This week, Jessa Seewald (formerly Duggar) posted photos of her house on Instagram—complete with a mountain of laundry, pile of dirty diapers, sink full of dishes, and spit up on the bed sheets. Her caption ended with:
“Not trying to pit a clean house against interaction with kids– sometimes both are possible, tho often they do seem in opposition to one another 😂. Just remember, whatever projects are pulling at your time and attention today, don’t forget to make time for the people around you. These are the memories that will last forever. 💙💙”
Jessa’s post received thousands of likes and comments. Most praised her honesty and related to the difficulty of keeping a home tidy with little ones. They approved of her decision to spend time with her kids instead of doing chores. For example, one commenter (@warrenpartyof6) replied to Jessa’s post:
“this is only a season, revel in the glory of it!”
My Instagram feed is filled with other stay at home moms detailing the mess in their house or how they are letting dust accumulate and diapers pile up. Each and every time, mothers are overwhelmingly affirmed in their choice to bake a treat with the kids instead of tackling the dishes.
I’m not going to criticize Jessa Seewald for having a disheveled home. Goodness knows I’ve been there plenty of times! I believe Jessa is sincerely trying to encourage other stay at home moms by showing her messy house. The problem is that modern evangelicalism—which should be encouraging women to care for their family and home—has taught her to publicly trivialize homekeeping in the name of “keepin’ it real” encouragement.
Traditionally, the home was the woman’s domain. Women delighted in cooking, cleaning, and caring for the children. Even while nurturing young ones, stay at home mothers took pride in a pleasant home. Chores were normal. Doing housework was good.
Today, if a woman loves her little ones and welcomes her husband into a well-kept home, she better keep quiet about it. No one wants to see successful homemaking mothers. After all, someone somewhere might feel bad about themselves. “Grace”, a term now used to normalize widespread failure, has become paramount to all other concerns.
Young women need to hear that striving for success is not hatred toward yourself and others. We can endeavor to meet high standards and fall short, but low standards are always met. In the feminine work of building family and home, we should aspire to much. Domesticity must be encouraged, not disparaged.
Let’s love our children, do the laundry, and take pride in our own.