Thoughts on family, fatherhood, work, and home-life… in a post-global age

The Tradwife Movement Reminds Us of the Virtue of Service in Marriage

There seems to be what I see as the beginning of a substantial backlash against many things we have taken for granted in culture and society for the last five or six decades in the Western world, and particularly in America. One of these is the notion that motherhood and homemaking is an inferior, subordinate role that oppresses and demeans women, and that women should therefore eschew it, and join men in the workplace. The rise of the “TradWife” (traditional wife) movement is part of the kickback against this – and one with which, in large measure, I agree.

I was raised by a traditional wife and mother: Ma never worked outside the home during my lifetime, although she did work as an English teacher during the first few years of her marriage to Pa. But not long after my oldest brother was born, she left “outside” work, and returned to the home. And there is no question that I benefited – we all did – from her ability to devote her full time and attention to being a wife, mother, and homemaker. We had clean clothes, a clean house, healthy, delicious homemade meals, baked deserts, and much else, thanks to her not needing to squeeze such things around full-time (or even part-time) work.

I also have no doubt that I was saved from many opportunities to “sin and err” by the fact that I knew she (or if she had to be away, my grandmother) would be there waiting for me when I got home from school! And no matter how far I roamed, through the woods and fields near my house, I never seemed to be out of the range of her call (a resounding “Tooommmmmmmmmm!”), that echoed through the air, come supper time – to the awed amazement of my friends, who were shocked that such a small person (she was all of 5’3″ in height) could call so loudly.

I empathize with the nostalgia for the immediate post-WW II era. Although I was born in 1965, I was in many significant ways a “child of the 1950s”: Ma and Pa were married then, and both my brothers were born in the ’50s (I was a late-comer, and rather a surprise, at the time!). So I get it! My concern about the TradWife movement, however – despite my admiration for many of the women involved, and my agreement with the basic premise that both women and their families are benefited by them being at home with and for those families – is that many or most of them seem to take the 1950s as their template for what a “traditional” wife should be, and do.
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Homemaking (or Homemakers) Monday – a growing trend?

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Mountain Housewife (@mtnhousewife) on Twitter shared this lovely image and posted,

“Imagine a day when the ordinary mother caring for her home is held up as an ideal again. This stamp celebrating the homemaker was issued by the U.S. Postal service in 1964.”

That was just a year before I was born! Back when there were only slightly over 2 billion people on the whole planet (there are something like 7.3 billion, now, and the number keeps growing), America was proud of its identity as a Christian nation, and my mother was equally proud of her membership in the Homemakers Club.

[These still exist, by the way, although they’re not as large, active, or prominent as they were in her day. Traditional Homemakers Clubs “are generally grouped by location and focus on homemaking skills, personal growth, socialization, volunteer efforts and improving the community,” just as they did in the 1950s – 80s. But, as I say, they are not as widespread. I could not find reference to an active one in Maryland, unfortunately. When they exist, they are usually – as they were then – under the auspices of the Agricultural Extension Service of the local land-grant university. The link is to the University of Kentucky!]

[UPDATE: I take that back! There do still seem to be a few active clubs in Maryland, including one in Frederick County, not too far from me.]

But when I looked up “Homemaking Monday,” thinking it would be an annual observance, what I found surprised me – and pleasantly so! Quite a few blogs of homemaking women, “Trad Wives”, etc., seem to be viewing “Homemaking Monday” as a weekly occurrence, a time to celebrate the art of the housewife. That is encouraging, in my view!

That said, though, see “Why tradwives aren’t trad enough,” for a discussion about the limitations of this approach (which typically takes the very historically and economically exceptional 1950s as its template), and some suggestions for possible solutions to this dilemma – one which closely tracks my own thinking on the subject (think Proverbs 31:10-31). I’ll probably write more on the subject at a later time.

But for now, let me just celebrate the fact that at least a growing number of women are rejecting the idea that they should emulate Industrial Revolution (and post-Industrial Revolution) men, and work outside the home to find their fulfillment. I don’t even think that’s a good idea for most men, and I certainly don’t think it’s a good idea for women. But as I say, I’ll write more on that subject anon.

In the meantime, kudos to those women who are at least keeping the skills, arts, and qualities of the homemaker alive. We can re-weave some of the broken strands of truly traditional home and family life later on. Survival and preservation is an important first step, and I doff my hat to these women!

 

And on a related note… Be a rebel. Save society.

Be a rebel – and save society

Yes. This.

Settle down, raise a family. This is going to take a while.

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“The real way to leverage your time and make a lasting difference is exponential and generational: get married, have children, practice your faith, raise liberty-minded children, be active in the community, serve your family, homeschool your children, give them a real education, and teach them to be self-sufficient, well-read, healthy, and wise.

