Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Men, women, work and housework

This arrangement, of me working outside the home (even though it's only two days a week), thus stepping into my husband's shoes for a bit, and my husband stepping into my shoes, does not work well. At all. With our best intentions, and knowing that we are doing what must be done at the moment, it can be kept for a limited amount of time. But in the long run, it doesn't work. Men are meant to work outside the home while women keep the gates and hearths and bear and raise children. This has been the way since the beginning of time, and all attempts of finding an alternative arrangement brought nothing to our society but confusion, dissatisfaction and disruption.

You have been so amazingly supportive. I have piles upon piles of emails I want to answer, and will hopefully answer soon, as time allows. For now, I would like to say thank you again to those who have taken the time to write and express their encouragement.

Some voices suggested that now, I will have to be more sympathetic to wives and mothers who must work outside the home. Well, if you read my previous posts carefully, you will see that I have always been very sympathetic towards women who are forced to work, but truly have their hearts at home. Actually, I believe I wrote at least a few times that truly ambitious women with glorious careers are few and far between. Much more often, women occupy the positions of cashiers, secretaries, kindergarten teachers, saleswomen, and other jobs which are low-paying and not very intellectually challenging. They end up doing these jobs not because they are oppressed, but because they are not very ambitious but are still expected to do "something". Many of those women count the hours until they can go home to their families and children, and would like nothing better than to stay at home full-time – something they cannot do, or think they cannot do, because of true or perceived financial necessity, and because all of us who were educated in the public school system have been indoctrinated that we must bring in a paycheck to be worth something.

There is also social pressure. Not long ago, someone I know admitted to me that one of her daughters-in-law doesn't work outside the home because she is pregnant and has several other children to take care of. She sounded very embarrassed, and apparently, expected me to see this as something very strange and unacceptable. She was obviously very relieved when I didn't. The social pressure to "go out and do something" is high, and I was always aware of it, and I could never feel anything but sympathy for the average woman, whom I see as the victim of ideals promoted by those few who truly have the ambition, motivation, desire and right circumstances to be happy with their lives centered around their work.

The majority of women want to be good wives and mothers. That's our primary calling. And that's natural and good, as the majority of us are or will be married, and the majority of those who marry will have children. Please note that I'm talking about social trends here. I realize that someone can always say, "I have never been married and don't desire to" or "I never had a passion for anything but work." The fact remains that most women will marry and have families, and these families will need good homes and orderly lives, something only a dedicated wife can provide.

Working outside the home does not diminish a woman's desire to have an orderly home and happy, well cared for children. That's precisely the conflict we were landed with ever since we bought into the myths of "women's liberation". Of course it's impossible to have it all and do it all, and stay sane. I have always found it very unfair that women are, essentially, forced to do way too much. Someone invented this myth, which is ridiculous when you think about it, that we can be away from home for an entire day and our home life won't suffer. Personally, after a day at work I have hardly any energy left for my home. The vitality of the best part of my day is drained away from me. Some told me that it's all "a matter of attitude". Of course it is. I can never feel the same way about working outside the home as I do when I work in my home.

Some claim that it could all work - if only men agreed to play their part of the game. Both spouses work the same number of hours outside the home, both do an equal share of the housework and childcare. But practically, most men will still work longer hours, if only because men are naturally more ambitious and more inclined to choose the more challenging and demanding jobs. Men are also less inclined towards domesticity. I'm not saying this as an excuse for men to do nothing around the house when their help is really and truly needed – I fully believe husbands can and should step up to the plate in emergency cases, to help out, to extend kindness to their wives. But guess what? When my husband is at home alone for a day, it's not like he becomes the homemaker. It's not in his nature. He's a great help, but he won't do things like straightening the cushions or ironing. He's not a nester like I am, and he isn't supposed to be. I can moan about it, or I can accept it. I choose to accept it, and work and carefully plan towards the day when each of us fully embraces what we were meant to do.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Anna! :)

Anonymous said...

I fully agree with pretty much everything you've said.
I think you've painted a realistic picture of Israeli society, where it really is unacceptable to stay home. Oh well, like a lot of trends, this one will likely come to Israel one day too.

I do agree that men on the whole possess less of a 'nesting' instinct than women. However, with some instruction and effort, many, many men can be very useful around the house. Almost every man under age 40 that I know cooks (some much better than their wives), knows all the intricacies of taking care of baby, and can do the bulk of basic housework. True, they don't fluff the pillows or get everything tidy just the way their wives might like it, but they do a significant portion of the housework and do it well.

