Fulfillment at home?
I've recently joined a Catholic homeschool moms' Bible study (can you say 'subset of a subset,' Gentle Reader?). One of the questions we discussed at our last meeting was the question of fulfillment. It was assumed, with reason, that none of us are really struggling with the issue of returning to or getting a career. Why do we feel fulfilled at home and other women don't?
I, in my usual thoughtful, quiet manner blurted out, "They've bought into society's lie."
Which "lie" do I mean? The one that tells you "Any idiot can take care of kids/keep house/cook meals. Real jobs involve getting out of your house away from all that."
Snarky answer #1: Tell that to daycare workers, employed maids, and restaurant cooks. They'll LOVE you.
Snarky answer #2: Which of those would YOU hire an idiot to do?
Seriously, that's the mindset. If you doubt me, check into your local high school's child care courses--should they exist; I think most are getting channeled into the "alternative education" programs. You won't see that many honor roll girls; you'll see ones two steps from dropping out either looking for an easy diploma or tracked in there by low-expectation guidance counselors.
[While I'm off on a tangent, I'll say another thing: this is NOT intended as a diatribe against mothers working outside the home (woths). You ladies deal with enough; you have as many expectations at home as I do and fewer hours to do them. This is a diatribe against our society that lies to you. I was one of you for a year and a half--possibly the most miserable year and a half of my married life, with the exception of summer break.]
So. Back to fulfillment. Do I find it in washing dishes, or changing diapers, or vacuuming, or making beds, or doing laundry? ARE YOU NUTS? Honestly, there are moments any one of those makes me want to give myself the Egyptian brain treatment.
What keeps me sane while doing them? The fact that they are important. If I don't perform these tasks, who will? Thus, my work is important. More important than other kids' report cards or academic records. More important than someone else's legal problems or advertising slogans. More important than a master's degree or, much as it pains me to say it, seeing Notre-Dame cathedral again.
That's the lie. Telling women, specifically mothers, that the work they do in the home is unimportant and therefore unfulfilling. When it's unimportant, it doesn't matter whether it gets done or not, right? Or if it does get done, it doesn't matter who does it.
Who will play with the child while changing a diaper? Who will listen to and answer the zillionth question while scraping the breakfast dishes? Who will do all the voices to Goldilocks and the Three Bears?
Sure, you can hire those out. But are those things you want done for love... or money?