Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Reader Question: Why the title?

In my mailbox, I received this question from one of my feminist friends after she read my blog introduction:

Of all the housewives articles I've read, housewives I've emailed and know, they all 'appear' to be proud to be housewives, why, oh, why do they give themselves titles like a research associate in the field of child development and human relations and queens of castles and other random things. If they wanted to be a research associate, why didn't they study and become one? Most housewives don't live in castle, because very few people these days can afford to have a castle, why call yourselves something which you are not? Isn't that lying, considering most housewives claim to be Christian? If housewives are housewives, why do they have to have a glammed up title, why can't they just accept who they are? Why do they feel the need to compete against working women with a title, which they are not (most times, nowhere near it, academically). It is a unfulfilled dream? Are they unhappy and are trying to make their title make them look something big? Us working women have a title because we worked to having that title. Housewives are called so because they choose to work towards that. My job is a servicedesk analyst, it's what my contract says. I don't call myself anything else. Computer technician, which I am anyway, I build and maintain computers outside of work, so it's who I am. If I ever became a housewife, the chances of this are as slim as the moon or sun colliding with the earth, I wouldn't call myself anything but a housewife. Even if I married I rich man and lived in a REAL castle and had maids/servants, I wouldn't call myself a Queen of the castle, first lady of anything, I would still refer to myself as a housewife. Why the title thing?

My answer:
Although I don't get combative about it or anything, I dislike the term housewife. It suggests that I am married to my house or at the very least that all I am is a caretaker of a home that happens to be married. Your questions are fair questions but they presuppose the following things:

  • Who I am is what I do
  • Who I am is directly related to the amount of money I can earn
The titles mentioned on this blog are not ones I made up for myself. They are Biblical titles that I and other women following God's plan have been given by God.

calls me a daughter of the King. That is who I am. I don't need a husband, children or a home or any professional occupation or education to define me. My King is all I need, and in Him I rest content and satisfied in my identity.

That being said, God has blessed me with a husband, and He calls me to be a crown to my husband. He's also given me children and desires that I be a "joyful mother" to them. He has given me the title of keeper of my home. It is difficult to put all of that into one two-word title!

I understand that my reference to my home as a castle could sound idealistic. I find the terms "home"and "castle" to be equally as inviting and important. The home is God's first created organization. When I refer to a castle, it is in the figurative sense. I assumed my readers would know that I don't live in a literal castle since most, if not all, of these are uninhabited now. My intention was not to be untruthful, and I trust it won't disappoint anyone to find out that my header photo is not a picture of my actual home.

One more thing to note is a castle is not the same as a palace. This distinctive difference will be explained more fully in Friday's home post.

Above all, my goal for this blog is to encourage those that wear these God-given titles I've mentioned. The ultimate goal is not to have perfect homes here on earth, but to impact eternity so that we may experience "Joy Ever After" in our Heavenly home. That is no fairy tale!

Readers, do you have any additional things to add to my answer to this reader or any follow-up questions of your own?


  1. Although I don't really mind the term "housewife" I prefer "keeper of my home" or "homemaker". Home should be a place that encourages warmth and love...a home is where you are a house can be just a place to store your stuff. I'm sure not everyone would agree with these thoughts...but it does make a difference in my thoughts.
    I really don't see the problem with calling your home your 'castle'. My blog is called " A View From the Mountain"...but guess what I don't live on a mountain;-) However, I liked the visual it gave me and my grandmother wrote a poem of going home to the Lord called "Meet Me on the Mountain" and so I am drawn to that.
    Why do women in the workforce call themselves "Administrative Assistant" instead of "Secretary" or "Flight Attendent" instead of "Stewardess"? It is because certain words have been given certain meanings or are looked on disparagingly, and we often would like to move away from that.

    Anyhow, I think you answered your friends questions well and these are just some thoughts that happened to come to mind as I typed this. Sorry if it doesn't flow well...still working on my coffee:-)


  2. From Sarah the person who email Jennifer.

    If you don't like the title housewife, why be one? Housewife, home keeper, keeper of the home, same thing. A housewife to me is someone who cares their home and it's content. If I was a housewife, I would gladly accept my title, instead of making up something more glam to make myself sound better. I am who I am.

    Also, why lie about where you live? Why lie? If you live in a house, you live in a house. If you like in a flat, then you live in a flat. Why lie and over rate your supposed precious home? I live in a house and will say it. It's not a castle, I have no mountain view. I live on a house on a very flat piece of land. It's simple. Castle are not inviting, as much. If you read about the days of castles, they were not really inviting. It was a dewelling place for important people.

