Homemaking Without Kids

Money Saving Mom has a post today answering a reader’s question about becoming a stay-at-home wife. Crystal gives good advice to her reader, as usual, and never questions the decision to stay at home before having children. I’m not sure why, given our culture’s emphasis on paid work as the only path to usefulness for women, but I was surprised to see so many comments advising the future wife to get a job, lest she be bored, useless, and disconnected from the community. Given the demographic for that particular blog, I would have expected a lot more support, and a lot less narrow-minded nay-saying.

I’d urge anyone thinking of becoming a stay-at-home wife to consider it, if only because getting a household set up and running takes a while, and doing it without a little one to throw a monkey-wrench into the works can make the transition to new motherhood that much easier when the time comes to be a stay-at-home mom. I suspect that a lot of the post-partum depression that plagues modern women—even though it is partly hormonal—stems from the fact that new moms are often transitioning not just into motherhood, but also into the new world of homemaking. It’s just too much to take in all at once!

As I said in comments on Crystal’s post, if your homemaking is only for the sake of your children, then you’re shortchanging your husband! Maybe a husband doesn’t need a mommy to tie his shoes for him, but he certainly could use someone to pack his lunches, be a ready (and rested) companion when he needs one, and manage his household in a more detailed way than a working wife will have time to do.The months or years before parenthood are a precious time for a couple, and I can’t think of a better way to spend it than learning to serve your husband.

If nothing else, many men get a sense of accomplishment and pride from being the provider and protector.  Mine certainly did! While our first years together weren’t typical (I was ill, both physically and spiritually), and being at home wasn’t exactly a choice for me, my job as homemaker was such a blessing to my husband that he preferred me to keep it up even after I got better. When Jesse lost a job and bills were coming due, and going back to work would have been as easy as making a couple of phone calls, I offered to get a job to fill in the gap until he was back on his feet. I was surprised to find that he valued my work at home so much that he asked me not to re-enter the work force. We had a difficult few months of it, but we survived!

I certainly don’t want to disparage paid work, but life is much easier and more comfortable for everyone if there is someone in the home whose life is devoted to the physical and spiritual care of the rest of the family. Having a job isn’t a bad thing, but if a woman wants to stay at home, even without having children, she will have no shortage of useful work to do. Homemaking goes beyond sweeping floors, after all. A homemaker is more available for hospitality, volunteer work, and handling the curveballs that life throws (like jury duty, getting hubby’s forgotten lunch to his desk, or helping a sick relative keep house) without having to ask an employer for time off.

In the case of a wife with no children, the family that she helps is not only her husband, but their extended family, friends, and the community. A stay-at-home wife who maintains her relationships can find herself the very busy and much-appreciated focal point of her community, bringing comfort to the sick, visiting the lonely, and helping other families through difficulties. A stay-at-home mother is necessarily less able to fill these needs in the community, so being “at home” in the years before motherhood is a unique chance to serve others and learn how to give of yourself without grumbling—something that comes in handy at 2 a.m. diaper changes.

I think that pretty well puts the “bored and useless” charge to rest, but what about money? Many people seem to think that if you’re not earning money, then you must be costing money. But a second income is often not even worth the effort. It would be nice to sock away some money against the medical bills when baby comes along, but doing the math may convince a woman that the few extra dollars she’s coming out ahead aren’t really worth the amount of time she’s spending to earn it. Add to that the fact that a well-run household can save as much money as a job brings in (if it couldn’t, we’d be broke), and having a job just for the sake of earning money may not be as good an idea as it sounds.

I’ve said before, and it bears repeating, that there’s no shame in earning money. A wife whose husband is willing and able to support her, however, needs to make sure she’s able to do her traditional  job before concerning herself with punching a clock.This is actually a much bigger job than we’ve been led to believe, and I don’t think an industrious woman will ever find a lack of need for her services.

While filling those needs that her husband, family, and neighbors have (needs that aren’t easily covered with money), a wife is also doing something almost unheard of in our culture—she’s forging relationships and building community. In our fractured society, the most common complaint seems to be that there is no real sense of community. Stay-at-home wifehood seems to be a perfect way to remedy the problem of disconnectedness in our society, if we could only open our eyes to the possibilities of feminine servanthood with the home, not the workplace, as its base of operations.

I like this post so much I’m linking it up at To Love, Honor, and Vacuum’s Wife Wednesday linky.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • meclarks
    Twitter: meclarks
    August 3, 2011, 10:06 am

    And, I like this post so much I’m sharing it on Facebook!

    • Cindy August 3, 2011, 10:19 am

      Thank you! :0)

  • Rachel August 3, 2011, 10:07 am

    Just popping in from MoneySavingMom! I totally agree with everything you just stated, and I too was very surprised and discouraged that so many readers were unsupportive of the idea of a stay at home wife. I know my husband and I have never regretted our decision for me staying at home prior to children, and I feel like a lot of the negative responses we got came from those who were envious of our position. Thank you for your post, as this type of thinking is needed more in today’s world!

