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You Can Be Anything You Want

Photograph by Getty Images/Flickr RF

Have you ever watched the show Wife Swap?

The premise of the show is that two families switch wives for a week or two in order to see how the other family runs their household. The people that run the show obviously try to match up families that are polar opposites of each other, all in the interest of ratings and explosive confrontations. The country wife goes to the city and vice versa; the rich wife goes to the family who isn't making ends meet, atheist wife to Christian family, etc.

I was watching it a couple of years ago where they had one wife who was clearly against traditional gender roles, and another who was — you guessed it — a homemaker. I don't remember a lot of the details of that episode, but one part has stuck with me.

The no-gender-roles wife was talking with the other woman's homeschooled children and asking them what they wanted to be when they grew up.

They were all girls, and each of them said they wanted to be stay-at-home moms. The woman kept insisting that, no, they didn't have to be something so boring. "What do youREALLY want to be?"

To which they said the same thing, and this time they almost looked ashamed to be saying that they wanted to be moms and homemakers.

The lady wouldn't quit, though. She said, "But don't you know that you can be anythingyou want to be? You don't have to stay home! You can be anything you want!"

She was convinced that these girls weren't going to be fulfilled by their dreams of being moms and/or homemakers. Surely they could think of something better than that. They were headed for certain disappointment.

I wanted to shake her (in a very loving way, of course). I could see the hurt on the girls' faces as she made their aspirations seem like they weren't good enough. That they should want something else. It was probably the exact reaction the network was going for.

Why was this woman so offended that these girls would want to grow up to be moms and wives that make homemaking their full-time job? (I know all moms are moms, and they all take care of their homes, whether they work outside the home or not.)

"I believe that a godly home is a foretaste of heaven. Our homes, imperfect as they are, must be a haven from the chaos outside. They should be a reflection of our eternal home, where troubled souls find peace, weary hearts find rest, hungry bodies find refreshment, lonely pilgrims find communion, and wounded spirits find compassion." – Jani Ortlund

I love that quote and the word "haven." A home is only a safe haven from the chaos if it's made to be that way from intentional actions.

My mom stayed home with us. And as we got older she worked part-time at various places, and usually she was home by the time we got home from school. I knew it was something I wanted to do when I grew up, too. God willing, I wanted to be a wife and a mom. I didn’t know if it would happen, but it's what I wanted. By God's grace, He has allowed that to happen for me.

I also knew that I wanted to go to college. I wanted to get a degree where I could use my skills to get a good job and do something I enjoyed. Then, once I had kids, I would leave my job to stay home with them. Hopefully I would be able to find a way to use my degree to work from my home, too. Again, God has thankfully allowed that to become a reality.

It's been almost three years since I left my job (11/11/2011 was my last day — how fun is that date?). It was a job I loved, and I loved the people I worked with. But the day we found out we were pregnant, I couldn't wait to leave it all. I was ready to leave my dream job to take on my other dream job — taking care of that baby and our home, full-time. It was what I had always wanted to do.

I still remember getting choked up when I told my boss that I would only be there a few more months (hormones, sheesh). I was sad I would be leaving, but only because I knew that chapter of my life was done. It was bittersweet the day I left, but it was a decision I will never, ever regret.

I don’t think the Wife Swap lady would agree with me.

She would probably tell me that I really didn't want to do it, that deep down I really still wanted to be in the professional world. But she'd be wrong. I miss the people I use to work with, but I still see a lot of them. I love the graphic design work I did, but I am still doing it. And I'm providing extra income for my family because of the experience I've gained from my previous jobs.

My homemaking is better because I worked in the professional world. I got better at multi-tasking, organizing, dealing with setbacks, deadlines, prioritizing, etc. With my graphic design business, I've taken the things I've learned and applied those skills, too. My homemaking skills are better because I had the best role model in my mom to see how to do it. (Aww.) She taught me how to cook, clean, organize, save money, watch for deals, etc. I'm not saying I enjoyed it at the time, but I remember the things she taught me.

Now it's my turn to teach my daughters. My toddler is currently doing an excellent job of washcloth folding. We're taking baby steps.

This job isn't glamorous. I don't need to buy professional clothes. And no one is paying me overtime. This is true for any mom (working or staying home) or any homemaker (with kids or without). It's a job that requires skills, patience and a desire to serve. What we are doing in our homes matters. One of my favorite verses makes it clear as to why every profession, even homemaking, is worthwhile and should be approached with God at the center:

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” — Colossians 3:23-24

And for the moms out there who are military spouses or single moms — you are amazing.My hat is off to you as you do so much more than I could ever imagine. You all deserve some serious awards (and time off, and massages, etc.). I don't know how you do it (and I'm sure you think the same thing, too, sometimes). You are a blessing to your families with everything you do.

I'm so thankful that I'm able to be "livin' the dream," even when the dream makes me want to run away screaming sometimes. ("Mommy’s going to Target for a few hours!") I will encourage my daughters to do the same thing I do though, if God allows it. I don't know that my girls will be moms or homemakers, though. They might never get married or have children. But they'll still need to know basic homemaking skills even if they are serving God as singles.

"That they may train the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sober-minded, chaste, workers at home, kind, being in subjection to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed …” Titus 2:4-5

I can't think of anything else more rewarding than what I am doing now or anything else I'd rather be than wife, mom and homemaker.

And yes, Wife Swap lady, I am truly what I've always wanted to be.

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