    Who you are is what you do. If you serve God you are Christian. If you fix cars your are a mechanic. If you deal with fires, you're a fire man or woman. It's simple. If you stay at home as a wife and mother, you are a housewife and mother. It's not hard. Who you are can relate to how much money you earn e.g if you are a lawyer, then people know you earn a lot of money. It's all very simple.

    Sommer, there is a big difference between a secretary and a admin assistant. I know I did admin work in my early days of work.

  3. Sarah said, "Castle are not inviting, as much. If you read about the days of castles, they were not really inviting. It was a dewelling place for important people."

    Castles were made as comfortable as the period allowed, and yes, it was a dwelling place for important people. That is the whole point of Jennifer's comparison! Her blog is all about encouraging women to make their house a home, making their "castle" a comfortable refuge for the man and little ones they are blessed with, who by the way, ARE IMPORTANT PEOPLE.

    And speaking of titles, I guess I don't mind being called a housewife. But what I do goes SO much deeper than just keeping house. I think Homemaker is much more fitting. I don't know who made up those fancy "executive" titles, but making up titles that sound loftier or more technical is nothing new, and it certainly didn't start with homemakers. Among the women I know, those titles are only used tongue-in-cheek, which Sarah must have missed somewhere.

    Sarah, you apparently have a bitter taste in your mouth when you say housewife - I read it in your comments. If you feel this way about homemakers, then my thought is that this is not the blog for you to follow. Some of us have married a man and borne children, and choose to stay at home to raise our children into solid, secure adults who love God, make wise choices in life, are good citizens, and a shining light in this dark world. You probably do a fine job being a service desk analyst. You are free to spend your life at a desk, if you want.

    Jennifer has made a comparison of a Christian home and a castle inhabited by a king, a queen, little princes and princesses. It is beautiful. It is poetic and idealistic. And not so far-fetched, when your home is a little slice of heaven on earth! :o) Sarah, I hope someday you experience for yourself the joys that we know.

    Carry on, Lady Jen! I look forward to your next post.

  4. Lady Jen,
    I love your blog. I think it says a lot about your viewpoint. I bet you are a joyous person who looks at the glass as half full instead of empty. I LOVE being a housewife, homemaker, queen of my castle, whatever anyone calls it! I would rather spend my day doing laundry, wiping noses etc. I am 100 times happier than when I owned my own successful business, which I did for years. Because I know what I do is for eternity not for temporal. However, I refuse to put down anyone who is not currently working at home. Everyone one of us are in different seasons in our lives and in our walks with God. One more than there is nothing deceitful about your blog. I know you do not live in a castle and you are not a "queen" but the image is beautiful and is that not what life is about, turning lemons into lemonade.....

  5. I'm not bitter against housewives. I just have no intention of being one. I'm keeping my words somewhat sweet as I may one day have to eat them.

    I just don't understand why housewives have to make themselves sound all glam and refuse to accept their titles and make up things about their homes which are not true, which is lying. God doesn't lie about who he is, so why is it ok for Christian housewives to lie about who they are and there they live! I'm honest about who I am and not living in fairyland with idealistic ideas (lies) about who I am, so why can't everyone else.

    I don't put down housewives, it's just not my calling. I would rather work and maintain my family than be at home. I've always said it. I don't believe in marrying a man to maintain me, I can look after myself. In the lowest times of my life, it was God and I, so therefore I know I don't need a husband to look after me. I'm capable of looking after myself.

  6. Definition of a lie: a false statement made with intent to deceive.

    No one is being deceived here.

  7. A lie is simply not the truth. If you claim you live in a hut on top of a mountain and you live in the valley. That is a lie. My bible tells me what lies are.

    Ten Commandments - Thou shalt not lie

    If you can't see a lie when it's staring in you in the face, then you are truly blind.

    Since you want to approach the dictionary, check out points 2 and 3. Even point 1 makes it clear it says a falsehood.

    1   /laɪ/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [lahy] Show IPA Pronunciation
    noun, verb, lied, ly⋅ing.
    1. a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.
    2. something intended or serving to convey a false impression; imposture: His flashy car was a lie that deceived no one.
    3. an inaccurate or false statement.
    4. the charge or accusation of lying: He flung the lie back at his accusers.

    I think you housewives have difficulty see the truth and that's why you over glam yourselves and your homes.

  8. I think it is clear to everyone that I don't live in a literal castle, am not a literal lady (by title), etc. therefore it is not a lie. I am speaking figuratively, of course, as I've said. This is no more lying than it was for Jesus to tell parables to prove a point (these stories may or may not have been true) or for Him to be called the Lamb of God or the Lion of Judah when He is not a literal animal (I mean that reverently--tone of voice doesn't come across through typed words). Although I welcome your debates in the right spirit, I don't think the debate about my lying is relevant anymore.