The quote above is an excerpt (I’d say, the key excerpt) from a friend and fellow Christian clergyman’s Facebook post this morning. Here’s the whole thing:

“What’s the best way for young people to fight for human liberty in the west? A podcast? A blog? Go on a speaking tour? Run for office?

“Maybe.

“But the real way to leverage your time and make a lasting difference is exponential and generational: get married, have children, practice your faith, raise liberty-minded children, be active in the community, serve your family, homeschool your children, give them a real education, and teach them to be self-sufficient, well-read, healthy, and wise.

“And raise each of your children to do the same thing and create strong families of their own.

“Living the swinging single libertarian life and/or having a biologically unfruitful relationship simply neutralizes and nullifies any long-term influence you might have had, and surrenders the field to others who are doing the hard, generational work of raising their own children to promulgate their values. The cultures that reproduce will push all the others out. And if that culture is oppressive and tyrannical, you don’t want them in the majority.

“This is akin to Aesop’s Fable of the tortoise and the hare – only in this version, the rabbit is sterile while the turtle is prolific.

“The west is dying because most young people don’t have the long view in mind, and also because young women do not understand the old adage about ‘the hand that rocks the cradle [rules the world]’ and are thus clueless about what it means to be truly empowered and strong.”

As our Eastern Orthodox brethren would say,

Wisdom! Attend.

Now, if I could just find someone to raise a family with…! *wry smile*

 

“Why Feminism Is Never The Answer” | Make Womanhood Biblical Again

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“Christian women… if you’re going to make anything your gospel, make it THE gospel.” – by Christiana

Source: Why Feminism Is Never The Answer – Make Womanhood Biblical Again

Whether or not one agrees with every point in this essay (and I agree with most of them) or all the views of its author (she seems pretty based to me), it seems to me that this critique is square on, and one which our “woke” and “progressive” world (which, having largely abandoned the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, has set up instead an idol of left-wing sociopolitical ideologies – the “Golden Calf” of the 21st century) needs to hear:

“Feminism can never put a stop to sex trafficking, because it cannot stop greed, loneliness, and depravity.

“Feminism can never eradicate domestic violence, because it cannot instill in men a passion to love and lead their families well.

“Feminism can never put an end to pornography, because it cannot satiate lust, addiction, and emptiness.

“Feminism can never cut down the divorce rate and improve marriages, because marriage is not about “equality,” fairness, or sameness; and all the role reversal in the world cannot change the fact that we are daughters of Eve and sons of Adam.

“Feminism can never bring women fulfillment, because true fulfillment is only found in Jesus Christ.

“Feminism can never force men to genuinely respect women by removing sexual distinction…

“Feminism exalts women but can never truly empower them; promotes women, but can never pacify the innate desire to control. It insults women and men alike by insisting that the only real difference between the sexes is physical.”

Amen.

This is not to say that all women should do nothing but stay at home and raise children; some are not suited to that vocation, and some do indeed have gifts that can benefit society most effectively if expressed in the worlds of industry or academia. Furthermore, few traditional women – throughout the centuries and millennia of human history – did nothing but stay a home: they were always active in their local communities.

But that does not change the fact that motherhood is the first and greatest vocation of womankind as a whole; nor that, in the words of the great G.K. Chesterton,

Chesterton - feminism

N.B. The videos alluded to in the tags are found at the link, so please click through. Thank you!

 

 

“For a happy home…”

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Source: Holy Motherhood | Facebook

“For a happy home, teach obedience, orderliness (first things first), truthfulness, courtesy, punctuality, attentiveness, thoroughness, neatness, purity, industry, integrity, respect, gratefulness, and diligence.”

— Karen Andreola

My dear late mother – Ma – used to hang out the wash every Monday and Thursday that the weather allowed (it smelled so good, having dried in the sun!), and in the summer, I often helped her. She also taught me all of the above, though I confess I have not always lived up to these ideals as perfectly and completely as I might wish…

But I keep striving!


P.S. From the comments:

When women knew the power of being able to raise the next generation one home at a time, kids had a respect for God and his order, respect for others, and pride in doing the humble things that keep life in order. The world was kinder and cleaner, healthier and safer than now, when schools raise generations like kids are assembly line objects, with the idea that nothing matters except that everyone feels good all the time and no one judges.

I cannot disagree!

 

Epiphany Chalking of the Doors | The Homely Hours

The chalking of the Door is typically done on January 6th on the Feast of the Epiphany and celebrates the revealing of Christ to the world in three events…

Source: Epiphany Chalking of the Doors | The Homely Hours

From the excellent blog, “The Homely Hours” – a traditional family liturgy performed upon the Feast of the Epiphany:

“This short liturgy is a way of yearly marking our homes, usually at the front or main entrance, with sacred signs and symbols to intentionally set our homes apart as places of Christian hospitality, as safe and peaceful outposts of the Kingdom of God in the world, as habitations of healing and rest. We again invite God’s presence into our homes and ask His blessing upon all those who live, work, or visit throughout the coming year.”

