“All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful.”
1 Corinthians 10:23
I am twenty-two and I have been a S.A.H.D. (stay-at-home daughter) my entire life. If you aren’t familiar with this term, you probably weren’t homeschooled and born in the 80’s or 90’s into a Christian home. Perhaps you also do not know about denim jumpers. Though we will be quick to tell you that SAHDaughterhood is nothing new, the modern idea and the acronym are the result of the homeschool movement which brought thousands of American kids out of the public school system in the 80’s and 90’s and still influences families today.
The idea stems from the belief that women are meant to be part of a home. Many people believe that girls should always live under their parents’ roof and authority until they marry. Advocates for this ideology include the Botkins and other folks at Vision Forum, a ministry which was recently shut down after the leader was found to be having inappropriate relations with a young woman. This group believed that to move out from under the protective wing of a patriarch, unmarried is wrong because you are being independent, which is unwarranted if not unholy. (Ironically, that’s why this young woman was living under the care of their leader, who molested her for a period of years.) I started this post off with the verse from 1 Corinthians to indicate that though am technically a SAHD, my blood boils a little when I hear the term. I stay at home because it’s best for me, not because it makes me better.
I actually bought a book on how to be a good stay-at-home daughter at one time, but I was never able to read it. Every time I tried, I would get to a paragraph about women needing to stay home no matter what and shut the book. I would think about Elisabeth Elliot and Amy Carmichael and other single, female missionaries who have my deep respect, and put the book back on the shelf. I would literally have to sit still and take deep breaths for a moment before I could go on, so hurt was I. I finally gave myself some grace and got rid of the book. It was lawful for me to read it, but not beneficial.
It is these types of experiences which have led me to venture back into the topic of “staying home” while single. As I said, I’m twenty-two and I’m single and I live with my parents and six of my eight siblings. I was born in the 90’s, I was homeschooled and my family attends a conservative Christian church. Did I mention there are nine kids in my family??
The stereotypes are probably popping up in your mind like images of spaghetti straps supposedly pop into teenage boys’ minds after they’ve been desensitized. (Little homeschool joke there, for the Pubs reading along.) But the truth is, my family never really became a part of this movement. My parents read the Bible and apply what they read. Sometimes that leads us to live more conservatively than the folks around us, sometimes more liberally.
And I read the Bible too. And not at my Papa’s feet, while he adds commentary. In private. To apply to my own life. Hold onto your head coverings! (Not to say that everyone involved in this ideology was/is this close-minded, just using extreme stereotypical examples!)
And though there are nine kids in our family, we are not anti-birth control. As a matter of fact, five of my siblings are adopted from other countries. And though we homeschool, we have experience with public school too. And my mom wears shorts and highlights her hair. (It feels good to get that off my chest!)
I don’t make light of these things because I think women who don’t wear shorts and do wear head coverings are dumb. I’m not making fun of them (I’m actually good friends with a few people who dress that way.) What I’m making fun of is the way our society things homeschool + Jesus = Amish. That’s not the way it works, at all. As a matter of fact, Amish kids aren’t homeschooled and I don’t think they wear denim!
So if I don’t stay home because I believe it’s sinful for unmarried women to move out, why do I stay? After all, I live in a bustling college town. My lifestyle isn’t exactly the cultural norm. Great question. :)
I hope this post served as intro for those who aren’t familiar with Stay-at-Home-Daughters and a bit of an encouragement for those who are. Stay tuned for Why I’m Still a Stay-At-Home Daughter Part One: Why I Stay.