Necessity has forced these men to learn these skills. I don't see them as any less 'manly'. In fact, as you hinted in your post, 'masculinity' is not to be found in delegating housework, but in fully and skillfully pitching in when necessary.
Tammy
PS....my husband does ALL the ironing in our house. First, I just hate ironing, and I'm not that good at it, and second, his clothes comprise most of the ironing.

Persuaded said...

Well, of course I agree with your every word... as usual☺

Recently at another blog, I was on the fringes of a discussion about feminism and the "oppression" of women in past years. One commenter stated emphatically that "The fact that women didn't have that autonomy (to work outside of the home and have "fulfilling" careers) was stifling indeed to many." While I had to agree that some women in the past felt "stifled" by their society's insistence that women remain home, certainly an equal amount of women feel "stifled" by our current society's insistence that we work outside of the home. In fact I would say even more of us are harmed by the current "norm" of women working outside of the home, because as you so aptly put it, such a lifestyle goes against our very God-given grain. It certainly is not the best for our precious children.

One might say that well, today we have the choice of whether to have a career or stay at home. Women have always had a choice. In the past women were criticized or ostracized for going against the cultural norm and working. Nowadays women are criticized and ostracized for staying at home. I often feel that we women of today have little more choice than the women of the past- in spite of all of the feminists' crowing about "progress" and "how far we have come." If your mindset is in lockstep with feminist ideology you do indeed have many more choices for your life than in the past. But for us women who long for the protection and fulfillment of a quiet, diligent life at home, many of our choices have been stripped away. Our preferences are seen as not valid; we are ridiculed and patronized by the very people who say that they are speaking up for our "rights'.

Tolerance indeed!

Terry @ Breathing Grace said...

Wonderful and insightful post, Anna.

Women and men are different. It's the way God designed us to be. And that's okay.

Gothelittle Rose said...

I was so right where you are a couple of years ago, only I didn't have a baby and I was working full-time. My husband and I had the exact same challenges, and more... the stress of the full-time work made me very sick.

I felt so guilty about that, like I had "no right" to feel so sick when so many other women just did it and it 'worked for them'. I couldn't stand the level of socializing, and I missed my family every single SECOND.

I used to furtively write my shopping list when I was supposed to be working, how sad is that?

It's only in the past few months that I've been making real progress in understanding that my inability to work full-time outside the home with a toddler at home was not a failure on my part. It helps for me to see how much different my (one hour per day) part-time job is in its demands and expectations, and how my mother (my own mother!) praises the way I run my household.

Pendragon said...

The thing that most stands out at me about this post is the notion that jobs like secretary, kindergarten teacher, or saleswoman are not satisfying to women, or not worth doing compared to staying at home, because they are not "intellectually" challenging.

The implication is that these jobs are sheer drudgery that do not in any way call on a woman's talents, skills, or character. Isn't this kind of argument exactly what upsets homemakers about criticisms of their work? If you did not mean to imply that these jobs are sheer drudgery, then why the arbitrary emphasis on "intellectual" challenge as the measure of whether a job is worthwhile?

Take secretarial work. My mother was a secretary. I was a secretary. I have my own secretary now. Any professional will tell you that the secretary is a crucial element of whatever mission is being accomplished. Secretarial work requires computer skills, language skills, business skills, organizational skills, and a flexible and warm personality. Without my secretary, I would have no organization in my life and my job could not get done. The idea that this is an easy job, or a job that is not valuable, is very surprising to me. I am sure my secretary takes a lot of pride in how smoothly our office runs due to her efforts. That's how my mother felt and how I felt when we did this kind of work.

I am sure that many women are "forced" to work in the sense of needing the money. That has always been the way of the world. I don't think that 's some new feminist invention, so much as it is a fact of life. Both of my grandmothers worked in the 1920s-1950s, because that is what adult humans generally have to to do to survive. (The difference between then and now is that they didn't have as many choices about what kind of work to do, and the highest paid professions were more difficult to break into.)

But I haven't met too many women who have felt that this is some horrible burden to have to work outside the home. My mother is someone who enjoys baking a pie and sewing clothes, but she couldn't wait to go back to work as a secretary. It made her so happy to use her typing, shorthand, and organizational skills, to get dressed up every morning, to have interactions with other adults throughout the day, to feel valuable to someone outside her immediate family, to have adventures to share with the family at dinnertime and to have her own paycheck that she got to control herself. I don't think my mother was some freak of nature, or particularly unusual in any way.

People, including women, mostly do want to be part of efforts outside the immediate family. That's why even homemakers are often involved in all sorts of volunteer efforts outside the home.

Pendragon said...

