Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Letter That Fell into the Right Hands

My husband was picking up pieces of trash at the airport where he works part time. He found a folded piece of paper that looked like it might have some importance, so he opened it up and read it. He brought it home to me because he thought it said a lot about women who have inner turmoil and conflict with their consciences when they go against their own nature. This letter must have fallen out of someone's pocket when he was being searched, and had been in that pocket for almost a year, as it was dated February 2005. He used this example in his sermon this morning to show how we must put first things first, and how no child cares a whit about the brilliant career of her mother or the income of their father. What they see as real love, is the presence of the parents in their daily lives.

No one remembers the latest car they drove or the nice furniture, or the affluent neighborhood, as much as they remember the moments with their mothers. They aren't impressed with this as much as they are with their mother's hugs and knowing they are in the house with them at night. Children need long, carefree days at home, not worrying about being rushed from place to place, getting up at the crack of dawn to be transferred to some waiting place so mother can go to work. Child labor was outlawed a long time ago, but the stress that a working woman puts on the husband and children amounts to more stress than child labor ever embodied.

Sitting on a swing and enjoying the sunshine in their own yard is better than any organized sport that mothers could ever enroll them in, but working mothers want to be sure their children have the best of everything.

In the end, most of these children have a hole in their hearts for their mothers, and the husbands for their wives. It is one thing for a man to come home tired and discouraged, trying to wind down after a stressful day at work, but it is worse if they both come home that way. It is better that at least one of them are rested and feeling normal, so that it provides an anchor for the one who must battle the world during the day.

This is all more reason for the wife to be at home as a full time career. When my mother was young, no one had to argue with her about staying home to look after her husband and the house. It was just so natural, you just did it. Anyone who didn't was considered irresponsible, unstable and immature, thinking only about her own wishes and not thinking of others.

Feminists have done women much harm. They've made life harder for them. They promise them everything, and give them nothing.

These young mothers are torn between their brilliant careers and their children, and it is a constant tug at their hearts. Feminism has so little to do with what a real, successful family is all about. They reckon it is all about money. I've never met one yet who thought feminism was the right to be supported by your husband and stay home with your children--the right not to be pressured into going to work.

I'm going to copy this letter and hope that by now this woman has decided to choose home. I am printing it because I know it represents the feelings of hundreds of young women today who are torn between taking a once in a lifetime opportunity to work and travel, and the duty to stay with their husbands, houses and children. A woman is replaceable at work, but there is no substitute for the wife and mother at home. Only she will do. There is no one else better.She was taylor-made for that particular husband, that house, and those children.

Dear James,

It seems we have it all right now; good marriage, family is now complete, beautiful home and great jobs. You know, 6 months ago this was to be the dream jobe: corporate position and travelling. It is a lot more difficult than I had ever imagined. Leaving you and the girls gets more difficult each time I have to go away.

The one thing that makes it somewhat easy is knowing you support me 100%. I know we are trying to provide and give to our family in a way we didn't have growing up, and I am working hard to do that. I just want you to know this is harder for me than I thought it would be.

Don't get me wrong, I love my job and all the experiences I have in front of me and I don't regret our decision one bit; it is just I want you to know how hard it is for me leaving you and the girls. I just hope in 10-15 years we won't regret working so hard and wish we spent more time with each other and the girls; that is the only thing that haunts me. I keep convincing myself that I won't, because we will be in a position to enjoy our lives, and provide for the girls in a way we had hoped and dreamed for.

I love you so much and hope the next few days go by very quickly; give the girls lots of hugs and kisses for me. Tell them every night I love them and to dream of me. I will be dreaming of all of you.

With all my love,
Your wife,

I have printed this because I think she speaks for a lot of breaking hearts out there--hearts that are not able to enjoy fully the pleasure of careers or their marriages and families, because they are divided. They are not able to put their minds fully to either thing. While at work, she dreams of her husband and children.

While at home, she cannot fully abandon herself and relax and be a dedicated wife and homemaker, because looming in the future is the next trip she will have to take on business. At work, she wants the days to go by quickly, yet it is a job she dreamed of. This is the conflict women have today, but I hope they will all come to choose the better part and put first things first. There are plenty of unmarried women and widows, as well as men, who can fill the spaces in these jobs, but there are not plenty of people to replace her role in the lives of her people at home.

We are opening up comments to this one. My husband says the saddest thing he sees when he works at the airport, is the childrens faces pressed against the windows of the airport, crying for their mothers who are on the airplane.

