a blog post I stumbled upon. The blog itself seems like it has a lot of posts about conservative Christian homemaking that I would normally agree with, and I actually want to read more of her writing. However, the more I live abroad and gain perspective in housekeeping/family life, the more I realize that the suburban American Christian vision of a housewife isn't necessarily a universal ideal.
So with that little intro in mind, here is the situation. Someone wrote to this blogger (linked above) asking for advice on boredom and loneliness as a housewife. The blogger had a fairly-anonymous male reader write a response from a husband's viewpoint.
I guess my first issue is with the women who were supposedly commenting that they were bored. I can't even imagine having "nothing to do!" I can't imagine looking around a house that is already clean and wondering what to do next. Every once in a while I will hear a comment from a woman who took up a new hobby while at home with small children, or while they napped. Sure, I take time for a creative project, but if I waited until I did my "chores," I'd never have time for it. Throughout the post, the man discusses how wives can best use their "free time," and it's like he's writing in a foreign language. That might be just me, though.
I will say that boredom can also probably arise from being busy with something that isn't your favorite. I can definitely feel bored doing various tasks or even playing certain games with my kids. So in that case I agree that sometimes an attitude adjustment is needed.
However, I was a bit shocked by this man's harsh assessment of the "modern" woman:
"Whereas in decades and centuries past where the woman worked hard all day long at doing these types of beneficial household activities and ended up contributing so much more to the overall support of the household, nowadays, especially for the stay at home wife/mom, EVERYTHING is left to the husband to earn and provide for while the wives sit at home idle, suffering with loneliness and complaining that their husbands work too many hours."
I wonder what HIS wife would say to this? So we are all lazy, bored, and discontent? Or saved by modern conveniences from doing any actual work since beds make themselves these days? I'm sure we make an individual unwise choice or two during the day, but it's not the same as sitting around doing nothing.
Regarding loneliness, he says:
..."Your fellowship with the Lord and the sense of accomplishment that you will get from the constructive work will drive loneliness far from you and there will be other rewards for… time well spent.What MY husband said: Andrei disagrees that "time with the Lord" is the only social interaction a person needs. Sometimes I feel lonely when Andrei has a lot of work to do and we can't sit around talking as much as we'd like. Spouses need to make time for each other, but prayer can be very helpful in easing loneliness. However, I've also heard the argument that females need each other for companionship so that we're not just waiting to dump all of our thoughts on our husband's ears. I wonder what a good balance would be. I'm able to be in touch with lots of friends and female relatives via Internet, and that's helpful as long as I budget my time and emotional energy wisely. I wonder how I would feel if I didn't have the Internet and was home all day with 2 kids (or none, or any number of kids) with no other interaction. Is fellowship with the Lord meant to be sufficient? And does physical work replace social interaction? I hope no husbands out there would deny their wives human contact!
Let’s face it ladies, 90% (or more) of the activities for women at the church INCLUDING women’s bible studies are just social events and are really just a WASTE of time."
As for women's "ministry events," it may be somewhat true about the social nature. However, Andrei's noted that the same is true of all church events...any church gathering can be just as gossipy and wasteful. But woman-to-woman ministry in a home setting can be beneficial. I'm surprised it wasn't mentioned here.
The other questions I came up with have to do with cultural context. As I tried to picture myself taking the advice suggested, I could pretty much cross a bunch of them off my list. Gardening? Nope. Sewing? I wish I knew how...but I doubt fabric is cheap anyway. Home-run business? See "lack of free time."
Seriously, though, I wonder how this would work in an urban environment. At first glance, it is more time-efficient to stay at home and even make purchases via delivery service. What does that really do for my productivity and overall well-being, though? I am not getting the physical activity I would in an agrarian environment. I work sluggishly and simply don't have the energy to "work" from dawn to dusk. I can't do heavy-lifting or certain repair jobs that might be done by women in other cultures. I also do not have the human interaction I would if I were outside gardening, visiting a market each day, etc. So I think it is important to keep all of those factors in mind and make adjustments where necessary!
Also, the blog advised not discussing Proverbs 31 with other women (including on the internet), since we can lead each other astray. So I guess I am being a bit rebellious here, but...my husband approves of my blog, even when the dishes aren't washed. ;)