As I reflect back on my years of raising my children as a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom, I appreciate how useful the model provided in Proverbs 31 is in outlining the various “hats” a woman wears for her household. Any serious reading of this passage of Scripture clearly demonstrates that a woman taking on the role of looking well to the ways of her household, needs to be educated, resourceful, and steeped in the law-word of God. I realize the following list is not exhaustive, but here goes:
This is an obvious one, as mom is the first person the child has intimate contact with, starting in the womb. That is why her vocal comforts are especially soothing for the newborn, as they are the most familiar. As the child grows, the desire for mother’s attention, hug, and closeness pave the way for her to be the most effective teacher in things like language acquisition, motor skills, interpersonal relationships, and the need to submit to authority.
A coach has a different role than a teacher, though some aspects are similar. Primarily, the coach is responsible to teach participants how to play a game and succeed. A coach also acts in overseeing the players’ personal training, helps them overcome any personal obstacles, and assists them in developing a winning attitude geared toward achieving their goals. Similarly, a mom who is with her children most of the time has the ability to coach them through disputes with siblings, overcome subject matter or tasks that prove difficult, and provide useful outlets other than tantrums and fits when things don’t go their way.
In the setting of a play or movie, the director is the one who is most responsible to see that the message of the script is effectively conveyed, by drawing out excellent performances from the cast. In much the same way, Mom is the one who, given the “script” of household life, works to get her “actors” into their roles so that the production (serving God and keeping His commandments) is a success.
Mining for precious metals and resources involves digging below the surface in order to uncover something of great value. The wife and mother of a family is particularly situated and suited to unearth greatness in her husband and children. As one who is intimately familiar with tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses, she is in a position to recognize a treasure of great worth, long before others may even be aware of it. Whether it is in the realm of music or art, scientific inquiry, or good communication skills, a mother is often the first to spot (if she is looking) areas of great potential.
If you ever have enjoyed a live performance of an orchestra or symphony, you might be deceived into thinking that the conductor’s role is merely for show. Not so. The conductor is the person who transforms individual musicians into a unified body so that the intent and beauty of a piece of music is conveyed to an audience. True, most of the work is done prior to the performance, but musicians without a conductor can easily lose their way. The woman of the household acts much like a conductor as she brings together the talents, giftings, and responsibilities of all family members to produce a unified sound and movement. Just like the conductor needs to have vision for the final result and develop his musicians accordingly, a wife/mother must have vision for God’s requirement for her family and work toward that end.
No business or enterprise runs very well without a business manager. This is the position that ensures that bills are paid, payments collected, a good cash reserve is on hand, and the balance sheet is favorable. The stay-at-home wife/mother is particularly suited for this role, as she can stay current with everyone’s activities and requirements, knowing where to allocate resources and how to determine the essentials from the extras. Her motivation to see her household succeed develops her creativity in solving problems and preventing others from arising.
There are many other roles that could be mentioned—medical liaison, volunteer, social coordinator—but all embody the concept that the wife/mother is the person who has the God-given role and responsibility of making her family a number one priority. However, family life is not an end unto itself; it is designed by God to prepare and advance members into other spheres and institutions to further the Kingdom of God. Given that the wife/mother “covers” so many aspects of family life, maybe that is why 1 Corinthians 11 calls for her to be “covered.” Maybe this is God’s way of establishing her as an authority under authority!
- 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].