Is there a ‘right’ way for the clergy wife to run her home?
I don’t work outside the home, my kids (who went to public school) are grown up, and I order way too much takeout instead of cooking. Trying to remember the last time I vacuumed.
Our deacon tells me not to feel guilty about accepting a stipend from the church (it’s a form of income splitting, so the parish can pay my husband a reasonable salary and not have him end up losing a lot in tax) because I do HEAPS of stuff at church, apparently, but darned if I know what it is that’s any different from what other members of the church do. If I weren’t the priest’s wife, I would still sing in the choir, work on the newsletter, bring food for the agape and pitch in with the cleanup. (well…maybe NOT the newsletter!)
My home is a bit of a castle. A cocoon. My practice of hospitality is pretty
limited (and my cat has been known to pee on the bed of house guests). Once a year I host the parish council in our fairly cramped quarters. Rather than have to clean up and decorate and show off the house to fellow clergy couples, we let them find babysitters and treat them to a restaurant meal. Nothing beats letting the experts drive, I say.
The church office is in our home, and it has an answering machine and call display. I guard my husband’s day off fiercely. That’s my version of “home-making”…..the home I make is the place where he can be protected from incessant outside demands so that he can do the multi-faceted job of a parish priest without burning out. After a couple of decades in the same wonderful and still growing parish, apparently it works. My husband likes takeout fine (though I’m a good enough cook when I can talk myself into it) and lucky for me he is a natural neat freak whom I can hardly stop from doing more than his share of tidying the house.
Perhaps there is an indefinable something about a real ‘home’ that does not fit the Martha Stewart definition? (I have a magnet on my mail box that says “Martha doesn’t live here”. Along with one that says “every life should have nine cats.”)
Maybe a “real” home, even the clergy family’s home, does not have to be all things to all people all the time?