Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Housewife Contract

Library of Congress:  Mr. and Mrs. Charles Herbert at home in Maryland, 1942

When Mr. White asked me to marry him, I hesitated, then stated my one condition. I asked that I be allowed to be a housewife and never have to go to work. He agreed.

I didn't realize until many years later, how important that promise, that contract, meant to our lives.  We have talked about it over the years, laughing, smiling  . . . despite hardships, good times or bad. We always went back to that day on the Pier, at the ocean, when he promised I could be a housewife. He promised to take care of me, and our family.   This happened in the 1980's. Many women were working. While there were still housewives in my neighborhood, the majority of wives held jobs outside the home.  But my personal yearning, was to be a wife and mother. That was all I ever wanted out of life.

In this modern society, we are told that very few women are housewives. Frankly, I don't agree. There are many women committed to staying home with their families. There are even women staying home, tending to the house, being hospitable and taking care of husbands, even though they have never been blessed with children. Yes, it is okay to stay home even when there are no children, or when the children have grown!

I came across some sweet quotes, in my reading this week:

"My Mother's occupation and hobby, vocation and avocation was motherhood."

- Mary Higgins Clark (the famous suspense author) speaking about her own mother in "Kitchen Privileges" her memoir. (page 32)

"Mom never worked a day outside the home.  We were her life.  The house was always clean and comfortable, and she would always be baking cookies or bread or making something special for us to eat. When I went to college near home, I could count on finding her there, cooking, reading, knitting (needles and yarn were always close by or in her hands). She made an immense impact on our family."

- John MacArthur  - "Servant of the Word and Flock" - (from his biography written by Iain H. Murray)
(page 11)

Mrs. White

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For old time encouragement in living simply on a limited income, order Mrs. White's book:

"An Old Fashioned Budget: Humble Financial Management for the Christian Housewife"

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Dawn E. Brown said...

Thank you Mrs. White, love this posting.Being a wife at home, in her place is a good work, a very good work. Dawn E. Brown

Debbie Phillips said...

thanks for this encouragement and reminder of why I stopped teaching at a christian school after only one year of using my degree. I wanted to be home taking care of things for my husband... and later for our children. I need to do more for my children and my husband beyond homeschooling. I get to caught up in me time in the evenings after being with my boys all day. I love investing in their lives though... all day every day!

I also think our economy would be in a better state if more women were at home. It would create more jobs for the men and there may even be a demand for workers instead of a mass of unemployed.

The Crazy Mom said...

Dearest Mrs. White,

When asked if she worked outside the home, my mother would simply answer, "Yes, sometimes I work out in the yard."

April's Homemaking said...

Wonderful post and quotes, being a homemaker was a very importnat choice for me as well. I left work shortly before marrying my husband in the early 90's and have enjoyed caring for my family as a homemaker all of these years. Thanks for shainrg about your contract - I love that story!!

Anonymous said...

*sigh* The timing of this article is interesting. We are really in a financial bind at the current time and, although my husband does not want me to go to work, I have an application on my table right now ready to be turned in, and turning it in is on TODAY'S to-do list. It's only for part-time work, so I'm wondering if the amount of money is going to outweigh the amount of stress being away from home is going to cause. I prayed hard LAST NIGHT asking God to show me what to do. There is a certain amount of money that we need and I don't know where it's going to come from. But MY GOD OWNS EVERYTHING. What seems like a large amount to us is but a drop in the bucket for Him. Your article has made me wonder if perhaps I should reconsider.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs White, what a wonderful idea! How did you get so wise at such a young age? Did you always know you wanted to marry and be a homemaker and have a family? Did you work at a job before marrying Mr. White? Such an encouraging post, and especially so for women today who want to be homemakers after marriage!

A thought to Anonymous 1:15...my advice is to throw your application in the trash. There will always be some 'good reason' to go to work, but if you have a husband who doesn't want you to work, you already have a better reason to stay home. A man who wants to be the provider is a hard man to find. Maybe you can get rid of some things to make his income stretch further. Just my opinion.

Joyce Ackley said...

I'm so glad you are able to fulfill your dream of being a full-time wife and mother, Mrs. White.

