Monday, August 23, 2010

Mommyhood IS a Job....

So, there I was, relaxing in the tub, reading the most recent issue of Good Housekeeping. They are celebrating their anniversary (125 years!) and have been reprinting articles from the past. The article that peaked my interest was one from 1960 penned by Betty Friedan. Friedan authored "The Feminine Mystique" (1963) and was a cofounder of NOW (National Organization for Women).  She passed away in 2006.

First off, hats off to Friedan for her successes and achievements in her lifetime and beyond. Assuredly, she inspired MANY women to be their very best.

But, this article struck a different chord with me. Honestly? It insulted me.

Yes, insulted. Here is why.

Friedan writes, "Is THIS all there is?" Friedan describes generations of women who questioned their role in life as a wife and mother...they wanted, yearned for more but were unfulfilled and sad. (Read Friedan's article here.)

Friedan writes about a woman that "Sometimes she goes to a doctor with symptoms she cannot describe, "I have a tired feeling"...."I get so angry with the children it scares me"...I feel like crying without any reason." She may spend years on the analyst's couch, working out her "adjustment to the feminine role," her blocks to "fulfillment as a wife and mother." And an inner voice may say, "That's not it." A woman may life half her lifetime before she has the courage to listen to that voice and know that it is not enough to be a wife and mother, because she is a human being herself. She can't live through her husband and children.."

This is where I turn on the article.

Let me disclaim...I am absolutely grateful for much of the 'feminist movement' and the advances we have seen.  And I am not bashing any working mothers. I wholeheartedly support my fellow women and the choices they make. Naturally there are many, many women who have no choice but to work for a variety of reasons.

But I'm talking about me. This article makes me feel as if I should apologize for my choices. As if I am a lesser woman because I DO enjoy being a wife and mother. This article makes me feel as if I am the odd duck out because I am content, happy, and love my life as a wife and mother! I work on occasion outside the home, but nothing permanent. I do have my own hobbies and things to do that are me and mine alone. Perhaps that IS why I am happy. But even before I started sewing and crafting, I was happy. I was completely content to hold my babies, clean the house, cook for my family and keep our lives orderly.

Being a wife and mother is just fine as a job and lifestyle for me. It IS my job to support my husband however I can as he breaks his back earning a living for us. It IS my job to rear my children and guide them in the roles I want them to play. It IS my job to cook healthy meals, keep a clean house and it is OKAY for me to find satisfaction in that.

Why am I made to feel inferior by this article? Obviously my feelings are mine alone, and perhaps I am interpreting this article wrong. But the way it is written makes me feel as if my choices ARE inferior to other women's.

I've BEEN a working mother. I do not enjoy it. I cannot give my all to my family when I am a working mother....and that is the most important to me. Magazines, books, websites, galore all state "Family First" but why am I made to feel less because I choose to do just that? Why do Stay at Home Moms (SAHM's) be considered to not work? Why is a homemaker NOT a respected and appreciated job?

I do not live THROUGH my husband and children, Mrs Friedan....I live WITH them by supporting, caring for and loving them the best I can....with me being AROUND as much as physically possible.

I'm currently working a temporary full time job in a field I enjoy, and it will soon come to a close. I enjoy the work, the people and don't mind doing it to help out a friend. But honestly, yes...

I want to be home being a wife and mother...and that IS ALL THERE IS for me...

and I love every minute of it.

8 comments: said...

It's funny how times can change and go full circle like that. I would hope these days women are doing with their life what makes THEM happy.

Birdwell said...

Sing it sister!

To me this is what women liberation is about: women being FREE TO CHOOSE our life path without guilt without being looked at askance because we are following our bliss.

Heather said...

I completely agree with you! I love being able to stay home & actually getting to sew. When I worked I hardly had time for my family let alone any hobbies I might have. I have noticed that I have stopped reading magazines & watching TV shows (such as Oprah) because they aren't SAHM-friendly & make me mad all the time because I'm not 'working'. lol

~~Sew Happy Designs~~ said...

Very well said Amy! I was home with each of my babies before I went back to work, unfortunately we wouldn't have made it without another paycheck. That time with my children was very precious and I wish I could have made it last! Women need to pick the life that suits them best so that the whole family unit is happy. You are doing a great job!
Hugs...your adopted Mom

Stitches In Cotton said...

I get so tired of trying to defend my choice to stay home and more recently to home school my children. I enjoy watching my children grow each and every day. When I did have to go to work it broke my heart that I was missing out on important events. I don't want to miss a thing!

True women's liberation would be that all women respected each and every other women's choice to work or stay home. One is no less or greater than the other. It's personal and a choice!

Crazysocks :) said...

I do not regret my choice to stay home with my children. They are MINE & *I* should be raising them. I have nothing against working moms... we're all doing the best we can. BUT at the same time, I can't WAIT until both of my kids are in school & I can go back to work/school. I'm sick of my 'job' being chores... but if I had to, I'd be a SAHM all over again.
BUT I LOVE when you said, "I do not live THROUGH my husband and children, Mrs Friedan....I live WITH them..." That's a great way to look at it. :)

Crazysocks :) said...

I'd also like to add that my situation is different b/c neither my husband nor I get to make many of our decisions... the army makes them for us. If we were "regular civilians" & could choose where we want to live & stuff like that, I'd probably be more content. Thanks bye. :)

mamaslittlemonkeys said...

LOL Thank you CrazySocks for sharing your husband with our country and protecting me and mine!!!

Personally, if I dont HAVE to get up and get prettied up and work a 9-5 job, why would I choose to? I suppose because I do feel accomplishment in my job as a mommy and my part time crafting gig that I am so happy. I figure whatever you do, do it well and do it with pride!


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