  9. Ok Jennifer,

    I still disagree. I will always think calling yourself something which are you are not is lying.

    If I said I was married with 10 kids and I know fully well, I'm not that's lying. If I said I was related to Queen Elizabeth and I'm not, that's lying.

    I will always be honest and say who I am even if other people don't. Mark my words, if even become a housewife, I will never be commenting about a castle I don't live in or a mountain view I don't have. If I live in a little flat, I will openly say it and never lie.

  10. Last point:

    Through our mini debate on your blog, I've decided some of you housewives appear to be somewhat insecure. My reasons are this, it makes a long time for you guys to admit, that as much as your over rate being at home by saying every day is the happiest day of your life, it isn't.

    You can never fully accept who you are and you guys feel the never to make up things about yourselves to make yourselves sound grand. Us working women don't do that, we don't have time. We just get on with our jobs.

    Your blog is a real eye opener to you American housewives. I'm sure I'm bound to make more discoveries as we go on. Maybe I should swallow my pride with a big gulp, become a housewife and show all of you how it's really done:-) I do almost all the same things as all of you, minus the kids and still work and I'm happy.


  11. Jen,
    I love your new blog! I of course, have to put my two cents in. As you know, after getting my education, I worked for several years before quiting to become a homemaker. I never married my husband so that he could "maintain" me. I am a highly educated women and can also "maintain" myself. I can also look after myself and do not "need" my huband to look after me. HOwever, I am very blessed that he is in my life and that we are able to make the choice for me to stay home. He works very hard and is a wonderful provider for us.

    I am also the queen of my castle, and I am very proud that the King found it fit to bring my husband and I together and to bless us with our children. I am a homemaker, I have made a home for our family, where we can spend peaceful time together, away from the world. This is a natural role for me, I enjoy it much more than the workforce. I do not try to make my life look like a fairytale in anyway. Some days are harder than others, but everyday that I am home with my children is a true blessing. I am so thankful that I am able to nurture, love and teach them myself. I wouldn't entrust that job to anyone else. I fully accept who I am, and I am proud of it. I am a wife to my husband and a mother to my children. Being a homemaker by far, is harder than when I was in the workforce. It requires much responsibility and patience, and you don't get days off. There is no vacation, no sick days, no holidays off and are always on call. But I would not trade it for anything in the world. I may go back to the workforce after my children go to school, if I choose not to homeschool them. It would be nice to get a break every now and then;) According to MSNBC.com a homemaker's work for a year, is over $150,000. So to me it's obvious that I'm definatly more valuable at home than in the workforce, not because of money, but because this is quality time that I am able to spend with my husband and children. Keep up the good work Jen!

  12. Hi Jade! Nice you stopped by. Thanks for the comments.

  13. Firstly, apologies to any househusbands who are reading this.

    I recently purchased a Christian Humour book called All Stitched Up by Alie Stibble and I thought I would share this little insert with you.

    Spectacular Job

    One day a man spotted a lamp by the roadside. He picked it up and rubbed it vigorously and a genie appeared.

    "I'll grant you your fondest wish," the genie said
    The man thought for a moment, then said, "I want a spectacular job - a job that no man has ever succeeded at or has ever attempted to do."
    "Poof!" said the genie. "You're a housewife."

  14. I have found this post and the "debate" that follows very interesting. I truly enjoy reading all the blogs by "housewives" or "Keepers of the Home" and even the ones that focus more on marriage than children. One point I would like to make is...treasure what you have! As a teenager my plan was to be a "housewife"...nothing more, nothing less. I married two years after High School...but before that, I found out that due to physical problems, I may never bear a child (literally there is a 1% chance) I dealt with that, it was tough, but as long as I could get married I decided I would be ok. Two years after we married, my Husband went to prison. It was his own fault, but God has helped me to forgive and LOVE him (and helped my husband to be sorry and repent). I decided to stay with him, despite the circumstances (and varying opinions). That was five years ago and he has about two more to go...suffice it to say, my "plans" were not Gods plans and they have not happened. I am now in school to be an RN, and as exciting as it is, my heart is still heavy with grief at times. I would give (almost) anything to be able to be together with my husband and have a few (or more) children running around. I am not sure why I am where I am in life, but I am learning to trust God each day. I did not post this comment as a sob story...only as a reminder to you that are "housewives" and mothers. Be THANKFUL for what you have...and treasure every moment as though it is your last. (As a side note, my husband graduated and I was able to attend. He was able to sit next to me for a while and put his arm around me...I forgot how wonderful that felt! Funny how you take things for granted until it isn't there anymore.)