Thursday, December 16, 2021

How I became a Housewife, Part 2, Finding my Vocation in a Politically Incorrect Passage of the Bible

[You might like to read Part One here.]

I became a housewife in stages.

The first time I came home was out of necessity. I had babies and a house and I needed to be there to take care of them. A marriage, house, plus an outside career was doable (though in hindsight I can see many things were neglected even then). But add in the babies and it was all just too much. I call this first crisis “Trying to Do it All 1.0.” So I accepted and embraced my role as a Stay-At-Home-Homeschooling-Mom, even found it enjoyable and fulfilling, and I settled in for the duration of their childhood years.

And so it was that when the children started to get older and more independent, I entered into a second crisis, “Trying to Do it All, 2.0”.

Both my sons were set to attend a private high school. Thinking that now that homeschooling was completed I would have loads of free time, I found myself restless and thinking I might resume my teaching career. 

Working seemed like the thing to do. Everyone I knew worked outside the home. My friends, the women at church, family members. I didn’t have children at home during the day anymore. Maybe it was time for me to get a job, too? I hardly knew anyone who just stayed at home and kept house. 

So when a parent called me and told me of an opening for a Spanish teacher at the local high school, begging me to apply, I decided to call up the school and see what was going on...I interviewed, was offered the job and accepted it that day. 

Immediately I had doubts about whether I was doing the right thing. So much during those fifteen years (1990-2005) I had been at home…in education and in society…had changed.   The night before school started, I cried my eyes out.  I loved my home, my family, and it felt very sad to be leaving them even for part of the day. That should have been a red flag.

But I also felt excited and I threw myself into my new career. My students did well, and they learned.  I had good evaluations and feedback from parents.  I made girlfriends among the faculty.  At the same time, I struggled to deal with the new demands of  a large number of students, many of whom were apathetic, as well as new federal policies and mandates.  I was quickly becoming disenchanted with the public schools, but I was determined to make it work.

In the meantime, both my sons did well in high school, went on to university on scholarships, and my husband and I settled into empty-nest married life.

Within a few years, I was offered a position at the private Christian school I had previously taught at when I was a young mother. I took it, remembering the pleasant experience I had there, and I stayed there five years. 

Unfortunately, that experience turned out to be almost as disappointing as the public schools and so I decided to give public education one more try. After three hard years at this school, I came to the conclusion that the whole process and approach to education (as well as society) had changed too much for me. I wanted to find my way back home.

But there were problems at home, too.

The law of entropy is true: things tend to fall apart. And the house, being neglected while I took a deep dive back into a career, was falling apart.

Twenty-five years of homeschooling then classroom teaching had turned my house into a hot mess. We did have a cleaning service come in every other week and the house was superficially clean, but I knew what lay underneath:  the deep, lurking disorder of untended shelves, drawers, and files. 

My house was out of control and I didn’t have the time nor the energy to deal with it.  

I found myself unsettled. I cared about the state of my house. The disorder of my house reflected the disorder of my spirit, which began to bleed over into our marriage. My husband seemed to have this uncanny ability to be able to work as well as pursue his hobbies and interests, which I found myself increasingly resenting. And we had much less time together as a couple as I played catch-up around the house in the evenings and on the weekends. I realized my life was out of balance.

Why was I trying to “do it all”?  “Maybe there is something inherently untrue about even trying?” whispered a little voice….

I revisited my decision to return to teaching. I had spent time and money getting my degree. I had successfully homeschooled my own children. I was educated for this. I was trained for this. I had experience in this. Surely teaching was my vocation? And there was a great need for teachers in our area. Therefore, I should teach. Right? And once I started teaching, I found out that I was good at it. Would I be wasting this talent if I just stayed at home and folded towels? 

But I knew that the most important things to me and to my marriage, my priorities, were being neglected. My life was out of balance.

