Mariana by Marie Spartali Stillman
"So what are you going to 'do'?"
A familiar question to stay-at-home daughters in or approaching their late teens, frequently put to them by well-meaning friends and acquaintances.
I'm not good at talking, even at the best of times, and when posed by the above question, I almost invariably end up a red-faced, stuttering mess! The truth is, I know exactly what I want to "do" - have a home and a family of my own! But you can't just say that. The simple desire to be a wife and mother isn't acceptable - you also have to have some sort of a career, even if said "career" is just a farce, a pretext.
Family friend: "So you've finished school?"
Me: "Um, er, sort of. I'm still doing a bit of studying, and always reading, so I guess I'm still learning, you know, even if I have essentially finished school," *nervous laugh*.
FF: "Okay, so are you going to uni?"
Me: "Um, ah, well, not planning to at this stage. . . but there are lots of options available these days - for doing courses and uni degrees at home, by correspondence - especially with the internet, you know. . ."
FF: "Mm-hm, yeah that's true. So - have you decided what you're going to do yet?"
Me: "Um, ah, well. . ." *stutters and stammers, eventually subsiding to red-faced silence*.
A couple of hours later:
Me: Despairingly wonders what this person must think of me. Only losers stay at home with their parents after they've completed school, without going to university, or going to work, or going somewhere and doing something, right?
How do I convey to that person that I am busy, I am happy? I am learning and - I hope - contributing? I may be at home almost all the time, but I am not just sitting around at home doing nothing! I am (I pray) learning and maturing a little more everyday; and I am a contributing member of this mini-community of sorts, called a family?
But I can't seem to help it, I always find myself trying to fight back the insecurity and the doubts that gnaw at me because I am endeavouring to follow a different path than the world's way. Nearly every time someone asks "the question", I find myself battling all those doubts, all over again.
*Sighs*. . . Anyway, the whole point of this post is that last night, as I lay in bed, I was thinking about all this, and feeling terribly weighed down by it all. Then it hit me: Elise, you're worrying so much about what other people think of you! About what the world thinks of you! Stop worrying about something so stupid! God loves you and accepts you just as you are, so you don't need to worry about all this. You don't need to try to "prove" that you are mature or intelligent or an adult by going to university or pursuing a career. As long as your heart and your motives are pure in God's sight, you have nothing to worry about!
And it was amazing - I felt the weight lift right off me! I felt so free and happy.
Now if I can just keep that in mind (God loves and accepts you, who cares what the world thinks?) over the coming months and years - if I can only bear that in mind next time someone asks me "the question"!
I know quite a few of my readers are stay-at-home daughters - any hints or suggestions as to how to deal with those inevitable questions?
BTW, I am SO GRATEFUL for the internet as a means to "meet" and be friends with other young women who are in the same boat as I am - being a SAH daughter can seem a lonely path at times, it's so counter-cultural!