  • Jen @ One Moms World
    Twitter: onemomsworld
    August 3, 2011, 10:08 am

    Very well said Cindy! As soon as I had my first daughter, my husband encouraged me to stay at home. I did pick up part-time gigs here and there for their first five years, but my ultimate priority was my kids and husband. Fast forward to my husband being laid off due to the economy, I had to pick up slack and get a full-time job and part-time job. Hubby is home full-time and started taking on more “homemaker” duties such as laundry, taking the girls to their extracurricular activities. The girls always have either mom or dad or both of us at home with them. It works so well with us. Of course, I will not lie, I do wish he could find full-time employment again so I could take off some weight from my shoulders but I am blessed that he can be home with the girls. They have really bonded over the last couple of years.

  • Leah August 3, 2011, 10:16 am

    I think you discredit the people who took the time to write, calling them “narrow minded nay-sayers.” Seems like they, and I, put a lot of thought and time into writing. Just because we disagree doesn’t make us narrow-minded. Best to you.

    • Cindy August 3, 2011, 10:18 am

      I think that telling the questioner not to stay at home, even though she clearly said that that’s what she wants to do, is pretty narrow-minded.

    • Guest August 3, 2011, 10:31 am

      I agree. She said they were “thinking” about it and many people offered their thoughts, that doesn’t make them narrow minded.

  • Beth August 3, 2011, 11:24 am

    Cindy, what a great post! Thank you!

    What you said about it possibly being difficult for a woman to transition “not just into motherhood, but also into the new world of homemaking” both at the same time is quite poignant.

    Being a stay-at-home-wife is discouraging at times /because of/ all the flak we get from other women who disparage our decision to quit (or not pursue) another career. It is hard to explain to many women all that being a stay-at-home-wife entails, and why it’s important to us, and how it’s fulfilling….somehow it seems more men than women /get it/…and I don’t know why that is.

    Anyway, it’s so incredibly encouraging to hear from someone like you. Thank you so much!

  • Mary Jo August 3, 2011, 12:50 pm

    I haven’t read the original post from MSM or the comments it provoked. But I know what I would say: If you are thinking about this, then don’t let anyone change your mind. Don’t let fear stand in your way, and don’t listen to the criticism of family and friends that warn you of “boredom” or worse.

    Although my only desire was to be a wife and mother, my husband wanted me to continue teaching after we got married. I honored my husband and taught until our first baby came. Part of me really regrets this, because I didn’t use the time to practice homemaking before the baby came, I didn’t learn to take care of my husband, and the extra stress of teaching made for a difficult pregnancy.

    But on the other hand, I was obeying my husband and we were able to use my salary to put a nice down-payment on our house, moving out of his tiny trailer before the baby was born. If I had it to do over again and the decision was up to me, I would stay home. But I believe I did the right thing.

    It seems though, that there is a greater issue here than just staying at home. The root of it all is whether we will accept the feminist teaching that women can only find satisfaction when they are “taking care of themselves” and advancing their own careers; or whether we will believe what the Bible teaches about true fulfillment being found in serving others, especially our family. Although I don’t consider it ideal, I was serving my family by going to work every day– but I believe I was better able to serve them when I came home.

    Here is a review I wrote for an excellent book on the subject. I would encourage every woman to read this, regardless of their marital status: http://deliciouslybooks.blogspot.com/2010/06/passionate-housewives-desperate-for-god.html

    • Cindy August 3, 2011, 2:40 pm

      I think you certainly did the right thing listening to your husband! Can two walk together except they be agreed? I always feel like I have to say that I don’t ever condemn anyone for living the life that God has plunked them down in! We are where we are, and I’m no one to judge someone else’s servant. I do wish that more people would think differently about earning and family and community, and to that end, I try not to pull any punches, but no one will ever hear me tell them how they should be doing things. Unless they ask for my advice. Then, and only then, I am happy to do so. :0)

      • Mary Jo August 3, 2011, 4:25 pm

        Cindy, One of the things I like about you is the way you aren’t afraid to say what you think without being judgmental. And I agree completely! Untold damage has been done in our homes, churches, and country because moms are advancing their own careers instead of serving God in their homes. I do believe that women can serve their families outside the home, but they need to be VERY careful about letting worldly philosophy seep into their hearts and minds. Even those of us at home battle with that, whether we realize it or not. This was a great post and very thought-provoking!

  • Andrea August 3, 2011, 6:56 pm

    I think there were many conversations on that thread that WERE incredibly narrow-minded: when people said, “Why!?” and followed it up with a “what if he leaves you…”, that was being narrowminded. While it could very well be a reality, it was an inappropriate way to reason an idea out.

