Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How Do You Learn To Be A Homemaker?


Housewife has always been a dirty word for me. There was no better way to make me really angry than to say that a woman’s place was in the home. In fact, I went the opposite direction entirely and joined the feminist front. There I was taught to abjure all things feminine, especially domesticity. We were taught that working in a home was beneath you, in fact there isn’t much lower in the mind of many feminists. Being a woman who stays at home with her children is for lazy women who can’t do anything else. Unfortunately, that mantra was pretty well embedded in my mind.

In my recent studies on Biblical femininity I have read a TON of information about a woman’s place. It is a common held belief that women should go from their father’s home (and protection) directly into their husband’s home (and protection) all the while learning the feminine arts along the way. For some girls that is exactly perfect. But, what about the rest of us?

I am not from a traditional family and I was not raised to be a wife. My family didn’t have a recipe book. I grew up in a house where hamburger helper and canned green beans was a home cooked meal, and fast food was a treat. I was not trained in things like sewing, home managing, and cooking. Being a wife and mom was the furthest thing from my mind.

I wrote recently that I was going to start working on my homemaking skills. But what does that look like? Where do you even start? Jani Ortlund writes, “I believe that a godly home is a foretaste of heaven. Our homes, imperfect as they are, must be a haven from the chaos outside. They should be a reflection of our eternal home, where troubled souls find peace, weary hearts find rest, hungry bodies find refreshment, lonely pilgrims find communion, and wounded spirits find compassion.” I want my home to be a safe haven, and there is no reason that has to wait until I am married. I can start right now. However, this is surprisingly hard to do. If modern young women don’t learn these skills at home, where can we learn them? How do you learn to be a homemaker?

I am 23 years old and at a serious disadvantage. I went to college, I am well educated. I can regurgitate important dates from wars across the globe and through time, but I can’t boil an egg. I can write a 50 page paper over the symbolism in medieval artwork but I can’t sew a button on a shirt. I can be the floor supervisor of a restaurant but I don’t know how to plan a menu for the week. I will admit to being afraid of becoming a housewife. Not because I am not smart enough to, but because I haven’t been trained in the necessary skills. Would you apply for a job as a softball coach if you had never played in a game? Of course not! But, there is no reason to panic, the Bible has it covered.

Titus 2:2-5 says that, “Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” 

The frequently quoted verses of Titus two used to infuriate me because I had a no understanding of what it meant to work at home for God. I only heard of working from home due to forced submission of females for thousands of years by male dominated society. I became anti-domesticity on every front, mainly because I didn’t understand what it meant to be domestic. The other important part in these verses is that it tells us where to find the help that we need. Older women are to instruct the younger women. The older women in the church are the greatest defense for young women from broken backgrounds. They have been married, they have raised families, they have planned meals. The problem is that we have to allow them to teach us! If I want to learn to cook, I am not going to go to my friends who all know the same level of cooking that I do. Instead I am going to talk to the woman who brings a homemade dish to every Bible study session. Instead of pulling away from the previous generation we should embrace them. We should be taking advantage of the wealth of knowledge that these women have to offer.  

So this week at church look around as you enter the building, many women our mothers’ ages and older are in church well before we get there. Take a moment to introduce yourself. These women have a great deal of advice and mentorship to give; they just need to know that you are willing to receive it. 

25 comments:

  1. I'm visiting from Courtney @ Women Living Well and I really liked your post!
    I'm 23 years old myself and I do know how to boil an egg haha :) I can cook pretty well and loooove to clean! I've never really wanted to be anything else than a great wife!
    I'm still in college for my last year of my masters degree so I do have the knowledge to work if need be :)
    I can't wait to read more of your story! I think every young woman still has A LOT to learn, whether you've been taught by your mother how to make a home or not! So exciting to meet someone who's in the same learning proces as I am!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I applaud and embrace you! Well said! You are young but you are getting it...I have so much I could say as I was raised in a liberal home by a single mom! I chased the word's dreams until God redirected my path. He is still doing that! I have written so much about my own struggles in identifying, learning and seeking to live out this role. If there is hope for me...there is hope for you and God has been faithful to me- I know He will be faithful to you! In His Grace, Dawn

    ReplyDelete
  3. Morgan you are absolutely right!

    I was also not raised learning these arts... I also have an awesome college education. I married knowing only how to microwave some chips n cheese!!! (and they were very good chips and cheese by the way!)