I also find it hard to believe that women somehow have a greater ability or desire to iron or straighten cushions than men do. (Why does anyone iron, I wonder?)

The social pressure on women to do these things is enormous. Men are not as disturbed by messy because no one is judging them based on messy cushions. In contrast, when people come over to the house and see messy cushions, they are going to gossip about me, not my husband. In fact, I will judge myself harshly for messy cushions because I was brought up to do so. There are entire religions organized around telling women that the messy cushions are their job. So, of course, we are going to notice the messy cushions before the man does. That doesn't mean that it is right or inevitable that women have to work a second shift at home, or that a man can't learn to do his share. You can split the work so that each does the part they like to do or are good at doing.

Funny story: My elderly grandmother moved several hundred miles to live with my aunt and uncle (i.e. her son and his wife). My uncle was retired and not working, whereas my aunt worked about 12 hours a day as an accountant. My grandmother was complaining to me that her first night in the home, she had nothing to eat for hours because Aunt B didn't make her any dinner until nine o'clock at night. I said, "Well, what was Aunt B doing?" My grandmother said, "Well, she works until 8 at night and gets home at about 8:30." So I said,"What about Uncle J?" I meant, of course, why wasn't he making her any dinner. My grandmother responded, "Oh, he didn't have anything to eat either!"

Ridiculous. But it shows how deep our prejudices are that my grandmother, a very intelligent woman, didn't even think to blame my uncle -- her own son! -- for failing to give his elderly mother any food. Instead, she placed all the blame on her daughter-in-law -- not even a blood relation -- for something that was clearly her son's responsibility. That kind of social pressure is why we sometimes feel the compulsive need to do the home and family care -- because we are the ones who get blamed when it doesn't get done.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Pendragon, I didn't mean to say that being a secretary is pure drudgery. For the record, I have been a secretary and know it can be an important job.

What I meant to say is that being a secretary, or a kindergarten teacher, or a salesperson, is generally a low-rank, low-paying, dead-end job. It's not something that can be considered a fabulous career, so I honestly don't see what there is to be praised so highly in these jobs vs. staying home with one's children.

Not that *I*, personally, justify leaving one's children for the most glorious career. My point is that many women who would otherwise be happy at home are stuck at low-paying jobs because it's more socially acceptable than being a housewife.

Anonymous said...

This is the most succinct analysis I have ever read of the at-home/working debate.

Let's be honest, a mother would get more respect for dragging her children to a daycare center so she could work at the daycare center, or running a daycare center in her home, than she would for simply staying home and taking care of her own children in her own home. At least then she would be "doing something."

How mixed up and sad is that?

Thank you for your blogging Anna. As far as home business ideas, I think that you could put together a book based on your blog and your thoughts on being a wife and mother and it would be wonderful. I know I would buy a copy!

Lady Anne said...

Because of an unfortunate marriage in my youth, I was forced to work outside the home, and was lucky enough to have a job I enjoyed, but my late husband wasn't much help around the house.

I worked for a while after my present husband (gosh, that sounds as if I plan on trading him in, doesn't it?) because we agreed that I would stay with the company until I was eligible for a pension down the road. The real blessing was that hubby was also divorced and had custody of his daughter, so he recognizes housework when he sees it. He became a "nester" out of necessity, tying hair ribbons and ironing little dresses.

Even though we are both retired now, he has ALWAYS stepped in and washed dishes, folded laundry (and don't think I'm dumb enough to tell him he doesn't do it the way I do!), pitched in when we have company for dinner.

Pendragon said...

Mrs. T, thanks for the clarification! I agree that pink collar jobs tend to be lower-paying with little chance of advancement and little prestige.

Persuaded, I don't think any woman ought to feel guilty for not being able to juggle full-time and a role as primary caregiver to a toddler. Women need to feel free to do whatever makes the most sense in their situation. And our situations are shaped in large part by patriarchal expectations.

But it doesn't follow that we should just resign ourselves that as a group we will always be either stressed out or dependent. Society can be changed (and has already changed dramatically) such that men can learn to actually pull their weight at home and women can break out of pink collar segregation into more lucrative fields. Change may be slow in coming but it has happened and is still happening. We just haven't gotten all the way there yet.

sarah said...