    What struck me as ironic was the women who had clearly never stayed home commenting on the post, advising against staying home. Why? What would be THEIR motivation? Some work out of circumstance. Some work because they want to. And some work because, yes, they are narrowminded and selfish, thinking only of THEIR needs and what fulfills THEM. When you get married, and when you choose to have children (notice, I said choose!), you are no longer your own. Your spouse depends on you, your children depend on you. And it goes conversely for husbands; just because I’m a stay at home wife and mom makes my husband’s responsibilities any more important. It doesn’t make a woman’s needs supercede that of her clan’s, in any way, just because she is woman. I still got my Masters degree (a double MLIS/MA, thankyouverymuch), and I’ve worked here and there, but it isn’t worth it. My work experience received whilst I was a newlywed and prior to that time was instrumental in our decision that one of us would be home; the fact that it was me was merely situational.

    So much for the feminist belief that women should have the right to choose.

  • Donetta
    Twitter: donettadalman
    August 3, 2011, 11:16 pm

    Beautifully said!! I agree with everything you’ve said. And I loved the comments here too! I wish more women were able to believe that being a homemaker is a wonderful “job.” The feminist movement did so much damage to our families, to women, and to our culture in my opinion. I enjoy being home and I enjoy serving my family. I don’t need a “real” job or a paycheck to give me worth and it breaks my heart that so many women do. Not that I’m saying that any woman who works feels that way – I don’t have a problem with women working (although after they have children I wish more would stay home and raise them!) – but there are so many that seem to think that’s the only way they can have any value.

    Great, thought-provoking post!! 🙂

  • Marisol August 4, 2011, 7:54 am

    AMEN sister Cindy!!

    I did not read the article to where this blog post stemmed from, but I agree with all that you wrote!
    I too, feel (as many here have commented) that the “feminist movement” has done great damage to the family structure/order that God has planned for us. It has deceived a lot of women into thinking there is no value in a woman UNLESS she is out working and submitting to another man, who is not her husband. So many ramifications to this mentality!
    It’s a no wonder that women rebel against their God-giving calling nowadays, they resent inwardly that they have to submit to another man all day long and have to again submit (if they are followers of Christ) to their husbands when they go home, but since the familarity is there with their husband, that rebellion is more outwardly displayed and causes so much friction in the home/family life. This does not even take into consideration if they have children!!

    We have to stay firm in God’s word and remember that our culture does not dictate how we ought to live, God’s word does and it well supersedes our broken and deceived culture.
    Thank you for boldly standing for the truth!

  • AC August 7, 2011, 1:50 pm

    I am a devout Christian, I love homemaking, am frankly more than a little old fashioned :-), and wish I lived on Prince Edward Island with Anne of Green Gables. I’m also a mom who works full time. I wanted to share a little bit about my story (forgive me for stealing some free space :-)) in hopes that I can provide an example of how a working mother can also be a proud homemaker. I’d also like to dispel the idea that all working moms are standing on the sidelines disparaging our fellow mothers who have chosen to stay at home.

    I worked for over a decade in a competitive industry and made a decision while pregnant to take an internal job that allows me to work from home full time. We have a nanny who cares for our children in our home while I work which means I’m able to be there for milestones, visit over lunch and throughout the day, and give hugs and kisses when a chubby cheek just really must be dealth with. I delight in gardening, baking, cooking healthy meals, keeping our home clean and welcoming, teaching my children, learning to do new things (canning was a big one for me last year!), managing our family’s finances, and volunteering.

    I may have failed miserably in my goal but know that there is at least one (kidding, I know many) working mom who believes her noblest work is in the home and yet enjoys serving others and growing through her work outside the home.

    • Cindy August 8, 2011, 6:12 am

      Sounds to me like you’re doing an awesome job! I work from home myself, because I can’t imagine not being present for my kids. I just wish I could afford to hire some help! You are blessed! I won’t say lucky, because that would be an insult to the kind of work you put in to deserve your situation. :0)

  • Janice
    Twitter: JPlovesCOTTON
    August 7, 2011, 6:39 pm

    There are so many individual ways to look at this sort of thing…. I think homemaking is incredible work and should be very rewarding, but a lot of that depends on the people involved and the choices they make. Working inside or outside the home, for both men and women, is a highly personal choice. I think I could stay more than busy & challenged if I quit my “day job” but those challenges could be different than yours or someone else. In the end, diversity is a good part of making the world go around!