    Thank God for my patient mother in law- she started teaching me these things while we were dating (and I rolled my eyes) .. now I have learned to appreciate her wisdom VERY much! Years later here I am with six kids and a semi-chaotic but homey home...

    Great blog. Keep writing; and learning!
    Emily
    www.weakandloved.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. God bless you for being so brave and willing to learn the art of homemaking. When I first met my future husband, he said that his future wife would stay home and raise the kids. Ha! I thought. See if I ever marry him! There is no way! Well, I ate my words, and have been a stay-at-home mom for 12 years now. My mother was taught a lot about the art of homemaking from her mother-in-law (my gramma.) Finding a mentor will be the best thing you can do in this endeavor. Most men who want a stay-at-home wife have mothers who stayed at home, hence they know the value of this career. So if you find a man like this to marry, chances are you have found a mentor in his mother.
    It sounds like you have already identified some basic things you need to learn, like the menu, but the most important skill to have is bringing God's spirit into your home. You can do this by daily scripture study and personal prayer. When your life is aligned properly, your home will follow.
    Best wishes to you!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm one of those girls whose mother taught me how to cook, clean, do a little mending (other than that I CAN'T sew), and other things in order to prepare me for life on my own.

    Then I got married at the age of 19 and realized how much I didn't know! I've been learning a lot in the last year-plus. I write a TON on my blog about cooking, homemaking, and godly womanhood. I just wrote a post yesterday with ideas for how older, more experienced women can mentor those of us who are younger, because like you, I need that, too!
    http://jaimie-livinginthelight.blogspot.com/2012/07/how-to-be-titus-2-mentor.html

    You have some fantastic ideas here for seeking out a mentor. I will be implementing them! :)

    These pages on my blog have some resources that you might find helpful.

    http://jaimie-livinginthelight.blogspot.com/p/counter-cultural.html
    http://jaimie-livinginthelight.blogspot.com/p/cooking-and-recipes.html

    And, looking at all the blog buttons on the left, you have tons of amazing resources right there! :)

    Thank you for your honesty and encouragement!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great post! I have been married 17 years and while I was never raised to be a keeper at home I have been kinda self taught. I am going to take your advice and seek out an older Godly woman to help me with some of the things I struggle with.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love your story. Thanks for sharing how God is challenging you to be who he wants you to become. Do keep writing. Your story will be an inspiration to many! I'm following you by email now. Hope you will stop by Quirky Vistas and follow as well!
    Liz

    ReplyDelete
  8. After a 13 year successful career plus two Masters degrees, I have decided to stay home. I have a wonderful husband and two great kids that I will also be homeschooling. I will admit that I am a very good cook but it is the day to dy that scares me a little. I was raised in a liberal home with a housekeeper and a nanny. We have had both off and on with our children because it is what I know. I am not very good at cleaning, organizing, etc but I want to learn. Right now though I am getting my fill of daytime TV which I ave never had that luxury ;)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Really? I mean, really? What the heck did you learn in college then? You should have learned to take care of yourself during college. You should have figured out how to AT LEAST boil an egg (you know, so you don't starve), and mend a button (because we all know most college kids can't afford seamstresses). In fact, I figured these skills out on my own when I was in elementary school. It's not rocket science!

    Regardless, if you didn't figure out how to properly sustain yourself during college, at least you'll have learned: a) good time management skills b) critical thinking skills (although, given the fundamentalist Christian mindset it seems you've bought into, this is questionable) c) an education, so when you homeschool your kids, you're able to give them a proper education
    d) a career as a back-up plan in case you don't meet "God's intended" or your husband becomes disabled & can't support your massive family

    How about thanking feminists for giving you the CHOICE to stay home or go to school or have a career.

    PS. I'm sure if you look back in your college texts, you'll see that most women in the Victorian era and the 1950s worked outside the home. It wasn't all pretty & ladylike work either.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with the above comment. I could boil and egg and sew a button by the time I was 7, if not sooner. I do have sympathy for people who aren't taught these basic skills as children, but I'm baffled by the idea that feminists abjure domesticity. I am a feminist, I love to sew, and I spent this morning cooking large batches of pasta and stew for the week... and I baked some peanutbutter cookies from scratch. I am not trying to brag; I just don't understand the black and white thinking - either feminism OR homemaking skills. I am also getting my masters degree in biology and I can't WAIT for a career in research that will hopefully be able to help people.

