Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What's a Daughter to Do? Part 2

Read Part 1 here.

She stayed at home. She helped cook, clean, and care for her siblings. She served her family in every way. She ministered to her neighbors and to members of her church. She worked from home, but everything took second place to her home duties. Her parents were a part of all she did, and she daily placed her life under her father's authority.

That is the picture I used to have of what every stay-at-home daughter was supposed to look like. But I had a dilemma. My family did not have a church, we had very few neighbors in our rural neighborhood, and we had no home based family business. I struggled to serve my family joyfully each day, and was doing better all the time (I think), but since I was about ready to graduate from high school and would soon have more time on my hands then I would know how to fill, I began to worry. How was I ever going to fill my days once I had finished school?

I fought the idea of getting a job for a long time, because stay-at-home daughters just did not do that. But without a job I could not afford a vehicle of my own and without a vehicle my out-reach would be very limited. And if I did not find a way to help others, I would never be able to profitably fill my days and still remain the perfect stay-at-home daughter.

After much prayer and heart searching I applied at several businesses in the nearest small town and soon had a job. I went to work five days a week, yet my heart was not in it. I felt guilty for not staying at home and helping my mom around the house. I felt bad, that I did not get to spend much time with my siblings, and I felt bad because I did not even have time to reach out to others. All my time was spent working.

Over time I have come to believe whole-heartedly that being a stay-at-home daughter does not mean that you cannot have a job outside the home. For some girls there is no other choice. Some fathers are not willing for their grown daughters to remain at home and not have at least a small income that can cover her basic needs, such as clothing, and there are girls like me who have no ideas for starting their own home based business, and do not have a family business to work for, but need a job none-the-less.

I plan to go to college in the next year. I would love to be able to get my degree at home, but after researching my chosen degree have decided that the best course is for me to leave home for a few years and pursue my degree. Thankfully I will not be alone, but will be, God willing, going with my brother for a short two years. After I have finished my degree I hope to move back home and start my own business. Since I plan to pursue higher education I needed a way to pay for my classes. That has made it necessary for me to work four to five days a week. I have been carefully laying aside my wages so that I will be able to make my way through college debt free (which is a must). So, while I am gone from home a lot, and do not fit the "normal" picture of what a stay-at-home daughter is supposed to be, I am still living at home, and I still spend as much time as I can with my family, and seek my parents advice (though probably not as often as I should). I am still working on the part about helping around the house and balancing my work, but the way I see it, I am still very much a stay-at-home daughter. It just so happens that the picture my life paints is different from those others have painted, and I cannot see it as bad, or wrong, just different. There is nothing wrong with different is there?

Some days I still struggle because I do not measure up to the picture of the perfect stay-at-home daughter that many people push forward. But I have come to realize, that being a stay-at-home daughter is about the heart. If your heart remains at home, and if you strive to serve your family in every way possible, whether you remain at home or take a job elsewhere, you can still be a stay-at-home daughter.

For those who have a way to stay at home, be industrious, and supplement the family income, they surely have been blessed. But for those who have need to work outside the home, surely they are no less blessed just because they must paint a different picture then others are used to seeing on what a stay-at-home daughter is. Surly their unique picture will be no less beautiful for the difference in style. Artists each have their own styles and techniques, but that does not mean their works cannot be equally beautiful. So it is with stay-at-home daughters. Just because we cannot all go about life in the same manner does not mean that one way is better then the other. Or that one way is more right then the other. This means that a girl who must work outside of her home should not feel guilty for not measuring up to the ideal many people have drawn.

As I said before, I believe that the safest place and the best place for a young woman is in her fathers house until the day that she should marry, but you can stay at home and be under your father's authority, and still work outside the home. Maybe, it would be better if all daughters could work for their fathers and never have to get a job outside the home, that I do not know. All I know, is that for me and others, this is not possible, and that taking a job outside the home makes me no less worthy to claim the title stay-at-home daughter, as long as my heart remains true to the home. I do not believe that careers are good or healthy for women for reasons stated in Part 1, but women can work outside of their homes and not be career minded, but instead be home minded.

I work outside the home, but my heart remains at home. I am working now while I am single developing skills so that when, and if, I should marry, I can work from home and supplement my husband's income as the Proverbs 31 woman did, without shirking my home duties. I do not wish for a career. I want to be a home keeper, but having a skill that can be useful in serving others, is not a bad thing, as long as it does not get in the way of my homely duties.

One way is not better then the other. No one way is somehow more right then the other. This is a case that must be prayed about, and approached with a certain amount of caution. If you know that taking a job outside the home is going to make you less content to stay at home, then maybe you need to look harder to find ways to keep yourself at home. If you know that no matter what you do, or where you go, your heart will always remain at home, then if it seems wise, or is necessary, it may be right for you to take a job outside of the home.

If you are a married woman, and a mother, well that is another story. But that, my friends, is a topic for another day...


Anonymous said...

This post really encouraged me, especially since I've heard a lot about this topic from the view that 'girls should never work outside the home or go to college.' I could tell that your article was well thought-out and you wrote it in just such a way that it would not be offensive to people from different viewpoints, but would encourage all who read it to think more deeply about the subject. I enjoy reading your blog!
~AK girl

Kaomi said...

Ak girl,
Thanks! Sometimes I feel like I am writing to no one, and that can get discouraging at times. I have always said that if what I wrote helped one person to know Christ, or if what I wrote encouraged just one person then it was worth the time time spent posting my thoughts (I have all kinds of troubles getting my posts spaced right, but I am working on learning more.).
Hearing from you has been a bright spot in my day.
In Him,