Oh I agree! Back when I was working outside the home I found it extremely frustrating! When my husband was home with our son he didn't "nest"...he didn't become the homemaker. His primary vision is outside the home. I would come home from work totally ravaged from a very looooong day....and my home would not be homey. It would be a mess. I felt like we were always hanging on by a string to the sanity and comfort that should be HOME. In fact, my husband, a man I consider to be quite accomplished already, goal orientated, and very hard working, has never even used our vacuum, cleaned a toilet, or washed the bed sheets! He just doesn't see the house the way I do. He does help with dishes or he still occasionally cooks a family meal if he's in the mood....and he always helped with our child....but he just isn't a woman and taking care of the home isn't in him.
This isn't to say that men should not be expected to help in their homes and be kind, considerate human beings who clean up after themselves and such...but I have come to see through my own marriage that what works best (at least for us) is a division of labor....and I must add....we both appreciate and like this division of labor. And it's not really a hierarchy....it's more like a partnership.
I stay at home now and I tend the nest. My husband works in his career field and pursues goals in order to advance himself (and ultimately his family). He asked me the other day over the internet (he is a deployed soldier) if I wanted him to help more around the house. I told him "NO!" I work from home. That's MY job...and my joy to do these things. When he gets home from his current deployment he will be going to graduate school full time, working a 40 hour a week job, fulfilling his National Guard duties and more....He would probably claw his eyes out if he had to stay at home with our kids and take care of the house full time. A man is outward focused....he has a vision....he wants to go out and conquer. I on the other hand want to be home with our children....I want to have a hearty meal waiting for my tired husband after a long day of slugging it out....I want to be the home of our family. And the best compliment I ever received was, "Where ever you are Sarah, that's home." That's how my husband thinks....I could turn a hotel room into home....it doesn't matter....that's what I do. :) That's our gift/innate talent as women.

But you can survive the hard times when you have to work. I did! :) You only have a good future to look forward to.

sarah said...

Oh and I should add...I read some of your above comments. I like to imagine that one day when our kids are much older I will go to work for my husband in his business. Perhaps I'll be his secretary, assistant, what ever......but that would be fun! I don't think it's always a bad thing for a woman to have an outside the job home. But it is very, very hard in so many ways when there are children at home.

sarah said...

Oh one more thought and then I'm done! lol

I have a friend who just had a baby. She really wanted to be a homemaker...but because they recently bought a large, expensive house and new car....they truly can't afford to live on her husband's income. She feels forced to go to work...her dreams of being a homemaker dashed. She just went back to work the other day...leaving her 8 week old infant in daycare. This is very sad to me.

I think that a lot of women (obviously not all) who say they are forced to work should examine their lifestyles. I would rather be frugal and spend money wisely....be content with a small, cozy home....then live large and be FORCED to earn a pay check.

You know...my friend's husband has the same exact job as mine! I can afford to be a homemaker and she cannot...yet both of our husbands make the same exact paycheck! He might actually make a bit more as he's a higher rank in the military.

Do you want to live large and have the image of being rich? Or do you want to have a beautiful, wholesome, simple life filled with comfort....even if it means you don't get to have the flashiest of everything?

But I do realize that there are real hardships, such as in your case, that do force a woman to work.

KylaJean said...

I think that this post is another example of not only how God created men and women differently but how he created each marriage to work differently.

Even though I have a career, I am more of a homemaker than my husband. I love to spend my free time creating beautiful things for our home and making nutritious meals and nothing cures my stress like deep cleaning. But I would have to say that my husband is a better housekeeper. He really is the reason that our house stays picked up and vacumed. If he stayed home full time our house wouldn't suffer.

So while I don't disagree that we are created differently I do have a problem with the broad generalizations that all women are the same and all men are the same.

Maybe thats not what you are saying maybe this is just what works best for you. I just don't think that our God was creative enough to create all the earth and its diferent animals, terrain and plants but then only made two types of humans.

Kyla

Civilla said...

I feel the pressure to "do something" now that my children are grown, even though I'm happiest at home.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Gothelittle Rose,

I had to laugh when I read about you furtively writing your shopping list at work, because I do the same when I have a spare moment. :o) It's a great relief to know that I can at least think about my home.

Oh, and another clarification: I realize that in other countries, being a teacher is considered a good job. In Israel, teachers, especially of younger grades, don't get much respect and their salaries are very low.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Pendragon, although there certainly are social stereotypes that connect women and housework, in most cases all they do is strengthen the women's natural inclination.

As the child-bearers and nurturers, women naturally hang out more about the nest, and pay more attention to small details that contribute to everyone's comfort. Men, who are not burdened by pregnancies and taking care of babies, are more of the go-getter type.

This nesting instinct is present in most women even if they never have children. It is said there's a grain of truth in every joke; it's no coincidence that there are so many anecdotes told about men who are slobs and bachelor apartments that are covered with cobwebs. Women are, *generally speaking*, more inclined to keep house.

