Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Woman in the Window, Sewing


I once lived in a neighborhood that was as silent and empty during the day as the top of the moon. I was a dedicated homemaker, and longed for the warm association of

other homemakers. I had grown up at a time when it was very easy to find other wives and homemakers at home. If a woman needed a little refreshment or inspiration, all she had to do was talk with another homemaker, and she would come away reassured that all was well.

There was one woman who was home during the day and I saw her quite unexpectedly. There, in an upper window, she sat looking at her sewing. At the same time each day, she could be seen from the end of the street. One day I noticed this same woman outside tending to her flower beds. I told her I had seen her in the window, sewing, and we began to talk about the many things that required a woman to be home during the days. I remarked how empty and lonely the neighborhood felt. I had grown up in the country, but with visits from other country people, had never felt isolated. I had not lived in suburbia before. When I married, I thought it might be
quite interesting to have such close neighbors and was really looking forward to it. Think of it--you could talk to someone without having to drive many miles or plan a visit for days and days. How disappointed I was to find that the neighborhoods were more isolating and lonely than the country. The women had gone away to work for wages. They rarely saw their beautiful houses in the day light.

I am fortunate to have lived at a time when the homes and families in America were different. I can remember when women talked to each other unashamedly and unselfconsciously about the house, the children, meals, marriage, and ironing.

One conversation I overheard was between my mother and a visiting neighbor. After I relate it, maybe someone can spot the basic difference between homemaking conversations today and the conversation then. The neighbor was asking my mother how many shirts she had to iron each week. Then she told my mother that she had to iron quite a few of them, and she had figured out how to iron four shirts in one hour, compared to two, previously. This was in the days when clothing was not permanent press.

One day a woman with a large family asked me to iron a huge box of clothes for her. In those days no one would wear something that was not ironed, not even a poor person. She had a lot of other responsibilities at home and offerred to pay me to do that ironing, and I was happy to do it for the money. It was not an easy job. I had to sprinkle each piece with water, and then roll it up and put it in the refrigerator. The next day I had to iron it and what a job it was. The fabrics in those days required hard pressing, and when you ironed one half of the garment, there was a problem with wrinkling the half you just ironed. It took quite a skilled person to iron something well. This is why I took such interest in the conversation between my mother and the neighbor woman talking about the intricasies of ironing.

Because the neighborhood was so dark and lonely, I always felt a warm reassurance upon seeing the woman in the window, sewing. I cannot explain all the thoughts I had but here are some: somehow, I thought that she was very brave. She was not ashamed of her homemaking and was not self-conscious about being seen in the window, sewing. It brought back memories of my mother singing while she swept the front porch. The other feeling was that it somehow made the world better. It showed that no matter what the current news media hype or world threat was, the woman in the window as still going about her daily work and taking her duties seriously. And still another feeling it gave me is one of wanting to go home and be very creative and industrious. The sight of her in that window was like a light in the darkness.

I wonder as women at home go about their work, who will see them sitting in the window. It is rare to see anyone sitting in their houses.

Have you guessed the difference between my mother's generation of homemaker's conversation and what you might hear today?

Here is the answer: In all the time that I was growing up, I never heard women talk about whether or not they SHOULD be home all the time seeing to matters of the family or husband. Today, a homemaker is more likely to get embroiled in a conversation about the issue of homemaking vs. the working woman. In my mother's time, they talked about how to best DO the homemaking. They never found it necessary to justify doing it. They liked discussing better ways of doing things like ironing or cooking or cleaning.

41 comments:

Rose said...

Thanks for the article :) Nice observation about the conversation differences. It would be nice to live in a community with like minded women that were all there to help each other, give advice and support. I think I have the personality of a parrot and would go crazy if I were so isolated. :)

Ashley said...

I really love the articles on this blog...the thoughts, inspiration, etc. Not sure if this is by one person or more, but it is just so nice. I need more of this in my life! Blessings!

Anonymous said...