(The photo above is of the children who were with their mothers at the Homemaking Tea in our home a few weeks ago.)


wendybirde said...

A powerful post Lady Lydia. I feel you really went to the heart of things here..."Feminism has so little to do with what a real, successful family is all about. They reckon it is all about money. I've never met one yet who thought feminism was the right to be supported by your husband and stay home with your children--the right not to be pressured into going to work." Which is, of course, the right we need most of all, so far above the "rights" feminism fights for.

Sue said...

You said there is only one person who can fill the void at home. The husband may not see it that way. Perhaps this is why there are so many divorces. Perhaps deep down, the husband sees the wife as replaceable too.

My own mother worked when I was a child, and we never saw her on Christmas morning. She had to work, however, as my dad didn't make enough. That is a long story, but I don't hold it against my mom for working. She was a nurse and taught me that if we are to work, we should do so in service to others and not to ourselves. Her work didn't just provide income for our family, it provide health and safety for others.

Still, even with her job, we struggled financially. I never knew it. My mom was great at organizing camping trips and other experiences for the family, instead of gifts and clothing and toys. Her idea of a 'better life' was one with more life experience.

Not all working mothers damage their families or their relationships with their children. I suppose it depends on the job, the necessity of that job, and how the mother spends her time in the home while she is there.

Maybe my mom was the exception, but I am proud of her for the life she showed us. I grew up well. Many of the values and traditions you have written about here that a homemaker should provide, my mother did as well with grace. We had a front porch, we had morals, and we had love. Lots of love.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
This is quite sad and very common these days. It is a choice these folks have made. But I did want to share that I was born in 1963. My mother was always a SAHM. My father had his own business. My father abused alcohol and was really a harsh critical man. Though I'm glad my mom was home, due to my father's verbal abuse, she had gone into her shell for emotional protection, and therefore, was not able to give much to us kids (other than taking care of the home). I do not have wonderful relational memories from either parent. AND I do remember the beautiful homes we lived in, the toys I had, the cars, etc. I have very few memories of special times with either parent. They were just not able or willing to give emotionally to us. So it's not just being there for the kids, it's being there and being healthy, and most importantly knowing the Lord, as neither of my parents were believers. I hope to learn from my parents mistakes, and also accept the fact that the Lord in His Sovereignty put me in that home to work all things for my good. By God's goodness, I am a homekeeper, my husband and I are both believers, and we cherish our little blessing from the Lord. We hope to make many happy memories for her by His grace.
Lady Ann

Anonymous said...

Such good timing - just this weekend we have decided that I should leave my out of the home work and do just the small amount of paid work that I do from home. This morning I felt worried about our decision so it was comforting to be re-affirmed. Thank you.

Wanda said...

My knee-jerk reaction to this was something along the lines of, "How can she not see the obvious solution to her dilemma?" Then I think of all I heard in school growing up and the constant indoctrination I have been exposed to relentlessly regarding how fulfilling it is to not be 'restricted' to the home or 'tied down' or 'held back' by my husband and children. In light of all that, I really come to appreciate that I have been set free from that pressure and can experience the joys of being at home with no regrets or remorse at 'wasting my potential' or 'losing myself'. Honey cakes, it sounds to me like your mother's heart was at home and kept her family first and that makes all the difference in the world. What a blessing for you and your family that must have been. I have some friends who truly must work and yet their families are undeniably their top priority and their hearts belong to their husbands and children. They are very different from my other friends who choose to work for their own glory or perceived satisfaction yet are always dissatisfied and unhappy. Obviously this is not the same situation at all.
I feel so badly for these women who cannot see why they aren't happy supposedly having it all. If only there was some way to help them see without the blinders imposed on them for so many years.

C.L said...

I have struggled with this issue since deciding to send my kids back to public school (I homeschooled my dd8 last year). I am a worker-bee, and after 10 years being unable to work (I am a Canadian citizen living in the US), I am feeling the strain of not being able to "contribute to the family finances". So for me, being at home all day with no kids is kind of a shock to the system. After talking to several mamas who still stay home (who actually volunteer at the school), they all agree that if they can't be there when their kids come home from school, the job that pays isn't worth it. I am still trying to see the _value_ of staying at home, because my mentally is "worker-bee". However, I blog a lot about how much my kids appreciate it when I am there for them, and that is the greatest reward of all.

