Monday, August 23, 2010

Do You Work?

"Do you work?"

A few weekends ago I was asked that when visiting with some acquaintances.  There was a time when I would have answered, "No, I stay at home."  How easy it is for women who stay at home to be viewed as not working.  In some cases, I can see where this flawed idea comes from.  But for many of us, staying at home is not the relaxing day of luxury that some think it is.  We cook, clean, wash dishes and laundry, vacuum,  grocery shop, look for money saving deals, make sure that we take care of errands for our husband, play with and teach our children, plan meals, keep everything organized so others can find what they are looking for, record our family memories, entertain guests, meet the needs of our husband and children, keep our spirits fed and feed the spirits of those under us.

Staying at home for us is a full time job.  We are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  We are not paid in money for our time and effort (although, if we were, studies say we would be worth a six figure yearly salary!).  We are paid in ways that are more rewarding.  We are paid with compliments from our husband about how well we do our job, how proud he is of us, and what great mothers we are.  We are paid in humble pride when our children finally learn to say thank you without being prompted, tell you that they are being kind while being friendly to other shoppers at the store, and are successful users of the potty.  We are paid in the future when after all is said and done our husbands are just as in love with us as the day we were married, our children are serving the Lord, and our grandchildren are learning from their mothers the things they were taught by us.

The summer vacation of my first year married (I worked as a teacher for the first 3 1/2 years of marriage before Addie was born) , I remember talking with one of my parent's neighbors.  She was a stay at home mother of six throughout her mothering years and is the wife of a retired Chicago police officer.  She asked me if I was going to work during the summer since school was out.  I said, "No, I am just going to be a wife."  In my mind I was saying that I was going to have no other responsibilities except for those that were wife related.  She replied, "There is no such thing as being  just a wife.  A wife is the most important job."  Wow, was that an eye opener!  I meant one thing, but my words said another.  We are not just wives and/or mothers.  We play very important roles.  We have very important jobs.

Not too long ago I would have answered the "Do you work?" question with, "No, I stay at home."

That time is long gone. 

"I work harder than I ever have," I answered.  "I am a home maker, and it's the best job I have ever had."

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