The myth of working women

Have you ever read a blog and thought "I disagree with this" or "this is just not true".  It plays on your mind and you mull over the words.  I have read a couple of new blogs this week and have felt this way so I am going to respond.  You may not agree with me, and that is ok.  We are all different, with different opinions and that is what makes blogging so enjoyable. 

So what has annoyed me?

Working men and women often make comments about at stay-at-home mums and wives and wonder "what do you do all day".  I have had many conversations with colleagues along this line and defended SAHM/Ws.  However, it also happens the other way, with SAHM/Ws making comments about working women that simply aren't true (not all women bloggers, please don't get me wrong).  So I want to tell you my experience, which are very similar to many of my friends and their friends.

We are not all frazzled, worn out and exhausted women.

We are in fact: full of energy (as much as any woman in their 40's can be), able and willing to cook home cooked meals every night from scratch, able to run a home smoothly and keep it clean, neat and tidy, keep up with the laundry (we don't run out of socks in my house!), do the dishes and always get the children to school on time with a homemade packed lunch (don't need to do this any more).

In my spare time I: read, do arts and craft, photography, cook, garden and watch movies (not all at once). And I'm learning to sew (again) and embroider. I chat with my parents several times a week and run errands for them eg hunt down books and DVDs etc.

I have two grown up sons who I still run around for (and bake!), and if they need me, I am there for them.  

I work full-time as a statistician and social researcher.  I love my job but I don't like getting up at 6am!  Who does?  In my lunch hour I read, post mail, do banking, decide what is for dinner, read my bible, go for a walk, read blogs, sit and think. I am not a slave to my job, I am not "married" to my job.

I am busy but I am NOT exhausted. 

There is a myth that women/mothers/wives who work cannot run their homes successfully.  This is a myth, it simply isn't true.   If I kept it any cleaner, it would drive DH mad.

We are not lesser Christians

Do I think working is sinful? No, and in case you are wondering, I didn't find my job, it found me after much prayer.  Why do I work, because I love doing what I do, I don't do it because desperately need the money, I do it for enjoyment. It might sound strange to some. I am not a lesser Christian woman because I work.  I am not honouring God less because I work.  We can honour God from many different places, not just as a SAHM/W.

I am a keeper of the home, I take great care of it and all those who live within it.  Just as you do.

Does my husband want for anything . . . no, if he wants a roast on Monday night, he gets a roast.  If he wants me to pick something up, I do it.  If he asked me to stop working, I would.  It isn't my life. I submit to his wishes, however much of what we do is as a team.
Artificial flower workers by Alexander Mann

How did I learn to work and run a household?  Thanks to my mother who did just this.  She was a teacher all my growing years. . . why did she work?  Because if she didn't, we probably would have been very poor as it takes a number of years to get a farm established and running successfully. She never neglected us and we lived in a wonderful family home with the love of the Lord overflowing (and those who know her, I think you would agree, she is one strong determine Christian woman who doesn't not follow the world).

What was my mothers greatest gift to me (besides the love of the Lord) - how to be organised.  I am a very organised person and as a result all runs smoothly.  You could say I run "a well oiled machine" as the phase goes. And in reality - keeping my house organised no longer takes me much time.

But I am NOT a superwoman.

I think it is wonderful that many women are at home and homeschooling (it wasn't something that we saw a need to do), but please, I beg you all, don't assume that us working mothers and wives are living in a complete mess and our children and DH's are being neglected. Not even the cats in my house are neglected.   And if you come and visit, I can provide homemade cake and bread!!

We are all working women, we just work on different things.  Women have been working both inside and outside the home for centuries, including in the bible and we have all managed to keep the "home fires burning" and care for our children and husbands and through the Grace of God, we will continue.

PS I am no feminist, even though I work!

Making feathers by Johann Hamza

Footnote: These are my experiences and are not necessarily the experiences of other women.  It works for me because I have made it work. As I say - my job is not my life and my employer does not rule my life.  Many of my friends also share very similar experiences to me.  This is not to say that other women find it difficult.

And when do I find time to blog . . . you would be surprised!!! 

