I posted this quote on our facebook page a few weeks back and didn’t think twice about it….until I received a flurry of comments on my facebook page and in my inbox. I think it struck a chord, and the tune was a tad sour…so let’s take a look at this…
I fully agree with Mr. Lewis, but there are some things that we need to break down, because I really think it could change the way that we view our roles as parents…
As I set out to write this post, I did what any good blogger does…I googled “homemaker”. I found this nifty summary, courtesy of Wikipedia, which I believe is only partly true:
“Homemaking is a mainly American term for the management of a home, otherwise known as housework, housekeeping, or household management; it is the act of overseeing the organizational, financial, day-to-day operations of a house or estate, and the managing of other domestic concerns. This domestic consumption work creates goods and services within a household, such as meals,childcare, household repairs, or the manufacture of clothes and gifts. Common tasks include cleaning, cooking, and looking after children. A person in charge of the homemaking, who isn’t employed outside the home, is in the U.S. and Canada often called a homemaker, a gender-neutral term for a housewife or a househusband. The term “homemaker”, however, may also refer to a social worker who manages a household during the incapacity of the housewife or househusband.”
So yes, Wiki, “homemaking” does in fact entail the mundane, the cleaning, cooking and the like.
However, that’s not at all what C.S. Lewis was alluding to. I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but judging by his ideals, values and philosophies, I think we can surmise that he meant that a “homemaker” is more than someone who coordinates the logistical functions of a home. Any hired servant could do that and being a maid is not the “ultimate career”.
C.S. Lewis was born in 1898 and passed away in 1963. He lived at an electrifying time when the world was catapulted forward at a million miles an hour. He rode in a horse and buggy but saw the invention of the computer. He witnessed World Wars 1 and 2, the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and the free-love cultural revolution.
He was there when the roles of men and women in the home were turned upside down during the Industrial Revolution. He saw women leaving their homes to go to work in the city for the first time. Mothers working the munitions factories on the home-front during the wars, groggily trudging home to steal a few precious hours with her children before returning to work. All while her husband was saving the world somewhere in Europe. Working and single mothers were a cultural norm.
So when he spoke of a “homemaker”, I have to imagine that he had these things in mind. He wasn’t supposing that the ideal homemaker always had a four-course meal ready for her family, that she dutifully studied the Bible for hours each day, and that her children were always well behaved, her home was immaculate, and she was the symbol of beauty; always calm and never tired or stressed.
There may be laundry strewn about, dishes in the sink, but her children know that they are loved.
You may work 60 hours a week, and you may even be a single parent, but when you have positioned yourself in the trenches, ready to sacrifice everything to protect your children and raise them to know the Truth in confidence and peace, then you’re a “homemaker”.
In that same reasoning, you may be a stay-at-home mom, but that doesn’t necessarily make you a “homemaker”. You may have even made the difficult choice to homeschool your children, but if there is only apathy and annoyance and you live each day, void of a resoluteness in your spirit to see your children find Life and Honor in what you’re teaching them, then actually no, I wouldn’t exactly say that you’re a “homemaker”, you’re simply “at home”.
Working outside of the home or staying home all day. Married or single. Mother to one or to fifteen – none of these things influence this equation.
When Lewis said “…all other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career ” he was simply saying that raising our children, giving them Hope and Faith, caring for them, protecting them, and doing everything in our power to see to it that our homes were a beacon of light for them to return to was really all that matters in this world.
Anything else was secondary.