We Have Devalued Us

Anne Bradstreet (1612–1672) was the most prominent of the early English poets of North America and the first writer to be published in England’s North American colonies. She is the first Puritan figure in American literature, and is notable for her large body of poetry, as well as personal writings published posthumously. Born to a wealthy Puritan family in Northampton, England, Bradstreet was a well-read scholar, mother of eight children, and the wife of a public officer in the New England community. Bradstreet managed to write poetry in addition to her many other responsibilities and duties. Her writing developed into a unique style of poetry which centered on her role as a mother, her struggles with the sufferings of life, and her Puritan faith.

It would be great if we stopped stripping wifehood and motherhood of their values.

I was heartened to notice, in the summary of Anne Bradstreet’s life, that she was given credit for doing important work which she found time to write in spite of. Do you hear it? She was the mother of eight and the wife of a busy and influential man in the community. Even so, she managed to find time to be the first poet of the New Nation.

I truly want to thank the author of this surprising summary.

Wouldn’t it be nice if when we extoll the achievements of accomplished women, we recognized their work as mothers and wives, as managers of households and superintendents of families?

Even the stay-at-home community, even the SAHM homeschooler community engages in this marginalization of traditional women’s work. We feature the homeschooling mom because she runs a successful home-based business, because she creates a useful ministry, because shes an author of this women’s group study or that Christian market fiction series.

We do not extoll the woman who invests her entire supply of energy and committment to her family. The one who has eschewed outside pursuits to put her whole focus, to pour herself out, for the building up of those in her household— to single-focus on the service of her husband and children.

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