This post was originally published in January, 2010.

It is not lost on me that the majority of my acquaintances – family & friends included – do not approve of my chosen ‘vocation’. We live in a world where getting paid to nourish or care for other people’s families is a respectable position. But if we do that work for our own loved ones instead of earning a paycheck, well then it is drudgery and we have either been coerced into it or are perceived as too stupid to know better.

Maybe you’re a mama who spends her days cooking, washing dishes, folding laundry, and teaching her children. Maybe you’re a keeper of the home and your morning "commute" involves heading to the goat pen to collect milk. Maybe you’re a farmer’s wife who keeps the home fires burning while he plants the field for 12 hours a day.

Maybe you’re a midwife who delivers babies, but is glad to never see a hospital. Maybe you’re a father who is tired of leaving your family every day so you give up worldly praise and possessions to work from home.

If you are any of the above then you’ve probably heard some interesting ‘comments’ flung in your direction. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • But, what do you do all day?
  • Aren’t you bored? (hahahehehoohoo)
  • Aren’t you just wasting your college degree? (now there’s a chicken or the egg kind of question)

Whenever I hear these things I’m a little taken aback. Of course it stings a little, but what do you say; "Yep, I’m bored – just not enough soap operas or bon-bons to fill my day." (That’s even funnier because we don’t own a tv and I don’t know what a bon-bon is).

It’s true, I probably spend at least 60% of my days feeding my family – from gardening and preserving to cooking to dishes. (The other 40% is spent washing the other half of the dishes. just kidding. sort of.)

What’s scarier than that is that I actually love what I do and if you’ve chosen a different path then you probably do too.

Maybe none of the above applies to you, but instead you receive a low-level condescension for the things that you value and work for.

If you’ve faced this kind of negativity then I want to encourage you. What you do matters…

If you’re that husband who has chosen a simpler life to be with his family over any of the trappings of this world, then your family is blessed.

If you have turned down a paycheck to nourish, educate, and care for your family then you’ll see the grace that every small moment of the day can bring – through your children and your husband.

If you help a woman deliver a baby in her own home then I wish there were more caregivers like you.

If all you do in a 12 hour period is nurse and rock a baby then, my dear, you are the one thing on this earth keeping that baby loved and alive.

If you help people because you are tired of watching them get sick when they are lied to (often out of ignorance) by food companies, corporate farms, health care professionals, and even our own government (gasp!), then please keep helping people.

If you have given up all of the praise of the world to serve your husband, family, and community and you do it cheerfully because you love it and you know you are blessed, then all praise be to God.


70 Responses to Encouragement for The Doers

  1. Karen says:

    Thank you for this “alternative” perspective. It is a breath of fresh air if you
    ask me! :)


  2. Lynn says:

    You said it all very well. I’ve been a homeschooling SAHM for 28 years now. My paychecks are hugs and kisses and I don’t need to own pantyhose or an alarm clock. I wouldn’t trade it for anything!


  3. Danielle says:

    Thank you, if you only knew how much I needed to stumble upon something like this today. I am at the end of my maternity leave and have decided to stay home to take care of my family. I haven’t experienced direct critism for my choice but I have heard the rumblings. Which has made me question my choice. So again Thank you!


  4. [...] Nourishing Days — Encouragement for The Doers [...]

  5. Molly says:

    I have three sons, now twentysix, twentyfour and twentyone years old.
    The middle son have just finished his teaching degree today ( we live in Australia so that’s the reason), the oldest living in a different country and my youngest a year away from his degree.

    On days I find it hard to see them so grown up, knowing that my time with the two youngest living at home are numbered. But I am also so content. They have turned out to be such compassionate and generous young men in many ways.
    I am also so very happy… knowing that all those years staying at home with the boys was worth it all. I don’t have to live with any regrets.

    Be encouraged…no one ever dies wishing they had been at the office more rather than at home with their families.
    Blessings to you all!


  6. peapodfamily says:

    Just found your blog. I want to cheer you on, though by now the quips of those naysayers probably stings less now that you’re more experienced. Just sayin’ I’m proud of you (though I don’t know you). I am a still-single mom, who homeschools, fosters, and adopts (as God directs) and works full-time online to support us. I get unkind words from normally kind people and it stings, but I answer to God alone. So keep putting family first! (Just curious, and you probably answer this somewhere in your blog, but I’m limited in my time, if you’re off grid, how do you blog?) Cheering you on in your endeavors!


  7. Salwa Kirk says:

    What a lovely article.


  8. [...] back from proclaiming it to be so!! here a link to the blog, Nourishing Days, and she wrote a post about this very topic that was quite encouraging. i pray it encourage you as well!! God bless you in this beautiful [...]

  9. I can relate. I rarely hear the “Aren’t you bored?” comment because the people I spend time with not only understand but also endorse what I do. Of course, this kind of lifestyle might not be available to everyone, but I enjoy having a smaller circle of friends and loved ones that I can truly call my friends.


  10. Shannon says:

    Aurelia – Yes, I understand what you mean and we have had that in our own families. Sometimes you just have to put your children’s welfare first.


  11. Shannon says:

    Breanne – What an interesting situation you are in. I am glad to hear that your heart is geared towards family and home.


  12. Lizzy says:

    right on, girl!! stay the course!!!


  13. Shannon says:

    Dana – I can’t say that I understand it either. No one cares to be judged.


  14. Shannon says:

    Cathy – You make a good point. I do believe that most anyone could stay at home if they had the desire because it is God’s will and He will make a way. It does involve changing your perspective and lifestyle, however.


  15. Shannon says:

    Amanda – It’s such a difficult situation that you are in. On the one hand you are serving so many women and babies in our community and on the other you have a heart for your family. I am thankful for women like you who have the support from family and friends to be able to help women like me to have healthy, happy babies. I really wish it was more widespread. I have wanted to volunteer as a doula, but we do not have a lot of family and friends in the area to give us that support system that would allow me to take on such a venture.


  16. Shannon says:

    Tracee – I pray that the Lord would bring you home if that is His will.


  17. Lizzy says:

    amen to this!!! thank you for posting this! :)


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