  • Angie August 24, 2011, 9:58 am

    I love this post! This is much an encouragment to me. I am “stay at home/freelance writing/full time Ph.D student- wife”, and I get a lot of flack from family and friends for not having a “traditional job” while I am in school. It is soo nice to hear someone else understand and explain my point of view. I am learning so many homemaking skills (baking from scratch, gardening, making homemade cleaning products, couponing, ect), that I would not have nearly as much time to learn once we start a family. These skills will serve us for a lifetime. Thanks so much for the encouragment! What my freelancing-musician -husband is teaching me, is that there are “non-traditional” ways to do life that don’t have to include a 8-5 job. Every family must decide what works for them 🙂

  • Barbara November 2, 2011, 2:55 pm

    Took the thoughts right out of my head! I have been a full-time Stay at home wife since almost the full 32 years we have been married. I say almost because I bought into the “need” for the wife to work for 13 months in 1983-1984, then again in 1986 for 6 months(this included taking a class @ Boise State to do the work I was going to do) and then again for only 30 days in 1996 as a front end manager @ Albertsons( by the time I left the house, worked all day, drove back home I was gone 10 hours a day and wiped out, OH AND I was homeschooling our 5 children at the same time, see why it was only 30 days?! Sharing this one on facebook!

    • Cindy November 2, 2011, 3:23 pm

      Thank you, Barbara!

  • Lisa December 10, 2011, 9:46 pm

    I was a stay-at-home wife before kids came along, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself! I remember one telling instance when a male co-worker of my husband’s said to me, “What do you DO all day?” So I told him: “I get up and make my husband’s breakfast and pack his lunch. When he leaves, I clean the kitchen and bathrooms and do my housecleaning chore for the day. Then I bake cookies to make sure the cookie jar is always full. After that I make dessert for dinner. Then I make a homemade dinner. The timer always goes off exactly at the moment my husband walks through the door at the end of the day.” (I did always find this exceedingly odd how that always managed to happen. LOL)

    This co-worker then said, “Wow. I wish my wife would stay home and do all that!” 🙂

    (Sadly, life doesn’t go this smoothly at our house anymore, nor am I this diligent in my role as stay-at-home, home schooling mom. But I wouldn’t trade the memory of those days for anything in the world!)

    • Cindy December 10, 2011, 9:55 pm

      Kids just mess everything up, don’t they? 😉

  • Stephanie February 3, 2012, 9:03 am

    This post was such an encouragement for me. I’ve been prayerfully considering this option but don’t have children.

    • Cindy February 3, 2012, 9:14 am

      I’m glad you found it encouraging! There’s so much potential for a woman to build her relationships and community in a useful way. Earning money is nice (and necessary!), but it’s not the hallmark of adulthood that we’ve been trained to think it is.

  • Diana July 6, 2012, 5:49 pm

    I agree with this post so much that I can’t even TELL you how much I agree with it! I have been thinking this for years without knowing how to put it into words so well. Thank you for writing this out.

  • Tania July 8, 2012, 6:00 pm

    Thanks you so much for this blog post! I have been thinking of quitting my full time job to become a stay at home wife. I was able to spend about 1 year total not working full time over the past 3 years, I went back to work full time about a year ago and I have suffered since! When I was not working full time I was able to do so much more around the house, I was able to be a better wife to my husband, and I was overall just much happier and a lot less stressed!

    • Cindy July 9, 2012, 3:29 pm

      I’m so glad you liked my post! I know that it’s quite possible for a woman without children to spend her time at home in idleness, but I think we can also be a real blessing to our communities if we are diligent and careful with our time. Whatever you decide, do it to the glory of God, and you’ll do fine. 🙂

  • chrissy August 10, 2012, 8:10 pm

    i’m perhaps in the minority, i choose to leave a well-paid career in biotech to be a stay at home wife although i NEVER want children. coordinating two high-paced careers was a nightmare. when we were in college we fantasized about working hard and partying harder but the reality is if you have an occupation that financially affords you multiple vacations a year, you are probably too in demand to take vacation! now we only deal with one work schedule and even though my husband works 60+ hours a week we are healthier and happier since i can take him a nutritious meal i made whenever and get all of the other work done so that when he’s home he’s HOME and not doing laundry or taking the trash out or doing breakfast dishes, etc. i don’t miss my salary too much since we’ve cut back on things like takeout, dry cleaning, weekly maid service, gas and our income taxes a couple of thousand dollars lower. i wish i would’ve stopped working much sooner. FYI i’m an in-your-face feminist liberal, i didn’t even take my husband’s last name. i’m 31 and have been married for 9 years and i love it. my husband and i joke that we love each other too much to have children;)

  • Jess October 11, 2012, 8:52 pm

    I am 23 years-old and married for a month now. My husband is in his final year of undergraduate. While I am currently unemployed, I worked for several years. I have struggled with several mental health issues over the past five or so years. When they became too severe, i left work and school to lessen the stress load and to get healthy. When I had made much improvement, I took the extra time I had to plan my and my husbands wedding. Now that we are married, I feel less certain of my original plan to begin working again. There seems to be so much already keeping me busy: getting settled in our new home, keeping budget, cooking, cleaning, maintaining connection with family and friend (not that easy for an introvert), and prayer life- not to mention maintaining (& still improving) my health. We have both been very happy with the current situation and the idea of leaving my work at home for a full-time job sends me straight into a tunnel of fear. While most things convince me that this would be the best choice (especially because it would give me more time to help out in the home my husband and I stay in with my paralyzed mother-in-law and his siblings and because I am preparing to return to school next semester)- i can’t even imagine the criticism that i could face making this decision. Needing Wisdom!

