Before reading this article, please understand this: I am a mother, a stepmother, a grandmother, an aunt, a sister, a daughter, and for over 25 years was a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom who also had kids in public school, too. My years of experience cover a broad range of areas which is best suited for another article where I can talk about it in depth. For now, I am showing you this to say, this isn’t a topic I address lightly. I DO, however, address it from a Biblical perspective. I pray you read to the end for the full perspective. So, let’s take a look.
I used the term a lot years and years ago, too. Domestic engineer. It is the term coined decades ago to put a spin on homemaker, or housewife. Somehow society decided being “JUST a stay at home mom” was not worthy or valuable compared to outside employment. Thus, women began to assign an official sounding title to their position as wife and mother.
When you look at books, blogs, and instructive articles from the job placement industry, the common description for “domestic engineer” is that it is “gender neutral,” politically correct, and implies “value not possessed” by the applicant. This last part is because the main focus is on the word “engineer.” You see, from a job placement perspective, stating you are an “engineer” implies a higher level of education in that specific field – as in tech school or college. When it comes to the other two phrases, “gender neutral” and politically correct, most women have probably never thought of “domestic engineer” as being either. Instead, many, including I, felt it added “value” to the years of being a mother and wife away from the professional workforce.
A question I asked myself here is: why do we, as wives and/or moms, feel the need to use a politically correct, gender neutral term which was coined just to make women appear more “worthy” or “valuable?” Aren’t we worthy and valuable just as we are? When I say this publicly, I tend to get a LOT of women riled up. That is not my intent, not at all. It is an honest question to ask yourselves.
I understand what drives us to do it: we feel belittled by the world for our contribution to society. We feel that we don’t get enough credit, recognition, or respect for our willingness to stay home and raise a responsible, respectable, resourceful, and wonderful family. Yet there is the other side of the coin, too, which was pointed out to me.
Have you ever thought what WORKING mothers think? It is an interesting perspective. I read the comments from about 20 working women who are also wives, mothers, and also several single mothers. They state they do the same things YOU do. They are homemakers, housekeepers, “chief cook and bottle washers.” They do laundry, balance check books, handle household expenses (pay the bills), help with homework, nurse illnesses and wounds, run errands, “soccer mom” and more, just like stay at home moms do. SOME homeschool their children with the help of a co-op or other relatives, too! PLUS, they work at a profession, sometimes in the home, sometimes outside the home. What do WE do that is any different from their efforts, they ask.
Another perspective is one my husband brought up to me – men don’t go to work and add job qualifications to their resume or work description when they become dads, buy a new home, and such. We don’t see men stating they are now lawn care specialists for doing yard work, or electrical engineers for replacing outlets, fuses or trouble shooting a blown circuit breaker.
I know my words by now are firing up a lot of ladies but, please, follow me out to the end.
Could we be exaggerating (puffing up) our title when we are claiming that normal everyday life experiences somehow qualify us for a loftier label? Moms and wives work hard – I know! I did. Still do, and it is just the two of us! I don’t even need to go into all the responsibilities we each have. There are countless blog articles out there that can sum all those up for us. But working moms/wives and all dads and husbands work hard, too!
Could one reason we feel under-valued be that we see so many articles talking about how much we should be paid based on all the jobs we do? In my lifetime I have heard income numbers ranging from $56,000 per year annual salary to $150,000 per year! When we hear that dollar amount put to our “position” as homemaker, it often makes us feel as though the world should appreciate wives and mothers more. And this can lead to our desiring a witty or clever title, rather than simply being content and pleased with who we truly are.
Putting a professional sounding label on our job because society, or even we, feel it needs to be painted as less “lowly” than another job gives the impression that we agree it is lowly, or of less value. It implies we believe the worldly portrayal that one group is more esteemed to God or society than another.
Remember, stay calm and keep reading! I am leading you somewhere. I promised we would be looking at this from a biblical perspective. So here we go.
We are IN the world because we are born into it, but we are not to be OF the world, are we?
In John 17:14-18 Jesus prays for the disciples and says, “I have given them your word. The world hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that you would take them from the world, but that you would keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in your truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, even so I have sent them into the world.”
We have His word to learn from, and we, too, have accepted Him as is described here. Yet still, just as then, the world works to demean us and often hates us because of what we stand for – especially traditional families as described in His Truth. So, we must ask ourselves, because we are not of this world, why do we desire a label which appears elevated in the world’s eyes? Why do we seek worldly esteem more than praise ourselves as the treasure Yahweh created us to be?
We are supposed to believe that Yahweh values us greatly, beyond measure and that he wants us to see ourselves that way, aren’t we? We are told in Luke 12:24b that we are to consider even the ravens, how he cares for them, and then, “how much more are ye better than the fowls?” (KJV) We should always remember we were created in His image. (Genesis 1:27)
I will give thanks to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. My soul knows that very well. Psalm 139:14 WEB
I ask, if these verses are how we are to see ourselves, then why do we give in to what the WORLD says about us? Why do we apply the same lack of value to our roles as parents, homemakers, aunts, uncles, neighbors, mentors as the world applies? Why have we allowed ourselves to fall into that same trap?
One thing I have realized over the years is this: the world chooses to devalue all of these influencers because often the world cannot see the “forward value” in what we do. They simply see us as “just raising kids,” yet those kids will one day be applying for jobs, going to college, volunteering, training others, and so much more. What we teach them now is immeasurable!
The world sees little value in the family these days, especially a traditional one. Let’s step up and show them the value. Show them WE value our roles as wives, mothers, aunts, mentors, neighbors and such.
I gave up calling myself a domestic engineer some time ago. Because I realized that I was a HOMEMAKER and that was what Yahweh called me to be. Although I am now called to ministry with my husband, I am still a homemaker, only now my home includes an extended family that one day will include spouses for ALL of our children as well as more grandchildren, and prayerfully – one day – even great grandchildren.
Proverbs 22:6 Tells us we are to train up children in the way they should go so that when they are old they will not depart from it. Your responsibility as a mom, a wife, and a homemaker is GREAT in the sight of God! Even if you have no children of your own, you mentor through your loving example: your nieces, nephews, neighbor’s children, those in your Sunday school class, even children in your community – you are helping to train them to be the next generation of productive people. And for that, I am truly grateful. So should the world be!
One day, a new boss or professor will say, “WOW! That (Insert child’s name here!) is a great person, hard worker. He/she was raised right!” Whatever your job was in raising those new adults, your diligence and dedication will bring new light into the world.
Sisters, I hope that you have made it this far in the article. Because it is my hope that we will stop belittling our roles in life and see ourselves for who we truly are. Be proud of who you have become in raising your family. Be proud of how Yahweh sees you! Be proud to say that raising our next generation of leaders, executives, hard workers of every kind, moms and dads who also believe in their value and the value of others is worth more than words can say!
Don’t ever be ashamed of being a mom, an aunt, a mentor, a good example, a homemaker for the children of this world.
Be proud of your job! I am proud of you!!!!
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Lead Author (Bio)
Jim, (Judi's husband), has Sephardi Jewish ancestry and is a minister and head of Shofar Productions. Jim was a denominational pastor, hospital chaplain, and former director of a non-profit community organization.
Torah For Women
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