Monday, February 21, 2011

The Heart of the Home

Another day another dirty diaper.

Sometimes I find myself thinking...
"I have a college degree. I studied, wrote papers, and my parents paid a great deal of money for my education. I taught for two years, and now here I am. My days are filled with vacuuming dog hair, changing diapers, cleaning up spit-up, and trying to get creative with cooking meals for cheap. How did I get here?"

I am currently reading Carolyn McCulley's book Radical Womanhood. She brought up a fascinating point that I had never realized before. Our American culture in 2011 seems to place a higher value on the public sphere than on the home. Since when is the home not worthy of a college educated woman running it? Since when is that a "waste" of my time and money?

McCulley writes, "The heart of the home is found in the relationships nurtured there and the comfort offered to one another--comfort we have first received from God, the Father of compassion, and then share with one another (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Home is no lesser sphere...'Just a housewife' is a phrase our culture uses to undermine the importance of the private sphere. Though the marketplace does not value the home beyond what goods can be purchased for it, the ministry to be found there is of immense worth to the Lord. The stability of family relationships, the care of elderly or disabled family members, the discipling and training of children, the warm reception of guests, the making of a lifetime of memories, the daily modeling of biblical instruction, the fresh nourishment in an age of processed foods that contribute to our general ill health, the joy of a Christ-centered marriage--all of these things have long-lasting, if not eternal effects. "

How encouraging! I'm glad I have a college education. I don't believe that choosing to stay home now is "wasting" that money. Now I get to be an educated and empowered woman working from my home, loving and serving my family and community, even it it never makes me a dime.

a typical dinner scene at the Hines home


  1. Amen, Amen, and Amen!!! Well said!

  2. that is an encouragement! and i think our educations make us better mothers, too!

  3. I think whatever job you have, whether it's working inside or outside of the home, it's about taking joy in it.

    Also, it very much depends on where a person is in life. As a married, childless woman (whose husband works odd/long hours) I am still in the "I want to do it all" phase. I'm better at keeping house on days that I actually go to a job! I get sad/depressed/unmotivated if I am in the home for too long.

    For a mom with pre-school-aged kids, that life looks completely different. You have someone to care for 24/7! You can never be bored for too long! :)

    Also, a lot of times when you see moms with school-aged kids, they are often volunteering somewhere or involved in some community group. This is great! If your family can afford you not to work, it's fantastic to be able to focus on the home AND get involved in the community more.

    I think the danger comes when women take sides. They say it's only good if you are a working woman or it's only good if you are a stay-at-home wife. (I get a lot of negative comments from wanting to work, even now!) It looks different for every family!

    Either way, education isn't always about training you for a certain field; it's about developing you as a person. So the college degree is always worth the money!

  4. Caitlin, I'm so glad to hear how encouraged you were by what Carolyn McCulley shared - it's something my sister and I have been really convicted on via the nudging of the Spirit the past 7 months since I moved here. We've been reading books like "A Full Quiver" and by pastors like Voddie Baucum regarding what biblical womanhood looks like, and how it pertains to being a woman in the home. Your college degree is DEFINITELY not going to waste. And Denver is lucky to have you!!

  5. Yes, I made that same choice... 30 years ago and did not live to regret it.... I eventually used my degree and now am home again. It was all in God's perfect timing but I remember having those same thoughts as you, dear Caitlin. God will bless your family and others as you go about your "mundane" chores and make the home that is welcoming and comforting to your family and others. Sarah McDonald

  6. Caitlin,

    I am going to see Carolyn McCulley speak at a conference next month! I am soooo excited. And your education paid off in many ways, because you are an amazing, encouraging writer!

  7. Great post! I felt the same way when Katie was little, but now that I'm a few years in I realize that kiddos start asking HARD questions way earlier than I expected. Looking back I'm so grateful that I had time to work on my home keeping skills while she didn't require much intellectual interaction, because now I am using every ounce of my degree and then some!

  8. hiya love! come over to the team us blog today (march 1) - i have a surprise for you:) (bytheway, i LOVE this post of yours) xoxo