    • Whitney February 3, 2013, 11:16 pm

      I wanted to reply to your post because if I do marry, I will be in your situation. I have also struggled similar things you have, health and social wise. I am not able to have kids, but I still love maintaining a home, gardening, making money doing odd jobs, helping senior citizens and so much more. I would say as long as it is something you and your husband has decided (you staying home and keeping busy) who cares what outsiders think, they don’t know all the work you do and will probably rely on stereotypes from “Desperate Housewives” or something. It sounds like all the tasks you are doing are a job, you are are a caretaker to his mother, a helper with his siblings…not to mention you are going to go back to college and further yourself. Makes me think of Mary and Martha and they weren’t even married! Though they were single and stayed at home, probably helping out with relatives and serving widows and whomever came in their path.

      • Jess February 13, 2013, 5:35 am

        Thanks Whitney! Good to hear from someone so similar. Good luck and God Bless!

  • Robyn October 16, 2012, 9:55 pm

    I am so glad I found this post! I am a homemaker and have no children and was wondering if I was the only one. I always feel guilty when people ask me what do I do and I know I shouldn’t be bothered what other people think but it makes me feel uncomfortable that I’m being judged for it and for going against the trend of women having to have a career to be fulfilled. I have had a career and earnt good money as well, but I was constantly exhausted as a result and having both hubby and I work full time just wasn’t working for our marriage as we were both always worn out and then having to do all the household chores on weekends or after work plus church, it just left hardly any time for each other. I’ve been at home for a year now and to be honest it took me a good 6 months to transition, especially after having worked in such a demanding job, it took some time to slow down. I love having time now to plan our menu, go food shopping, do all the washing and tidying up of our home. I have time to visit my sister and her kids and to go walking with my mum. I’ve also started gardening and am sewing a lot more (a hobby I enjoy). We want to have kids soon and I am so glad I’ve had the opportunity to be a homemaker so I don’t have the shock of transitioning into homemaker as well as becoming a mum. It’s good to know I’m not alone 🙂

  • Beth November 1, 2012, 6:24 pm

    Very interesting post, and I like to think that I come at the issue with a very balanced perspective. I have a 4-year undergraduate degree, a 2-year masters degree, as well as some other graduate work. I never even questioned the idea that I would definitely have a career – as a single woman, as a married woman, and as a mother. I didn’t feel pressured into this, but I never really just assumed I would get married or necessarily wanted to get married, and so I always figured there was a good chance I’d have to support myself financially. I was also always a good student and took pride in academic achievement, and then later derived the same sort of satisfaction from paid professional work.

    However, a couple years ago, a year or so after I got married (to someone who was able to support both of us easily) I was at my wit’s end in my professional job and I decided I wanted to leave it and consider a career change. I hated my coworkers and was bored by my field. I was 33 and the idea was NOT to become a “stay-at-home wife,” but rather to take some time to consider my options, probably go back for another graduate degree, and then switch to a new career track.

    For a year, I did go to school half-time in order to meet the prerequisites for another masters program. I also volunteered, both in an area related to my potential future field, and in another area which I simply found interesting. But then, after maybe a year of that, I realized I just didn’t want to take out loans and get yet another degree, to start all over in a new field in my mid-late 30s. I returned briefly to my old field but remembered how much I hated it, and left it again, to stay home.

    For the last year or so, I have been “at loose ends”… not working and not moving towards a new field. At first, I was absolutely climbing the walls. I don’t believe every woman will feel that, so I would never tell someone they definitely WILL, but I do think that women who are in their 30s or older and who have always worked, particularly in a professional role, will feel some sort of “shock” when they’re not working. There’s a loss of intellectual engagement, and a loss of status. There’s even more of a shock if they’re not working but not mothers – mothers have a ready, socially-acceptable answer to the question of what they “do.” Women who simply choose to stay home do not. Maybe I shouldn’t care what people think of me and my choices, but when for years I’ve had a ready answer which implies I am highly educated, it’s awfully hard to be in the position of saying, “I stay home.” The conversation usually ends there unless I try to press the issue. Many assume I am uneducated and do nothing interesting. I often end up launching into an explanation of what I used to do and what my education is. While working, I never felt that my identity was closely tied to my paid work, but now that I am not working, I realize that it was, and in the eyes of many, my worth is tied to my paid work.

    But, now, I have finally sort of gotten used to being home. My house is cleaner than it ever has been, and my husband has balanced home-cooked meals every day. I even bake bread, make soups from scratch, simmering stock for days, etc..