I grew up in a post WW2 housing development. Few mother's worked. Most families had both parents living at home. One of our next door neighbors was a childless middle aged women who also stayed home. She would pop over unexpected for a chat. She was a bit of a busy body, but I rather enjoyed her visits, even when they were ill timed for my poor mom. She might bring something from her garden to share, a taste of a traditional food she cooked, or just talked. Most of her conversations were about home keeping, cooking, gardening, and sewing. Most women hung their laundry and if time allowed, would chat over the fence. We didn't have the street vendors my mother did, but we did have a pick up and drop off dry cleaner, a milk man, and sometimes a knife sharpener. We came home for lunch during the school year; we felt sorry for the students that needed to stay in school all day. Neighborhood children played together and their mother's were nearby. As supper time approached, kids would run home for dinner with the family. By the time I graduated high school, there was little left of my childhood memories. Today, those days are long gone.
Mrs. Eugene

Anna-Marie said...

I live in a neighborhood that is eerily silent during the day. The only homemaker I know lives next door. We speak when we see one another and from time to time our children play together. I do not feel like we are good friends at all. I have offered her friendship several times but she's not really interested.

I feel very isolated at times, with home education and housework and such. It seems I have a bit of trouble relating to other women, as strange as that may sound. I want to have more friends but it is such a challenge for me. Do you have any suggestions for me?

---Mrs. Hawthorne

Wendy WaterBirde said...

Wow, this was such a powerful post Lady Lydia! I keep going back to:

"Because the neighborhood was so dark and lonely, I always felt a warm reassurance upon seeing the woman in the window, sewing. I cannot explain all the thoughts I had but here are some: somehow, I thought that she was very brave. She was not ashamed of her homemaking and was not self-conscious about being seen in the window, sewing. It brought back memories of my mother singing while she swept the front porch. The other feeling was that it somehow made the world better. It showed that no matter what the current news media hype or world threat was, the woman in the window as still going about her daily work and taking her duties seriously. And still another feeling it gave me is one of wanting to go home and be very creative and industrious. The sight of her in that window was like a light in the darkness."

I had a dream once this reminded me of. A man in some ancient time was coming home from a war. As he got closer to town he neared a house where a woman was sweeping and humming. They were connected somehow, I'm not sure if she was his relative or his partner. But as soon as he saw her and heared her humming his whole body changed, relaxed, went forward with such a deep longing to reach that circle of peace she'd created. And mine did too, just watching her.

I never forgot that dream. Its the feeling I so long to help elicit with my own "sweeping and humming" somehow. The woman in the dream just had ~~such peace~~. And so it radiated out to those that came near, like ripples on water. Never should we doubt the deep impact of peace, of a meek and quiet spirit : )

I found this post especially encouraging tonight. I was lamemting earlier the lack of these sorts of role models often today. For example, I never saw a woman sweeping and humming growing up, or even one contentedly sewing. And yet through your post it is hitting me that I still dreamed about it instead...that God finds a way to reach us... somehow...

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

Ladies, not all over-the-fence conversations were desireable. My mother once lived next to a lady who was far too inquisitive and curious about her and wanted to know every detail of her life. My mother figured out how to avoid her by hanging out the wash when the woman was busy getting dinner, or when the woman was not hanging hers out. There were problems like that.

In answer to the lady who asked about her unfriendly neighbor and the lonely neighborhood. What I have found out about socialization is that it has moved from the neighbors to the workplace. Places of employment have parties now and often the employees see each other even after work. Also if one belongs to a church, they tend to put all their social energy into church activities and church friends. Often these churches and places of work are a long, long ways from the actual home street. They aren't interested in their neighbors, and don't need them. They might as well be living 20 miles away, the way they act!!A lot of housewives just make a rich life for themselves that is home centered. It would probably take a book, to tell all that could be done when you lack neighbors.

Lady Lydia Speaks said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

After reading this I realized how blessed I am. Whenever I get together with women somehow our conversation always ends up "in the home." I have a few female family members who call me to "boast" about some domestic achievement and they know they will hear a cheery congrats. And since Christmas, two of them have called to tell me that they are "coming home."

However, I do have one woman who calls once in a while to gossip, but she always hears my standard reply, "I don't know for I'm too busy tending to my own life to know what others are doing." Her typical reply is, "I know what you mean I wish people would just tend to their own business and leave others alone." Other than her, I am truly thankful that God has put women with homemaker hearts on my path.

~Mrs JC

PS "She" is a stay at home wife and mother of 8!

Anna-Marie said...

