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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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."
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
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"?
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."
the wife is "not...a servant" but is "a companion" in
"a heaven-born love." And her obedience is full of
"honor and dignity."
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..."
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."
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
"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."
makes sense. Any human has just 24 hours in a day.
Dedicating time to a job means less time dedicated to
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.
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.*
cheers for the housewife - the treasured pillar of our
John Seiler wrote editorials for The Orange County Register for 29
years and now writes freelance. His email:
* 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.
"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
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