Anonymous said...

I remember feeling much like this mother 5 years ago when I was still teaching school. I dropped my 1 year old daughter off at the sitter (a pastor's wife, homeschooler...couldn't have asked for a nicer woman) at the break of dawn.

I would then drive to school and spend 7 hours with strangers children while my own daughter was in the arms of another "mother."

I cried everyday.

We paid off all the bills we had and I came home at the end of the school year.

I pray I never have to leave my role as keeper at home. No amount of debt (ie--stuff) is worth it.

Lydia said...

My reaction is that in a situation involving choice, think about going one way, and if it gives you a feeling of dread, nervousness, and doubt, don't do it. Think about going the other way, and imagine yourself in it, walk though it mentally, and if it gives you a feeling of peace, without conflict, go for it. Of course, in doing it like this, we have to take into consideration the very thing you mentioned: that consciences and natural instincts can be changed after being "worked on" by the system that wants to put us all to work. Karl Marx said that women at home contributed nothing to society and that they ought to be "allowed" to leave the home and work. The very fact that he said that, and that the Bible says that women are to "guide the home", .."that the word of God be not blasphemed," shows a contrast that we need to take into serious consideration. Ultimately, going against the natural plan for women, will take its toll in health and other things.

Lydia said...

Miss worker-bee: I am one of those bees, too, but I found that the house was not well enough taken care of just by doing it "when it was needed." I began to look back into history on how the wife looked after her husband, and what she did at home, and how she interacted with the neighbors and community, and discovered so much to do that it totally used up the worker bee in me and now I am cautious about adding more "stuff to do." As one poster recently put it, houses were routinely cleaned so that one need not be embarrassed if someone should drop by, and you could take them on a tour to see all the rooms. Today we are not prepared to do that, because many of us only clean the bathroom just before we get company or the bedrooms because someone is coming. These things should be done every week just because it is the day of the week to do it, not because we are expecting company. I remember reading a book when I was younger, about a Swedish family that came to America, and they settled in an isolated place, and even though they didn't have a big social life, the mother was routinely preparing for company, and never panicked when someone came by. In the old country, they washed clothes only every so often, due to shortages in hot water, etc., but she was delighted that she could have water every day and always had something washed and hanging on the line. I'm not suggesting that we HAVE to be this busy, but I am suggesting that the worker bee in us need to apply that energy diligently to the home. I once had a list from a book I read, that said something like the following:
If you are bored at home and think you need to go to work, check this list. If you can say "yes" thirty times this month, then you can go to work:

Are your windows clean, inside and out?
Is your front porch clear of clutter and attractive from the curb?
Do you bake your own whole grain breads and make your cakes from ingredients rather than packaged?
Are your floors clean?
Is the bathroom clean and fresh smelling?
Have you rearranged your furniture in the last year?
Are all your photographs and mementos put into albums with dates and records, as well as keepsakes and papers?
Are all your papers from appliances, and instructions, warranties, and important papers in a file or folder or album where they can be accessed?
Have your plants been watered and fed?
Are there clean sheets on the beds? Are the towels fresh smelling?
Is the laundry caught up?
Is the ironing caught up?
What about the mending--is it caught up or has everyone outgrown it before you could get to it? (this happens and it is okay, but it is an example of how busy a woman could be when she thinks there is not enough to do at home.)
Have you shown hospitality or provided refreshments for anyone in your home?
Are you caring for adopted or foster children?
Do you have at least one meal, where the table is set, every day?
Do you sew any of your own clothes or household things?
Do you hand-make gifts?
Have you taught any one in your own home, a skill of any kind--such as a young girl who wants to learn?
Are your window sills free of dust?
Is your furniture and your front door free of finger prints?
Have you made a blanket or helped in any way to the local pregnancy crisis center?

Now no one can do all these things and certainly the housewife needs to have proper rest and not be so busy she cannot read a story to someone or write a letter, but this is just an example that if we haven't got all this done, we really cannot afford to put ourselves into another business. When people pressure me to go to work and will not listen to my reasons for being at home, (even though I have no young children to care for), I always tell them I will go as soon as I get things in order at home. If something happens to me I want everyone to be able to find everything that they need, and the papers, scrapbooks, etc., to be in order. Think about that: your life is but a vapour and can pass away in an instant. What do you want to be doing when that happens?

Isabella in the 21st Century said...

