got me a college girl

in celebration of formal education in the life of the Christian girl

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

is homemaking a career? (mollie)

Lately I've encountered the following statement regarding homemaking:

...This is my career. If I were in another career there would be just as many demands on my time and energy . . . it would require organization and routines and schedules .


On the one hand, yes, it does help me to look at my housewifery/mothering job as my "career." It helps the day's demands and routines seem easier to manage, etc., as I'm not thinking that I just sit at home doing nothing constructive all day. Most likely it's a psychological approach to the thing, no?

On the other hand, what of mothers and homemakers who work at home as well? Or work outside the home? If a mother does all that I do and works (whether it be a few hours or forty hours a week) at a monetary paying job, something that she's been educated toward doing, and this is her "career" what is the *other,* then? Is it secondary to her career? Is her job secondary to her "career" as a mother?

Or are homekeeping/mothering/housewifery and the term "career" polar opposites?

13 Comments:

  • At 10:32 AM, Blogger Camille said…

    I have nothing to add to this. . . .yet. But I have been thinking about the same thing. How would this make me do things differently? Is home-making my career? House-keeping? Mothering? Wifery? I dunno yet. . . . but the dirty dishes are calling.

     
  • At 10:54 AM, Blogger Elizabeth said…

    I read that as refering to mothering & homemaking... It's my primary vocation at the moment... I think even mothers who working probably consider mothering/homemaking a primary vocation, and would have an even greater need to be focused & organized during their time at home.

     
  • At 2:20 PM, Blogger Renae in St. Louis said…

    When forms ask for "occupation," I put "Homemaker," which I like better than "full-time mom," "stay-at-home mom," or something similar. It has been very helpful for me to think of homemaking as a career. I stopped working in my former "career," college administration, when my first child was born about 7 years ago. It's taken almost all of those years to begin to embrace my role as a homemaker, not because I resent it or because I wish I were still working outside the home, but because until recently it had never occurred to me that homemaking was something I could prepare for, learn about, do "professional reading" about, acquire new skills for, etc., like I did when I went to undergrad and grad school for my other career.

    (In fact, I'm rather impressed by the bloggers at another site who've decided for their own personal reasons to not got to college and instead train, in the way they think is best, for their future careers as homemakers. It's not a path that I would choose, but on the otherhand I feel like I went into this whole wife/motherhood/homemaker thing a bit unprepared!)

    So I've struggled along doing housekeeping chores and meal preparation kinds of activities with little planning or organization until recently, when I forgave myself for "not being very good at this" and admitted that reading a few books, getting advice from others, or doing Internet research was a very helpful way to add to my repertoire of homemaking skills and abilities.

    I also consider my college education part of that repertoire, in part because I love to learn, appreciate having had a chance to learn in a formal higher education setting, and (as part of my Homemaking responsibilities) am passing that love on to my own children.

    I don't think homemakers need to be the ones solely carrying out all of their responsibilities in order to be considered homemakers. For example, I consider my responsibility to educate my children part of my job as a Homemaker even though I do not feel called at this time to homeschool. I have read alot about homeschooling, have quite a children's library built up at home, constantly read about childhood education, and plan educational activities for my children related to academics and our Christian faith. But, my school-aged kids attend school outside the home.

    Therefore, addressing Mollie's question about whether or not women working outside the home can be considered to have a career as a homemaker, I think many Christian women who work outside the home DO consider themselves homemakers. I would guess that they delegate at least some of their homemaking responsibilities to others, either within their families or outside of their families.

     
  • At 10:19 PM, Blogger Givengrace :: cupoverflowing.com said…

    Renae, I'm interested in your statement: "I'm rather impressed by the bloggers at another site who've decided for their own personal reasons to not go to college and instead train, in the way they think is best, for their future careers as homemakers."

    I have not seen that site, but since you know a bit about it, help me understand the logic involved here - are the bloggers engaged to be married and thence their "future careers" will begin on their wedding days? are they already married and they're wanting to train themselves better?
    Or are they college-age girls who desire marriage and family, so they're solely dedicating themselves to the pursuit of those necessary skills?

    I'm guessing it's the latter, but I could be wrong (in fact, I rather hope I am). If that is the reason - if these girls are rejecting further education because they find household skills to be more pressing for their future desires, I'd like to know what such a girl should do if God should not have marriage in the plans for her.

    Homemaking skills are valuable and desireable, but they aid little in supporting oneself independantly.

    Also ~ suppose one such girl should marry a man who needs to finish school or gets laid off or physically ill - and she needs to become the primary bread-winner. Would not a college education prove very useful in such a situation?

    Rather than choosing between homemaking skills OR education, why not choose both? Why not gain a good education which will provide more options and possibly bless the home she wishes to nurture . . . while also refining her home-based proficiencies?

    I know you probably weren't intending to generate such a discussion, so bear with me =) However, women do exist who truly believe women have no need for college education, and I want to understand their perspective while currently (and respectfully) disagreeing with it.