      Delete
    2. Agree with the above two comments. I have a career, practice good homemaking skills, and am a feminist. Feminism is about equality politically, socially, and economically. Unless you think women should stay home on election day, and shouldn't be given the same opportunities to work as men, then you are likely a feminist too.

      Delete
  10. Please show some Christ-like grace and compassion towards this young woman when you write these comments. It takes a LOT of guts to admit in an open public blog what your weaknesses are. I for one admire this woman for her honesty and humility. She is giving up liberal feminism, choosing to follow Christ, AND writing about it and the weakest parts of herself to TOTAL STRANGERS. That takes a lot of strength and courage.
    I'm so glad to see most of the comments are uplifting and encouraging. That's definitely what everyone needs, not criticism and sarcasm.

    ReplyDelete
  11. In this post, I see a massive failure in logic. The point of an academic education is not to learn housewifery skills--those are skills better taught in other environments. Things like boiling an egg, sewing on a button, planning a meal, and making a grocery list are simple life skills, and I dare say that they fall a notch lower on the critical-thinking scale than the kinds of things one would have to master in order to succeed at university classes.

    I hold bachelor's and master's degrees, and am also skilled at sewing, cooking, and baking--so it's hardly either-or.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Morgan,

    I applaud your honesty and openness as well as your writing skills. :) I am currently getting my Master's degree, but also feel a tugging on my heart to prepare to keep a home when that time comes for me (whenever that is..). It *is* a challenge to learn things on your own when you haven't been taught, but I think that once the ball gets rolling, you'll pick things up quickly -- you seem like a very bright and practical young lady. Don't let the negative comments get to you. I think some people just didn't understand what you meant and have a hard time accepting that we all have to follow our own paths as they are laid out for us. (Also, I just have to say that it's funny how when people are going to say something not-so-nice, they do so anonymously..).

    Keep up the good work. I'm excited to follow your journey!

    Blessings,
    Jaclyn

    ReplyDelete
  13. I feel sorry for you. You are so brainwashed.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hugs and kisses to you! This was such a blessing and joy for me to read! As a young woman (27) who is now a wife and mother, I did not understand that our place is to be at home (most of the time) and a homemaker, untill I surrendered my life to Jesus. Otherwise, it seems "sad" and de-valued or "old school" to feel this way. But no, it's just biblical, which equals TRUTH. I also was raised very opposite and was taught education was everything. Pshh! Yea right....education doesn't get you into heaven, nor does it come with you.

    God Bless you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. P.s. I also lack homemaking and hospitality skills, unless you count my past sinful party throwing as hospitality.....

    Point being, you are accurate and make a good point. We can tell who seeks to please the Lord and who seeks to please the World through these comments.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Why do all you radical "christians" spend so much time worrying about how to be a great "homemaker?" Get off the computer, pick up a rag, and run it over the table tops. That is called "dusting." Did your mother not have you do basic chores to learn how to be a functional human? Laundry, sweeping, making dinner... those arent jobs for women - those are jobs for ADULTS. Its what grown-ups do in order to take care of themselves and act human. It seems insane to me that so many of these "christian" women complain and moan and search for ways to "joyfully be a homemaker" - maybe its too many hours stuck in the blogosphere? Maybe its the brainwashing or shutting themselves off from society, maybe its the homeschooling or just their own natural stupidity (we see how easily they buy into this oppressive and sexist so-called religion, after all) - but get a grip! If you can read, you can cook (there are these things called cookbooks that give you directions for preparing food), if you have hands and are over the age of four, you can do basic chores. Pull your head out of your Bible and TRY to remember that you have a functioning brain, then try to put it to a little use.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Great post!!! I just stumbled by looking for something else, and I'm so glad I did! :) You are so right to seek out mentors... I encourage you to do so now, before you have a husband and children at home. It is so hard to do it then. Grab on to a couple godly women who are doing just as you described in their own homes already. If they are willing, spend time with their families, helping in their homes. If they still have young children at home, I'm sure they'd welcome help cleaning and cooking and such... even if it means teaching you to do it along the way. I know I would! It's my dream to have a teenage girl from church come spend time with me, helping and learning. I am only 34 and my oldest of four children is only 5, but I'm "older" than they are and I'd love to pass on some of what I've learned... especially to this generation of girls who are uninterested!

