It is easy to miss an important, though underappreciated, aspect of the role of a woman in the management of her household. The stay-at-home woman, be she a wife, mother, or daughter, has as a central focus: the well-being of her family members.
Is there enough food in the refrigerator or the pantry? Is the laundry done and the dry cleaning picked up? What about overseeing the repairs of appliances and the orderliness of the house? Are the children well? Is everyone getting enough attention? What about scheduled appointments for the doctor, the dentist, or optometrist? Is the family running low on vitamins or necessary prescriptions? Is there a sale going on that could save the family money?
In short, holding down the fort is an important aspect of family life. If all members are going every which way, who exactly is responsible if things go awry? A group of individuals concerned only about their personal needs, deadlines, and appointments is a recipe for anarchy. The God-ordained position to address all these issues is the woman of the house. Biblically, she's referred to as the Proverbs 31 woman.
Most businesses wouldn't dream of carrying on without a manager. The storekeeper instructs his employees to "hold down the fort" when he is away. The expectation is that there will be a store to return to after his absence. Without someone to mind the inventory and the cash register, robbers and vandals can have a field day benefitting from the industry of others. Why would we expect it to be different with the family?
Hasn't that been the case with the modern family? The saddest part is that without the manager, the fort becomes less of a home and more of a boarding house; and as the members of the family mature, their focus becomes leaving to pursue their own interests rather than continuing to build and develop the trustee interests of the family.
Wife, mother, and daughter. These are God-ordained roles. These constitute the fabric which holds the family together. And, families are the fabric that holds societies together. That good-bye kiss delivered from a wife to her husband and from a mother to her children is much more than a mere convention. It is a declaration that the fort will be in good shape when they return and that it remains a safe haven from the storms of the outside world.
Ladies, hold down the fort!
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, the Chalcedon podcast, and has an active teaching schedule with women and high schooled students.. She can be reached at [email protected].