Oh, and I only iron clothes made of natural fibers. Otherwise they look disgustingly crinkled.

Pendragon said...

Ah! The ironing makes sense for natural fibers! (Not that I am anti-ironing.)

I believe that women experience two things: (1) a strong, internalized pressure to keep the home nice due to societal expectations that it is our job to do so; and (2) confirmation bias. In other words, when we feel the desire to cook a nice meal, or spend time with our children, we think, "Oh, that's my nesting instinct" or "That's my maternal instinct." The men we know also enjoy the comforts of home and children, but when they suddenly have those feelings of wanting to be next to the hearth or do work around the house they don't categorize it as a nesting instinct or a paternal instinct.

I am somewhat domestic, but I don't see that as somehow negating other drives. I don't see how my enjoyment of cooking means I am not also competitive and argumentative (both qualities that are helpful in my particular job, though certainly not necessary for all professions). Again, I just don't see being a go-getter as a male trait. That idea just goes against everything I have ever observed or experienced in my life.

Mrs Mills said...

I know how you feel. My husband is unemployed at the moment and although we have unemployment insurance, my income is very important. I work as a Registered Practical Nurse in a Nursing Home so I'm blessed to make more than a cashier or saleslady, but I would still love to be at home. My husband is a bit "domesticly challenged", he does his best but I still do the majority of the cleaning/cooking/organizing here, when I have the time/energy to. It's true, homes function much better when the husband works and the wife stays home, I pray your husband finds his perfect job soon and you can get back to "normal".

Bbowzwife said...

For someone who is young enough to be my daughter (with a few older siblings even!) I find your blog very inspiring and supportive. Expecially right now. Through an odd set of twists and turns I have found myself working at a paying job for two years this May. Since September I've been blessed to be able to work from my home office but it is still 40+ hours a week that I am not able to devote to my home and family. My children are grown so I don't have the childcare issues most women face but not being able to devote myself to my home and family full time is breaking my heart. We fully expect that I will be able to put my "corporate shoes" away by this May and I am looking forward to it like I never have before. It isn't that I didn't know how valuable I was at home, or that I didn't understand the plight of women forced to work outside their homes but now I have an appreciation for my calling as keeper of the home that is much more profound than before.
I pray fervently that you will be past this season in your life soon and will again know the peace and contentment of not having to join the hustle and bustle for those two days each week and simply do each day that which you were created to do.
Stay stong. You have a cyber-world of women who love you and pray for you and your family.

Anna said...

While I agree with you that many men are not "nesters" and tend to work longer hours, etc, I don't think that statement can be generalized to ALL men. My husband, for instance, is a nester. We both agree that I will stay home when we have children, but he would love to as well and it is, and will be, a sacrifice for him to go to work and leave his family at home. He counts the hours until he can come home, and he works so that we can HAVE a home, not because he loves his career. I feel the same way about what I'm doing right now, but I know that someday soon it will come to an end and I will be a stay at home mom. I have great respect for him because he is willing to give up what he wants to do for what he must do!
I would venture to suggest that the best place for all of us, men and women, is at home with our families. Unfortunately, life doesn't work that way unless you have a family farm or business.

Jasmine said...

Well said, Anna. I continue to pray for your situation.

Blessings,

Jasmine
Far Above Rubies

Marsha said...

Mrs. Anna T. Thank you for the well written post. What you say is so very true, most women I know work not because they want too, but because they feel pressured to do so. There are many who hate their jobs and would rather be at home, but they also don't want to give up all the extras which society says they need.

Nearly 35 years ago my husband and I were married, 6 months later I left my job to be a full time homemaker and we hoped Mother, within a year. Leaving my job was not hard, I was being switched to a rotating shift job and neither my husband or I felt that was the best way to start out a marriage. But with the feminist movement hysteria I was looked down on by many as being lazy. I never had time to be lazy!

Our intention was always for me to be home full time with our children. Working outside our home was my choice. My husband said if we couldn't live on what he made we were spending too much money and I agreed.

Our plans for a family were delayed by God :) for eight years until we adopted our first daughter, another 5 years passed before God blessed us with another daughter through adoption. Leaving the girls to go to work never crossed my mind. I had children so I could raise them..not someone else.

In a society that puts such emphasis on children and their well being I find it I hard to fathom why these precious children are not worthy of a parent staying home with them. I say this at the risk of enraging many women, but if you don't want to care for them..why have them?

