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'A MyCatholicSource.com Exclusive' Article:

We Need More Housewives

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We Need More Housewives

By: John Seiler

Summary: Housewives are crucial as the treasured pillar of family and society. They nurture the home with love and bring up children in the true faith and the service of God.

Keywords: Housewife, Housewives, Wife, Husband, Holy Matrimony, Mother, Full Time Mother, 'Stay at Home Mom', Children, Home, Household, Family, Families

One of the most honored positions in society used to be that of "housewife." According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, the term originated in the 13th century in English and means "a married woman in charge of a household." And a household is "those who dwell under the same roof and compose a family."

In just the last couple of decades, "housewife" unfortunately has been replaced, in most cases, with "stay-at-home mom." But the new phrase is passive and takes away the sacramental element of being a "wife," that is, joined by God to one husband in holy matrimony. And the "house" part of "housewife" indicates the grand responsibility of overseeing everything at home: taking care of husband and children, cooking, housekeeping and clothing.

The Council of Trent was emphatic, "The wife should love to remain at home, unless compelled by necessity to go out" ("The Sacrament of Matrimony" in "The Catechism of the Council of Trent"). This is not a demeaning role. Rather, it's an ennobling role. As the Council also wrote, a major reason for matrimony is "the desire of family, not so much, however, with a view to leave after us heirs to inherit our property and fortune, as to bring up children in the true faith and in the service of God."

By staying always at home, the housewife obviously is performing this crucial role full time. Nowadays, homeschooling has spread widely, with many online and offline helps to families practicing it. So the housewife's traditional role of raising children again is being emphasized.

Being a housewife also means avoiding a "job," even one that could be performed at home, to bring in extra money. It is enough for a housewife to run her household efficiently, thus saving money through efficiencies, and providing the special human touch to food, clothing and other necessities.

Indeed, by running a lovely home, she frees her husband from worries so he can concentrate on providing for and defending his family. Meanwhile, this lack of worries propels the husband's greater efficiency and earning power, which in turn allow his wife to remain at home, among other things bonding closely with her children.

Some modern people object to such Biblical passages as, "Let women be subject to their husbands, as to the Lord: Because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church. He is the savior of his body. Therefore as the church is subject to Christ: so also let the wives be to their husbands in all things." (Eph. 5:22-24)

Yet modern women commonly are OK with going to work and obeying a boss to get a paycheck. Moreover, matrimony is voluntary; a woman doesn't have to get married.

And when husband and wife are asleep and she hears a noise in another room and awakes him, does she object when he insists, "Stay here while I check it out"?

In 1880, Pope Leo XIII wrote in "Arcanum": "The husband is the chief of the family and the head of the wife. The woman, because she is flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone, must be subject to her husband and obey him; not, indeed, as a servant, but as a companion, so that her obedience shall be wanting in neither honor nor dignity. Since the husband represents Christ, and since the wife represents the Church, let there always be, both in him who commands and in her who obeys, a heaven-born love guiding both in their respective duties."

Note that the wife is "not...a servant" but is "a companion" in "a heaven-born love." And her obedience is full of "honor and dignity."

Things are changing in favor of housewives. A recent Pew Research survey found, "Despite the fact that most mothers in the U.S. work at least part time, 60% of Americans say children are better off when a parent stays home to focus on the family..."

Even the liberal Psychology Today reported that the results of "a huge, long-term government study...show that kids who spend long hours in day care have behavior problems that persist well into elementary school."

And a 2013 study from Norway found, in one summary, "having a mother at home helps more than just the small child she may have recently brought into the world."

"Her being ever-present improves quality of life within and without the home, for neighbors, spouses, grandparents - and yes - older children. And, where older children are concerned, we find ourselves in territory which does have a metric; because older kids do exams."

"So what is the impact of having a stay at home mum on teen-aged children doing school exams? Guess what - it's positive. And demonstrably so."

It just makes sense. Any human has just 24 hours in a day. Dedicating time to a job means less time dedicated to children.

Of course, as the Council of Trent noted, "necessity" may compel a wife to "go out." If she is widowed, or her husband abandons her, she might have to get a job to keep the family going. But that should be the exception.

It's also crucial to adopt public policies that keep taxes low on families (as they were through the 1960s), such as through large personal tax deductions for each child. That way, one bread-earner can support the family.*

So, three cheers for the housewife - the treasured pillar of our families.

Signature ImageSignature: John Seiler

John Seiler wrote editorials for The Orange County Register for 29 years and now writes freelance. His email: writejohnseiler(at)gmail(dot)com

----------------------------------------------

* MCS Note: Scripture clearly indicates that the father is to be the breadwinner & head of the family, and this has always been backed up by the Church. For example...

"The most holy law of nature is that the father of a family provide with training and livelihood all whom he has begotten" (Pope Leo XIII, "Rerum Novarum", 1891 A.D.)

"Now, just as it belongs to the woman to be subject to her husband in matters relating to the family life, so it belongs to the husband to provide the necessaries of that life." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

The bible even says that a man "is a slave, in disgrace and shame, when a wife supports her husband." (Sirach 25:21)

[Note: Of course the above refers to typical situations in which a man is physically able to provide for his family. Some men, for no fault of their own, may find themselves unable to provide for their families (and ideally, Catholic charity should offer appropriate assistance in such cases).]


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