The year was 1988. I was a stay-at-home mom homeschooling my two children ages nine and three, assisting my husband with his regular follow-up mailings to his customers, working as a volunteer typist for Chalcedon, caring for my 87-year-old mother-in-law who lived with us, and actively running a specialized pro-life ministry in our locale. In addition, I chauffeured the children to music and karate lessons. With this busy schedule, I still found time to read and learn as much as I could about applying the Christian faith to all of life. My schedule was tightly organized, but I managed to have time to pursue interests and outside activities of my own. How did I do it? Because I was the manager of my own schedule, I could organize and administer to my family’s needs and my personal needs, while holding down my most important jobs as wife and mother.
A man in our area was considering making a bid for city council. Someone recommended me to him as a person who was articulate, well-organized, and potentially a huge asset to his campaign. I remember getting ready for the meeting where I was certain to be offered the job of campaign manager. I got my most professional looking outfit and made sure it was pressed and ready to go. Because my son was only nine, I didn’t feel comfortable leaving him to watch his sister and have the responsibility of dealing with his grandmother, should she have an emergency. So, I hired a babysitter. The kids had been fed, Grandma was happy and content in her room, the babysitter arrived, and I was off.
During the meeting I was given the details of what my job would entail and was guaranteed that if the candidate won the election, I would be in charge of his district office. Needless to say, this often harried housewife was flattered and sincerely tempted to answer “yes.” I told them I’d get back to them.
On the way home, I pictured how I could pull this off. I could give my son his homeschooling assignments in the morning, hire a babysitter for the times I couldn’t be at home, and make the whole thing work. After all, wasn’t this a marvelous way for a Christian (and an orthodox, dominion oriented one at that) to make significant inroads into the political system? I was jazzed that I was going to make a difference for the Lord!
When I arrived at home, the house was in a tizzy. The babysitter had gotten into a tiff with my son and my mother-in-law was less than happy about how the evening had gone. My daughter was crying and my son was irritated. I piled the kids into the car with me as I took the babysitter home. On the way I realized the empty light (which I had been ignoring) needed to be dealt with. I stopped at a gas station, filled the tank, and drove the babysitter home. When she got out of the car, she informed me that I had not replaced the gas cap. I dashed back to the gas station only to find the cap missing. When I got home, I was irritated with the kids and sent them off to bed. I sat down, realizing I never had eaten dinner myself, when my husband called and asked me how my meeting had gone.
Needless to say, I didn’t take the job. Why? Because I already had a job, and to take the offered job as campaign manager meant I would have had to abandon my role as mother and wife or give it to someone else. As enticing as the prospect of being a professional, political woman was, I believe I chose the better way. Who knows, twenty years later I might have been able to wow the country with my articulate, well-organized achievements in public service at a national convention. But I’m not sure I would have passed the Proverbs 31 test for the virtuous woman who looks well to the ways of her household. Instead of having the praise of men, I find that the praise that comes from my husband and children exceeds the cheers from a roaring crowd or an adoring fan base.
The blessings of the Christian wife and mother involve serving in the background, helping her husband, rearing her children, and fearing the Lord so that the ultimate vote of Well done good and faithful servant will be the winning slogan of her life.
- 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, and Homeschooling Helps (weekly live Facebook event). She can be reached at [email protected].