    It might offend feminists to say that men need to be cared for just as kids do. What about the women who work? Shouldn’t someone care for them, too? Well I say YES. But at the end of the day, we realized that although I was also in a professional job which required advanced education, my husband was making well over twice was I was making. And while my job had stressful moments and even prolonged stress (largely due to my coworkers) his job results in true stress because of risks and rewards, what’s riding on his performance, etc.. So, in this relationship, it makes sense for him to stay in the traditional work role, and me to be in the support role, making his life at home easier. If I were the one with the higher-paying high-powered career, we would seriously look at him moving into a support role.

    I have not switched to this role in anticipation of becoming a mother… I’m not going to become to a mother. But I do believe that being at home now would definitely ease my transition to motherhood. Right now, though I take pride in my household and making my husband’s home life easy, as a well-educated woman used to paid work, I definitely need something for myself. I would be lying if I said I didn’t. Not every woman will… some will very much view domestic life as “their thing.” I really don’t, although I like many aspects of it. So right now I am considering self-employment in an area which I will truly enjoy, though it won’t be particularly lucrative. Although one “side-effect” of that will be that I will have an answer to what I “do,” my desire to do something outside the home (or perhaps at home, but in a non-domestic realm) has more to do with my needing something more intellectually-engaging than merely cooking, cleaning, and decorating.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with either choice. I also don’t believe that anyone can know exactly how they will feel about this choice until they actually do it, and each person’s experience will be difference, based on education, previous field of employment (if there is one), hopes, desires, interests, etc.. And, each person’s experience staying at home will also evolve over time, becoming more or less satisfying.

    P.S. I also didn’t take my husband’s last name! I don’t think that indicates someone is an “in-your-face feminist liberal,” and I wouldn’t be described as such, but I am certainly a modern, well-educated woman. I live in the northeast, not in a particularly child-centric area, and not in an area where many women stay home even if they can afford to. Until I actually ended up doing this, the idea was completely foreign to me.

  • Victoria November 16, 2012, 1:41 am

    I found this article and the subsequent comments to be very engaging, thank you all!

    I am 43, married for 21 years, not able to have children but always wanted at least 10. From the time I was 7 years old I knew I wanted to “be” a wife and a mom. I always think it’s interesting that the Lord chose not to bless my husband & I with that one coveted desire but instead has given me the ability to work with the kids at whatever church we’ve been a part of. Right now, I find that I actually like going to Youth Group more and more every month. My husband & I from the start always said we weren’t going to depend on my income but I’ve pretty much always worked at least part-time from day one. There was a short period where I didn’t work at all but that only lasted for about 1 1/2 years. I was recently laid off from my part-time, practically made for me, job-one that I thought I would stay at until I turned 50. Although it was a serious shock that took me about 45 days to recover from (they say being let go from work is like being diagnosed with a serious disease-I agree), I see the Lord’s hand in it. I had felt such an intense urge for months previously to stock up on food. I’d been healing from a serious chronic sinus infection that needed sinus surgery and slowly on the mend. I didn’t even know why I had felt so awful for the past 7 years until I started the process of seeing Doctors and all that entailed. I see that the Lord enabled me to have the surgery and the healing while working because I had great medical coverage (although being a part-timer) and a great boss and co-worker. I am so excited to begin pursuing opening a couple of booths at local antique malls and next year at local craft fairs. I am a TOTAL creativity kind of girl that just “happens” to be organized and loves the art of homemaking.

    Whatever happened to the “art of homemaking”? I am looking forward to taking better care of my husband and myself by not being so stressed out/exhausted after work, enjoying working with the kids at church, volunteering at the VA Hospital, cooking nutritious meals (and treats too:) , spending time with friends (both our families live out of state), actually start attending weeknight Bible Study Groups up again (I was too exhausted for a couple years to do more than the absolute necessity), have Date Nights with my husband (my job was extremely socially demanding so it left me with little desire if none to be out in public-even for an extrovert, we need to unwind by not being social) continuing relationships with about 20 Pen Pals around the world, studying the Word & praying on a regular basis, keeping a clean home, all while being a Creative Homemaker. I am so blessed to belong to a group of ladies that gather every Tuesday for study, fellowship, and prayer who are mostly all full-time homemakers. Although being out of the work force is going to put a severe strain on our finances (my husbands company forced everyone to take a 5% cut in pay along with numerous other pay incentives), I choose to trust the Lord to supply our needs.

    My husband & I don’t agree that I should not be working at all-even just at the local Michael’s Craft Store-but for some reason, I don’t want to be at the whim of someone else’s schedule and have to work evenings and weekends. Been there, done that. It is a bit of tension for us right now but I am praying that he will in time come to understand and even appreciate me being home full time. I’m sure that in time, I will go back to some type of work-but for now, after all the health issues (I also have severe allergies and asthma as well as back problems) I’ve had to deal with and the unhappiness I’ve gone through with trying to “do it all” for so many years (and not done a very good job at it I might add), I need a definite break and feel that this is the time for it. It may not look right in a lot of people’s eyes, and the way the economy is right now it might even be a “bad decision” but for some reason I can’t explain, I feel this is what I should be doing, so I am.

