Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else. ~Judy Garland
It’s incredibly hard to be true to who we are. Heck, sometimes it’s even hard to know who we are … much less be true to her! In all my life so far, I never dreamed I would be a stay-at-home mom. It wasn’t even on my radar. I had things to do … people to help … lives to change. I didn’t have time to be Suzy Homemaker.
But then I ended up with no job, a pregnant belly, and lots of time on my hands. And I discovered I love to cook. I love to sew. And yes … I even love to do laundry. As it turns out, I don’t mind cleaning so much either. And when the baby came along, I slowly discovered that I couldn’t imagine my life any other way …
Now … it has taken 8 1/2 months for me to admit that staying at home to take care of her and the house does, in fact, fulfill me. It probably helps that I am working from home 15 hours a week or so – so I have an outlet to help others and potentially change lives (other than the life of my precious little one). So maybe I’m technically not a stay-at-home-without-working-mom … but I’m beginning to digress.
Over the last few months, I’ve found myself in awe at just how comfortable I am being “Suzy Homemaker.” Like this is a part of who God created me to be. As long as I do it while wearing a baby, I have time to make delicious meals, homemade baby food, always have clean laundry (and with cloth diapers that’s quite a chore!), and maybe even a craft every now and again. And I.LOVE.IT!
Yesterday, I spent some time with Proverbs 31:10-31. This text has historically been used to push women, particularly in the United States, into the role of domestic housewife. But I think doing so misses the point of the text all-together.
It’s not telling women how to behave. I mean … look at how it starts …
A truly good wife is the most precious treasure a man can find!
And how it ends …
Charm can be deceiving, and beauty fades away, but a woman who honors the Lord deserves to be praised. Show her respect — praise her in public for what she has done.
It’s a poem. A poem of admiration. A poem in awe of all the woman does. Not because she is commanded to … but because she does it out of love. We most honor the Lord when we are true to who he has created us to be.
As I’ve wrestled with this over the last few months, I can’t help but think about the movie Mona Lisa Smile. Julia Roberts’ character does all she can to push young women out of the “homemaker” role … but in the end, Julia Stiles’ character chooses it. In a powerful scene, when challenged on it, Julia Stiles’ character says it best …
To you, a housewife is someone who sold her soul for a center hall colonial. She has no depth, no intellect, no interests. You’re the one who said I could do anything I wanted. This is what I want.
I don’t do the things I do because someone imposed it all on me. There’s no one telling me how to be “the perfect woman” or “the best wife.” I’ve heard stories of husbands who create checklists for their wives. Not in this house. Instead, I create my own checklists. And more often than not, I leave things undone … but I have a husband who never complains about what isn’t done. Instead, he notices what I do and says “Thank you.”
And I don’t do it because “the Bible tells me to.” Or because that’s the role my church has forced on me. Or even because I believe that’s what I should do. I do it because I enjoy it. I do it because I like the end result. I do it because that’s who God has created me to be.
I do believe there will come a time when I am called outside of this homemaker role. In fact, I’m already pursuing that call in other ways. But for now, this is where God has placed me. Where God is using me. Where God is allowing me to be me. So I will take a note from Judy Garland and be a first rate version of me … regardless of what others may think I should be.
This post is written in response to the chapter on Valor in Rachel Held Evans’ new book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood. Pre-order your copy today!