Finding my Base

Some folks get flashes of brilliance when it comes to working out their life purpose, but for me, it took years of prayer and study. So I began to seek God in what I called my “self-therapy sessions”.  I would get up early in the morning before school, around 5:00 a.m., and read the Bible, pray and write in a journal. In the front of the journal, I wrote meaningful passages of scripture I came across with a comment or two. In the back of the journal, I wrote about the things that were going on in my life and at school and my attempt to make sense of it all.

All the time I kept on teaching, cooking meals, keeping house, gardening. I had a certain pride in being a wife, mother and homemaker who also had a successful career. I told myself I was oriented toward my home and kept it my priority even though I had outside business. I was that woman doing it all! A “boss babe”!

And I was also exhausted and resentful. 

Why was I doing this to myself?

The key belief I had was that if I didn’t have a career, I would not be fulfilling my potential as a human being. I had this belief that if I wasn’t out there in the world using my talents, I was letting myself, my family and the community down. This is why I kept at the teaching even though it was making me crazy. In truth, we didn’t need the money. My husband never pushed me to work, although on the other hand he never said, as he had when we had babies, “Honey, I think you should be at home.” He was leaving the choice up to me.

So I would come home after work and do the “second shift” of cooking and laundry…and my husband would come home after work and relax and read on the couch or lift weights.  Then he took up bicycling for exercise. He began taking cross-country cycling trips with his new biking friends. I would stay at home and grade papers or “catch up” on the house. Disturbingly, I found myself secretly looking forward to his trips because, with him gone, my life was easier and I could focus even more on my teaching and housekeeping catch-ups. These thoughts scared me because I knew that, really, I loved him so much. Also, his cycling activity was revving up his middle-aged body and our love life was hotter than ever! 

Nonetheless, I had a few meltdowns in which I would start feeling sorry for myself/ cry/ scream/ throw things and generally act like a child. Mike would just watch me and I knew that he was confused, too. What had happened to his previously happy wife? He was being a loyal, steadfast husband, as always, but something in me had changed. 

Neither of us gave up. Mike kept being his hard-working, patient, yet uncompromising self, and cycling, and I kept on getting up early every morning for my therapy/Bible reading sessions.

The Discovery

The part of the Bible that I kept coming back to in my morning sessions was Paul’s letter to Titus. In it, Paul deals with how to organize the growing church and how to get it going in the right direction.  And that was what I also needed: a clear direction and purpose, and order…and more order. I needed to understand my first responsibilities and find steadfast purpose:

But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: that the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh godliness, not false accusers, not addicted to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be wise, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.

Titus 2:1-6

So…being a wife, mother and keeper of the home was Christian ministry? It was making a viable contribution to the world? It seemed that Paul was saying this was the best way for a married woman to bring glory to God and the Gospel of Christ.

I surrendered everything to God and decided to let the teaching go and simply focus on my marriage, family and home.  In the Spring of 2017,  I resigned from teaching to become a housewife.  

The Conclusion

I’ve had many starts and stops on this journey. It has taken inner work, unlearning and learning. All my life I had heard that a woman must have her own career to have value. That if she has talents they must be used in the marketplace. These messages came in subtle and not so subtle ways…in school and college, women’s magazines, advertising, books and novels, tv shows and movies, peers, and even parents. I had spent very little time hearing, or rather listening to what God has to say about a woman’s role.

Once I opened my Bible, I found the truth; but then I had to learn how to practice it. It took time to hear, understand and then process that I didn’t have to go out into the world and prove myself, that homemaking is in itself an important vocation.

I am a housewife. This work is not a job nor a career…but a divine calling. The home is my God-assigned place of ministry and contributes to the well-being of my marriage, my children and family, the church, the community as well as bringing to myself much good.

As I embrace this responsibility and give my talents to it,  I find great blessings:  peace, provision, stability, fulfillment, joy. 