~oOo~

Comments

  1. Wow, Jo! ;) Someone got your goat!! ;) Some people are so arrogant with their assumptions and presumptions... There are days when stay-at-home mothers/wives feel completely exhausted, and I'm sure there are days when women who have to work feel just the same. As you said, we all have to work, but sometimes our sphere of work is somewhat different. I have known some women who worked whose homes were a complete mess, but we can't judge all working women by the few! I've also known many home-keepers whose houses haven't been spic-and-span, too!!
    And of course, obeying our husbands (ie. submitting to their wishes) regarding EITHER staying at home OR working, is obedience to the Lord too. You are blessed to have a system that works so well for you AND your family. I don't know if I've ever known a more organised person than you!!!! :)

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  2. I probably have been guilty of this when writing in my blog... but I honestly feel that a lot of women *are* tired when working outside of the home especially when they have young children. Also, I am totally against leaving children in child care... but then that is my opinion. Most women I know who work outside the home wish they could be home. But it is refreshing to hear of ladies who can cope with it and who have made it work. I unfortunately was not one of them.... neither are many women I have spoken to. Blessings!

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  3. Jo, I worked part~time for many years because we desperately needed the money but I was very relieved to give it up. Unlike you organisation is hard for me & I am not a high energy person to start with. Add to that my household has early risers who need to be taken to a boat, really late returnees who need to be picked up, a homeschooling child & a disabled husband. Almost everything falls on my shoulders & not only do I need to be here, I need to have my wits about me. Very different circumstances. My house is no cleaner now I'm home full time & I'm just as likely to refuse to cook but if I have to be up really early & up really late I can nap in the afternoons if I need to. And I am round when Dearest has a spac attack with the computer to sort him [& it} out ~ well unless Star is doing her Starry thing. I do wonder who wrote the book that tells Christian women what they should look like. To me the working thing is a grey area but things like don't gossip, don't imbibe too much wine, don't neglect hubby ~ they are B&W.

    Socially the phenomenon is fascinating. Feminism swung the pendulum so far left we are now seeing the equal & opposite effect on the far right. Me, meh. I just go where & how God leads.

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  4. Jo, I couldn't agree with you more. We can do so much, and still be good Christians. It is not easy, but our strength is found in the Lord, blessed are we, for He keeps giving us the motivation, the will and wisdom to work and run a home efficiently. Organization is key, and the mercy of our Lord is what pulls it all together in a balanced way, keeping in mind to be submitting to our husbands. I like what you said about working as a team. That's how it should be, submitted but as a team where both do what is right according to God's will.

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  5. Good on you Jo! I LOVED your rant! =) I would dearly love to stay at home and never have to return to work again (outside paid employment that is), but if it is necessary I don't want to have to feel that I am being criticised for that. We all are accountable for what decisions we make for our own lives and the criticism both verbal and non-verbal is just wrong!
    Right now just reading your blog made me feel exhausted, oh so very exhausted - my house is far from being as clean as it should be but I have a 14 month old and are 4.5 months pregnant, so maybe there can be a little leeway?
    Thanks for the encouragement anyway! Really, I loved it!
    love,
    Bets

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  6. Good for you. It is very easy for all of us to slip into lazy ways of thinking. Like in how we think of others who are doing things differently to us. Thanks for sticking up for the working mums & dads.

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  7. Bets - And that is the point - if you do need to work - we, as Christain women, should never judge others, but rather be supportive. We all do different things for what ever reason and we need to show Christain kindness and understanding.

    And you shouldn't feel guilty if your house doesn't look like a magazine spread. If you are a happy family with lots of love, isn't that better than a spotless home. I think it is.

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  8. I agree, Jo - sometimes my house is anything but pretty or picture-perfect, but we are happy and it is HOME. :)

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  9. Nice post, Jo. While I would love to be able to stay home, the truth is that it makes no sense for us, and most days, I don't mind my job much. I do not think that there is ANYTHING ungodly about working....in fact, isn't it good for Christians to be out in the world, serving as a witness?

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  10. Finally! I never thought to stumble upon a post like this. Usually it's the other way around! I work, my Mom worked, many of my friends' Moms worked or still work, and I see no husband nor children nor homes got neglected! In my personal opinion, everybody is different, and everybody should mind their own business as well as respect others. I respect SAHM, but I got really exasperated when some friends who chose to stay at home begin to judge mothers who work outside the home as bad mothers or wives. I love my job, it's not my life, it's just one of many roles in this world, and Hubby also support me doing what I love.

    Visit me:
    LeeAnne, Style N Season
    http://stylenseason.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Thankyou for stopping by and reading this piece. Everyone should do what they can manage and you need to work and can manage a home, then go for it!! We aren't all in the same situation and we need to respect each other . I have lost count of the number of SAHMs who believe that women who work only do it for selfish reasons i.e. to buy a bigger house or go on a holidays. Very few do it for that reason at all. Its all very sad and depressing.

      :))

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