Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Woman's Work Is Never Finished

Last summer, I called my district office and requested to be removed from the roster of church workers.  I had been a teacher for two years, but had decided I needed to be at home.  So I phoned the office and requested to be removed from the roster.  The dear secretary asked me several times if I was certain I wanted to be removed, and not just listed as "unavailable," or "not open to calls."  Being removed isn't easily reversed.  But I was certain.  I had tried the working-mother gig for a year, and found it too difficult.  I had tried the working-wife gig for three years, and found that too difficult.  The many conversations I've had with my husband had all resulted in the same decision:  I am staying home.  Not just for my son, not just for a short time until he's in school, not just until I feel "ready" to go back.  I am staying home.

Staying home has its place in this world, as long as it's just for your kids, and just as long as they're pre-schoolers.  After that, it's foolish for a woman to be in the house spending her hours laboring over oppressive chores. Certainly she would feel better about herself if she had secured herself a job- a career!- a paycheck for her efforts.  But I'm not convinced that my work at home will be done when my son is grown.  As long as I have a home and a husband, I'll be satisfied to stay here and care for them. 

I do not want to yoke myself to another job with its own burdens, stressors, deadlines, and mandates.  I do not want to go to interviews to answer questions about my strengths and weaknesses, and what good I would bring to a company or school.  I don't have those answers.  I do not want to deal with the guilt I would feel for leaving that job to care for my father or mother-in-law should they need it.

I used to think differently about such things.  But now I've learned that my place is here.  My husband and my home need me here, and my heart is in this work.  I know that my son will grow up, and at that time, I will be expected to go back out and rejoin the workforce. But I will be content to remain here, caring for the extraordinary large garden I intent to have, and reading all the books I've wanted to read but can't understand right now.  And we intend to structure our lives accordingly, even if it means becoming a better seamstress and learning to can the vegetables my garden produces.

1 comment:

  1. I am convinced that children need SAHMs the most when they are in middle and high school-just when society says their moms should be back to working outside the home. I am so thankful that my mom was home for me for most of that time.
    My MIL has no kids at home and is still a SAHM. Even when we're grown up, it's nice that we can call her in the middle of the day and she has time to chat. Her days are full doing her interests and volunteering and doing things for church and charity. When we mention that to others, they can't believe with the exception of a few years before children she has never worked outside the home. They can't imagine what she does all day. Even though my FIL travels often, they have a great marriage and I think part of that is that she is home when he isn't traveling and sometimes she is able to travel with him too.
    I kept myself on the roster in case of emergency, but if there is any possible other way, the earliest i plan to return to teaching in the classroom is after all my boys have graduated from high school. I don't know if i'll be able to find a job at that point, but I think I would be a much better teacher then after parenting my own children through the school years than I was as a single teacher without any of my own children.
    I am thankful that I taught in the classroom for 6 1/2 years so it was long enough that I don't long to go back like a friend that only taught 3 years before she had children so she can't wait to go back to the classroom so she can at least teach as many years as she spent at college.