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.  ~Matthew 6:33


Amy Laurie <3

Sunday, December 12, 2021

How I Became a Housewife, Part One

Growing up, my mother was a housewife, but I was not encouraged to follow in her footsteps. It was the 1970s and early 80s and society was in the throes of feminism; the liberated, independent woman was celebrated and being “just a housewife” had acquired some stigma. It was also a time of rising consumerism, and with more fabulous stuff to buy and enjoy, places to go and see, women were leaving their houses in droves to earn a paycheck to buy it all. So maybe there was good reason to not steer young women into that vocation.

So how did I become a housewife? I came to this vocation in stages, with occasional forays back into the public workforce. But hopefully my journey will be instructive as it charts my changing attitude toward home, marriage and housework.


It all started in my imagination.

I had a happy girlhood in a small, rural town in Tennessee, playing indoors with dolls but also spending much time outdoors riding bicycles, climbing trees and playing with childhood friends.

I became a great reader and I was especially drawn to stories about housewife/homesteaders of the past like Abigail Adams and Rachel Jackson and in the quiet of the library my thoughts travelled back in time and dreamt of pioneer days.

At home,  I played “homestead” in the backyard and acted out being Laura Ingalls Wilder….wearing braids, long dresses and bonnets, managing a farm household, making pies and raising children.  

It was about this time that my grandmother happily taught me to crochet, knit and sew. And my mother introduced me to cooking and baking.

Going into my teenage years, my activities began to change. My friends and I became involved in sports, I had more homework to do, worked a summer job and, consequently, had less time for the feminine arts.

But still, after school or practices, I would browse through my mom’s Southern Living magazines, devouring the pictures of beautiful homes and gardens and trying some of the recipes. At night, I read historical romances and biography and began writing my own short stories about pioneer women of the past.


I was raised by Christian parents and fell in love with a Christian man.

Religion was not a part of my early years but after a family tragedy , my parents began to seek for faith. They began reading books by Christian authors like C.S. Lewis and Francis Schaeffer and this made a great impression on me. My father had been raised in the church of Christ, and we began attending the services, bible studies there faithfully and became heavily involved in church activities. We hosted home Bible Studies and fellowships. Our home was a hospitable one. I was heavily influenced by all this and, at age 10, I was baptized and became a Christian. 

It was at church on a Wednesday night that I met my future husband, Michael, a handsome, young lawyer who had just moved to town to start his practice.  He sat behind me, and after the Bible study we chatted and talked quite a bit. Mike had attended an undergraduate Bible college and I deeply respected him for that. I think I fell in love instantly…and went home and told my mother I believed I would marry him someday. She told me to be a good girl, and maybe someday I would (gentle smiles). Mike and I became friends…playing tennis, hiking and just generally having adventures together. 

College and Courtship

But the more immediate matter at hand was my education. I chose a small liberal arts college near Atlanta, Georgia and it was there I learned to seriously study. 

I also spent time walking in the neighborhoods around the campus looking at the cozy, bungalow-style homes built in the 1920s-1950s. I was enchanted with the glow of table lamps in the windows, ivy-covered chimneys and ferns and impatiens around the doorsteps and it all reminded me of the pictures I had seen in Southern Living! I found myself dreaming of this sort of romantic domesticity and having my own home and family someday. 

That summer, back at home, Mike and I continued spending time together…

As the summer came to an end, I realized I was sad. I didn’t want to go back to Georgia;  I wanted stay right there with Mike and never leave him. 

But I also loved learning and in the fall I went back for my second year of college. I made excellent grades and even began imagining a career in academia.  Might I someday be a college professor myself? The joy and headiness of learning added another layer to my feminine wants.

Within days, Mike was calling me and within a few weeks, he was flying down to see me.

Things became passionate between us quickly. The letters became more romantic, the visits more frequent; we expressed our love for each other and began discussing marriage. 

The next semester I transferred to a state college close to home and within a few months, Mike proposed to me.  That summer, we married. But I had no intention of being a housewife.

Wife and Motherhood

Now married and settled, my husband’s law practice began to take off and I continued with my education. I did exceptionally well and applied to graduate study and was accepted at Vanderbilt University (about an hour away).

I accepted the offer and was awarded a position as a teaching assistant. And then something unexpected happened…I discovered that I was pregnant!

