Here are the cast of characters which are rolling over and over in my mind trying to fight it out for a winner:
#1: My baby sister's best friend's blog. She has seriously gone to the serious place on Biblical womanhood. Submission, head coverings, bread making, natural child-birth having, staying-at-home, sewing....the works. She also reads a ton of stuff on all these subjects and makes you squirm with her knowledge. She's hardcore. My dad wishes he had a girl like this for his daughter. She's all he tried to teach us. :) I also can identify with her on her all-the-way mentality. I'm like that. I like taking things all-the-way (that's what she said.....oops...sorry). It's hard for me to do things part-way, which is where I feel like I am now. In the middle somewhere. So I'm jealous of her decisiveness in what she believes.
#2: My friends at church. Most of the women at my church work. Most of them work in various ministries, but they work "outside the home". And they are all good mothers too....concerned with their children's hearts and minds and all that. Lots of good stuff there. And they seem to have good marriages too. I'm sensing that since they aren't all together all the time as a family, that the time they do spend together is pretty "quality".
#3: Women from various blogs I've read (and some I've known) who are kinda the perfect stay-at-home mom type. Decorating, cute-clothes-wearing, possibly homeschooling, healthy-dinner-on-the-table moms. It sorta seems to be the new Christian mom way of being the "keeper of the home". I mean, we want to create this good environment for our husband and kids so we obsess about things like nutrition and organic foods, micro-managing our children's education, trying to stay fit and attractive for our husbands and decorating our homes to make it a peaceful haven for our family. For these women, they are often doing this more out of their own preference than because they consider "being home" a Biblical issue. Lots of stay-at-homers nowadays aren't doing it because they feel that they are mandated to. It's more like a backlash against growing up in the 70s and 80s when lots of the women became career moms and their kids (my contemporaries) were shuffled off to daycares or nannies or other childcare agencies. Some of these stay-at-home women are just trying to give their kids the family-oriented childhood that they feel like they missed out on.
#4 Last week I listened to a program called Midday Connection on the Moody radio station. Granted, I didn't hear the whole thing, (I was in the car) but something the women said stood out to me. It was something about how the Titus 2 scripture about women being keepers of the home makes a lot of modern women feel like they need to just be home all the time and the women on the program were sorta challenging that idea. They referenced a book called Ten Lies the Church Tells Women that suggests that when Titus was being written, it wasn't a call for the women to get out of the workplace, (since none of them would have been allowed to work out of the home anyway) so it was actually a way of honoring what women were doing...a way of saying that what they did mattered. It was meant to build women up, not to limit them, because women weren't able to do anything out of the home anyway.
In the Biblical culture, women had so much more that they had to do: beating their clothes on a rock, grinding the grain, baking the bread, working in the fields, living an agricultural lifestyle. "Women in the home" meant women were doing creative and industrial work. Their work had a sense of necessity and contributing to the families livelihood, (whereas, you know, scrapbooking would be what you call a non-necessity). Now, we have this sense that Christian women need to just be home tidying, baking muffins, micro-managing their children's lives, and having each other over for coffee and scrapbooking...the June Cleaver model. And if a woman wants to do that and enjoys that, that's fantastic, but if there are women who are gifted in other areas, they should be free to do that. That was the gist of what I heard in that program anyway.
SOOOOOOOOO....what's a woman to do? I feel like a crazy person that can't decide who she is. I feel like I could jump into any one of these camps at different times (depending on who I'm thinking of or what I'm reading). I want to create a nice home environment; I want to have a close relationship with my kids; I want to homeschool because I like teaching and I think school is boring for a lot of kids. But...I hate crafts (all of them...really, truly) and I'm only so-so at keeping this place clean and organized, and sometimes I want to run away and not be with my family for a few hours. Is that okay?
And I try to order some food from a locally grown organic farm sometimes, but a lot of nights I feel like giving the kids macarroni and cheese and ordering sushi for Matt and myself. And although I really want to make sure I am discipling my own kids so that they will know and love the Lord, I'm also an outside-the-home type who feels like my kids will survive a few mornings a week in preschool so that I can tutor...well, someone else's kids. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not your "career woman" but I often feel like I don't I fit in with the typical Christian "stay-at-home" model either. This not-fitting-in makes a woman feel very, well....medium.
Well, Claire and Sammy are taking a bath together and I just heard Sammy say "lets pretend I'm nursing". Awesome. Better go.