There are many preconceived notions when it comes to a woman’s role in the home. It isn’t difficult to find two very polar opposite views in regards to the definition of a housewife and mother. The polar opposites can be quite deafening and the progression of this role, in modern society, has created a level of insecurity, but that need not be the case. In the process of giving women more “freedom” in the workplace, the joys, the sacrifices, and the accomplishments in the home have been negated. By the accepting of daily trials, the momentary satisfactions, and the desire to love, a woman may create a home environment of warmth, beauty, love, and compassion for her family. It is through the dedicated vocation of a wife and mother that she becomes “queen of the home.”
Modern society chooses to ignore the two differing, but necessary and effectual, roles of the husband and wife. It is a secular and simplified assumption that the woman washes the dishes and the man cuts the grass. No, God has given a husband and wife much more complex qualities that interweave at deeper levels for the benefit of the family. As a man instinctually desires to provide for the family, the woman innately spends her undying moments protecting the family. This is not in the sense of her going into a physical battle (though that could always be a possibility), but in the preservation of the family unit. The woman observes and delegates on a micro-level for the family: the daily house chores, the clothing of the children, the scheduling of activities, and the education of the children, especially in regards to the Catholic Faith. Whereas, the man naturally views the family on a macro-level: the providing of the financial means and the caring for the family as a spiritual shepherd. It is by joining these two differing, but necessary roles, that the family unit is protected from outside harm.
Do not be mistaken that these traits are isolated into boxes that cannot be adjusted based on family dynamics and additional factors, but generally speaking, women are given the gift to view minute details in the home, whereas, men take a macro approach to family life. Neither quality can be defined on a scale of good versus bad, instead they should be appreciated and viewed as necessary for a well-functioning family life.
Addressing these God-given gifts is quite necessary for a woman to understand her role as “queen of her home.” The home is more than just a place to sleep or to eat. It is not meant to be a museum or an architectural monstrosity. Ultimately, many families desire it to be a place of peace and joy. Subjectively, of course, no family is without difficulty. But where and how does the home magnify joy? It begins with the wife. She is the queen of the home, not in the form of dictatorial rule, but through efficiency, joy, love, and consistency.
The most perfect woman to emulate is the Blessed Mother, who truly was queen of the home. Through her patience, humility, and love, she provided a home for her family no matter where they lived. It would be naïve to assume the flight into Egypt bore no stress upon St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother, but it was through the spiritual direction of St. Joseph and the faithfulness of the Blessed Mother that the Holy Family moved their home to a distant land. These are truly the markings of a queen of the home who desires to protect and love her family amidst any and all sufferings.
Through the example of Our Lady, women are offered a perfectly balanced view of this God-given vocation. Too often, women find themselves on one side or the other when defining their positions in the home: this can be a fault of both extreme conservativism and distorted progressive ideas. The notion that a one size fits all is quite absurd, because there is no one size box for sainthood. The vocation of a wife and mother should be adhered to and progressed with the ultimate goal of pleasing God by the keeping of His Laws, the resolution to daily live in His presence, and to protect and care for those He has entrusted to her. It is through these achievements that women will truly become a queen of their home and God-willing, saints in heaven one day.
Painting: La Sainte Famille by Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato (1609–1685) and unknown author.
Danielle Heckenkamp is a wife and mother of six children. In her spare time, Danielle works as a freelance writer for a variety of Catholic publications.