A comment I received:
"This past week I have been home recovering from surgery; and truthfully, I thought I was going to go insane from being stuck at home this entire time. I was overjoyed to finally get out of the house and return to work tonight!
I do not know how women can find the sanity to stay at home all day but more power to you. I, for one, could not. If after just 4 days I am ready to bang my head against a wall, I can only imagine what doing that every day would do to me."
I certainly understand you; I would also go crazy after a few days without any fresh air and exercise. While I probably spend much more time at home than someone who works outside the home, being inside for days without seeing sunshine is an almost foolproof recipe for depression and frustration. However, I don't think that the only way not to be always stuck at home is to work full-time outside the home.
I doubt that in the past, women were locked up in their homes. Many more people than today lived in the country, and had large gardens that needed to be tended to. Many raised animals. Even in the city, having a house with a garden was much more common than today. Women weren't stuck in a tiny cubicle that is the typical modern apartment. I think that for at least a couple of hours a day, they were out there, pruning the rose bushes or feeding the chickens.
For me, today's morning included hanging the laundry in my back yard, working in the garden, and taking a slow walk to the grocery store and back with my baby. Of course, I'm blessed to live in a beautiful place with lovely scenery and fresh air, which calls for the enjoyment of being out of doors. We belong to a community which encourages spontaneous neighbourly visits. In crowded, polluted cities where people don't know their neighbours, the most common diversion might indeed be going to work and back, and friends are only found at work.
By the way, many employees, like my husband, hardly see the light of day because they work such long hours in polluted urban surroundings. I think that overall, I spend more time out of doors than my husband.
I understand that not all modern homemakers can live in remote rural places with small, close-knit communities. Not everyone can have a garden, however small. But there are always things one can do in order not to feel bored or isolated. Getting to know one's neighbours is a tradition that can and should be restored. Little things like a short trip to the library with your children can provide a pleasant and valuable break that will prevent the feeling of being cooped up.
We all need outlets - friendships, hobbies, activities. It helps to keep us sane. For some people, working outside the home becomes an "outlet" - usually for women, men normally look at their job as the means to earn money. My husband says that, if finances allowed, he would gladly stay home and dedicate most of his time to growing plants or home improvements.
To sum it up, there are more than just two options: either being stuck at home all day long, or working outside the home during most hours of the day. Valuable out of doors time for oursevles and our children includes a multitude of opportunities for learning, exercise, and fellowship.