Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Things You Can Do At Home

 Years ago I was reading a discussion on a right-wing forum. Men were talking about traditional family and what it means and one Catholic guy said that married women should never work outside home. Someone asked him, suppose they don't have any children, what is your wife expected to do the whole day? He answered with one word: "Pray".

It produced such an impression on me that even now, after many years, I still think about it. In our society prayer is a very underestimated activity. We are supposed to be frantically busy, out there doing something and it includes housewives. In fact, I know some women who while not holding a job are practically never at home rushing from one place to another from early morning till late in the evening. 

Now don't get me wrong, they are often involved in worthy pursuits which may include charity, helping others, volunteering etc but can one be called a "stay-at-home anything" while she is seldom there at all? Is being constantly out and about the meaning of life?

I will admit that I tend to fall in the same trap myself. There is always something to do outside home, some place to go, some people to visit, but I have noticed that it makes personally me (won't presume to say everyone) rather unsettled and stressed by the end of the day. It also doesn't combine well with housework such as cooking and cleaning. In fact, when I took the trouble to somewhat restrict my outside activities and social life I started feeling better. 

An old proverb says that a man's home is the world while the woman's world is her home and feminists did an excellent job challenging it. There's no denying that modern women are taught to go out into the wide world and try to change it, this includes Christian and conservative women who are encouraged to take part in various church projects and even political protests and such. I'm not saying it's all wrong, mind you, or presuming they have bad intentions. Their intentions are, no doubt, noble, but if you are a believer, you realise that it's not always necessary to leave your house to change things.

I won't pretend to know the tradCath teachings in all the detail, but the trad Protestants used to teach (and some still do) that a woman, or at least, a married woman is to be a keeper at home, and so it appears that if she wants to make the world a better place, that's where she should begin. So if you find yourself with nothing to do suddenly, like your kids are grown and left, for instance, you can just dedicate more time to prayer and Bible study. 

There are many housewives who try to defend their lifestyle by enumerating all the things they do every day and even calculating how much money their labour is worth. They save money on daycare, they save money on eating out etc. It's all fine, but behind it there is still modern liberalism lurking, you know the way of life which is all about material reward.  It's not really a Christian way of thinking as the Scriptures warn us many times about the dangers of being attached to wealth and worldly goods. 

The love of money is the root of all evil

Prayer is underestimated as an activity because there is no price tag attached to it. And yet, it is no less important. I guess it must be easier for the traditional Catholics to understand it since from the very beginning they had (and still have) all these monks and nuns whose chief occupation is to pray and who are respected for this while they seldom even leave their convent/monastery. But surely, you don't need to be a Catholic to believe in the power of prayer? 

The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.



  1. To begin with, Yes. Prayer is underrated and I too am guilty of missing out on the opportunity to avail myself of prayer because I am overvaluing the worth of being busy, busy, busy. I appreciate the swift kick, Thank you.

    To end with, the best way for a wife to discern where and how to divide her energies is by seeking her husband's direction and honoring that. My husband places a high premium on my being active in our kids' school in the time I spend teaching history to homeschool kids (4 hours a week, with tiny remuneration), etc.

    Summer break is upon us now, and I will be doing more around the house. More baking bread, more deep cleaning, etc. However, once August returns, I'll be back in the thick of go, go, go, rest with bascially one weekday I can devote to housework.

    But, and this is a big's under the direction of what my husband wants me to do. When the kids finish k12 school,things will shift.

    All of this was to say that if many wives woudl simply ask their husbands, "How would you like me to serve our family? What does that look like? How should I divide my time so that I am a suitable and effective helper for you?" And ask with the intention of following through, that would be a huge step in the right direction.

    Of course, that's my modern Protestant American take, and I know that there are religious traditions which assert that the husband's desires are subservient to what the church says a woman should be doing.

  2. Oh, shucks. That me, Elspeth commenting above. Sorry!

  3. You are welcome:) It wasn't as much a kick towards those women who are very busy, but more a suggestion for those who find themselves with less to do, like empty-nesters or women without children or if their kids are at school for the most part of the day. Because the first solution they are told is to look for a job outside the house for the purposes of "doing something."

  4. I learned it from Lydia Sherman who said that women are not comfortable at home because they are used to be in a crowd, first at school and then at work. That makes perfect sense to me.

  5. It's the spirit of our times, I guess.

  6. Modern protestants do not seem to believe in prayer. During covid lockdowns, our parishes held masses behind closed doors, only staff participating. They actually had to disguss, does it make any sense, does it "count"! But our law says that churches must have mass every Sunday at that is why they went to it.

    Then one smart priest actually pointed out, that there are monks and nuns who have dedicated their whole lifes to silent prayer, alone, and no believer should question weather that "counts".

    Also story of Martha and Mary comes to mind. Jesus himself thought women shouldn't be fussing all the freakin time, but actually listening to Him.

  7. Some do. They even organise prayers circles. In our churches the preacher prays for those sick and in need every Sunday, you can submit a prayer request to him. It's just that lay persons don't appear to view prayer as a valuable occupation in daily life any more, outside of a church setting.

  8. I needed to cut short earlier as life happened here, so I'll continue.

    I am a firm believer in prayer. But I find the answer (to pray all day long) to be a little bit simplistic and ignorant. Or, it may be a very thoroughly thought one if he thinks as I do: everything is prayer. If everything we do is service (one kind of another) and service is prayer, then everything must be prayer as well. It doesn't have to be just prayer that is said in solitude. Adding more water to soup again that it will go further? Pray in faith that the money will come. Cleaning the toilet? Pray for those who'll use it. Baking bread? Pray over the dough for anyone who'll eat from it.

    I truly believe that women have been given the greatest gift as guardians of the home. It may be because of my upbringing, which I shared a few posts ago. I can understand that someone who was brought up differently sees the whole thing very differently and stays blind to those hidden blessings that home has. It can be angering or saddening that this gift is so overlooked nowadays but I'm determined to be faithful to my calling and enjoy my quiet life at home, praying.

  9. Praying while you work is a great idea! But having some time set apart specially for prayer and Bible study can't hurt, either. Not the whole day, of course, just some time in the morning and the evening,for instance. Or whenever one has time.