"I was raised on a farm. I begun driving a tractor at the mature age of 8. I know something about hard work... my mother was always there, doing the hard work at home (on the farm). She taught everything she knew to me. My father had 2 jobs outside the farm and hauling firewood, he was occupied for 1-2 days a week by them. I never felt I lacked something. At the age of 16 I felt ready to have my own family, I knew how to run a household, how to garden, milk cows etc, I knew the seasons; what has to be done when. Hobbies weren't around or even understood as they are today... but we always had one day a week for rest and recreation, always. There were religious gatherings, picnics by lakeshore, lots of books, bikerides, wandering in the woods, visiting friends, time for your thoughts. It was life in the depths of Finnish countryside in the 60's and 70's.
All that I wanted for my children, too... but the modern cry was and is for education, and so the sad story of my "career" begun. I always felt misplaced, and finally depressed, so I left my "career" and now I am slowly getting myself back, I mean recovering from the ultimate stress the modern standards caused.
No one said staying home as a wife and/or a mother is an easy task. I think no one meant it's just watering some houseplants and dusting your laptop. It's hard work no matter how you look at it. If someone feels she has more time and energy, and wants an outside job, that's ok for me, but please do not say I should do it, too.
I don't know statistics from Israel or US or any other country, but in Finland the mental problems of children has exploded onto our face. There's a big business in taking children into custody. Am I the only one old enough to see the connection, to see the difference between today and 20-30 (not to mention even more) years ago? No one wants to see that maybe stay-at-home mothers really did something good?
I don't mean to blame or insult working moms, no! But I do think the vast majority of them are victims... victims of ther modern propaganda. All the women who did work outside their homes or farms in the past did it because it was necessary. They did not seek 'fullfilment' in their lives and they did not want to prove they were as good as men, or better. They did not work because they thought someone else is more capable to raise their children. They did not think even little children need expensive hobbies, and it costs money.
I think hobbies are over-rated. Please do not be offended! I don't mean there shouldn't be any nice things in your life, vice versa. But sometimes hobbies become larger than life... everyone should have one, or two, so if you have a family of 4 or 5 kids is there a single night everyone is at home at the same time? As Anna said it so well: The Mystical Quality Time. Families should spend time together, so that they can stay together as a family. Husband and wife should have time together, so that they stay as a husband and wife, and so on. If you have a family, you should invest in it, not in yourself aka your hobbies.
I think that is the most important point: all the women who did work outside their homes or farms in the past did it because it was necessary. They didn't do it to become "fulfilled" or to have a sense of self-worth, or because if they did not, someone would wonder what on earth they were doing to fill all those long boring hours at home.
Today, one of the first topics that comes up during any introductory conversation is "what do you do?" - and if you answer, "I'm a housewife", it's a cause for blushing. You might as well have said, "I do nothing".