Well Lady Lydia I would read a book like that! :)
My church is VERY large (12,000 or so members) and while we are very involved in the prayer ministry I still feel very disconnected. I tried a homschool support group for two years but it was very cliquish. I find myself longing for a dear friend to share life's happenings with. But for now I call my mom and my beloved grandmothers (in their 80's) and we chat (No gossip!!). Is this just a season or should I expect this to be a more permanent thing? Maybe I should just look more to my blessings--three beautiful children, loving husband, etc.

--Mrs. Hawthorne

Lean Not said...

I really enjoyed this post.

I have appreciated the women I have "met" in the blog world who have been such an encouragement to me in this way. I know that we should not depend on the Internet for our fellowship, but I do appreciate the fellowship that we can have here in addition to the face-to-face friendships.

This post has given me something to aspire to.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Hawthorne, I feel much like you do... I've been a stay at home mom for 13 years and all the neighborhoods I've lived in were quiet during the day too. The ladies who were my neighbors never seemed to want to be good friends either, maybe because we did not share much common ground? Then there is definitely the problem of "cliques," even in some church groups and among the ladies at the playground... I never did like all the gossiping they did about eachother, and I always knew they were probably gossiping about me when I wasn't there, too!!

Nowadays I do find quite a bit of happiness in just talking on the phone to my mom when I am lonely, although I wish my precious Grandmas were still here for me to talk to, as well!! Anyways, time I don't spend with other women is just more time to devote to my family and home!! :-)

I honestly don't know if it's seasonal or permanent. I've made a couple of new "best friends" over the last 13 years, but they've never stood the test of time, because we did not share the same priorities. I do think you are right when you say you should focus on your blessings (husband and children) Time invested in them will always be time well spent, and chatting with a girlfriend may or may not be...

Kristie :-)

Anonymous said...

You are right Lady Lydia on your comment above--that many women have become friends with co-workers even after work. And your right that not many people seem to be friends with their neighbors. At least where I live anyway. Its so sad.
But I have to admit that I even need to work on that! Where I grew up it was a totally different province (Newfoundland, Canada) than where I live now (Alberta/Canada). In Newfoundland, it is VERY common for neighbors to be your close friends. Here, its much bigger cities, more women working outside the home and getting to know the neighbors is not something that happens..sadly. I guess I got used to the way things are here and never bothered to really reach out to my neighbors a whole lot besides the saying Hi when I see them and bringing over a Christmas card and goodies at Christmas (and my husband shovelling snow in our neighbors walk-ways) but thats all. Im definitly going to do more and build a friendship with my little neighborhood community now. Thanks, I appreciate this post!

--Candy from Canada~

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

I think from personal experience that homeliving is not really conducive to much socializing. I have been with my daughter through the home birth of her baby and now am taking care of her for a few weeks. It has made me notice a lot of things I had forgotten.

The first year of marriage can indeed be very lonely if you move away from your family. People don't care about how you are suffering, even in churches. If you move to a different area than you are used to, you will find that even in a church, most of the people have already formed bonds with each other and have their favorites. It is hard to break into the inner circle of social life. I went through this many times in the past because my husband as a preacher wanted to move around to different places and locate whereever he thought he could do the most good. We uprooted a lot and I remember now that many of the young women had mothers in the same town, or even next door. Another reason seemed to be that with the husband's work schedule the newly married woman, though at home, is tied down to that routine and cannot really accommodate very much friendship. I got around it through letter writing. I would even write to a neighbor (people love getting mail) or a church member if I liked.

Later, when I had children, my life was tied down to their meal times, naps, bed times, homeschooling, and much more. A telephone call was a nuisance, and in those days the phones were not cordless.

I did get very lonely and I fretted about it and protested but could not identify the problem or find a solution.

Gradually something very blessed happened. As the years passed by, I found that the people I liked the most and wanted to do things with were my husband, my children, and our parents. We bonded more in those years because they were actualy the only people I could accommodate in my life. Now here it is 35 years later and we love our home; our happiness is grounded in our relationship with each other and our stability comes from following that pattern of loyal family relations, marriage, home, family, etc. We didn't even know we were following the Biblical pattern for social relationships, but there it is. We shared a life experience and we have everything in common. We know each others joys and sorrows. I could not have had this with a friend. Although I value my friendships and would risk everything for them, they do not share the same kind of experience that you get when you live together through poverty, illness, achievement, and so forth.