Once my daughters were in school I thought about a part time job, but every time my husband and I talked it through we decided it just wasn't worth it. Instead I became a volunteer at my daughters school ( I was the Mom who was there to help children struggling with their studies because at home their parents didn't have time) and also at a nursing home. I was also the primary care giver for my Dad, my mother-in-law and my aunt. I feel very blessed that I could not only care for my children and home, but also my Dad, aunt and mother-in-law to make their last years comfortable and keep them with us. It's something I will never regret.

In all these years we never missed the extra income. I kept a large garden and canned and froze much of what we ate. I cook from scratch and bake all our breads and rolls. I shop carefully and stay on a budget, things are only bought on sale and when needed.

In recent years we have not had to be as careful with money. God has blessed us richly and we try to use those blessings wisely. Even now that we are nearing retirement and my husband is currently between consulting jobs (he retired from his job of 35 years five years ago and has worked as a consultant since making him semi retired) we are managing to help our oldest daughter who has many health problems, is unable to work and in the process of being divorced. I simple cut back on the "extras" which we don't' even miss.

Our home has always been a quiet haven, a place we want to be. Both my daughters(ages 27 an 22) have said many times they are so thankful I choose be a full time Mother. They watched most of their friends be latch key kids going home to empty houses. I don't dismiss the Mothers who must work, sometimes it can't be helped. But the majority of women choose to work for reasons other then need and that is their choice. Please leave others to also make the choice they want with out criticizing.

Time is precious, you never get it back, so choose wisely.

Analytical Adam said...

I generally agree although one problem among some women though is this sense of envy they have towards the man role which is wrong. I share an office with a law firm and I see much of this and there is no real excuse for it and the women are being ruled by their most base desirse. I will say when I am not in the office which we share with a law firm it isn't as bad (although it exists there too with women thinking they are better at work then men are) although in some women it is still there. I have seen part of the reason women work is to show they can do things better then men and if this envy stopped and women and men not tolerating other women who have this envy I think progress could be made. Part of the problem of Judaism and feminism of the religion is this false compassion of women who are acting wrongly and hurting others. Some women deserve compassion. Some don't. In the Bible G-d wasn't any easier on the women then G-d was on men. Only Rabbinic Judaism started to make excuses when women acted badly and Christianity as well when it made excuses for a woman that committed adultry.

I hope this isn't too much off topic but I do think it is relevant to the topic as I have suffered a lot and nobody cares about this and I think at the end of the day too much sympathy for women that are behaving badly (or trying to undermine men) in the end will lead to men being hurt and nothing really changing because at the end of the day we are showing more compassion to women the G-d ever did and this is wrong and saying we are more compassionate then G-d.

Analytical Adam said...

Mrs. Anna:

In the United States Public School teachers get paid fairly well although to be fair the few I have dated were very arrogant and to be honest I understand sometimes we don't take the perfect job but many of these girls don't even realize their salary comes from the taxpayers. And many of them being a teacher seems to replace their idea of being a mother one day.

Some women who are unmarried really are disturbed and think other people's children are their own. Some of them even work to take children away from their parents and put them in foster care and they don't even think there is any diference sadly. There are exceptions but a child is much more likely to be abused by foster parents then his biological parents.

Analytical Adam said...

The last point is because of feminism and forced equality laws men wages have gone done and some girls at very young ages (in the US the girl scouts sadly have become a wing of the feminist movement and because of it christian parents have pulled thier girls out) are being tought to use lawyers so men can never be better then them at anything and sadly their envy of men is destorying them which is why envy is one of the 10 commandments and can be a problem for both genders and many women don't want men to get paid more even though in general they have more value all skills being equal because they have lower turnover rates and in some area's have a more natural interest towards and would be more motivated then a woman would be since she can contribute in other ways in life. But many women today can't let go of their envy of men as it has been ingrained in them from a young and it is hard for them to be rid of it. As you said Mrs. Anna certain things women do better then me and I don't feel jealous of it although it is lonely being single recognizing this.

Anonymous said...

Good post, Anna! Men and women are most definitely best suited for different types of work, and scientific studies back this up. For example, read this article about women being able to see more shades of the color red than men.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3929071.stm

Notice at the end of the article, the author comments that perhaps women were the gatherers of fruits and vegetables because they were naturally better able to determine if foods were ripe! And an application from my own life: some of my children, when in the early stages of illness, get a slight flush to their faces. It is quite obvious to me, but my husband really can't see this. I am naturally better able to address their illness sooner than he would be, because I can discern the early signs.
Other scientifically-authenticated biological differences make women more suited to being homemakers and caregivers: women have more finely tuned small motor skills, making them more suited for some of the delicate work around the home and with children; they are naturally more detail-oriented, so that they are quick to notice lint on the floor or a household item out of place(ie, they are naturally better at keeping house!)

