We’re on Chapter 12 this week in Lori Alexander’s confused and confusing tome on the role of submissive women in their families. The title is ‘Keepers at Home’ and it contains some doozies of toxic nuggets along with a willful misinterpretation of what the Proverbs 31 woman looks like.
Let me state that this chapter coming right now in my life is seriously triggering to me. I am packing for an overseas move to Costa Rica. At the same time I am having my house slightly remodeled to rent the house out, new bedroom carpets and painted along with a few upgrades. I’m up to my eyeballs in boxes, dust, shreds of wallpaper being removed, someone else tearing out my kitchen countertop, and hammering on the roof by the roofers. Dust and noise. I’ve given up on ‘clean’ and ‘organized’ until everything is moved out and the minor repairs are done. Hearing Lori pontificate on perfect cleanliness is such, hmmm how do I say this without using a forbidden vulgarity, such complete what comes out of the rear end of a bull. There are times and seasons when much of the advice in this chapter is merely ridiculous!
That is another complain I have about not only Lori Alexander’s book, but many of the books written as encouragement for ‘Good Christian Wives’. No one ever takes into account that people and situations are all different, leading to a variety of needs and solutions. Not everyone can or should be doing everything the exact same way. The box scenario rarely works in real life.
Lori starts this chapter by puzzling over the fact that when she writes about women being first and foremost keepers at home that she gets the most push-back. She also cannot understand how some women actually enjoy going to work, before she goes on to claim that no one working outside of the home and having children can possibly succeed at anything in their lives.
‘It’s usually too much for anyone. Something will get neglected, and it’s usually the husband, who should be our first priority’
Here’s the thing she’s missing. In families where both the husband and the wife both work those domestic chores and child raising tasks are usually divided up in some fashion that works for that particular family. It is not an either/or proposition. There are many families out there making it work very successfully. Most men outside of this bizarre little offshoot cult of Christianity aren’t behaving like King Selfish the First, too good to microwave dinner or fill the dishwasher. They are making contributions towards the smooth running of the household.
‘The life of the Proverbs 31 woman revolved around the home’
Are we even reading the same book? That nameless woman in Proverbs 31 bought and planted a vineyard, clearly not at her home and did business in the marketplace. That’s not home either! A business woman and a successful entrepreneur who was not necessarily home all the time.
‘Studies have proven that children need their mothers. If children don’t have their mothers to bond with full time when they are babies and toddlers, they will have a much more difficult time bonding to others as they grow up.’
Lori goes on to link working mothers to children having psychiatric disorders before claiming that children who have mothers home full time are much more emotionally secure and happy. And then we veer back to porn. Again.
‘As they get older, she needs to be home to protect them from watching inappropriate TV shows and going online to look at pornography.’
Here’s the thing, if all this security and child training to produce perfectly behaved children under the protection of God why is it always assumed that the second you stop hovering over these kids that they will immediately jump right into the sinniest of sins? It exposes the claims of Lori and the Pearls along with others for the lie that it is.
Before we mention child-training, the next bit, keep in mind that Lori Alexander promotes the Michael Pearl philosophy of child training involving 1/4 plumbing line used as a switch on tender young skin.
‘The bulk of the training and discipline falls on the mother’s shoulders because she is around the children all day–or should be.’
Which also means mom is the one pulling out the plumbing line to strike kids as young as six months to make them behave. Let that sink in for a moment. What type of monster does that?
Lori moves past training and discipline quickly, without really illuminating exactly what that means or the underlining principles of what her hero Michael Pearl calls ‘spanking’. Following this Lori talks about her guilt and exhaustion when she worked during her first child’s baby and toddler years. She then makes this claim.
‘I remember sitting around the lunch table one day with a bunch of schoolteachers, and they all said if they had to do it all over again, they would not have children because their sons and daughters gave them so much heartache. These teachers didn’t take pleasure in child-raising since their offspring were rebellious and not enjoyable to be around’
Straight back into more on discipline and training, without actually explaining what she means by those terms.
Working part-time is forbidden in the eyes of the author too. Why? Studies that show this? Numbers and surveys? Nope. This flawed reasoning…
‘…a schoolteacher shared with me that she could always tell which children had full-time mothers because they were much more secure and happy than those who didn’t..’
She follows this with an admonishment not to be lazy, don’t watch the soaps, keep your house filthy (here’s a big old middle finger to her over that one right now from the middle of my packing….), make your kids exercise, know who their friends are.. blah blah blah… disorganized mish-mash of ideas before moving back to defining the Proverbs 31 woman, again. Would this bit not fit better with the other section Proverbs 31 instead of squished between sections on knowing who your kids hang out with? Again, a poorly-written book.
‘Studying Proverbs 31….you’ll notice that she had servants.’
The author goes on to claim that we ALL have servants now because we have dishwashers, microwaves and other modern conveniences that were not around back then. Sorry, but a servant is someone you pay good money to in order to have them load the dishwasher and push that vacuum cleaner around, it’s not the item itself. We all know from Lori’s blog and other writings that she has had servants at various points. Most of us have not. Makes her point somewhat ridiculous.I’m not going to bore you with the rest of this disjointed chapter on keeping your house that actually more involved childcare than anything else. Here’s a summary of the rest of the topics covered:
- Cut your clutter
- Live on your husband’s income
- Don’t buy things you don’t need
- Keep your house spotless
- Stop feeling guilty for being a stay at home mother
- Invite people over
- Cook from scratch
- Use only organic food (while your husband sneaks in his Little Debbie cakes, ice cream and potato chips into the garage or basement!)
- Teach younger women to be JUST LIKE YOU!!!!!!
This is all followed with a blog post written by one of her readers that is even more disjointed and confusing than Lori’s writing in this chapter. It boils all down to be happy while you keep your home.
Next chapter is about modesty and contains Lori’s rantings on the sin of Yoga Pants! We’ll return to the theme of being a keeper at home in Chapter 16 on how to deal with clutter and chapters after that with info on cooking, making your own laundry soap and what not. Very dull stuff indeed. It’s making my brain shout ‘Uncle!!’ right now, as in please don’t read anymore of this stuff today. Excuse me while I go take my frustrations on this book out on the living room wallpaper we’re removing.
Suzanne Titkemeyer is the admin at No Longer Quivering. She’s been out of the Quiverfull Evangelical world for nine years now and lives in the beautiful Piedmont section of Virginia with her retired husband and assorted creatures. She blogs at Every Breaking Wave and True Love Doesn’t Rape
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