     
  • At 11:12 PM, Blogger Renae in St. Louis said…

    Well, not knowing any of these bloggers personally, I'm just guessing that they are late teens/early 20's women who have decided that college is not their scene and are training for a future homemaking stint through a non-college path. Of course you are correct that these women may indeed always remain single. If that were the case, I would suppose someone in their shoes would say that their preparation was not in vain, but that, for example, God intends for them to use their skills in service to the local church body. I don't know, though, and risk setting up a straw man for others to knock down by saying much more than that.

    givengrace says: "Homemaking skills are valuable and desireable, but they aid little in supporting oneself independantly." I'm not sure that identifying certain skills as profitable or not profitable in the marketplace is all that helpful here. My husband has a degree in history. The big joke among fellow history majors was, "What are you going to do with that? Open up a history store?" There is the fact that having a college education makes you more marketable than someone without a degree, regardless of your college major, but if someone feels called by God to focus on home-based skills and activities and doesn't feel called to go to college, that person may also be convinced that God will provide in those times of financial distress that you describe.

    Yes, you are right. There is a certain segment of Christian culture that believes *all* women have no need of college. I guess my previous post really didn't address that. I instead mentioned women whom I think, but don't know, have made a *choice* to not attend college. Telling a woman she has no need of college is a different kettle of fish. If someone had told me that when I was 18, I would have rebelled all the way to the first day of orientation. I haven't read my way all the way through this blog, so maybe the posts are addressing this issue more than they are the issue of *choosing* not to go to college.

    And, I agree with you. My college experiences have made up a large part of who I am, including who I am as a Christian wife and mother. I learned a lot about myself as a Christian by having my faith challenged in a diverse, large-university environment, and I saw a big picture of God through the eyes of the wide variety of other Christians I have met on various campuses.

     
  • At 6:54 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    I have enjoyed reading the interacation here. Great discussion!

    I tend to feel like homemaking is a career for me. It consumes most of my time, is something I read about and strive to do better in, and is how I would identify myself if asked. I love the phrase "home maker"..it is what I hope that I do.

    But, the pay isn't so great (money wise, that is) and even if I tried to resign my position, it couldn't happen. If I went on strike, the laundry would still clone itself in a pile in front of the washer!

     
  • At 8:10 AM, Blogger Givengrace :: cupoverflowing.com said…

    Renae says: "There is the fact that having a college education makes you more marketable than someone without a degree, regardless of your college major, but if someone feels called by God to focus on home-based skills and activities and doesn't feel called to go to college, that person may also be convinced that God will provide in those times of financial distress that you describe."

    You've made a good point here - especially about God's ability to provide in times of financial distress. And I think, in the big picture, knowing what we know about God's control of the universe and love for His children, we don't need to worry about such things.(Lk 12:22-30)

    That being said, though, I still believe a college education should not be so easily rejected. Obviously it is a personal choice for each individual, & costs and time are big factors to consider. But as it stands, I cannot see any harm that would come to a young girl, desiring marriage & family, who also gains a college degree.

    From what I understand of "helpmeet," it does not just involve cooking, cleaning, or other "typical" homemaker skills. Being a helpmeet means effectively supporting or completing your husband. So, for girls pursuing their own homes . . . actively learning homemaking may actually include rather than ignore education.

    I just see so many benefits for a girl going to college - whether she marries or not. And I see so many dangers in deciding against it because she hopes for marriage instead.

     
  • At 10:21 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Givengrace,

    I think you hit the nail on the head.

    Who says it has to be either or?

    Something that distresses me about this mindset is that a young womsn is waiting for her knight in shining armor. This is not what being busy about Kingdom work is all about. Marriage is a worthy and noble goal. But if you are busy is what God's calling is for you in whatever season of life you find yourself, you will not have time to be dreaming and imagining things that might not be a part of His plan for you.

     
  • At 10:38 AM, Blogger greenemama said…

    given grace says:
    From what I understand of "helpmeet," it does not just involve cooking, cleaning, or other "typical" homemaker skills. Being a helpmeet means effectively supporting or completing your husband. So, for girls pursuing their own homes . . . actively learning homemaking may actually include rather than ignore education.

    i totally agree. i highly doubt that "helpmeet" is a term to primarily describe as "a cook or washer-woman." certainly some wives may need expert cleaning and cooking skills in order to *help* her husband in his vocation, but most do not. "everyone needs food and clean underwear" is not reason to dedicate ones education toward housekeeping alone.

    i don't know that i call my homemaker position my vocation or my career. i think that i'm "putting my career on the back burner, do some here and there but not primarily, until my children are grown and gone and there is time for such things once again." if a girl wants to be a career nanny, even a free nanny who lives with the family and helps with the housework, too, before and after her alleged "future family," then i could view whatever it is she's pursuing as career goals.

    which brings us back to "how much formal education should those pursuing housewifery endeavor to procure?" is it *better* for them to apprentice with wives (how do they apprentice to be wives again? being a wife is *not* about housecleaning!) and mothers (and mothering cannot be learned without becoming a mother oneself!) who are in the thick of it and know very little about the thing themselves, are still learning, or is it better for them to better their minds, to learn how to think and to study, to learn more than just trade-skills, to learn from experts in many fields, so that when they achieve a position as mother's helper they're actually helping the mother as more than being a grunt-laborer?

