I was reading one day last week, and found an article (many articles as I continued researching) written by a feminist on ‘the rise of the stay at home daughter movement’. It intrigued me because I most often feel alone in my convictions. When I made the decision to remain under my father’s protection until I was given in marriage, it had nothing to do with anyone else, certainly not anything counter-cultural to America, as the article claimed. I would not even call this a ‘rising movement’ as so many combatant feminists are apt to describe it. I’d say it’s a reaction of individuals. It’s the response of our generation recognizing you cannot be two things, as the past few decades have successively tried to merge ‘dream career’ and ‘mom’.
Women were told they could have it all—the career, the husband, the kids, the home and still be beautiful. They could manage it all. Whether they have personally succeeded or failed is to be determined by them. They tried to do two things, inevitably one master must win out. Those who wanted their children and their homes sacrificed their job. Those who wanted the career, sacrificed their children. To climb to the top in a career, or to be the heart of your home? It’s a question that most American women have to answer.
My mom was a college graduate, and worked extremely hard to pull herself up out of poverty, earn a bachelor’s degree and pay off her debt all on her own. I respect that. But I feel far more when I think of how she chose to give up her career to stay home and homeschool her children. There are six of us. I am the eldest (20), a stay-at-home daughter. My brothers (18) and (16) are in college, and working jobs. They are hard-working godly young men, preparing themselves to be the head of their own households one day. My little siblings are full of intelligence and personality, each day brings more knowledge and confidence their way.
In contrast, I see so many women who attempt to balance a career and tend to their children. Always one side must win out, and the choice lies in the little decisions as well as the big ones. Sadly, most mothers choose their job. They never think that they’re losing their children. Yes, those kids might escape bullying, depression and wrong influences through grade school, and college, but they will never have been given what they really needed. They need their mother (and father). In so many families, this has created problems in the child’s development, in their view of family, and in their relationships with their parents, siblings and God. A child who doesn’t have someone to listen to his/her heart and needs, is a child in danger. They will grow up distanced from their parents, their direct authority and protection from God. When they reach adulthood, they’ll be gone. And parents ask; “What happened? After all I did?” The mother is the heart of the family, if she’s not there the family is weak, and the children more vulnerable to being deceived by the world. Satan knows that to destroy something (say a country) you must divide it, beginning with its very atoms, its foundation. Cities, communities, and congregations are made up of people in families. The stronger the family, the stronger the person, the people and ultimately the country.
Being a good Christian homeschool mother isn’t all I’m talking about. I know of families who are ‘good Christians’, but their relationship with their children, and their children’s relationship with each other is strained to non-existent. No one is perfect, but of all the women I admire—I admire my mother most of all. Not only has she given the years of her life to teach us, but she treats us with respect and kindness. She has taught us to love and respect each other. She has won our trust, and there isn’t one of us that hides our heart from her. No matter how raw, how honest, or how hard—there is nothing I cannot tell her. I pity those who lack a mother like mine.
I am a daughter at home because that’s what the Bible teaches. A woman is meant to be covered by the authority, protection and love of a man. It’s meant as a good thing. My father is dead, but I still am protected. I have my mother, my brothers, and good friends. I hope with all the intense passion of my heart to one day be married to a strong, godly man who will love me and treasure me, desiring that I love him, bear his children and keep his home.
The purpose of being a stay at home daughter is most often described as preparation for marriage. And that is one of the things we do, but being prepared for marriage is about maturity, not knowledge. I don’t think anyone is truly prepared for marriage, you don’t have it all down perfectly to start off. No, being a stay at home daughter is being as productive as possible while single. Singleness is different from marriage in that, a girl is to focus on God to please Him. While a married woman ‘careth’ for the things of the world, how she may please her husband, a single woman should seek to serve God. It is a learning stage- but through all of life you learn new things. Singleness isn’t a condition that needs to be fixed, it is a context in which to live life to the fullest joyfully and serve God. My purpose for being a daughter at home, is to live life to bring glory to God.
What is living life as only a ‘poor little stay-at-home daughter’? Let me put it into perspective. My brother is training to be a welder and according to his instructors, he will be one of the best. In his class, he IS the best. One of his favorite jokes is; “When people say I’m just a dumb welder, I cry and wipe my eyes on hundred-dollar-bills.” I feel the same way about my life choices. I’m happy to be where I am in life. I consider myself a successful, purposed, confident young woman. You should not even question what I do, much less judge. I realize that not every woman wants to be a homemaker, but whatever you choose to do in life, go at it 110%. Give the best of yourself to your choice. You should envy me, because I have my dream, I do my best and push to do better. I am a full-fledged homemaker.
So what is it, I do, exactly? I get up early. My brother leaves for work at 5:30 a.m. I cook his breakfast before he leaves. I finish my morning housework before dawn, this includes feeding the cats and dogs, starting the laundry for the day, folding laundry from the day before, and cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, living room and my room. My work is quiet and unhurried. That leaves me with about an hour of quiet time, when I study my bible and pray. I go wake everyone else up about seven a.m., and either I or my mom will cook breakfast. We trade out cooking meals.
I could tell you everything else we do, but that’s not all what homemaking is about. It’s about being there for the people you love, it’s about knowing how they are, asking about their day, sensing when something is wrong, or rejoicing with them when they are happy. It’s about encouraging their hearts. It means controlling your temper. It means choosing someone else first. It is very hard for me to write all of this. I have so little to tell of myself, because my life is so closely enter-twined with that of my family. My conversation pertains to what my family is up to, and whatever I have learned lately, from either college courses or independent study. I don’t want to come across as unselfish, because I am selfish, that’s bad I know, but everyone is selfish. I was accused of being unselfish the other day. The person in question seemed to be think I was crazy, to be pitied and in desperate need of rescue. Their solution was offering to set me up with a guy they knew. I turned them down politely.
I am human and selfish. I am self-absorbed. I overthink everything. I struggle with getting up early. I struggle with many things. I struggle with feelings of inadequacy, as does every woman. But mostly I struggle with being judged. My actions seem to invoke a defense in others, and their response is offense. They attack me, because they feel threatened. I don’t judge because I disagree. If you want to be a Marine Biologist, go for it. Learn about this wonderful world God created, and teach others the truth. But I want to be a homemaker. Why has this become a fallen ambition, in the short decades of one generation? Why is the profession once lauded at the noblest on earth, now a low estate that no one should fall to?
I believe it is Satan. It makes sense that he would hate mothers, hate women, and hate children. Women are life-giving, and he hates all life and seeks to destroy it. He is the prince of this world, and of the powers of the air. This life we live is a spiritual one as well as physical. As we accept the earth around us, so should we acknowledge the spiritual world, and the battles we face.
If there truly is a “Rise of Stay at Home Daughters”, I think it will be a good thing, provided that each individual puts her faith in God. If you don’t surrender your dreams, and that one young man or whatever it is you cling to for your future happiness, and trust Him, walking by faith and not by sight- then what you meant as a blessing can make you utterly miserable.
Whether you are a homemaker, or not, you were born with an innate beauty and life-giving power unique to women. When a women’s heart is at rest, and her soul is at peace, she invites all those around her to rest and peace and life. It is the most beautiful thing a woman can do.