This week is a prime example of the myth of the “stay-at-home-wife/mother” who doesn’t work. To be fair, I know that if you’re reading here, you likely are not among that ideological crowd, but the image persists nonetheless.
This week I am trying -often poorly- to juggle a million little things at once. I don’t think that makes me in any way special. I think it’s typical of the feminine life. It is why women are less likely to live the arrow kind of life that Hearthie wrote so well about in this post:
Like most all of you, I am knee deep in preparations for Thanksgiving. We are hosting, which means the typical one-two punch of meal prep plus house prep. Even when you clean regularly, you inevitably notice those cracks and crevices that need improvement as you anticipate the arrival of people who do not live with you on a daily basis. However, the Thanksgiving prep is just one more thing on an ever expanding pile.
There’s the ever-present teaching prep. There’s our kids’ big drama production that is three weeks away. There are lots of costume, set, and prop preparations that the moms all deal with. This yearly event is fun but demanding. When we see our kids on stage, it will all have been worth it, but getting there is a beast.
There’s our church Christmas party, our school’s Christmas party, the Christmas cookie bake I’m hosting. None of those takes into account the normal stuff of Christmas that everyone deals with. Christmas cards? Ugh. Don’t remind me.
I haven’t even mentioned the work of keeping records for my husband’s independent contracting work. There are a million other things I need to find the time to comb through also. I’m sure I’ve left out something, but that’s more than enough for you to get the idea. You’re no doubt living a similar life as well.
This however, is the normal trajectory of the feminine life. We may not be arrows, but our contributions are enduring and of a different sort. I often say to women who fancy that we can anything that a man can do: Men build civilizations, yes, but women build societies. Even if we could do everything that men can do [we can’t], no one is served when we abandon our posts, or veer out of our lanes.
Arrows are only as valuable as there are healthy societies in which the trails they blaze can provide usefulness to the overall target. It’s a luxury of modernity that we fixate on the great things we might be able to do if only we weren’t doing…what we should be doing? I am reminded of these words from the Apostle Paul
“If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts,e yet one body.”
So, to my dear sisters, if you find that being stretched thin keeps you from being an arrow who can change the world through your the passionate commitment to that one thing that means so much to you, don’t lament. God, in His good Providence, has given you a patch of ground to till. Till it with joy.
(*she encourages herself on an overwhelming day*).