Staying at home is hard at first. You've got to get used to living on a reduced income, you don't necessarily know *how* to be a homemaker, you may have debt to clear, you can't buy the things your friends (or you friend's children) have, you can feel isolated, society may *think* you're some kind of's a lot to put up with.

However, it is worth it! You get used to living on one income, you learn frugality and pay of your debt, you busy yourself with baking and cooking and sewing (or knitting) and your children join in. You make yourself a garden and the children pick the beans and tomatoes in the summer, they make dens whilst you make new friends and you don't care about the stuff you can't buy or what the secular world may think because you and your family are happy. Happiness is such a precious and delicate gift, it's such a shame to waste this gift by doing what *others* expect. It's a big leap to go back to the home, I hope and pray this lady in your letter is happier now and has found her niche.

Isabella in the 21st Century said...

Staying at home is hard at first. You've got to get used to living on a reduced income, you don't necessarily know *how* to be a homemaker, you may have debt to clear, you can't buy the things your friends (or you friend's children) have, you can feel isolated, society may *think* you're some kind of's a lot to put up with.

However, it is worth it! You get used to living on one income, you learn frugality and pay of your debt, you busy yourself with baking and cooking and sewing (or knitting) and your children join in. You make yourself a garden and the children pick the beans and tomatoes in the summer, they make dens whilst you make new friends and you don't care about the stuff you can't buy or what the secular world may think because you and your family are happy. Happiness is such a precious and delicate gift, it's such a shame to waste this gift by doing what *others* expect. It's a big leap to go back to the home, I hope and pray this lady in your letter is happier now and has found her niche.

Anonymous said...

I am observing something right now that surprises/saddens me. Our new neighbors moved in just 2 months ago, he was leaving the military and entering a government job in Sept which would require him to have training away for a few weeks. He said when they moved in(I quote) that his wife had given up a lot to make this move so they could be together as a family with their toddler. Well, she couldn't keep the sacrifice,she found a new contract and she is now flying to the West Coast each week (sun through Thurs) and was leaving the baby with him, he became Mr. Mom. Now that he has started his training, they have left the child with practically total strangers that live nearby. This just amazes me how they could do that! She was saying her bosses now want her to do more travelling, she is doing such a good job they are extending her responsiblities. But she does feel she needs to come home and be a Mom sometime, but it is so exhausting with the jet lag,etc. from this job, as well as the fact that she works 15 hour days while gone. Such a sad situation for the little boy! I'm sure he doesn't know which place is his home and who is his mother!

Anonymous said...

Being a stay at home mom is a noble endeavour. Me being at home is such a priority for our family that we are considering selling our only car, and using the bus to get around town. It would take something pretty major (and maybe not even then!) to pry this home maker away from home and home schooling. I have gotten such encouragement from this blog and the LAF site for quite a while now.

Lydia said...

to the lady who wrote "I pray I may never leave my role as homemaker" --I was taught in a class I attended, that the more you spend or charge, and the more you waste, the more threat it is to your role at home, and the more likely you will have to go to work. So, we should guard our position in life carefully and casst out the things that rob us of our resources. Learn to take your husband's income and invest some of it (such as in places like Edward Jones, retirement funds, etc, where it is matched or doubled by a company), and you will be very glad you did. Instead of renting, find a creative realtor who will help you put that rent money into a house payment where you can build equity and in a pinch, be able to sell the property for a profit and have more investment. Look for ways to substitute and create things that you need. It is actually very very rewarding and fulfilling. Each thing you do like this, gives your position at home more assurance and stability.

Lydia said...

This is tragic, since children tend to bond with the ones who give them the most attention, and become like the people they spend the most time with. This couple just does not know that. It is a pity we cannot give them a brochure or something called "Mother, Please Stay Home!" Hey...maybe I'll do that...

Lydia said...

But let us also remember there are many people without children where the wife is absent and preoccupied with business. This is a strain on marriage, for many reasons.

Unknown said...

I have always wanted to work outside the home. I'll be honest about that. But, through Bible study, prayer, and just common sense I knew it was better for my family for me to stay home. I have grown to really love a sahm, and am now taking much more pride in my work here.

The main reason I hear mothers they have to work is finances. Although, I am still learning, I have learned that by staying home, I can devote time to being frugal, therefore saving us money so that finances never become a reason for me to have to work.

I understand that in some cases women have no choice. But, for those who do, please choose to stay home. Money is NOT worth it!

