I am so excited to share this guest post with you today! I meet Amanda some time ago through a blogging Facebook group. I really enjoy her writing and appreciate Amanda's perspective on life. When I sent out a request for guest bloggers Amanda volunteered and I squealed with glee! Thank you Amanda, for taking the time to write for my readers! I know they are going to love you as much as I do! Please be sure to go follow Amanda's blog Quiet Workings.
A Keeper At Home or a Children's Entertainer:
Which Are You?
I wanted to do this mothering thing right. I wanted to be the perfect mom, the mom who has it all together. The one who takes her children on play dates and to the park. The one who comes up with amazing craft ideas and is patient with a 2 year old while others are pulling out their hair. (Haha, have you met me? Sigh...pipe dreams my friends)
Now, as luck would have it, apparently society was on my side. I had women telling me it's okay not to wash your floors, they'll still be there when your children are older. Laundry's not folded? No worries, it's just going to be worn again and thrown back in the wash anyway. You don't want to miss out on the best years of your children's lives. They're only here for a short time and then you'll regret all that time you didn't spend with them.
One day I began to think about how women 100 years ago handled this. Even 50 years ago! They kept their homes for their husbands. They had pride in a clean home. Yes, I'm sure (positive) that they spent time with their children, but it was in teaching them how to care for their own homes. Children spent a lot more time amusing themselves than in being entertained by an adult. In fact, listening to stories from older folks, it sounds like they didn't entertain their children at all.
Then I began looking at my own childhood and memories of my mother. I have never heard her say that she regrets how much/how little time she spent with us as children, and yet, I don't have any distinct memories of her “playing” with my siblings and I (though I do remember that our house was spotless). She read to us. I can remember us snuggled up around her while she read stories, and that is one memory I cherish. I remember as we got older she taught us to play badminton. She helped us put together jigsaw puzzles on family vacations, and took us for walks. She did not, however, entertain us.
I distinctly remember a craft box under my mother's desk in our basement. She would throw toilet paper rolls, meat trays, discarded paper, etc into with scissors, tape, and glue and when we were bored that's where we went. She sewed clothes for my barbies so that I could play dress-up even though we couldn't afford to buy the manufactured ones. BUT, she handed me those things and left me to play on my own.
Then I decided to see what the Bible said. And as I studied Scripture, the Proverb's 31 woman figured quite prominently. I looked at what she did, and while I am sure she did all manner of crafty things (sewing, dyeing clothes, etc) she also made sure her house was clean. There is never any mention of her playing in the dirt with her children (which she may have done, the Bible doesn't say, but it's not what made her special). There is no mention of dates out with her husband (which we all need, time and again, but which shouldn't be our focus).
Instead, the Bible tells us how she made sure that her house was ready. Yes, she has servants (maidens) that probably did the house work for her and, if you can afford it, I say go for it! But she cooked all the meals...and back then that took up a lot of time. So, besides all the things she did to help her husband with the financial side of things (making clothes, etc), she kept up with all the housework as well.
Interestingly, Titus 2:5 shows that being a “keeper at home” is part of our calling as women. I'm not saying you can't work outside the home. I'm saying that our job is to make sure - whether we have 9 children and homeschool 5 of them, or have no children and stay at home, or are a work-at-home mom, or have a full-time job - that our house is being “kept”.
I think, as a society, we have bought into the notion that we need to entertain our children. And we've forgotten that we were created to be our husband's helpmeet.
I have felt this need in my own life, as I stated above. I found myself getting so bogged down entertaining my child that I failed to see that other areas in my life were being neglected. My house was a shambles and my relationship with my husband didn't exist because we spent all our time entertaining our children.
This spring, we moved into a house and I made a decision. My children needed to learn to entertain themselves so that I could learn to be a Keeper at Home. My son had learned to live on TV because that was the only way to keep him quiet in our 3rd floor apartment. He is now being weaned off of it. It is an amazing day when I can tell my husband that the TV hasn't even been on once. And our son's active behavior is infinitely better when he hasn't spent time in front of that fast-paced entertainment. Do I spend time with him? I certainly do. He's only 2 and can't be outside by himself so, when he goes outside, so do I. I play with him for a bit and then I sit on the deck with my almost-10-month old while he plays by himself. At breakfast we talk about his Sunday school lesson and go over his verse and after lunch we sit together and colour for a bit before he naps. The rest of the time he needs to learn to amuse himself without getting into trouble. And he can!
It's a blessing to see my children playing together. It's rewarding to see them playing with the toys that used to sit unused in their toy bins. And it's extremely exciting to see my son develop an imagination as he plays with his toys or marches around our yard with a stick for a sword.
Are you a Keeper At Home or a Children's Entertainer? Will you join me this summer in finding a healthy balance between the two?
Amanda worked as a full-time school teacher for two years before getting married and having two wonderful kids. She blogs about faith, family, food, and fun. While crafting takes up a lot of her extra time, Amanda also strives to help others through ministry in her church and in the community. Amanda, also known as Mae, works as the church music director and is hoping to start tutoring and teaching music again in the days to come.
Thank you Amanda for that beautiful and inspiring post! I know I need to do a better job of finding a balance! How about you?