Just when I had the fullest life and sufferred no loneliness, my children all grew up. That old loneliness ache came back like a strange ghost. I eventually got used to it and enjoyed concentrating on a lot of things like gardening and home organization, sewing, art, and many new friendships (which I could have used in those lonely years---where were they when I needed them?)

Just when I got used to that, they all started coming back. Our daughter had children and visits a lot. As the comedian said, "Don't cry when your children leave. They are coming back, and they are bringing more with them."

It just seems like it is either feast or fast where social life is concerned.

Anonymous said...

Dearest lady Lydia,

I had to smile just a little when reading of your own family's experience with not-so-desirable over the fence neighbourhood conversation(smile) My poor old land lady back four and five years ago now had to choose the times when she'd do her laundry, sit on the front porch etc. This neighbour knew just about everyone's goings on in the street (and wasn't shy about sharing it all around either - smile) Poor old fellow; Nonetheless, when a stolen car was set alight in front of our house (with me sleeping through everything) he saw the lot; so I guess there are many facets to advantages and disadvantages - the thing was burnt to a wreck and my guide dog, curious as to the new smell to explore, guided me to that one rather than the cab parked in front of it (I didn't even know it was a fried out shell until the cab driver, with great excitement, went into a long description of the vehicle, the types who would have done such and so on. (smile)

so there you go; a glimpse into the more colourful side of my old neighbourhood; full of retirees and others (a little more nepharius in nature).

Blessings,

Mrs. E.
Australia.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in a culture/religion that teaches the importance of mother in in the home. Most of my friends do stay home with their children and I took it for granted that it was easy to find other women to befriend - women who stayed home with their children as my friends and I do.

Your blog has opened my eyes. I really don't know what I would do without my little community of friends. We all grew up knowing what we would be doing with our lives: raising our children. To read the other women's comments about the attitudes of their husbands, families, fellow churchgoers, and the rest of the world, and the hurtful things they encounter so often, makes me feel sad. At the same time, I am grateful that I was raised with the intention of being a housewife. I know it's where I should be.

Thanks for all the uplifting posts - I've made one of them my home page. I appreciate all you do.

Rosemary said...

When I was growing up I knew everyone in our village around 300 people,I knew where their relations lived & the family history.When I was first married & bringing up my children I knew most of my neighbours and all of the other Mothers whose children went to school with mine.Now my daughter knows most of the Mothers and children at the small village school where my grandchildren attend,but as for knowing everyone in the village,that's long gone,people move in & out so often & mostly come from London & other big towns.We are some of the original native population & very much in the minority.Rosemary UK

agodlyhomemaker said...

i love this blog!
the isolation most homemakers feel is a problem i've been aware of for some time but unfortunately haven't come to any solutions for. ~sigh~ it's sad that we have to turn to the internet for companionship but praise God i have found some titus 2 women there! ( including you )

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

We were reading an old book about communities in America before the 20th century, with sketches and descriptions of the various pieces of land, the towns, and so forth. The drawings showed neighborhoods that were similar to country estates. Although they were in a circle and the neighbors could view across the way and around them to see what was happening, there was a lot of privacy both in front and around the entire house of each person. The back was large enough to have what we today would consider a small farm, where they could grow their food. I forget the name of the book. There were also shops in these places. I was thinking as I read about this kind of layout, how neighbors today are probably just sick of seeing people all day long at work or commute, so that when they get home they want to be left alone and are not interested in socializing. Maybe there is a kind of burn-out where socializing is concerned, plus the exhaustion of the kind of work schedules people have, and they really don't want to bother with neighbors. We may see a change as more and more women come home and the children are home taught.

Anonymous said...

I agree the web has become a good way to sort things out regarding values and friendships. I've made a few friends on the web and began correspondence with them, and so has my daughter. We have really enjoyed the fellowship. It is sad to say that even in churches it is hard to find the wives and mothers to fellowship who are really serious about marriage, home, and family. The web helps you find some of these people who are reaching out.

Lindsey @ Enjoythejourney said...