Gail said...

When my first two were 3 and 10 months, I was confined to bedrest for a couple of weeks following a surgery. My church was kind enough to hire an older lady (mother of 13 grown children) to come look after me and the children. I was telling her about something or other that I felt my chilren needed and she said simply, "They don't know they need it". It was a profound statement that I never forgot.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
what a lovely post...just wanted to share that 15 years ago my dh became ill and was unable to work and so I decided to be the breadwinner. When we both picked up the boys from nursery they would run to him and it would break my heart. When they were ill, the would need me. We had made a commitment that one of us should be at home with them but I did find it harder than my DH, going out to work and being a breadwinner. 2 years ago, I collapsed and now have a chronic ilness and one of the things I enjoy most is being a keeper at home. The statistics say we live in poverty but my life is a lot richer now and my relationships a lot closer than years ago. I see my ilness as a gift to have time with my children, time to hug, time to encourage and time to enjoy their smiles and efforts at school and at home.

A Higher Calling said...

Thank you so much for a wonderful post, Lady Lydia. I have been that mother - and it is such a hard place to be. Our society has so brainwashed the men and women to beleive that giving our children material things is the only thing that matters. My mother worked while I was growing up, she and my dad wanted to give me everything that they had not been given as children. They gave me everything I ever wanted... except a relationship with them - which was really the only thing that mattered to me. Once they got home from work, they were just too tired to spend time with me

I was caught up in this scenario as a young mother. Everyone was so proud of how much I had accomplished in my job. Yes, I enjoyed working outside the home but my job took me away from my daughter - I cried driving to work everyday for over 6 years - and at that point, I left Corporate America to be a full time wife and mother - there has not been even ONE day when I have regretted this decision.

I know that this is the best job I could have and it is the "profession" that the Lord has called me to.

It took a lot of sacrifices to come home and live on one income but what is so neat is that those "sacrifices" were actually blessings.

There is not job that is more rewarding than being a wife and mother!

Have a blessed day, Dana

Mrs Pilgrim said...

(You also know me as "Mrs. Bartlett"!)

Your question of "are these things done?" (above) cuts me right to the quick. In fact, I don't have most of these things done. My "part-time" job as an attorney (out of my own home, no less) is taking me away from my home more often than I wanted. I've managed to taper off my clientele, but the ones I have are starting to demand more and more of my time. I recently spent two weeks, seven hours a day, just talking on the phone--and accomplishing absolutely nothing when I was finished! My other clients, though only a handful, are similarly time-consuming. I may as well be working in an office, for all the attention my house is getting.

Now, we have my husband's cousin (also best friend and best man from our wedding) coming to stay this weekend. This house is a disaster area, showing all the neglect of three weeks' non-cleaning and months of only halfway measures.

I begin to suspect that my OB-GYN is going to prescribe quitting my job. I have literally not had time to go get my blood workup done--which she asked for a month ago. Yes, I'm 10 weeks pregnant, and I've been neglecting my baby shamefully--for the sake of my clients.

I can't wait until I can stay home all the time, at no one's mercy but my own. I might even be able to mop my floors, instead of throwing down water and "skating" in my socks while I talk on the phone. (Do you think I'm kidding?)

Anonymous said...

I am a 20-year-old college freshman. Until August, I had been a stay-at-home, homeschooled daughter, and I LOVED it. I had an experience right when freshman orientation started that convinced me to love staying at home even more:
I have three younger sisters, aged 6, 3, and 1. I never thought of myself as being very important to them -- it always seemed that they preferred my other sister or my mother to care for them. However, on the first day I was gone, I returned home to a welcome so great one would think I had been gone a month. And the next day, when I had to leave again, one of my sisters was almost crying because I was leaving. Ever since, I try to make my younger siblings my top priority when I am home in the daytime. I think they've adjusted to the fact that I'm not always as available as I used to be, but I'm closer to them now in ways I never was before.


Anonymous said...

I can't help but wonder what importance this letter must have been for the person who lost it since it was over a year old and they still carried it around.
I was a sham but due to little to no training as a child and moving to an area where I knew no one to teach me I can honestly say I could have been a better mother than I was. I read all I could since childhood on the subject but was one who could really use a hands on approach best. I was occupied with trying to learn and at times did not give myself to my family as I should have. I felt so guilty over what I thought other mothers must be doing better I neglected the one thing most important...just being there one on one with my husband and children. My grown children tell me they felt no slight but I know it occured. I aplaud those mothers and daughters who are working now to prepare themselfs to be shams in the future. Like everything in life, the more you do a task the easier it gets and once you are married or have children after being married you have mastered those basic tasks and are confident in them. God knew even mothers needed mentors and so now I need to try to mentor other younger women in what I now do know to pass on. Your site is a great mentor for us all. I thank you for caring.

