Housewife culture is reviving traditional feminine qualities to improve the health of women, their marriages, and their families!
As some of you know, the status of women is important to me. I have long been committed to ending gender-based violence within a generation. However, I want to take things a step further. Instead of just ensuring protection for all girls and women, I want to ensure that all are able to thrive. It is my hope that with each generation, girls and women will have increased opportunity to live in the fullness that Christ has called them to. Thus, it is so important for us to consistently evaluate the movement that represents us.
For so long, our value and worth has been linked to our reproductive rights. “Women’s rights” have been equated to their right to choose to have an abortion. However, women today still deal with issues pertaining to safety, finances, and wellness.
Just about a century ago, most women led a housewife life. Yet with more women in the workforce than ever before, being a housewife has become an antiquated way of living. As a result, we are seeing rising cases of alcoholism and other disease. Overwhelmed with the stresses of the workplace, women are postponing family planning or are forgoing motherhood altogether. Being a housewife in today’s age is often categorized as economically out-of-reach and culturally out-of-touch. Yet, many working women still struggle with being paid fairly and with finding true fulfillment. Is this a result of us turning away from God’s true design for us? Are women meant to live life in the home? Does the housewife know something that we have forgotten?
In order to better understand a woman’s role as a housewife, we turn to Sister Amy Laurie. Amy is a beloved wife, mother, and grandmother. She is a Christian homemaking enthusiast and teacher of good things. I came across Amy’s story and passion for being a housewife on Instagram – as well as the message she is sharing with the next generation – and I felt I found a kindred spirit. I wanted more modern women to be able to receive this message, and I hope that we can all learn from Amy’s revelation and experience.
Here’s the interview:
Who inspired you to start your blog, Mountain Housewife?
In 2017, I began posting homemaking advice and photos of things I was cooking on Twitter and I had many people asking me for recipes and instructions, and so the blog began as a way to write more extensive instructions and photos. I think my blog is unique in that I share traditional recipes and cooking instruction along with homemaking and marriage wisdom. I just love everything that has to do with home and enjoy writing about it!
My goal is to pass along the recipes, techniques and wisdom that I have gleaned from older women and previous generations as well as sharing encouraging resources and scripture texts. Hopefully, I will be publishing much of this material in a book format.
I want to mention three women that have greatly inspired and helped me as I grow in homekeeping:
- Marla Cilley, Flylady.net, who blogs here on home cleaning, organization, and personal routines. I follow her system for keeping my home clean and clutter-free and my life organized, though I have modified it for my own situation. I recommend her 31-day-beginner course that you can find here and her book, Sink Reflections.
- Mrs. Sharon White, The Legacy of Home, blogs here about mindset, motivation, and home life. Mrs. White has also written many books on practical homemaking and economics, gives tips on budgeting, menu planning, cleaning, organizing as well as well as slowing down and enjoying your home and family.
- Mrs. Lydia Sherman, Home Living, whose blog is here, is a treasure. She is truly that godly older woman that helps us to find our way. She discusses the homemaking mindset, motivation, home life, especially family relationships and manners, homeschooling, dealing with non-family members and the current anti-family society. She is the wife of a minister in the churches of Christ of Washington State.
When did you decide to become a housewife?
I’ve had an off-and-on relationship with housewifery. I married in 1984 and was at that time finishing up college and training to be a teacher. Within a couple of years, I became pregnant with our first child and had started my first teaching job, but it did not take me long to realize that I wanted to be home with my baby. So I took a part-time job at a small private school and kept that until our second son was born. I loved being a mom and was a successful teacher, but our home life was chaos… books, papers, toys, dishes… stuff was everywhere. My husband asked me to come home and focus on raising our family so I retired. That was one of the best decisions we made because I was able to completely enjoy those years and my children.
The truth is, I really did not have housekeeping or organizational skills when I married. I could cook and was good with children, but I had a lot to learn about housewifery. I shared in my article “How I Became a Housewife” how it took me many years to find my focus and settle down contentedly into keeping house. In the early years, I saw myself more as a Stay-At-Home Mom, or in other words, someone who is mostly there to raise the children. Then we started homeschooling, and I loved that, the best job ever, but when the boys got older and went to high school, I felt a little lost and I took a job public teaching again.
As time went on, I realized that my teaching career was causing me to neglect both my house and my marriage and I needed to find a way back home. My husband, this time, was completely leaving the decision up to me, so I started to pray about this matter and study relevant scriptures in the Bible.
With time, I realized that being a housewife, caring for our home and being available to my husband and older children was my main responsibility and was the work I needed to be prioritizing. So in 2017, with my children raised and living independent lives, I came home to focus solely on the needs of my home and marriage. I’d say that was the beginning of my career as a real housewife. Better late than never! Now I celebrate every day in my home. Read the full blog post.
Do you have any advice for women who are in the workplace and hoping to transition back into the home?
