Home is Where the Heart Is

To fulfill a requirement for my multicultural issues class at Liberty, I have been reading a scholarly compilation of essays depicting some of the racial and ethnic struggles that have occurred in America, beginning with Columbus’ voyage from Spain and ending with the terrible tumbling of the Twin Towers. The majority of these essays was compiled from primary sources; thus are historically accurate, unlike some of our school textbooks that seem to gloss over the uglier aspects of America’s tumultuous history.
One of the issues that captured my interest more than others was the history of the women’s movement. Since another requirement for this class is to write a research paper on a multicultural issue of our choice, I chose to write about the struggle women face in an attempt to balance work and home since the conception of the Equal Rights Amendment in the early 1900s and the feminist movement that emerged in the 1960s resulted in more women leaving home and entering the workforce. Valiant women took up this cause over a hundred years ago so that women will not be denied opportunities based on sex. I am proud of the women who have fought for our voices to be heard and respected. I am indebted to the legions of women who pushed to change the status quo so that I can go to school and pursue a career in the field of my choice.
Yet over and over, what I’ve discovered in my research would not surprise working women. There truly is no such thing as a balance between work and family. According to Merriam Webster, one of the definitions of the word balance refers to “stability produced by even distribution of weight on each side of the vertical axis”. Research shows that men, for the most part, are able to have a job or a career and when their eight hours are over, they come home and are able to successfully transition to their role as husband and father, adeptly balancing the vertical axis. Women, on the other hand, for as much and as long and as loud as they have cried for equal rights, according to research, are not able to successfully bridge the chasm that separates the two worlds since gaining the right to do so.
There are many purported reasons for this, but the main reason seems attributed to the fact that women, by and large, are still the keepers of home and family, even if they work an eight hour day elsewhere. While research does show that men are pitching in more around the house, women, by an overwhelming majority, are still the main cooks, shoppers, cleaners, bill payers and babysitters. It comes as no surprise that some women see work as an escape from their toil at home. While both places overwhelming represent work to women, home represents a place of respite from the world to men.
In my lifetime, I have had careers inside and outside of the home. Both were and still are rewarding in different ways. Yet I’m starting to learn that the work we do at home in raising children is the most important work we as women with children will perform. Raising a child to be a godly person, to be responsible, loving, caring, thoughtful and to be held up to God’s standard in all matters is no easy task. As parents, we have to be cognizant of their every thought, their every move, in order to determine if their hearts and minds are staying engaged. We are in charge of reshaping the foolishness that they were born with, while at the same time calling attention to and reshaping the foolishness that still resides inside of us. The effort requires that we as parents teach our children by example at all times.
In addition, we have to know when to hold tight and when to let go. For such a short time, we are in charge of grooming their little souls to think and act more like Jesus, so that when the time is right, our Lord will be able to guide them to perform the tasks He created them to perform. The trust that the Lord has bestowed upon us to do this right simply astounds me.
Deuteronomy 11:19 stresses the importance of teaching our children the Lord’s standards when we are at home and when we are away, when we go to bed and when we arise. That pretty much means every minute we’re awake, we are in charge of shaping our children. I don’t know how other people feel, but to me that makes for a busy day! And then to have to think about squeezing in eight hours somewhere else? I struggle with knowing how to do either justice. When I’m at work, my mind and heart are usually at home, no matter how important the work is I perform somewhere else.
As for my research paper, there doesn’t seem to be any easy answers for helping women balance this divide with eloquence and ease. Even when the household chores are perceived as equally divided, women for the most part still feel overburdened. While I appreciate that my husband endorses my acquisition of knowledge and allows me the means to pursue a career of my choice, home is truly where my heart is, and where I as a wife and mother perform my most important work.

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