You know, I never thought about it that way, but you are correct. Today we debate the whole work/don't work thing instead of talking about how to DO homemaking and live this life we've chosen.

Interesting.

Anonymous said...

I loved this post, actually I wonder if anyone notices me sewing in the window, we have sunroom windows that I cross stitch in because the light is so good there!! I hope I am a beacon to perhaps someone passing by!! But I rather doubt it, where we live no one seems to be home, they have all commuted into work, leaving early and staying late. So this blog and the online homemaking community is very important to me. We have lived here over a year and still have found no like-minded friends. Even church members are 2 career families with the children in daycare. Sigh....! God bless you for your inspiring writings.

MrsA said...

I am very blessed to have a husband that thinks it is wise for the woman to stay home, tend to the children and the home. We have seen a lot of marriages break because of the woman having to leave the home and work. This sometimes causes too much stress and the marriage will break.

Thank you for having such an inspirational blog, you are a wonderful writer.

Anonymous said...

I don't mind not having ladies at home near me. There are no ladies to come to my home and disturb me if I am busy. One less entanglement. Not having to worry about getting together with another lady. The Bible does mention about being busy at home and not going from house to house. So, no women around kind of protects me from possibly getting distracted with relationships nearby. So, for me, it is alright. If I happen to see a woman that is home full time, I might not even speak with her, unless we met face to face, secretly I would feel comforted by her presence.

Mrs Tracy said...

I love this blog also! For me, it truly is a blessing to be home. Many times I've dreamed of having someone my age living next door to share recipes and craft ideas and homemaking tips with.

Its especially sad as I'm a black homemaker who homeschools. We're out there, just no localizied. One of my dearest friends lives in another state. Although it only takes us about 45 minutes to visit, the cost can be really expensive but we spend time on the phone, email and see each other several times during the month.

I grew up in rural VA and I LOVED to watch my grandma quilt, pickle cucumbers, put food away, tend her garden. Grandma went to town once a week with grandpa and whatever grandkids were visiting over the summer. Grandpop was a tobacco farmer and so he was always around. I truly loved those days!

My mother had to work as my parents divorced, so she never got to really be a "homemaker". She seems to enjoy the thought that I am one :0) Our dd is engaged to be married and she will be a homemaker also. She now seems to want to learn as much as she can before she enters a home of her own. They will live on our land and our grandbabies will be close by.

I've learned so much via the internet as many older women who have the skills seem to think it a waste to teach the younger women. They tend to think that we should be making money instead of raising godly children and Christian warriors!

Mary said...

What a beautiful post, and not just the pictures! I just discovered your blog yesterday and love it so much! Thank you for your warmth and encouragement, there's such a gentle spirit here!

Could I inquire as to your source of the old-fashioned pictures? What a wealth you seem to have! I can't help hoping there is an online site for free downloads of these types of pictures...wishful thinking?

Thank you!

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

The pictures come from www.allposters.com. Click on "fine art" on the bar across the top, then type in the kind of paintings you want. For these, I typed in "sewing." We use a lot of them in the articles at LAF and always indicate where they can be purchased. It is a way of exposing the beautiful art of the past to people who have never seen it. These paintings are made into post cards and posters at affordable prices.

Mrs. U said...

While I do not live in a neighborhood, I do live in a more country area where one would THINK that there would be more homemakers. Not so. I do not know of one single lady on my street that is a homekeeper nor can I think of one that actually likes to take care of her home when she is there. How sad!!

How blessed I am to be able to care for my family!!!

His,
Mrs. U

carolm said...

I have been at-home for 17 years.

Now that my boys are all teens, it seems there are more mothers at home with little ones, babies and toddlers. One thing that I have noticed is that alot of these mothers don't seem to be content at being at home all day with their little ones. All I seem to hear is how hard it is, what a burden it is to be home all day and how they "need to get away" or "need a break." I've heard this even from other homeschoolers. I've offered so many times to come over and visit either over naptime or for a visit while the children play. That isn't what these gals want. They want to go out shopping or out to talk, alone w/o the children. Which either means we have to find a time when they can have their husbands care for the children or they want my teenage sons to babysit so we can go gad about alone.