     
  • At 12:52 PM, Blogger james3v1 said…

    I'm reticent to post this, because I've enjoyed your interaction and because I have no real opinion about the topic in the original post. I also do not desire to add "heat" to this discussion but rather "light."

    I appreciate what has been said here. I don't know what blog Ranae is referring to, but there is a young lady living with my family who is pursuing just that--education apart from college.

    Mollie wrote, "to learn how to think and to study, to learn more than just trade-skills, to learn from experts in many fields, so that when they achieve a position as mother's helper they're actually helping the mother as more than being a grunt-laborer?"

    I hope that you all do not see what these ladies are doing as "being a grunt laborer." My sister-in-law is learning patience with large numbers of children, learning to teach children who don't think like she does, and has been an invaluable resource in many areas as well as pitching in around the house.

    She also is pursuing eduction informally outside of our home. She's considering taking a course in glass-blowing at a nearby glass-blower, reading, learning to think critically from others in her ineraction with older adults.

    Being a wife is much more than cleaning! I totally agree with that. In fact, my wife is worth more to me as a helpmeet when she is doing other things than cleaning and laundry--though these things are necessary for the management of the home.

    I continue to follow this blog with great interest and am glad that you do not look down upon those who choose not to go to college. That, after all, is what a choice is. :0)

    Some of us learn much better in a formal setting and some better in a less formal setting. Both are important, in my opinion, and neither is to be despised.

    Thank you all for helping me to gain a better perspective of young women in college. Keep up the good work.

     
  • At 2:04 PM, Blogger TulipGirl said…

    Something that sometimes gets lost in these sorts of conversations is the worth of education (traditional or non-traditional) apart from the means to earn a living in the future.

    And I know that both the college girls on this blog, as well as those who are not supportive of college do value education apart from trade-training. . .

    But doesn't it seem like that is the direction the conversation tends to go? If she doesn't go to college, she won't be well-equipped to support her family, should the need arise. . .

    I want to go back to university. Eventually. Not for the big-bucks or trade-training or a career. . .

    But should a young woman be thinking along the lines of training to support herself or her family, may I recommend studying to be a dental hygeinist? It can be very well paying, even for those fresh out of hygeine school. It is in high demand. And very often the hours can be flexible for mothers--getting full time wages for working 2-3-4 days a week. . .

     
  • At 3:20 PM, Blogger Givengrace :: cupoverflowing.com said…

    James3v1, You brought up some good points, and I appreciate your helping me to understand a different perspective better.

    Your sister-in-law's choice not to attend college seems to be good for her and your family, and I don't at all mean to criticize it.

    God's plan is different for each of his children, and few life-path decisions can be dogmatically the same for everyone. While I still view a college degree as a worthy - perhaps most worthy - choice for most young girls after high school, I also admit that not every girl should do so.

    And while I fully intend to encourage my own daughters (someday) to pursue as much education as possible, I do not look down on the women who did not or could not attend college. My own mother never went to college, and I view her as very admirable and excellent. =)

    Tulipgirl, I also like what you said about the whole being-able-to-make-a-living argument. That is a big benefit of college, but as you've pointed out, it's not the only or most important one.

    I guess much of my belief regarding this subject stems from my understanding of Scripture as it relates to my own life's situations. I spent four years in Christian/Bible college because I believed (and still do) that nothing is more eternally valuable than the study of God's Word.

    And, to be transparent, I think I assumed that I would meet and marry someone after those four years, become a homemaker, and never work a secular job for a day in my life.

    But looking back, I realize that "my plan" was not God's - at least not for now. While I still desire a home/family of my own, I recognize that submission to my Heavenly Bridegroom requires more than a willingness to marry. I need to be surrendered to any vocation - any calling - and for me, that means surrendered to pursuing further education and all its future benefits.

    God obviously knew my future before it became my present, and He allowed me to gain undergraduate education for His own purpose. And so again, I am reminded that God's plans are different for everyone.

    Many Christian girls will marry out of high school or college. Some may never need to work outside the home.

    But I think that any degreed Christian women would tell you - she absolutely does not regret the decision to develop her mind and intelligence through school.

    Whatever choice a woman makes, I hope she will do so after much prayer and with a fully surrendered will. And I hope she will at least consider college.

     
  • At 5:19 AM, Blogger greenemama said…

    james:
    when i refer to "mother's helper" i'm referring to the practice in general, in theory, etc., and not specifically writing about anyone in particular. while i *know* you all in real life, i have not witnessed enough of the apprenticeship (or whatever you prefer to call it) going on in your home with your sister-in-law to decide as to whether it seems that she is more than a "grunt laborer" or not. :)

    tulip girl:
    i completely agree that college in order to make money and support oneself when there is no one (husband, father) to do so any longer is an unnecessary argument for college education. i think that it's nearly an excuse -- "my daughter is attending college in the event she does not acquire a husband." why does that even need to be said? education in general is worth more than the money that being educated *can* pull. i would hope that that is something of the tenor of the blog. ::???::

     

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