    God Bless!

  • Shay February 2, 2013, 11:29 pm

    I felt very inspired by this post. I am a new stay at home wife, and even though this is partly to finish my masters degree, my husband and I had some serious “conversations” about how this would impact our finances. My biggest fear was becoming totally and completely dependent upon him, I Must admit; society teaches us all to be “independent women”. His biggest fear is that we would miss out potentially on acquiring more material possessions/money. In the end he came to me and admitted that he would be supportive of anything that I did, and it was then that we truly entrusted our marriage to God 🙂
    It was sad and liberating, the last day I worked but I found comfort and joy that I would be able to be a full time wife to my husband, and not 1/3 wife, 1/3 student, and 1/3 employee ( not to mention an intern as well!).
    This article was well written, and I enjoyed and agreed with it!

    • Cindy February 3, 2013, 5:16 pm

      I am SO happy I could help. Happy homemaking! 😀

  • Devon March 3, 2013, 6:10 am

    What a blessing to have stumbled across your site Cindy! Last year this time, I was enjoying “the life” as a 32 year-old divorcee……high-powered job (with a low paying salary)….beautifully appointed condo in the heart of the city…..hosting fabulous dinner parties and having “people over for drinks” several times a week…….traveling…..spending money as I pleased. Looking back I was never truly happy. A year later, I am blissfully re-married to a wonderful man…..both of us having married too young and for the wrong reasons the first time, we centered our courtship, our wedding, and most importantly our marriage on Christ.

    This was the dawning of a new way of life for me……while we anxiously await the birth of our first child, I have engaged in an internal battle of being “home” before the baby arrives. It has been a true struggle for me! Growing up, both my parents worked and my twin brother and I have worked since the age of 14….it was just “expected”. Before meeting my husband, I didn’t personally know too many people whose mothers stayed home, and therefore had no frame of reference for the value of homemaking. My husband is 18 years my senior, and was the only son of a high-ranking Marine, and a doting and loving homemaker. He was raised in an era where the most common choice for a woman was to stay home and support her family. I don’t want to over-generalize but only after interacting with him and his 3 sisters have I come to recognize just what a difference having a parent in the home makes in overall character.

    Like many of your other readers, I made the mistake of putting my self worth into my career and the salary it commanded. As I’ve become more and more enlightened about my “creational role”, it’s made the transition for me much easier; and as you mentioned, when our baby is born early summer, It will be a true relief to have had time to get organized and prepared (best we can) to keep that transition smooth.

    I thank you Cindy, and your readers for sharing your thoughts and I urge you to continue sharing your knowledge of God’s true purpose for women in this modern world with prayers that your words will be received in the manner in which they were intended; his awesome and merciful grace and love.

    • Cindy March 4, 2013, 9:30 am

      What an awesome story! Thank you for taking the time to tell me about it!

  • Sarah March 14, 2013, 11:15 am

    First off I would like to thank you for this awesome article. I am 22 years old my Husband and I have been married for a little over two years. When we first got together I was having problems with my gallbladder which caused me to drop out of college I couldnt sit through my classes without having to throw up. We got engaged and his parents encouraged us to live together before we got married. As they wanted us to make sure we could live together before throwing ourselves into marriage. Well after eight months of me taking care of the home like a stay at home wife does he still decided to marry me, knowing I had no desire to get a job. After being married for ten months we had our first miscarriage! I got it left and right that I needed to get a job after my miscarriage. I did have a job. A very demanding one if you ask me. Homemaking isnt as easy as it looks I would love to see all the people who tell me to get a job try and do what I do everyday. Fast forward another year and we are having our second miscarriage not five min after finding out I had miscarried here my mother is fussing at me to get a job. Now everyone is down my throat to get a job. I love what I do, I take good care of my man, and in return he takes care of me. I have however been searching non stop for myself a job even though I love mine. When my husband leaves for work at 5am I get right up with him and start my day I clean the entire house down to the nitty gritty. Im talking as soon as we get out of bed that sucker is made up. I sweep and mop all the floors, I scrub the bathroom down toilet and all. I hand wash dishes as I may be old fashioned and do not own a dishwasher. I wash, dry and fold three to four loads of clothes a day. I stay connected with the outside world I am an introvert so this is usually the hard part of my day staying connected. I make sure all the bills are paid up and believe me they are, rarely are we behind on anything. I also may be every mans dream as I do not like shopping, Im good with what I have and I dont just sit around all day and spend my husbands money like people think I do. You better believe I have dinner ready and on the table as soon as he walks in from work. This dinner I speak of is not a tv dinner or a frozen pizza it is homemade dinner that takes hours of prep time. I talk with him about his day and find out ways to make it better for him. From what I can tell my Husband loves me being a stay at home wife. We hardly ever get into fights he is always hugging on me and constantly telling me how much he loves me. He tells me everynow and then that he wishes I would try a job and if it doesn’t work out thats fine. Mostly because people judge him based on me not having a job. Hey If it isn’t broke don’t fix it right. I do however intend on going back to college and getting a job someday, dont get me wrong, I would just rather get our home together before having kids, and etc. Just do not understand how being a Housewife turned into something so terrible.