I just dont understand how everything done outside of the home, away from ones children is so much more valuable and important and "fulfilling" than what is done inside ones own home, with ones own family. I've been give such a hard time because I just don't want to leave my teenaged sons home alone for long periods of time so I can either go out running around with the other woman in the church or so I can go do "ministry" for other people and/or their children. I just don't get it, at all. I'm only 36, I'm not sure how I ended up so "old-fashioned" already! LOL!

Little ones soon turn into teenaged ones and then there is more than enough conversations to go around in one day! I must say I am having just as much, if not more, fun with my teens than I did when they were little!

Tracy said...

How well written...

I think that many of us are aware of how our homemaking suffers because we do not have that kind of talk anymore. We are so busy defending what we do, there seems to be very little time left for mentoring and learning to get it right.

Thank you for writing this.

Tracy

Mary said...

They are BEAUTIFUL...I was immediately drawn to your site because of them, and am so glad. Your posts remind me of a magazine subscription I used to get, two actually, Crowned with Silver and another one on homemaking. I can't remember the exact title.

When I had my first daughter I decorated her nursery with old-timey pictures. My favorite is one of a little girl in a beautiful blue dress, asleep at the foot of a tree. Woodland creatures surround her, and it's titled, "Lost". I can't wait to go to the site you mentioned and browse! Thank you for letting me know about it, and for your ministry here to stay-at-home mothers...

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

Just wanted to warn you the site allposters is not all "good," but if you type in your subject of interest, such as "children", "cottages," etc. you should be able to avoid anything bad. On the left is a list of the kinds of art--flowers, landscapes, etc. Click one of them on and see what you can find.

If you do use these on blogs, it is polite to say where you got them, and if possible, the name of the painting and the artist.

Mrs.B. said...

'Just wanted to warn you the site allposters is not all "good,"'

Oh my!, this is so true. Awhile back I found this out the hard way.

I was looking for an old-fashioned picture of a woman, so I typed in the word 'woman' into their search. Whew....was I SHOCKED at what came up. You most certainly do need to be quite careful when perusing the Allposters site. There is much beauty on it but also much that's not so beautiful.

Blessings,
~Mrs.B

Anonymous said...

I'm so enjoying reading a little of your blog daily. I pray daily for God to make me a better homemaker. I've certainly not arrived.

If you live near me, you might hear me singing while hanging out clothes in my housedress and apron. You might get to join me gathering eggs or collecting items from the garden-at least in the spring. I have taught myself to can the extra spoils from the garden. I cook from scratch as much as I can and today I learned a great deal about quilting from the older ladies at our church. The younger women seem to refuse this knowledge. Our family is reading the book Little Britches. I don't really know many women who have the priviledges and freedoms to enjoy work and life like I do.

I'm planning an herb garden in the spring.

My husband says he can't afford for me to go to a job!

Thank you so much for the encouragement. :)

Hugs,

Lisa

Flamingo Crochet said...

Thank you so much for this article - it is just what I needed today! I am one of a handful of homemakers in our neighborhood. We spend a lot of time together when the weather is warmer and the kids are all outside playing. In fact, our yard seems to be the yard of choice. I often sit outside and watch the kids, talk with the neighbors, and crochet. I had never thought that some of the working moms coming home might feel some comfort in seeing me sitting there doing handwork. Thanks for the inspiration!

Anna said...

Did anyone see Opra this Tuesday? She had Elizabeth Varges on. She said she quit the job on World News Tonight to stay home after her 2nd child was born. She said working took too much time away from her children. That peeked my interest. Although I did leave the tv for a short time I heard her say she did though, still do 20/20. She went on to say how many hours and hours 20/20 entailed her to be away from her family. I thought she said she quit her other job so she would be home. The whole show was working verses stay at home moms. Opra seemed so patronizing to the women who had choosen to stay home.No one mentioned staying at home to make a home for the whole family either.They only said they were doing it for the kids. The show seemed to be trying to point out that whatever made You happy would be good for the kids. The whole show made me sad. They don't get it!! I am so glad I could come onto this site and remind myself there are many women out there who love being women and taking care of their homes and families. Thankyou again for bring focus to this issue.

Jenny said...

Lady Lydia, why on earth would you put those dampened clothes into the refrigerator??

