Posted By Meredith on November 22, 2010
Since I am approaching my “graduation” from stay-at-home daughterhood, as I will move on to my new career description as a stay-at-home wife in just a few months, I thought it would be beneficial to reflect on these past four years.
The choice to live at home with one’s parents instead of going away to college or to pursue a career is precisely what would be expected of an uneducated, lazy girl who certainly doesn’t have a very bright future. This is often the case in many households across our country, among both young women and men, where adolescence is prolonged and responsibility is avoided.
However, a growing number of young women are choosing to live at home until marriage with the intention of wisely using their single years to further their family’s vision, pursue entrepreneurial ventures, volunteer within their communities, thoroughly prepare for marriage and motherhood, and continue their education from home while still playing a part as a valuable, integral member of their families.
At the outset of this entry, I would like to clarify that I realize there are circumstances that have warranted different situations and decisions for many young women. Some girls would give anything for their parents to permit them to live at home and pursue preparation for their future occupation as a wife and mother, while other young women feel strongly that the college experience and/or degree is one of great value for their future. It is of the utmost importance for all of us to remember that we will find the greatest contentment, peace, joy, and spiritual growth exactly where God has called us, whether that may be on a farm in a small southern town, a university, or a mission field in Africa. I commend anyone who earnestly seeks and follows God’s leading in their life. What a joy it is to be within God’s will for our lives! We can have full confidence that He is using our situations and surroundings for our good and His glory.
Nevertheless, since there is already a multitude of encouragement and support available to those who choose the well-beaten path of the university education experience, this entry is directed toward those who are either contemplating or in the midst of the less traveled road of stay-at-home daughterhood.
At the time of my high school graduation in 2006, one of the first reasons I chose not to pursue college was that my interests had always been in real estate and I did not need a degree since I had already completed real estate school and received the credentials I needed to work as a real estate broker.
Ultimately though, the primary reason was that my greatest desire was to be a wife committed to furthering my husband’s vision and a mother devoted to raising and teaching my children. It was obvious that the best training for this lifelong occupation could be obtained among my family in my own home and not among my peers in an institution. Although I did not consciously choose to avoid college specifically for this reason, it seems it could have been a great diversion if I had invested four years primarily in the pursuit of academics and autonomy.
When I consider that even if I had not pursued a degree, but simply endeavored to become highly successful in the real estate realm, I am not impressed with the likely outcome. At 18, I could have moved in with the most successful real estate broker I personally know– a woman who does millions and millions of dollars in sales every year– and spent the following four years “shadowing” her. I would now have a wealth of knowledge, four years of hands-on experience, and greater confidence when I’m selling properties. I would likely have a lot more money in my bank account and I would be well prepared to venture on to exciting new endeavors within real estate.
However, this would not have served me well in many areas beyond real estate. My desire is to be like the woman of Proverbs 31, who was extremely diversified in her gifts and abilities. She could flip real estate (Prov. 31:16), but she was also skilled in myriad tasks. As the well-rounded, productive wife and mother I aspire to be, it would not have been to my advantage to be fully focused on one avenue alone, to the exclusion of many others. By living at home for the past four years, I have been able to cultivate my interests and abilities in a much more diverse fashion.
Far from limiting me, being a stay-at-home daughter has broadened my horizons and given me many opportunities to learn as I work with my family.
The activities that have filled my years since graduation have been full of excitement and challenges. Since graduating from high school, I have been a part of the formation of a new business – my family’s farm – and have been able to learn a lot about marketing, customer relations, organic farming, and nutrition. Along with my family, I have also been able to participate in the substantial home restoration project of fixing up an abandoned 100 year old farmhouse.
I have had the privilege to become well prepared and gain experience for one day educating my own children due to my responsibility of homeschooling my two youngest brothers for the past several years. My relationship with my precious toddler sister would also not be as sweet as it is had I been living away from home.
I have been able to sit under my wise mother’s tutelage and learn about being a godly wife and mother from a woman who excels in both pursuits. It is a rare treasure to have a godly mother who is willing to teach, challenge, encourage, and come alongside her young adult daughter, and I have been blessed beyond measure to have her strong influence in my life for the past four years.
I have been able to learn about cooking, cleaning, and shopping frugally for a large family, which will be an asset in my future marriage. My organization, discipline, and time management skills have been challenged (and are continually challenged!).
In my own personal efforts, I operated a peanut gift box business for several years, created and sold photography note cards in an art gallery, continue to regularly bake cheesecakes for a restaurant, prepared many baked goods for farm customers, ran an eBay enterprise, worked for my family’s bushhogging business, attended courses on cake decorating and house staging, worked as a real estate listing agent for my family and clients, and purchased two investment properties through foreclosure sales.
Contrary to the misconception that stay-at-home daughters are exclusively bound to their homes, during these past four years, I have had the culturally enriching opportunity to travel with my family throughout the country as well as internationally. This could not have been possible if I had the limitations of many of my peers.
Of infinite more importance than all of these pursuits are the character traits built during this season, many of which would not have had opportunity to have been developed had I lived independently. Through the criticism that I have received for living at home, (a very controversial and unconventional choice), I have learned about the importance of gaining fulfillment in God’s approval instead of the approval of man. By living with my family, I have been able to grow in being a “team player” and had many opportunities to cultivate a servant’s heart.
Furthermore, the independent spirit that would have likely grown in me had I been living hours away from my family has been kept in check since I have lived under my father’s authority. I trust that this will make the transfer of authority from my father to my husband an easier task than if I had been accustomed to exclusively running my own life.
A concern voiced by critics was that I was wasting all of my time preparing for marriage, yet without attending college or at least making an effort to surround myself with eligible young men, all of my idealistic dreaming would be in vain. They concluded that I would not even meet a man who would want to marry me, a girl who didn’t even care to go to college. Or, even worse, out of sheer desperation I would settle for whatever loser of a guy may finally come along. Of course, the Lord faithfully provided the most wonderful, perfect man for me through His means without any of my futile assistance.
This season of stay-at-home daughterhood will soon be ending for me, but I am overjoyed about the adventure ahead!
My experience as a stay-at-home daughter is not abnormal or exemplary. Many girls are choosing this less-traveled path and reaping a bountiful harvest of joy and contentment as they choose what is foolish in the eyes of the world. I believe that the Lord is raising up a generation of young women wholly dedicated to biblical values and traditional family roles; women who will be godly wives and mothers devoted to taking dominion of their spheres of influence in the home! It is exciting to watch as God turns many hearts toward the home and family, and the stay-at-home daughter movement is another exciting development in this monumental shift.