Just start doing it. Go ahead and start becoming more domestic and learning to live on one income.
Try to pay your essential living expenses from the main breadwinner’s income and start saving as much of your salary as you can. This could become a savings account that could be used later as an emergency fund, college fund, or home furnishing and repair fund. Now would be a good time to start making and living by a financial budget.
Spend more time at home. Even if you are working in a public job, you can begin to focus more on your home in your time off from work. Build some basic personal and home routines for the mornings and evenings. These two things should give you more time to focus on homekeeping. I suggest a daily PUPA (pick up, put away), decluttering and/or cleaning 15 minutes a day, doing one load of laundry a day. Also you could begin making some basic meals to cook after work. These things should get the homemaking spirit going.
When you do come home, give yourself patience and realize it takes time to settle down and adjust. If you have been running on stress and adrenaline, it will take some time to work out of your system. The adrenaline is like a drug moving you constantly forward and forward until you crash. Gradually you will calm down and adjust to the steady, quiet pace of home.
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.Titus 2:1-5
You reference Titus 2, which talks about teaching the next generation of women. As a former teacher, how do you hope to do this?
As a former teacher, that is a really good question!
There are many ways to teach and the style of teaching, I think, matters very much. My style can be summarized by the three E’s:
According to the letter to Titus, older women should live self-controlled, reverent lives. As older women, they have more time and experience and so Paul directs them to be teachers of good things to the younger women. A teacher needs to gain credibility with her students and so I try to practice what I preach. I hope to be more demanding of myself than I am of my students.
It is through both direct teaching and example that the older women are to pass down the knowledge and skills to the next generation. I find that the internet has provided the perfect platform for this sort of work. We can present a great deal of information, people can access it at their own pace and in a way that is convenient for both the teacher and the students. I can teach without ever leaving my own home. It’s amazing and such a gift!
The Bible’s word for encouragement is parakaleo and it means coming alongside someone (para) and calling to them (kaleo) in a friendly way, cheering them on as well as giving them instruction. I have been able to do this for several years through my blog and social media and have developed some good friendships. Several ladies I have encouraged and they have encouraged me through comments and direct messaging.
The church and community in real life is also a good way to come alongside younger women: teaching ladies classes on practical topics, inviting them into my home to share meals, and taking them meals after a new baby.
The older woman’s ministry is such a rich life of service and it literally opens hearts to the Word of God.
What is your favorite thing about being a housewife?
I think my favorite thing would have to be the order and peace we have in our lives. You know the world is a chaotic place, especially now with so much change. Being here at home gives me the opportunity to create a stable, loving and lovely environment for us.
Order is greatly missing today in the lives of both children and adults; we have chaotic schedules and very little time to tend to the details of home life. But this modern lifestyle isn’t good for long term human flourishing and we see that in the epidemic of mental illness and depression. However, a few generations ago, people married young and the wife and husband both devoted themselves to building a household. Middle class families (the majority at that time) expected to live orderly lives and there was a mother at home making sure it happened. Everyone understood and supported the mother’s role in helping the family to flourish. Every day she was in the home fighting back the chaos.
An orderly, peaceful home atmosphere doesn’t just happen spontaneously. It comes from someone just being there, rooted in a place and a family, making sure that certain things are maintained:
- A cheerful, optimistic attitude. This starts with me. I have to have my own spirit in order if I’m going to share it with my family. I’ve found getting up early and having a short morning devotional and prayer time helps with this.
- Regular bedtimes and rising times. …and I’ll add sleeping in a bed with clean linens.
- Regular, solid meals. We eat at the same times every day and at the table, with real dishes and silverware and healthy food.
- A relatively clean and tidy house. Counters and floors are cleaned daily for good health and a feeling of well being. Everyday belongings are picked up and put away. Everything has a place and a time. Because of this, we don’t waste time and energy constantly looking for things.
- Clean clothes. We have fresh clothes to wear that are neatly put away in drawers and easily accessed, so getting ready in the morning is effortless and pleasant.
- Touches of beauty and comfort. I don’t want to neglect beautifying our home because it brings dignity and calm enjoyment to our lives. I’m not talking about magazine perfection but a mix of cozy, interior details like comfortable furniture, natural light, good lamps, texture and color, flowers, books, scented candles. Handmade touches like throws, quilts and art add a personal touch.
- Family traditions. We attend church together a few times a week. We take family walks after supper. A really cozy tradition we have is sitting together after dinner, reading or listening to music or watching movies.
I find that an orderly, beautiful daily life removes that desperate need to take vacations to “get away from it all.” We have everyday joy right here at home. And when we are away, we look forward to getting back to this sweet life. My husband is on a trip right now and he calls me every day and tells me how much he looks forward to returning to me and our peaceful, happy home.
Order, beauty, our rituals and routines keep our spirits up. They are important for us, for our family, and our friends. Order at home enriches our lives and creates in us more energy to give to the world.