Stepford Wife. I was still me. I still had dreams and aspirations. I still occasionally overcooked the rice. I still had hobbies and interests outside the home.

My husband, Carlton, never required me to give up who I am to take care of the house and Cheyenne. Carlton has always been an awesome supporter of my dreams (thanks, hunny bunches!). But, somehow I started placing silly expectations on myself for what I “should” and “shouldn’t” be like. Expectations I didn’t hold myself to when I was working full-time.

I have the type of personality that can’t quit something, until it’s good and done. This is one of Carlton’s favorite traits of mine when we have a disagreement 😉 I got sucked up in rating my myself on how much I completed in a days’ time. With a baby. After a C-section. Am I crazy? Clearly. I started to get depressed and feel like I wasn’t cut out for this new life because the laundry wasn’t done and dishes were still in the sink.

It took a few “come to Jesus” talks with my hubby and a few good friends, and some serious reflecting to finally figure out that I was holding myself to a standard that doesn’t exist! Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t have a clean and organized home. You should! But it’s by no means a measure of your worth nor should unfinished chores have the power to bring you down.

I realized I was forgetting who I was and my purpose for staying home with our daughter. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” It was important for us to have one parent stay home so that we could impart our strongest morals and values in our daughter. Everyone knows that the world is a crazy place, and neither of us are perfect. But it is important to us that we raise a child that loves God, is honest, and of good character. Can this be done while we both parents work full-time? Sure! But we had to choose what was best for our family. I needed to redirect my focus back to the person we hope our daughter will become, not how quickly I can vacuum the floor.

Deuteronomy 6:7 says, “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” One thing we agreed on, long before we were married, was that we wanted the foundation of our daughter’s education to start at home. I love teachers! Cheyenne’s god-mother is a teacher and I have friends and family who work in education. But it was important to us that we spent as much time as possible focusing on the fundamentals of her education in the home. Not just academically. It’s just as important that she knows about faith as it is her ABC’s, and I feel being in the home allows me more time to work with her as she develops.

I’ve been at home with Cheyenne for almost 4 months and it has flown by! Every time I look back at photos and videos I truly can’t believe how much she has grown! After seeing our nieces and nephews grow up, we knew just how fast these first few years would go by and honestly, we just wanted to be there for every little moment. 1 Timothy 5:8 really put things in perspective for me: “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” I am not saying that a working mom or dad is a bad person! The scripture says that you are providing and that’s awesome! But I am saying, family time – quality, family time is super important. We can’t let our stuff (work, hobbies, volunteering, even church!) get in the way of enjoying the blessing of family.

Life is a gift and each day is truly a blessing. Although we have hope, we don’t know if we have tomorrow, so we should give our family’s the biggest part of our hearts. Whether you’re a working wife, single mama, stay-home mom, or even if you’re Susie Homemaker (I’d like to meet you!), we all should remember the why’s of life and let love be our driving force! The laundry, the dishes, all that can wait. They say home is where the heart is and I’ve realized… I’m not just a wife living in a house. I’m a wife making a home for the ones I love.

Jaqui-Lyn Hope

Baby Toes and Board Books

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