When did we forget this? Or has it always been?
Us stay home mothers are so quick to relay the labors of our day. We strive for people to see the difficulties of our "job." We shriek when those in the workplace fail to acknowledge that "we work too!" Why are we so defensive?
Here are a couple issues which may have caused our defensiveness:
1. Rising numbers of "educated" moms.
Don't get me wrong, I am not anti-intellectual; but I do think that those who have been to college, received a degree, started their career and then returned home have a much harder time in being content at home. I think there is a compelling pull to "use their education" and, lets face it, a toddler is not a prime subject to release all of their college level learning. For all their college years, knowledge has been driven into them. Accomplishment and success have been the goals of their careers: and then upon the births of their children, after the newness of the precious life has worn off, the ducts of knowledge output get clogged and the pressure begins to mount. Questions arise such as "what am I doing with my life?" and "Do I honestly believe that the mundane chores of childcare and homemaking are the best I can give the world?"
2. A Reaction to the Working Mom
Sadly, many mom's answers to the above questions are "nothing" and "no." Therefore, they leave the home in search for a meaning to their life (and the perk of having more "stuff"). Now they have one up on us stay at home moms: they have kids and they have a job. They can do it both. What is our reaction? "I work too!!!"
Therefore, in an attempt to show our "workmanship" we whine and complain and bend under the difficult pressures of staying at home. I feel that we convince ourselves that it is much harder to stay at home than to be a working mom. With this in our minds, even the most menial chores seem unattainable. The pressures of raising well-behaved children seem insurpassible. The list of chores seems never to be checked off.
If "job" means the task one performs throughout the day for society to continue, than mother's have one of the most important careers of all. However, the problem with labeling homemaker as a job title is that it forces us to look at our role as a j-o-b; a chore; a task to accomplish. Nothing more or less than the typical nine to five career; only we have to work overtime and we don't get appreciation from peers...and no interaction with adults, no spending money, no pay benefits. Label what we do as a job and you will soon find yourself thinking in these ways.
This is an ever-present battle in my mind as I attempt to stay above the waves of discontent, pride, laziness and so on. It is a struggle to put on self-denial, but I always find it to be a life-preserver in a society of achievements and measurable success.
The truth is, we who stay at home today are blessed beyond belief. Do you realize that? How could you want to leave the most important role in a woman's life? Look beyond the simple chores of the day: laundry, cooking, dressing children, moping the floors, running errands, doing more laundry, etc... Sure, a working woman could accomplish all of those things, but that is not what it means to be a homemaker. A homemaker has a way of taking all of those things, and rolling them into a home. A place where the family finds comfort, peace, serenity. The home is taken care of: the chores are done with love, the children are at peace and the husband can enter the house after a long day in the world and find rest.
I am far from this model, but it is a dream I hope to accomplish. It is what I am working towards. Do I have a problem with defining a mother's work as a job? Yes, because it is more than a job: it is a life role, established by God for the benefit of the family unit. Who cares if the world doesn't recognize us as valid. Should we really care what a godless society thinks? Instead of showing them how hard our life is, perhaps we should rather show them how much peace can be found in running the home, raising our children, and serving our husbands. This is more than a career goal, this is my purpose in life for this is how I glorify God.
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