    Perhaps you weren't really looking for ideas of where to start, but more talking to others who don't know, but I have a couple ideas for you... especially if you can't find a willing mentor nearby (I have a hard time with that myself). My recommendation to you, or any others feeling the same way, is to start by making a list. Perhaps you will use a list out of a book, or maybe you have one brainstormed already. List out everything you want to learn. Don't worry about priority or ordering it yet. Just write it all down. If crocheting is listed well above properly cleaning a toilet, that's ok.

    Next, put that list in priority order. Now that crocheting is down much lower, that doesn't mean you can't start learning it soon, just like the other things, this is just to get you started. At the top of your list may be things like "cooking" and "cleaning". Within each of those, make a little sub-list. Boiling an egg would be listed there (if it's not on the main list.) And so on.

    Now for the fun part. Start working through that list. Pick you favorite, or the simplest, or the one that would benefit you the most to know right away. Find a book, or a website, or an actual person who can show you how to boil that egg, properly clean that toilet, or crochet that washcloth. As you learn and master each thing on your list, mark it off... even throw a date on it for fun. What a great accomplishment to look back on! :)

    Hope this helps!

    Blessings,
    Babychaser

    ReplyDelete
  18. Great post! I think it's sad how many women no longer take pride in making their home. I am 21 years old and credit to myself to being very ambitious. In my heart I want to be a "home-maker", I want to be a good cook, know how to do laundry well, keep the home beautiful and clean, maintain a garden. I want to be the woman God has created me to be -- what's so wrong about wanting to do something that used to be considered honorable?! I'm tired of feeling like I'm wrong for not wanting to be a career-woman. Now, I don't even tell anyone what I really want to do, because most people will look at me like I just want to be lazy and sit around. Granted, many women, I know many...if they are housewives/home-makers etc. they sit around. But I want to be the best I can be. Thanks for posting!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks for sharing! This post makes me feel grateful that I had a mom who was educated as a home ec teacher before going back to school for her masters degree. She taught me how to sew and the basics of cooking from a young age. But she also encouraged me to get an education - because you never know when you might need it. I'm also thankful for friends that have taught me skills as well - like my hall mate that taught me to knit when I was in college.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Please don't ruin your life. The Bible doesn't require you to be a homemaker.

    Remember Proverbs 31? Starting at verse 10, it describes a woman whose worth is far above rubies. She's a hard worker. She does household tasks, but she is *not* a homemaker. She makes products and sells them on consignment. She has no problem with modern conveniences (imported food). She even buys and develops land! This section is often used as an example of a homemaker whose time is filled with industrious homemaking, but if you actually read it, you'll soon see that it's something else entirely.

    Was Miriam a homemaker? Was Deborah? There were *many* godly women who had careers or the equivalent of careers.

    Learning basic life skills is wonderful. By all means, teach yourself to cook and clean properly -- but that's not learning to be a homemaker. As others have noted, that's just learning to be an adult.

    You can be an adult, be a Christian, and still have a career instead of living in a prison you made for youself. God doesn't want you trapped in your house.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Stop overthinking things. I'm a lawyer and a married, conservative Christian woman. How hard is it to boil an egg for pete's sake? And to clean the kitchen? Housework isn't rocket science. Just get motivated and get to it! And, if you need help, hire a cleaning service to help out once a month. Use the skills you learned in college to sit down and plan your budget carefully so that you can afford some help, if you want it. I hear so many women worrying and second guessing their college educations and the fact that they have (gasssppp) jobs? Come on ladies, use those skills you acquired in college and in your jobs (e.g. time management, budgeting, planning, organizing) and apply them to managing your household. Just use common sense, and above all, pray about all things.

    ReplyDelete
  22. ok so I don't think that we can speak for God (outside of what the Bible says), some ladies maybe called to be social workers, nurses, maids, homemakers, etc. but whatever we do we must do not for out bosses, husbands or children alone, but everything we do must be for the glory of God! Lets remember that and respect our fellow ladies for the calling to work in the professional world or the calling to stay at home.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for checking out The Forgiven Former Feminist. I welcome your thoughts and comments! Please keep in mind that this is a Christian blog. Any lewd or inappropriate comments will be deleted.

Thanks!
Morgan