In the past, I’ve been accused of being a homebody. Now that I’m an author, I have a response to these “ill-informed” accusations. I leave my home every single day, in one form or another. The article I wrote for a certain website is seen all over the world! The magazine column I just submitted for publication may be seen by a vast audience as well. I travel!
I have been accused of sheltering my kids too much because I homeschool them. My response to this “uneducated” accusation is simply this. I’m not going to insult your intelligence by answering your question with a question (What exactly do you think socialization is?). No, I’m going to defend my rights. My children are very well-rounded, well-behaved, intelligent sponges that receive much hands-on experience to reinforce the knowledge they have already consumed; therefore, they are able to retain this information at a much higher rate than most. Did that sound rehearsed? I’m sorry. I’ve been thinking about that statement for six years (that’s how long I’ve been homeschooling) and it hasn’t changed at all. My right to homeschool my children was given to me by God himself. “Teach them in the way they should go”, he said. I’ve done tons of research; I can’t for the life of me, find the part in the Bible where it says I should send them to an institution and let someone else teach them. He said, “Impart to them your values”. Again, where does it say, “Impart to them the values of a complete stranger who may or may not be a Christian…but they’ve spent many years and lots of dollars educating themselves in one field or another”?
No, this article is not a defense for homeschooling…totally. It’s a defense for my God-given privilege to live freely and be a homebody if I want to. I still interact with society and the world for that matter.
I’m not lazy. I’m able to patch a roof, build a deck, wallpaper a room, cook gourmet meals, fix the dryer, write an article, dislodge whatever is seizing my garbage disposal, cultivate a garden, host a guest… Well, you get the idea. I can do all of these things as well as, if not better than a lot of people! In fact, I’ve been referred to as “Jill of all trades”, and I take pride in that compliment, until someone adds, “…and master of none.” I take it all in stride though. This is my chosen lot in life and I think God put me here on this earth for a reason. This reason must have something to do with being a homebody because I enjoy it so much.
Notice I keep referring to myself as a homebody and not a homemaker? I am not disinclined to the label of homemaker. For many, many years I proclaimed to anyone that would listen, “I AM A HOMEMAKER!” But over the past few years, I’ve added a few hats to my collection. I am now a business owner, webmaster, author, and teacher in addition to my previous titles of child of God, friend, daughter, wife, mother, head cook and bottle washer. Do those all fall under the title of “homemaker”?
My husband used to complain that I was interested in too many things. He was afraid that I might spread myself too thin. Constant exclamations from acquaintances and friends resound in my head, “How do you do it all?” “Where do you find the time?” My response has always been the same. “I’m just one thing…a HOMEMAKER!” All of the things that interested me; gardening, reading, home repair, cooking/baking, decorating, etc. fell under the umbrella term of “homemaker”. Lately though, I’ve grown dissatisfied with that title. I have been shaped and molded into so much more.
So I thought, what brand name can I apply to this new creation that I’ve become? My horizons have expanded, so should my title. Everybody’s always asking, “What is your occupation? What do you DO?” It seems only appropriate to have a response ready that will not require this person to pay rent to occupy their space while I answer. Like the word “couch potato”, “homebody” carries some negative connotations, but I’d be okay with that; as long as people don’t equate the word with “lazy” or “neglectful”. If my house were full of clutter or my children were unkempt or starving for food and attention, then I would deserve to carry a cynical trademark, whatever it might be.
Rosanne Barr, in her stand-up comedy routine, has been heard calling homemakers names, the only one that I can recall is “domestic engineer”. This one doesn’t quite fit either. Sure, I can vacuum, sweep, dust, cook, do laundry and iron as well as the rest; but where does all of the creative stuff enter the picture? No, I’m more than a “domestic engineer”.
Thanks to the feminist movement, homemakers have undeservedly acquired a negative branding. We’re called old fashioned, antiquated, behind the times. I beg to differ. I may not don a suit dress and high heels everyday and I don’t feel the need to order a twenty-five syllable cup of coffee every morning on my way to the office, but I can tap out an article on my computer in a short period of time; fax, email or snail mail it to the proper recipient; build a website over the weekend; “do lunch” with a close friend (requiring a little bit of advanced notice) and even run my own web-based business. The added bonus here comes in the form of its location, my bedroom/home office. I’m also able to teach my kids their day’s lessons, clean the refrigerator and fix the dryer simultaneously. Look out Gloria Steinham! Let’s see her tackle my schedule in a day.
Yes, my children are available to me on a consistent basis. While I’m creating a masterpiece in my home office, they are obligated to refrain from interrupting; although blood, vomit and dangerous situations take precedence. They’ve come to respect this request and most times don’t seem to have much trouble with it. My ten-year-old daughter is my “coffee person”. When her name bellows throughout the house, it usually means ‘mom ran out of coffee, can you get her some more?’ If this requires making a new pot, no problem; she has been properly trained. Recently, my family and I found ourselves residing with a close friend and her family (for seven months). To their amazement, my daughter took over the coffee making ritual in their home. I wonder how they’re doing now that we’ve moved on. I hope they’re not cowering in a corner of the kitchen suffering from caffeine withdrawal.
“Homebody” just fits. It encompasses the essence of everything I stand for. I live my life from home. I enjoy what I do and my family is agreeable. Our harmonious existence allows us to make an unscheduled trip to the park on a beautiful sunny day…in the middle of the week! Do you think your boss would object if you brought in a picnic lunch and informed him of your “tentative” reappearance on the job depending on the weather? Or would the teacher mind if you wanted to excuse your child from classes for the afternoon due to a sudden attack of “cuddle-time syndrome”?
I’m not here to bash working women. I certainly understand the great effort everyone must put forth, whether striving for financial independence or struggling to make ends meet. I also respect the fact that God gave each and every one of us a different heart’s desire. Some people were born to have a career, and that’s okay with me…really. Everyone comes from a different background and upbringing. I was raised on a dairy farm out in the country, in a very small town (pop. 650) in Northeast USA. This might have something to do with the “WHY” of my chosen occupation. Someone born and raised in the Bronx may aspire to become a Wall Street broker or a high-profile magazine editor. That’s their choice and I totally respect it. I just want to enjoy the same courtesy.
I guess I’m refuting the unwarranted reputation homemakers and homebodies alike have amassed. I want my occupation of choice to receive the accolades that it deserves. I am one small person in a world that is large beyond comprehension, yet I can talk to someone on the other side of the earth while relaxing in my own home. The advancement of modern technology is almost scary if you spend too much time thinking about it. I prefer to have the option of retreating into myself occasionally, without offending the God-given capacities of others. I believe the designation of “homebody” embodies the essence of my existence.
If you’ll excuse me, I need to take my leave now. A necessary extraction begs my attention. Translation: My son has been in the tub for quite some time now and shows no sign of voluntarily removing himself to a warmer, drier place in life. One more advantage to being a homebody…never boring.