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What IS contentment??? ~Is it having everything you ever wished for to come true? ~Is it having the perfect husband, kids or house? ~Is it...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Guest post!

Readers...I asked for permission to use this article because I think it's wonderful. It really sums up the way I feel about being at home. This is from one of my blogging buddies and she is always an inspiration to me. If you are interesting in reading more of here articles (and I HIGHLY recommend that you do) she can be found at Clothesline Alley. http://inclotheslinealley.blogspot.com Check her out!

Behind The Scenes
I was recently asked a question that made me pause for a brief moment, "how can you stand living in your husband's shadow?" I can honestly say I have never thought of myself as living in my husband's shadow, so for this reason I was quite taken aback by such a question. It is indeed true that my work, hidden from view of most the world, inside the four walls of my home, will never be celebrate as my husband's work is. There will never be a homecoming worthy for a hero after a year spent doing difficult work in a sandy desert somewhere. Bands will never play for me. Big 'welcome home' banners will not be hung for me. Medals will never be awarded, nor will numerous letters and cards expressing heartfelt thank yous be given to me. (And, let's face it, this doesn't happen for most people, no matter what they do ;o)) The work I do for my family, my loved ones, and the strangers who cross the threshold of our home will never be celebrated as my husband's is, and this is something I am not just okay with but thankful for as well.
I once read a quote that stated the work of a good housewife is felt, not seen, and this is a sentiment to which I most agree. Much of the work I do, day to day, wouldn't even be felt in its full magnitude unless I simply opted not to do it one day. Cooking, cleaning, home educating, laundry, diaper changing, nursing babies, and so much more are behind the scenes work. Many bits of my work allow my husband to shine more than he could otherwise, which is wonderful as I firmly believe his career is my career. Striving to be the best helpmeet to my husband that I can be and the labor of love that is motherhood, is the work in which I take the most delight and pleasure. To me, the fact my work takes place 'behind the scenes' isn't something to bemoan or to seek pity for, but just part of a calling which I feel extremely blessed to have been given.
I don't doubt for a moment that I could be doing something "more" or "greater" by the standards of other people, not for an instant, but that's not where my heart is nor the calling I have been placed in. Many have told me I am far too smart to "waste" myself and the short amount of days I have on this earth, behind the doors of my home, rather than out offering something to the world. While their words are flattering on a certain level, they are always a bit disrespectful for they never suppose for a moment that what I do at home is worth something to me and others. Never for a moment do they consider my "career" allows me to stretch my mind and broaden my horizons, offer something to others, and make a meaningful life for myself. There is instead a narrow definition of what should make me happy, rather than a moment to thoughtfully consider that perhaps their happiness and mine are simply two different things.
I love to be my husband's partner in the way full time homemaking has allowed me to be and having opportunity to be there with my daughter in both quantity and quality time. Taking care of people, offering hospitality, and feathering my nest are special privileges I hold dear, as is all the time for my cooking, baking, herbalism, canning, sewing, and all the other loves & hobbies that fill mine and Peapod's days. I've had opportunity to learn just as much, if not more, while being at home, as I did while in school and working, but the lessons I have learned since "coming home" have been more enjoyable and more important to me. Studying chemistry was interesting, but not nearly as much as mixing my own organic household cleaners or baking my own sourdough bread. Tending to the business books as I once did was a challenge, but not one nearly as rewarding as making my family's money work for us and learning the realities of home economics. Wearing fancy clothes and doing makeup was enjoyable for a time, even glamorous, but the mommy and me aprons, tempera paint, and beeswax crayons are more fulfilling than that work could ever be. For me, leaving the world of the public for that of the private has been a rewarding endeavor and sometimes I really do wish others would see this, rather than feel some strange need to pity me and make assumptions about the status of mine they feel to be so lowly or the work they think so stifling. To each their own, as they say. :o)
When I look at the beautiful example for a virtuous wife and mother, as so eloquently displayed to us in Proverbs 31, there simply is not an example of searching for the glory of the limelight or disregarding the needs of my family for the desires of myself. Instead there is a picture of dedication, humble service, and a legacy rich with love and caring. For me to selfishly step out from behind the scenes, simply to earn the respect of others would not be right, nor would this allow me to best serve my family, which is the undertaking I find the ultimate fulfillment for in my own life. My self-worth comes from who I am inside, from the woman life has shaped me into, and the hard work I put into the precious family I have been given, not through the accomplishments that could have been or what could be done if I cave into pressure and make sacrifices that neither myself or my husband feel wise for our family. Money, prestige, and acknowledgment do not success make, only the fruits that one's labors bear are the marks of true success.
All of the women I admire most will never be celebrated by society, but they are celebrated by the many people whose lives they touched, including their own dear family members. Each of them has a long marriage to boast of, grown children who are walking on the right path of life, friends who love them, and people whose lives they touched, through volunteer work, through Sunday dinners at their kitchen tables, through reaching out and offering bits of themselves to those in need. This is the greatness to which I aspire, although I have no way of knowing if I will ever get there. If I could be half as great as was/is my Nana, my grandmother, and my Mom, I would count myself very blessed indeed.

1 comment:

A Joyful Chaos said...

I'm so glad you shared this excellent post with us!

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