These differences are inborn,not due to training or social expectations. So yes, there is definitely men's work vs. women's work! Vive la difference!

B.

Slice of life said...

Hey there Mrs T. I love reading your blog and it show that there are people who all come here to have a little slice of peace and a nod to say "you know, I really wanted to say that but I felt that I couldnt"...

Or at least that is me. I work fulltime. I live in the uk, and from this is says the average wage is around £20,000 a year. so then take the take out and it is a lot less.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8151355.stm

The average house price for a modest family home is approx £167,ooo. It used to be that a mortage was 3.5 times your salary....? so going on averages, houses should be around £70,000. this is why I work. we would never be able to afford a home, or to pay into a pension to look after us in our old age otherwise.

I hope one day to have a family, but more through necessity rather than choice I will have to return to work for at least 20 hours a week. we may just scrape by.

By people blogging how they survive, it will hopefully help me find a way.

thanks for the post, good as always.

p.s. I actually like working, but I would feel awful thinking that someone else was raising and influencing my child. We will cross that bridge when we come to it.

Gothelittle Rose said...

For Pendragon:

I was raised in a "blue state", and I was surrounded from a young age by people who simply expected that I would reach for a full-time career. I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up... an astronaut? A lawyer? A doctor? An engineering technician like my father?

When I found that full-time work outside the home stressed me to the point of physical illness and I forever had a deep and abiding desire to keep the hearth, I thought there was something wrong with me. This was before I had children, and everything I was taught was telling me that I should be working outside the home.

It has been an intense relief over the past months to truly acknowledge that I have a nesting instinct, that it's right for me to have one, and that I am doing well in spending my days caring for my baby and homeschooling my boy.

I found out that my mother faced scorn from her teachers for wanting to grow up to "be a mother" instead of picking a career. The Women-Must-Work mentality has been very strong for a long time...

...which is why the feminists can't understand when greater percentages of educated women are giving up their careers, and most of those who don't wish (according to studies and surveys) that they could.

A few women are best suited to a career, and I'd never want to negate their choice, but my mother and I are living proof that there is more to the desire to keep home than just being taught that you have a 'nesting instinct'. The difference is that, when you are taught that you must have a career, you do not know the words to put to your longing desire to stay home.

Mrs. Lady Sofia said...

Anna,

What an excellent post, and I couldn't agree with you more!

I don't know if you sent me your email address or not (I asked for it a few days ago), but I haven't checked my email. I am sorry I have been slow about sending you a personal email regarding your present situation, but I haven't forgotten about you! :)

Well, before I close, I just wanted to thank you for all your positive and encouraging blog posts regarding homemaking and stay-at-home mom/wives. They always brighten my day. :)

~Mrs. Lady Sofia~

inca said...

Although I really don't have much to say at all, I wanted to let you know that I thoroughly agreed with this post. You've said it very well. I enjoyed reading it and realizing that someone who can express themselves has made my points.

Jo said...

I thought you might be interested to know that around a quarter of all working families (were both parents work) in the USA - the female is now the main breadwinner - a change on previous decades.

Women in Australia have a lower average wage to males (full-time) - becuase more women are in part-time or lower income employment (eg retail). As a result when they retire their supperannuation is much smaller than males, creating a poor group of elderly women (which is being called the feminismation of poverty!)

Teachers here are considered a profession and paid well.

There are also any men in jobs that are low paid who do not like their job at all and would love something better but lack the skills.

angela said...

Hey Anna,

I just want to say I'm sorry that you are in this position because I know I would HATE it just as much as you do. I hope that you are able to come home fully very soon. I always love reading your posts because you are so honest and you have so much courage. Thank you for sharing your life with us!!!

Jenn@Spejory said...

As usual, I totally agree with everything you said. Especially about how men are not nesters and do not do the little things that come naturally to women. They are not women and do not have the innate need to nest that would prompt them to fluff sofa cushions. More women need to hear this and truly believe it. They need to give their well-meaning husbands a break. Just as my husband gives me a break when I don't "notice" that the oil needs changed in the car. I love that the home is my domain and responsibility and embrace our differences.

Pendragon said...

Gothelittlerose,

I totally get the idea of not wanting to be in the workplace and, no, I don't think there is a thing wrong with you! I just don't think it's a gender-based phenomenon. Remember, I work mostly with men and I see a ton of overly stressed, burnt-out men all around me. The difference between men and women is that women have a socially acceptable "out." We are free to leave to take care of our families. You may complain about the judgmental attitudes you encounter, but imagine how much worse it would be if you were a man doing what you do! (Of course, men opt out of hard-charging careers sometimes too but they usually call it "quitting to write a book.")

