Monday, April 14, 2008

Teaching My Daughters to Love a Life at Home

Over the past few years I have felt a very strong need to instill a love for home in my daughters. I want them to see the beauty, strength, and freedom that can be found as a Keeper at Home. I want them to realize a life at home is NOT what the world would have them believe it is; it is not limiting and smothering. The opportunities for skill and thought that come from keeping house are limitless. There have been so many occasions in my "career" at home to learn new skills, expand my knowledge, and stretch the boundaries of my creativity and intellect. I do not find this life boring or monotonous in any way.

However, there was a time in my life when I would have sworn I would never be "forced" into staying home and "wasting my life." Throughout my high school years, I was firmly entrenched in a feminist mindset. I remember even writing an essay belittling my mother for her choice to stay at home and "waste" her college education and intelligence on doing dishes and folding laundry. (I also remember how heartbroken she was when she read that essay as I proudly showed it off to her for the 'A' it received.) I had high aspirations to be a writer, and a college English professor. I was not going to waste my life at home!

It really is funny what high school does to a teenager. Before high school, I had wanted the life I have now. I wanted to stay home with LOTS of kids (I'm not there yet, I don't think 4 is a lot, no matter what anyone says!) and a wonderful husband. Luckily, my mind began to shift back to the thoughts of my younger self when I graduated from high school. I used to tell people that I would be a complete feminist if I weren't so old-fashioned. That, too, I have moved beyond.

Now, I see home as the place where God created me to be, doing the work I was designed to do. And no, I did not have to give up myself in the process. I still have the same dreams and aspirations, though they have been nudged in a different direction. I still write and read voraciously. The research that I've always loved so much now focuses around the Bible, child-rearing, homeschooling methods and materials, frugality, home organization, cooking, and on and on. I'm working everyday at achieving my Masters in the Fine Art of Home Management and "Helpmeeting" (aka the Proverbs 31 woman). I am far from there, but that is my goal now. My thesis will be written in the legacy I leave for my daughters. My diploma will proudly declare, "Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 'Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.' " (Prov 31:28-29)

I want my daughters to have this as their firm foundation so that they can avoid going down that fork in the road I travelled down for a time. I never want them to view a life at home as something not worthy of their ambition. So far, I am doing an okay job at this. Isabelle loves to plan meals and cook, to fix up and decorate the rooms, and she is really looking forward to learning to garden once we are in a home. Her grandmother has taught her a true love and appreciation for sewing, and although she has not yet learned to sew, I am hoping she will so that she can teach me. :-) Olivia is 100% a keeper at home in training. She has a remarkable servants heart. She loves to mommy all of her baby dolls. She loves to be my right hand as I go about the tasks of my day, including sitting on the counter every single time I am in the kitchen. She is learning to cook and I can see the pride she takes in simply stirring a cup of flour for me. Gracie is in line next. She will be truly blessed to have not just mama, but also her two big sisters showing her the ropes.

As I have been working through the process of re-creating my Home Management Binder, I keep remembering a blog post I read a few months ago. It was about creating binders for our daughters that match our own where they can take notes, keep recipes, have their own schedules, etc. I really wish I could remember where I came across this wonderful idea so that I could link to it. When mine is complete, I believe Isabelle and I will start on one for her. This will make a wonderful summertime activity for both of us. I can not wait! (If anyone has any book/curriculum recommendations for me regarding this, I would love to know about them.)

I truly look forward to teaching my daughters the way of the home and learning new things together. I am anxious for the days when we can manage the home together as a team in preparation for each of them managing homes of their own. I am so thankful the Lord has put my mind in the right place and been a patient partner in my journey down this road. I trust He will continue to guide me in love and admonition as we go about the process of teaching these girls to embrace their roles at home.


Joy 10:46 PM  

Growing up, I remember from a very young age wanting to be a mom. But the reality of staying at home with my kids didn't really cross my mind.

My parents never really sat down with me to discuss what I wanted to do with my life, so I didn't look too far into the future other than to hope for kids one day (and at that time, I didn't even think that having husband was a necessity!)

I ended up going to a Christian college simply because it was a "safe" place to go and it would get me 2,000 miles away from my parents. Although I went there for those reasons, I know God had other plans in mind.

But even in college my long term goals were not very clear. I am thankful that even though I was clueless, God wasn't. He knew exactly what he was doing, because it was there that I met my husband.

It's very interesting to look back and see that something as simple as my taking piano lessons as a child would provide the means for me to be a stay at home mom, which is the most fulfilling job I could ever have hoped for. I am so very thankful that God has allowed me my heart's desire, even when I didn't realize that staying home with my kids was what I wanted.

My daughter, Jerah, like Isabelle, is very interested in being a mom and taking care of her kids when she grows up (although she often sees herself as a full-time mom and a full-time vet and a full-time teacher all at the same time).

Some people might call me a sexist, but I will always encourage my girls to think about careers when they grow up that they will be able to do from home. It might be old fashioned, but I think it's the right thing to do.

Teresa @ A Life At Home 10:46 AM  

I don't think that being a stay at home mother ever crossed my mind until after I had my 3rd child.

My own mother did not work, but that didn't mean she was a "Stay at home mom." I never had a relationship with her and she never taught me how to manage a home at all. We do have a better relationship now, but it still doesn't make her anymore nurturing than she was. I just love her now for how she is. :-)

God really did a 180 in me when I was in nursing school. I was an honor student. One of the top in my class, but by the time my senior year came around my desire to give it all up became so strong that I nearly dropped out. My husband asked me nicely to finish. :-)

I did graduate, and then I worked for 6 years after that. It was a long process, but I was finally able to come home 2 years ago.

My 2 older girls are 14 and 12, so I worked for many of their more impressionable years. They still have a heart for home though. Even while I was still working my husband and I instilled that love of home in them. They wanted me to come home as much as I did. I'm hoping that maybe they'll remember how hard it was on us, as a family, when I worked those long hours.

As of right now neither of them want to have a career outside of the home, although they do have an entrepreneurial spirit. I'm sure they'll be able to be great helpmeets to their future husbands.

The Happy Housewife 4:35 PM  

Even though my mom was a stay at home mom, (for my younger years) I did not want to be a stay at home mom. I didn't even want to get married! Needless to say God had other plans, married at age 20 and a baby at 21! Now I have six kids and have never worked outside the home! I have always encouraged my daughters that the highest calling is a wife and a mother. My oldest (13) really wants to be a wife and a mom, but she also realizes that it might not happen right away so we are still considering college and such. She would love to be a missionary as well...
anyway- great post, thanks for getting such a positive message out there!

Michele 6:49 PM  

What a wonderful post! This is my recent prayer/goal as well. That is a great idea to create a binder for your daughter! Thank you.
Michele :)

PS- Thanks for visiting my blog this week! :)

Anonymous,  8:11 PM  

What a wonderful post. God is doing amazing things in these days with returning moms home to do a very important job. I am so encouraged to read this. My heart is united with yours in this endeavor.

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