Without skipping a beat, I turned down the Vanderbilt offer. But I’ll never forget the disappointment in my college advisor’s face when I told him. They had invested time and energy and hopes in my career and I’m sure they were bewildered. 

Nonetheless, I was excited about this baby. So I pivoted and applied for a position teaching Spanish at a nearby high school. When I was offered the job, I promptly took it. I was determined to have it all! 

We had our beautiful baby boy in December of that first teaching year.  My mother was happy to care for her first grandson while I was at school and so I went back to the classroom for the second semester.  

I enjoyed teaching, but I realized full time teaching was still more time than I wanted to be away from my baby. I resigned at the end of the school term.

Trying to Have It All, 1.0

Within a few weeks took a part-time job teaching in a small, private, Christian school, thinking it would fit better into my life as a mom; I ended up staying there three years. It was during this time that the anxiety began. I was overwhelmed with life.

I was a competent teacher and a loving wife and mother, but I was clueless about how to run a household.  My household was daily becoming more disorganized and messy: Papers, books, dishes, toys, bottles, diapers were taking over our house. My husband was patient with me, but I could tell he was also stressed from not being able to find things in the house. 

Then I had my first panic attack. I awoke one night with my heart pounding and shortness of breath. Was I dying? I got up and started doing things around the house to convince myself that I was okay. It helped some but the heavy anxiety did not go away. I started praying and calling out to Jesus for help and found much peace in that. The Lord had my attention. [see “Enter the Grace of God”]

I began reading the Bible on my own for the first time in my life. I read the Gospel of John and was fascinated by the wisdom and compassion of Christ. As I studied, many things began to change in my heart and I had the desire to follow the teachings of Christ.  

Our second beautiful baby boy was born in February, 1990.  At this point my husband asked me to resign from teaching, reasoning that both of us working outside of the home while raising two small children was too much stress on the family.  So I thought about it, realized he was right, and I resigned from my part-time teaching job. 

The Way Home

It was hard for me to calm down and to take up the quiet life of home at first. I still had that feeling that I wasn’t doing enough with my life. 

A turning point came while we were in Savannah, Georgia on a little vacation. The baby became sick, running a high fever. I felt alone and scared in a hotel room far from our pediatrician. As the fever went ever higher, feeling helpless and in a strange place, I opened the Bible that was in the nightstand next to the bed. I began reading in the book of Proverbs and one verse caught my attention.

Every wise woman builds her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. - Proverbs 14:1

And right there it all became clear to me! None of this careerism even compared to the preciousness of my little son! And that he needed all of me and not just a part. I realized that my lack of focus had also been a destructive force in my marriage and that the home was my responsibility. It was there and then that I gave myself over to the Lord’s will, to mothering and homemaking with all my heart. My little son recovered, thankfully, from his fever, and I had recovered my desire to be at home.

I began seeking out and reading books on homemaking. I was able to finally relax and enjoy my home. I slowed down, I learned to find satisfaction in doing menial tasks around the house. I noticed how much those tasks blessed and supported my husband as he faithfully went out every day to earn our living and how they gave my children an orderly, healthy and stable home to grow up in. This new attitude made a big difference!

I began teaching my oldest son to read, write, and do some basic math. We decided to homeschool our children after meeting some families who were successfully doing that. As we got into it, I found it enormously fulfilling to be a part of their early education and every moment of their growth and development. I had invested a great deal of effort into my education and training but now I could pour all that into the people I loved the most…my own children. 

Everything was fitting, family, my love of learning and teaching. We had time to do things as a family on the weekends which was good for our marriage. I was fully focused on being a loving wife, raising my children and homeschooling. Those were happy years!

I still would not have called myself a housewife, though. I saw myself as someone who was staying at home for the sake of my children… a Stay-at-Home Mom. But this was a good start.

The housewife would come later.

Blessed is he that has found his work! Let him ask no other blessedness.—Carlyle


Amy Laurie <3

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