First and most important is raising our children to love the Lord.
These words which I am commanding you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. Deuteronomy 6:6-7
If our primary job is not being a homemaker, can this be accomplished? (A question for another post might be can this be accomplished if the child is being sent off daily to receive a secular education.)
Second and also important is the health of our families. I believe when I am pregnant I am responsible for eating well and making sure the baby is well nourished with "good" food, not junk food. This carries over to breastfeeding, as formula is not as good and causes increased risks of all kinds of problems in childhood and adulthood, which includes higher rate of SIDS, diabetes, cancer, intestinal problems and hospitalization. (When has man ever made anything better than God!) After weaning, it is still our responsibility to make sure that they are eating nutritious food, getting fresh air and sunshine, and exercise. These physical needs must be monitored and met. Also, our husbands need good nutrition and may need some encouragement in this area. It takes a lot of time to prepare homemade, preservative free, dye free, high-fructose corn syrup-free food. Not that we don't have some of the garbage more than we should, but at our house, healthy food is the norm. Pop-Tarts and Capri-Suns don't fall into the healthy category. Also, french fries and burgers from the drive-thru don't either.
Third, academics are important, though not as much as many people think. The goal should be to raise intelligent, articulate, born-again Christians who will impact the Kingdom. This also takes a lot of time, but it is worth the effort. Remember, children are a gift from God and deserve to be treated as blessings and not burdens.
Fourth, making the money last. This is particularly difficult in today's society. In the 50's young housewives might share stories and tips with each other about how thrifty they could be. Not so much now. With the focus on what kind of house we live in and what we drive, what we wear, etc., this becomes more and more difficult. For the family that says "mom has to work", I would encourage them to seriously consider downsizing everything in order to make that happen. When my husband and I first learned that the bible tells women to be homemakers, we had to do some praying, and scrimping, and saving. We even went without cable for over a year and applied every single penny we could to debt, until I was able to work less and less. Eventually, not at all. But this took repentance on our part. We did not know what the bible said about homemakers or debt and our lifestyle showed it! IF you had to choose between the electronics, the cars or even the house and being obedient, BE OBEDIENT! It would be better to live in a hovel and be obedient, than to live in a nicer house and be disobedient. Of note: the first $21,000. that I earned was going toward increased taxes, increased tithe, increased childcare, increased healthcare, clothing, convenience food, and transportation.
Therefore, I want the younger widows to get married, bear children, keep house and give the enemy no occasion for reproach; for some have already turned aside to follow Satan.
I Timothy 5:14-15
They (the older women) are to teach what is good and so train the young women to love their husbands, and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2: 3-5 emphasis mine
I know there is a lot of debate about what is really meant by keeper at home, worker at home, homemaker, etc. My understanding (and I am not scholar) is the Greek word for "keep house" used in I Timothy 5: 14-15 is oikodespoteo. It literally means to "rule or guide the house". Note in Titus 2 the consequence of not doing these things is that the word of God will be reviled. In the King James version it says blasphemed! I think it is clear that God has told us to do this and if we know right and do it not, then we are sinning. I believe that when we repented of our actions, even though they were from ignorance and not rebellion, that God put a blessing on our finances and we were able to pay that debt off quicker than we thought we could.
Remember, when making decisions, especially lifestyle decisions, don't follow your heart. Follow God's word. Even if it makes more sense to do it your way, still do it God's way. The heart is deceitful.
The heart is deceitful beyond all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9
This post is written in love. My goal is not to offend, but inform and encourage families to STUDY the bible on this subject. I want wives to see that staying at home is a huge responsibility and requires a lot of research, knowledge, and skill. The reward is priceless.