To the lady who is wrestling with the decision to go to work of not:
This is your decision. No one knows your circumstances, the problems you are facing, or your needs. Only you and your family know what is best for you ar this time. I respect that your decision to work full-time may be the best solution for the time being. It doesn't have to be a permanent situation, either.

Everyone is different, and what is a perfect solution for one may not be ideal for another. You must look at all the options and decide what you should do. You have been praying about it, and I think God knows your heart and will lead you in the direction that is right for you. I don't feel anyone else fully understands your situation. Don't feel guilty about making a decision that someone else opposes.
God Bless You.

Julieanne said...

Mrs. White,

I, too, had a similar conversation with my husband before we married...but it was one month into our dating/courting relationship!

I was already teaching full time, had been for several years, in a public school, but I'd only wanted to be a wife and mother all my life. I became a teacher so I didn't have to be supported by my parents into my adult years.

I loved teaching, but six months after we married, I was tired of teaching all day, correcting papers all evening, and lesson planning all weekend. I asked my hubby if he would mind if I found a different job other than teaching, that was more "9 to 5" in the hours, until our children would come along.

Thankfully, he agreed. He knew that it was very important to me to provide a pleasant home to my family.

I love him for that! He has given up dreams of expensive family vacations, a boat, nicer truck and car, living in a middle-income neighborhood, and many other dreams. And yet, this doesn't seem to bother him. After almost 17 years of marriage, he seems very comfortable with our lifestyle and in managing our finances on a one-person income.

Of course, making the decision back when we were courting, to have me stay home, changed all of our financial and buying decisions clear back then. I love being like-minded on our finances and our goals for our family. God has blessed me with a wonderful husband who leads in a godly way with money and purchasing and planning, so that I can continue to stay home and homeschool our children.


Chels/Catz in the Kitchen said...

I hope my kids have fond memories of me like that some day. It's funny because I never wanted kids, and then I met my husband and he opened up a whole new world to me and I saw my life differently. But I never had any particular career in mind. So I'm thrilled that this is where God led me and I listened to him.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post! Before I became a Christian, I worked outside the home. But even though my children were with either my husband or my mother, I still felt unhappy and missed them. I quit my job and stayed home. Years later as a grandmother of 13, I reflect on those times and regret every day I was without my children. Blessings, Glenys

Anonymous said...

This post was very encouraging.

Thank you for supporting us wives who stay at home to take care of our husband and homes, even though we have not been blessed with children. Coming home two years ago from the work force has been one of the best decisions my husband and I have ever made. I truly enjoy caring for the home.

Far Above Rubies said...

Mrs. White, I hope you are well.

Was looking for a contact form to share something with you, but didn't see one.

Would you mind contacting me at faraboverubies6@yahoo.com? I have a question to ask you.

Thank you so much.

I enjoyed reading this article. As always - a sweet peace when reading your articles.



Illinois Lori said...

I loved this post, Mrs. White! Thank you for always helping us to see beyond the pullings and pushings of this world to that which is so deep in our hearts!

I pray you are feeling well, and continue to draw strength from Christ in all things :-)

Many blessings,

Lori H said...

I have been married for almost 27 years ... my husband wanted me to stay home and raise the kids - me, I had other plans. My mom worked two jobs and I honestly didn't know anything different.

Did I work? For about 10 months...then I had our first child. I made the decision then, that yes, I would "try" to be a sahm ... Well 26 years later, I made good on that promise and more. Now I not only keep the house, but I homeschool and I try to be a mentor to other moms (young and old), it's okay to stay home and LOVE it!!

PK @ Knee Deep in Grace said...

Mrs. White,

I am visiting from the crew, following via GFC, sharing blessings and saying "thank you" for your many uplifting posts.

May God continue to keep you and yours; drawing you ever closer to the center of His will.

Abundant blessings,


Marcia Wilwerding said...

I am glad you included that it's okay to not have a job outside the home even without children at home. Our children are all grown, but I believe I am more busy now than when they were all home at once! I am still needed. In fact, there are many times I look over at my husband and say, what would the rest of the family (and church!) do if I had a full-time job??? SOMEBODY has to be available. I am thankful EVERY DAY it is me. :)