When we think of “work,” by and large, what we think of is productivity in the marketplace. Actual work is equated with producing something outside the home and bringing back an income. And SAHMs are considered to be “not working.” We just “stay home” with the kids.
Not sure when this stream of thought completely infiltrated my mind, and soaked into my bones, but look through the pages of Scripture, and you will not find a sentiment close to this anywhere.
It seems to me, to come down to a few key definitions - what work is, what the home is, and what our God-given jobs are in this world he has made.
Work is for everyone, men and women. Work is God’s good design, and it’s baked into what it means for us as people made in God’s image, to reflect him. It’s satisfying to work hard, and you’ll know this because it’s equally depressing when we have nothing to work for, to cultivate, to build.
The home, contrary to modern sentiments, is not the secondary arena in which life and meaning take form. It’s not just the place you return to, to eat and sleep. It’s actually the first institution, the first sphere of learning and knowledge, of formation in virtue. It’s the place where loyalty deepens and character is tested. It’s also the place where order is seen, and excellence and beauty are on display.
Dear SAHMs, God’s command to men and women was to take dominion over the earth on his behalf and to cultivate it - an act of multiplying his glory until he returns. This is our truest ACTUAL job.
Now imagine completing this great task - of bringing out the fullest potential of the people and the earth he’s made - without strong vibrant homes, full of virtue and order, beauty and wisdom. Imagine industry, law, or marketplace without roots in true knowledge and understanding.
Mamas, our homes have been depleted of their real meaning (especially following the influence of later waves of feminism). We have bought the lie that work does not begin in the home, and that work doesn’t count in the home. They’re strategic lies from the enemy that will keep humanity emptied of soul.
Work begins in the home, and if you get to be there full time, there is MUCH work to be done. What a thrilling job description with enduring purpose. I truly feel this.
Are you feeding people three times a day? Learn to do it with excellence and growing knowledge of the craft. Are you running systems to keep people clean, clothed, and enriched? Figure out the efficiencies needed to keep those systems running well.
Are you rearing living breathing people into future adults who will influence others one day? Take that role seriously, prepare, and invest deeply in their formation. Are you opening your doors to outsiders in need of respite? Cultivate such order and peace in your domain that others might feel it when they enter.
The home is just a building with four walls, a kitchen sink, a toilet, and a few bedrooms, without a keeper with vision. It is a merely a frame of what it’s meant to be without the rhythm of living, value, culture, and atmosphere brought to life by the manager of that home.
If you “just stay home,” well, I say you hold a profound responsibility in your hands. And with God’s help, I also want to say, let’s get to work.
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