I am sure the statement ‘women as homemakers’ is very controversial. For recent society, women are no longer identical with homemakers or domestical duties. Instead, as what the feminist claims, women are equal in political, social, economical, intellectual, and even sexual rights with those of men. The existence of women in workplace in pursuing career is one of the evidences of how women are no longer regarded as people to nurture children and be busy with household duties. What I’m going to say in this writing is that I am not trying to be standing in one side, but just want to clarify that the goodness of being homemakers for the women cannot be denied.
I was attending a church camp for 4 days in Sutherland, NSW, and just came back yesterday. The topic of the camp was ‘sexuality’ discussing, in very bold and detail, roles of women and men before and after getting married. What had been discussed during that camp was very challenging. I learnt many things even things that I didn’t expect would be explained in the framework of ‘ministry’. I was attending some camps, called ‘church retreat’, when I was in my country, but none of them was explaining in very detail about sexuality as what last camp did. So, this camp probably becomes the first and the last time for me to learn this topic. Honestly, I found it’s really helpful in understanding how the bible views the role of women and men in household and society.
The talk that was most interesting for me was about ‘women as homemakers’. I was reminded that at the end the successfulness of the mother depends on the successfulness of the children. Probably I am not too mistaken saying that. I do understand that the culture in all places is not the same. In some cultures, this statement might not be relevant, but I am sure that in many Asian cultures, that statement is still relevant. I am Indonesian, so I am sure it is applicable in Indonesia as well.
I was asking myself, why mothers are involving that intensely in workplace chasing career rather than staying at home being busy with household duties. Further, having a good job and high salary become the dream of almost all mothers. The satisfaction of unpaid mothers focusing on the health and well growth of children is getting faded replaced by paid work of mothers outside the house. Why is that? Economic reason probably one of the main reasons. Households living in the urban areas need much money to fulfill the basic requirements, including the education for the children. Only one person per household working might not earn enough money. But I told myself again that that is not the only reason. Satisfaction of the mothers in self-actualisation as what Maslow’s hierarchy said seems another main reason. The mothers find satisfaction in workplace where they can express their ability and education pursued in the universities. Unharmonious family also looks one of the reasons. Competing with the husband in spending time outside the house is triggered by this inharmoniousness. Both wife and husband are not willing to give a bit sacrifice for the sake of family. This inharmoniousness is also including the violence towards mothers/women in the household followed by the lack of money given to the wife for household’s basic needs. Peer pressure is another essential factor. Knowing friends having wonderful life by working in a well known company is indeed a heavy burden. No one wants to look underestimated in a reunion!! Security is one reason as well. How if my husband cannot work because of something unexpected? And how if later my children do not have enough funds to provide me in my old age?
These reasons then lead to the question of how about the children? Don’t they have right to get enough cares and attentions from the parents, especially mothers, in their process of growth to be adults? How much more important the money, satisfaction, peer pressure, and security compared to them? This issue looks become more acute. I remember my mother told me that children are God’s gifts but at the same time are also responsibilities of the parents. They are not only bringing happiness to parents, but also demanding love and cares.
What do then the mothers have to do?
Well, I have no my own arguments to answer this question. I just want to use the Bible views regarding this issue. I am sure nothing/nobody could suggest the best solution, I think, but the Bible. In Proverbs 31, it pictures the ideal women/mothers in the household. It is clear saying that women are homemakers, caring the family, put all the efforts and energy for the family, never let the members of the family to be suffered of sickness or foodless, and always speak wisdom in giving attention to the family. But notice, it is not only saying that women are homemakers, but also economically earn money. However, this earning money is for the sake of family without sacrificing the role as the homemakers.
I was thinking, is this passage telling that part-time job is a wise solution for mothers? But how about those living in the developing countries where part-time jobs are not easily found? Do they need to create their own job rather than being dependent on job givers?
I was really challenged by this issue, but still can’t make the decision yet. How about you?