Many daughters feel the criticism from skeptics who wonder, “what do you do with yourself all day?” Some people view stay-at-home daughters as prisoners and slaves to abusive, authoritative parents, while others view them as lazy, irresponsible and a financial drain on their families. While I am sure there may be some girls out there that would fit either of these descriptions, my personal experience and those that I have observed in other families, has been much different!
There are several things that I have learned, and am still learning, that I believe are vital aspects of a unmarried daughter’s role and I would like to share some thoughts about these aspects in the hope that it will be helpful to someone else.
The first aspect is the incorrect perception of what it means to be a successful daughter at home. I think we, as unmarried daughters, often feel the need to perform and prove ourselves … to show people that we can be just as successful at home as outside of it. In talking with other young women, I believe there is a common misnomer among daughters at home that we have to be “doing something”. There is a mindset out there that if you aren’t working in your father’s business, or running your own home business, or taking college courses at home, or blogging, or teaching a girl’s Bible study class, or helping young mothers, etc etc, the list could go on and on … if you only spend your days at home cooking, cleaning, running errands for your parents and taking care of younger siblings … then you’re not really being successful at home.
Personally, I have been blessed with many different opportunities and projects, including the magazine and running several home businesses. These things keep me extremely busy. And although I am grateful for these opportunities and I know the heavenly Father has given them to me, it is often difficult to find the proper balance between handling the responsibilities and devoting my time and energy to serving my family. When we start focusing on other responsibilities and placing more importance on them rather than our families, we have lost the key to being successful daughters at home. Sure, we may live in our father’s house and be under his authority, but if our projects get in the way of serving our families and learning the character traits described in Titus 2, we need to reevaluate our priorities.
I think one of the most amazing things about the Proverbs 31 woman is that she was not only an incredible entrepreneur and she ministered to the poor and needy, but she took care of her household as well. That is pretty incredible! I know from personal experience that it is difficult to keep family first when you have business and ministry opportunities.
There are times when I am trying to prepare a meal for the family and someone calls, wanting to buy one of our puppies. Half an hour later I am still listening to them reminisce about the dog they had for fifteen years, or answering questions that have already been discussed on our website! There are other times when I have magazine emails to respond to, or hours of work on design and layout, and my little sister wants to play a game or go walk in the woods. Business phone calls and magazine emails are important, but my family is more important. This is something I have to constantly remind myself of.
So my desire is to encourage young ladies … know that you do not have to perform and prove yourself in the eyes of the world! While I am a proponent for running businesses from home and being involved in home-based ministries, I also know that the most important thing an unmarried daughter can focus on is serving her family. If your whole day is centered around taking care of your family and you find joy and contentment in doing that, you are successful!
In a way, it’s similar to how people view stay-at-home moms. Everyone commends women who can be successful wives and mothers and run a business or ministry. But what about the mothers who spend their days changing diapers, wiping spills and rocking babies? Their “ministry” is not as public, but it is still as worthy and commendable. In the same way, if you are a young lady who doesn’t have opportunities for public ministry or entrepreneurial endeavors and feel like you are “only” serving your family, don’t be discouraged. Your family is your mission field and your influence in their lives is just as important as anywhere else!
(stay tuned for the last post in the series – Part Four: Finding The Balance)