    • Cindy March 14, 2013, 11:58 am

      Amen! I don’t understand it, either. There’s nothing wrong with being at home. If your hubby really, really wants you to “get a job” for the sake of the money, you could always find something at home that pays. Like blogging. (Kidding. Blogging is not the road to financial security.) I commend you for not buckling to the pressure that’s on you to do something else. Do make sure to stay connected! I’m an introvert, too, and that is definitely the hard thing for me. I could just hole up for weeks and not notice the time passing without serving my community in person. Wait…I think I may have actually done that this week. Oops. Nobody’s perfect. I’ll work on that some more. 😉 Happy homemaking!

  • Amy
    Twitter: JoyfulHomeAmy
    April 4, 2013, 5:30 pm

    I know this is an older post, but I just had to chime in and say how inspiring I found it. I practiced law for a time, but having a two career household with my husband and I being pulled in different directions was just plain stressful. And the more we prayed about and studied it, the more it really seemed like this just wasn’t God’s will for our married life.

    I’ve been told that I will very likely not have children (though I refuse to stop praying and hoping!), so being a stay at home wife in an area where just about every woman works definitely feels a little countercultural. Another Christian blogger I admire a lot once said that as Christians, we need to build our own culture – and I like to think that this life is part of that.

    I love being able to help some of my relatives who are older and need assistance, and I enjoy being able to tutor a few homeschoolers and be more available to serve with the women of my church. I have a small, home-based business but I find that having made home the focus of our family rather than two hectic, heavily schedule careers allows us to seek God and follow His will rather than just surviving from day to day. I’m in an area where traditional, Bible believing Christians can be a little hard to find and so I sometimes long for more community offline. However, I love that I’ve been able to discover some good bloggers online!

    And all these stay at home wives! I was starting to feel like the only one, too. We should start a club or a message board or something….

    • Cindy April 4, 2013, 8:22 pm

      I’m so glad you’re commenting on older posts! It helps me remember what I’ve written. 😀

  • Lauren April 13, 2013, 6:56 pm

    I have been a full time professional woman for 10 years now, and have been the “breadwinner” for 8 years of my child-free marriage. My husband is entering his PhD – so once again I’m plunged into the pressure of supporting us both. I frequently receive commentary about how “lucky” my husband is to have such a supporting wife. Especially as I will now pick up, leave MY job, and move across the country only to find ANOTHER job to keep supporting us for the next 5 years while he is in school. But I look at it like this: I’m investing and paying my dues. I joke, that the moment he is hooded as a “doctor”, I’m quitting my job. It’ll be his turn! And I only half-joke, he wants to be able to support ME also in repayment for all I have done for HIM. And I’m SO looking forward to just relaxing for awhile! My work is stressful with high responsibilities, it’s demanding and exhausting and the pressure never ends. So someday, when I am lounging at 10:00 AM with a cup of tea on my front porch, and someone passes judgement, I’d gladly explain how hard I worked to earn MY time off. I’ll be damn proud of it! And well rested too…

    We all work too hard as Americans, and if both parties are agreed, and it’s a financially comfortable situation, why should both partners slave away if they don’t really want or need to?

  • JaNae Norman
    Twitter: JaNaeNorman
    May 7, 2013, 5:20 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this! I have recently become a stay-at-home wife and in some ways it has been hard because I’ve had some friends think that I’ve absolutely lost it. But I know that this is the right thing for me and my husband. So far I’ve loved being a stay-at-home wife and it amazes me how much we’ve actually been able to save by having me stay at home! Not only that but we have both felt our stress levels go down and we are in much better health. Thank you again so much for posting this. It is so nice to know that there are other people out there who feel the same way that my husband and I do.

    If you don’t mind, I’d love to share this post on my blog!

  • Trina May 8, 2013, 2:38 pm

    I was wondering if anyone knows of some blogs that Christian women that are stay at home wives with no children? And, I thought this article was excellent! I am a stay at home wife, and I have no children. I love our decision, but also get tired of other people judging.

    • Cindy May 9, 2013, 9:42 am

      Trina, I don’t know of any, but if I find some, I will try to post about them on my Facebook page. I get this search a lot, so there must be a big demand for it. You should start a blog! 🙂

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