“C+M+B” has a dual significance: it represents the names of the Three Wise Men (Magi, or Sacred Kings), as traditionally named by the Church: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar; and it also stands for Christus Mansionem Benedicat, Latin for “Christ, this house Bless.” It is flanked by the numbers representing the year: this year, it would read

20 + C + M + B + 19

Please follow the link for more!

The world’s most noble profession!

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QOTD:

So many women aspire to satisfying other men’s ambitions/corporations with their best talents and energy and then return home spent with little TLC left for husbands and children. I appreciate women who choose the very noble profession of stay at home mom. They truly make a difference in this world.

— Jeff Pearson

And yes, I know not every woman has that option. My heart grieves for those who would like to choose this most noble profession, but for a variety of valid reasons (often, in today’s world, economic), cannot. I have a massive amount of respect for those women who do what needs to be done – even if that means working multiple jobs – to support their children / families.

But for each of them, there is at least another one – and very likely more than one – who could stay at home and be a full-time wife, mother, and homemaker, but chooses not to… perhaps for valid reasons, but just as likely because she has bought into what Chesterton referred to as “a muddled idea that women are free when they serve their employers but slaves when they help their husbands.”

I grieve for them, too, but in a very different way.

One more quote on this subject, this one by Chelsea Brauwn:

“Being a wife & mother may be the hardest job I’ve ever had but it is definitely the most rewarding job in the world.

“Mothers have the most important role in the world. We are responsible for raising our future! We are their encouragement, supporters, nurturers and the ones they should be able to go to when everyone else fails them. Their success is our success & their failures are our failures.

“Raising our own children and being a mother shouldn’t seem like a burden, it is the greatest privilege anyone could be given. We get to watch all of our hard work grow into happy, successful people with the capability to accomplish all of their dreams, with the morals and values that we set.

“Behind every Pastor, Doctor, Lawyer and President is a mother who refused to give up on them. No one else can replace, fill or substitute the duty of a mother & I refuse to let anyone else do my job.”

In Defense of Domesticity | Crisis Magazine

The secret to enjoying life, then, is to see it as something to be enjoyed—at times even endured—with others, ideally with family. Home makes all the difference.

Source: In Defense of Domesticity – Crisis Magazine

A lot of my posts lately have been (unavoidably, I fear) somewhat negative. But no matter how stark and depressing things may appear, one cannot live constantly on edge. Not and retain one’s sanity! Here is a post that is both intrinsically more positive, and which also provides hints for practicing the self-care that is essential to being effective in opposing those things that we believe are unhealthful for our society. Domesticity is, in many ways, the root of our strength – second only to faith in God!

“The Norwegian secret to enjoying a long winter is to see the freezing months as something to be enjoyed, not something to be endured. According to a seeker of human happiness, this makes all the difference. They even have a word, koselig, which means a sense of coziness. People gather around the table for a good meal, light candles, sip hot cocoa, and snuggle under fuzzy blankets. The Dutch call it gezelligheid, the experience of belonging, spending time with loved ones, a general sense of well-being and togetherness. The Danish word is hygge. Sitting by the crackling fire with your family on a cold night, reading to your son as he cuddles in your lap, Christmas gatherings … you get the idea. Although it’s usually translated as ‘coziness,’ it’s much more than that. It’s an attitude toward life, a way of being. And real coziness is not possible apart from a love and respect for homemaking…

“You can’t buy community, and you can’t fake it, either. An absent father can’t randomly gather his family around the fireplace and expect everyone suddenly to be cozy. Real koselig takes more than warm bodies in close proximity and sheepskin slippers. Like anything worth doing, authentic coziness takes work: prior investment in relationships, domestic chores, food-prep, caring—in a word, housekeeping. But it’s worth it. In the doldrums of a dark winter, family nights, social gatherings, and dinner parties are a reminder that we’re all in this together.

“I want to suggest that koselig reminds us of what we live for—friends, to be sure, but primarily the home. It reminds us that homelessness is a tragedy. And home reminds us of the priority of the family. We’re not just “social creatures.” Society does not conceive us, and nurse us, and love us. We’re not like baby sharks, either. We don’t just swim away from our mothers after we’re born. We are family creatures, and we were made for more than homelessness. Like koselig, you can’t buy a family, and running a home takes work. But it’s worth it. The secret to enjoying life, then, is to see it as something to be enjoyed—at times even endured—with others, ideally with family. Home makes all the difference.”

Please read the entire article. There is much of wisdom and encouragement to be found therein!

Flora Vale Farmstead: Turning the Wheel, or, Let’s put the Rooster in the Stew…

Source: Flora Vale Farmstead: Turning the Wheel, or, Let’s put the Rooster in the Stew…

An excellent blog entry about one of the more challenging aspects of keeping chickens. I still want to do it, and hope to do it, one day…