I am not really befuddled by women allegedly dropping their careers in every-increasing numbers in order to stay home, because I don't think it is really happening at any significant rate. If you google "opt-out myth," you will

Also it makes sense to me that some women would "want" to be at home when they are basically holding down two jobs at once. I would probably want something to give also if I were working full-time at the office and full-time at home. But that's not the same thing as saying, "I don't want my own income" or "I don't want to be an equal citizen" or "I don't want to accomplish anything outside the home."

Cinnamon said...

As usual, a well-spoken presentation for openness in discourse.

I was raised by 'traditional' many-sibling super-organized upbringing with schoolteacher father, over-educated mother and semi-agrarian environment. It was a different time and place than the last 40 years.

I left home for college education, doctorate,and professional life, with no intention of having my own family. Then, I married and helped make our own family with husband and children far from childhood support, so have helped make our own support from workplaces, church-life and neighbors. I've always considered my obligation to pay back 'society' for my education and assistance in raising socially responsible and incredibly creative offspring. Give and take, social family support and social responsibility, as couched in my own Catholic upbringing.

My spouse is not Catholic, and brings his own version of social responsibility and individual contribution to our marriage, although I'm sure his resident alien status in the US limits the degree of contribution compared to full-citizenship.

"Hunie" said...

My sister in law had to be the money maker for a period of time during her marriage. My brother did well at home for a while, but then depression started to set in...he needed to be out working and making the money.
Thankfully, he was able to find a job to support the household (six children) and she is the stay at home mom. Once in a while she will work to supplement the income, but that is not very often.

Gothelittle Rose said...

Pendragon, you might find this interesting:

http://pewresearch.org/pubs/536/working-women

This is for the U.S. Not sure which country you live in. :)

21% of working mothers and 16% of at-home mothers believe that full-time work is ideal for them. This is a loss of 11% for working and 16% for at-home mothers since 1997. I would say that this is not an insignificant change in opinion.

I did the googling, and noticed something about the results. They did not say that "Most mothers choose to climb the career ladder". They say things like "Most mothers must work to make ends meet." That as well as the statistics I listed feed into the same point... women don't want to work outside the home.

Sure, there are men who are burned out and want to stay home. However, I would like to know how many of them are saying that they would like to fill their days with childcaring, financial management, house-cleaning, and more. I know a couple of house husbands, and they do not have the same extent of activities that the housewives do. (Yes, I know that's anecdotal evidence. But bear with me here.)

I'm not sure you intend this, but you sound as if you believe that the homemaker mother's life is less demanding and easier work than a job in the 'outside world'. This is not true. My work now is longer and more extensive than it was before. The environment is different, and that makes a huge difference for me. I do work outside the home, five hours a week, as a tutor. That also makes a big difference for me. What I gain is not an easier day, but a more productive, fulfilling, and autonomous work environment.

Gothelittle Rose said...

Ooh, I should clarify the difference in my math tutor job. See, my full-time job was a software engineer cube farm job.

My math tutor job, like my homemaking/homeschooling job, is far more flexible and out of the cubicle-office environment. Both afford more flexibility in schedule, variation in work type, and opportunity for learning.

I had to learn that the nine-to-fiver work environment is verifiably not for me. If I had not married, I would not have ended up a career computer programmer. I would probably have ended up owning my own business.

So when I say that my math tutoring job "makes a big difference", I don't mean that it's a welcome change from my housewife duties. I mean that it does not make me sick the way the full-time cubicle nine-to-fiver job did.

american girl primitives said...

I just found your blog and I must say I agree with you. I'm a former teacher turned SAHM and now I am trying to go back to full time teaching. Although I love teaching you're right it doesn't pay very well and from the beginning when my daughter born I was feeling guilty. I stayed home with my son for a year and after pressure from my DH went back again to work again to save money for a home. We moved and I had trouble finding a job and have been home ever since. I have worked part time as a fitness instructor a few nights a week and substituted but mostly I have stayed home the past 6 years. It's been wonderful to have a clean house and not be totally exhausted to cook meals for my family. My kids are both in school not and I really enjoy being at home full time. I'm not bored and I don't feel like I need to work to be fulfilled. My husband is getting ready to retire and move into a new career and he has pressured me to yet again find a job. I'm dreading it already because I know it will be a struggle to keep up with. I'm hoping my DH can find a very good paying job so I can continue to be a happy homemaker.

Carey