An often discouraging part of the homemaker's work is that most of our daily tasks are never "done". Cleaning, cooking, bathing a child, changing a diaper, pulling weeds in the garden - all these are things that will have to be done again, and again, and again, and somehow aren't appreciated enough.
Lots of guilt is heaped today upon women who choose to stay at home; guilt for not being productive members of society, for taking advantage of our hard-working husbands by not providing a second income, for not spending our time in a worthwhile enough manner. I think women who are labeled as potentially successful by the world's standards are given especially much grief for "opting out". This heavy burden of guilt and nagging worries and "what ifs" prevents women from truly enjoying what can be a blissfully content, beautiful life in their own homes. I took a lot of grief for not being ambitious enough, before I realized that perhaps I'm not meant to be ambitious at all, and just desire a family and a home of my own.
We are definitely doing work which must be done. If I'm not at home to clean and cook during the day, it will have to be done in the evening, which will chop away at our family time. If I go to work, my baby won't take care of herself - I will have to hand her over to someone else, most likely another woman, and pay for it. But so often, it may seem as though we aren't really creating anything with a long-lasting value; as though the results of our work can hardly be seen.
However, this is simply not true. Every day, without even noticing it, simply by being loving wives and mothers and being there, we are creating memories:
~ Memories of a tired husband who is so grateful to come back from work to a loving wife who has been waiting for him and has hot dinner on the table;
~ Memories of happy children whose mother was always there for them. It might be normal today for children to be away from their parents most of the time, but my husband told me he still remembers how his heart broke when his mother took him to kindergarten as a 3-year-old.
~ Memories of an entire family, spending time together in a comforting, nurturing atmosphere of a home.
Yes, the floors might become dirty once more, the food we cooked will be eaten, the laundry will need to be done again and again, the children need to be bathed every day and so the work isn't "done"... but the memories are created forever! Memories of togetherness, of a cheerful attitude, of contentment and love.
Every day, I see my little girl's face light up in happiness whenever she sees me. I don't think she would have been equally happy in the care of a stranger. She trusts me and needs me, at this point of her life, more than anything in the world.
Today, my husband told me, "how wonderful it is that you didn't buy into the feminist lies that a woman must work outside the home". Yes, I have the gift of a tremendously supportive, loving, appreciative husband. And I know I'm doing right. Not perfect, but right, by being where I'm needed most and learning to give all I can.
PS: An unrelated note - I wanted to ask you all to email me only at firstname.lastname@example.org ; I'm woefully behind on answering emails anyway, and keeping up with two accounts is simply too much at this point!