Anna--Yes, I saw the Oprah Winfrey show yesterday, too, and I was wondering if anyone else on this blog did. I saw the entire show. I thought Oprah was very fair-minded toward women who felt it important to stay home for their kids' sake. One young lady Oprah spoke with was mom of a newborn who, after her baby was 6 weeks old or so, dropped the child off at a daycare center for her to return to her six-figure job. After she'd dropped off her child, another woman made a remark about "all the wonderful things you're going to miss." The new mom heard this, was quite distraught and cried in her car. She ended up going back to get her baby, cancelling her day-care plan, getting her money back and giving her daughter's spot in the center to someone else. The mom said on the show, "that's not the sort of thing to be saying to a new mom." Then I spoke out loud to the television, and Oprah (on the show) and I both said the same thing to her at that moment: "Yes it was!" Oprah pointed out to her that that may not have been comfortable for her to hear, but that's just what she as a mother needed someone to tell her. I thought that was very fair-minded of Oprah to think that way. For Oprah--a woman who's been ultra succussful in a man's business, who's never had children of her own--to be able to say that to a mother shows she understands how working mothers often need someone to tell them to consider their chilren's needs first, even though it's not the polite thing to say sometimes. Yes, the message in the end of the show was "Do what's right for you and your family." Other stay-at-home moms who spoke told how important the job is and how they'd gladly made sacrifices to do it. Oprah said each side needs to respect the other side's choices.

What confused me is that some working moms defensively said, "I AM there for my kids." Why didn't Oprah ask them, "When? When are you there for them? Who's there for them before you get home from work?" She soft-pedaled that. No one answered that question. It was just taken as a given that she "was there" for them, even though she worked.

About Elizabeth Vargas, I was appalled that she made so much of how HARD it was for her to decide to quit her Evening News job. She was leaving at 7am and coming home at 8pm with a 3 year old in someone else's care that whole time?? When she was 7 months pregnant w/their 2nd (already quit Evening News), her husband had to tell her she WASN'T going to hop on a plane to the Middle East and cover breaking news there! She obviously still has a very strong pull to the broadcasting world. It makes me wonder if it was her husband that persuaded her to quit the Evening News. The show made much of the need for mothers to find a way to fulfill their creative energies/use their gifts so they don't have regrets when they're older that they didn't fulfill they're own personal talents. One woman with grown children had regrets because she didn't do anything for herself.

Lady Lydia, what would you say about that? I came home because I longed to and believe it's my primary calling/sphere is here. I used to sing professionally before my little one was born. Now I don't. I miss it just like Cynthia Vargas misses the Evening News. But I'm at home full-time and I'm glad. I know I can use my singing gifts as I teach her, but I long to sing a Bach motet or a Palestrina Mass--great Masterworks of vocal music-- with a great conductor in my area. I firmly believe in putting home and family first, but what if I never get to sing a Bach motet or a Palestrina Mass? Those things bring me great joy and fulfillment. Oprah said, "You can have it all. Just not all at the same time." Would you agree with that or not.

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

Regarding dampening the clothes and rolling them up and storing them in a plastic bag or bin in the fridge: this was in the day before the steam iron existed. The dampened clothes were much easier to iron, especially if they had been stored in the icebox. Storing them meant they stayed damp while we ironed other clothes, and that way we could take them out and iron them when we wanted to, instead of dampening them first. It saved time for ironing day. We did not iron at will. We had a special time to do it. We would not just iron one shirt. We waited til we had a batch and ironed a bunch.

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

With todays electronics, you can even have home sound/studio equipment where you can produce CD's at home. The web has self publishing where you can get your own label and market your own CD's or books. There is always a way to do something without sacrificing your children or the care of your house and husband.

Anonymous said...

Quote, lady lydia speaks: "The web has self publishing where you can get your own label and market your own CD's or books."

I found this site http://www.lulu.com the other day and you can publish books, DVDs, CDs, etc, with no money upfront. It looks like they print on demand and make money when you make money.

~*~ Jennifer ~*~ said...

I'm quite an odd ball, I know.

I LOVE to iron. Ü

Neat post... thank you for sharing it with us.

Jennifer

~*~ Jennifer ~*~ said...

AND... putting them in the ice box kept them from molding. ;) (says mom MIL)

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