Tuesday, September 18, 2007

When Did We Get Ashamed?

It is an interesting phenomenon in our society, that often the first thing one is asked upon meeting a new person is "What do you do?" It is understood that by saying this, what they really mean is "Where do you work?"...and the deeper meaning of the question is "What is your worth?" In our country, often "what you do" defines who you are. If you are a professional like an attorney or a physician, then you are defined one way, but if you are a trash collector or a cafeteria worker, you are defined a different way. In India, they have a caste system that separates the people into classes...in the U.S. we have occupations.

When I resigned my position with the state as a financial coordinator last year to stay home with my precious daughter, it was the first time I had been unemployed in many, many years. My husband and I made this decision together. There was never really any debate about it...we believe strongly that we want to raise our daughter instead of turning her over to daycare workers as a substitute for a parent's loving care. We knew that it would take some sacrifices for us to live on one income, but we were willing to make them. What I do not think that I bargained for was my loss of definition because all of the sudden I didn't "do" anything...I had no occupation to rely on for my identity. This really bothered me for months. I struggled with trying to find out who I really am...without a convenient title.

In retrospect, almost at my one year anniversary of being a stay-at-home mom (September 21), I realize that what I actually needed was a mental detoxification. I had so bought into society's idea of the norm, that it took me a while to clear my head of that garbage and see the truth. Being a full-time homemaker and mother is the most wonderful and blessed opportunity that any woman can experience. The chance to teach and mold a child into the person that God wants them to be is an honor far above any degree or title. The role of keeper of the home is one to be admired...for the heart of a home is the woman. Maintaining organization within the home, cooking delicious and nutritious meals to be eaten around the table with family, taking pride in her home and creating a peaceful refuge for her husband to come in from the hostile world, providing a time and place for intimacy...these are the badges of honor that we wear. There can be no substitute for a woman's role in the home, and when that role is not being fulfilled, she and her family will suffer.

It gets on my last nerve when I hear a woman say, "I just stay home...I'm just a mom...Oh, I don't work" or some variation, usually accompanied by downcast eyes. When did we become "just" a homemaker? When did we become ashamed of what we do?

I am proud of the job God has given me and I would not trade it for the world.

What do you do?

P.S. There are great resources out there to help with every aspect of homemaking. I will be sharing some periodically...here is the first: http://www.creativehomemaking.com./


Elysa said...

Signing in as a proud full-time homemaker who DEFINITELY works! LOL! ;)

Madame Rubies said...

Oh, gah, I know this feeling too. I always stutter over my answer. What do they want to know? That I am a mom? That I waitress on the weekend and sub at the high school some days? That I am a writer who seldom seeks publication anymore? Tell them I am a poet and they will surely be alienated. I am a minister's wife, but surely that cannot define me.

What do I do?

I feel a blog in this. Remind me to blog on What I Do soon.