Anonymous said...

Great post! That letter is a poignant view of the struggles in a Mother's heart.


Anonymous said...

Brilliant article! It reminds me and encourages me that , even though our kids may not have top of the line toys and our cars may not be new, we have a family life. No amount of money can buy that ! Thank you Lady Lydia:)

Vanessa said...

Thank you Lady Lydia for this article! It truly blew me away when I read the last part and discovered that it's actually the wife who wrote this!!!

As one who has just handed in her resignation from work in order to become a sahw (we have no children as of yet) This has made me feel so much better. I do not and have felt no regrets about my resignation. (Funny thing is a few of the women I work with are 'jealous' of me and say they 'wish they could afford to stay at home')

I truly pray that Nicole is at home now with her children and her hubby at work.


Lydia said...

Somewhere in the last 30 years, the tune changed from what we should do, and what was our duty to do, or our role, to what we could "afford" to do. I noticed this trend to view everything from an economical viewpoint began in politics. Candidates asked, "are you better off now than you were four years ago?" and although it was sincerely meant, it was unfortunately translated into life in a different way than it was intended. It began to mean that people would choose whatever would make them the most money, without taking into consideration the emotional damage at home. Morality? Well, if it made money, it was "moral" because it was "taking care" of your family. I feel so sorry for kids who have been indoctrinated in this belief since childhood. It is a very hard thing to shake off. I've mentioned before that people often go together and get interested in marriage, by spending a lot of time with each other. After marriage, they both go to work and drift apart. This would not happen as much if the wife would choose home.

Mrs. Melody said...

Its amazing to me how indoctrinated women are to go to work. Its such a blessing to the husband and children (if there are any) for her to stay home. There's a comment from a sermon that sticks in my head. In my own words - The energy that a woman puts forth to making things go well for her boss at work, takes away from what is to be used at home for her hubby. Its almost like she is cheating on him. The love and care that should be his is going to her boss/work. - That really hit me hard and made me re- think my priorities and look at where my caring and energy go. I don't work, but I get caught up in the "me" instead of serving my dear hubby.

You know, I wish a pamphlet could be made to urge women to come home and hopefully wake them up to the "programming" that has been done by the feminists all these years. So many of us have swallowed those lies and for what? Are we truly better off? I think not.


Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs. Sherman,
This article really struck a nerve with me. My husband and I were not blessed with children but I have noticed an alarming trend among the children of my sisters; my nieces and nephews. These kids were raised during the 70s and 80s and their mothers worked off and on (mostly on) during their entire childhoods. Now these kids are in their late twenties and early thirties and they truly don't know any other way to live other than for the mother to be in the workforce and the now second generation little ones are being shuttled off to day care and pre-pre-school. This just breaks my heart, because even the grandmothers (my sisters) who should know better, advocate enthusiastically for the careers of the daughters and daughers-in-law. It seems that even our generation of women has in large part been seduced by the money that these young mothers can earn with their college degrees. It just isn't worth it but, sadly, I fear they will only learn that fact when it is too late for the little ones. Thank you for this article. It is to Mr. Sherman's credit that he recognized the poignancy of the letter that he found. May God use it to open the eyes and hearts of the young mothers of today. My sincerest best wishes to you and yours from Mrs. T.

MrsCD said...


I have read the original post from Lady Lydia as well as most of the replies. I do not want to be one of those "people" who rants feminism and and uses vulgar or coarse words. Still I feel compelled to write something here on this subject.

I am one of those indoctrinated women that you speak of when it comes to feminism. Although my mom stayed at home, she didnt do it because she wanted to she did it due to illness. She always taught my sister and me to work outside the home and make a change in the world. She was also sad that she could not do this herself because of her circumstances.

When growing up, I saw a woman who struggled financial because she stayed at home, but did not use her money properly and frugally. This made our situation worse and while growing up, all I could think of was me being old enough to work to help us out. Unfortunately, my father died in a car accident so he wasn't around to help out.

I grew up and got married, and I have to say, my husband has enjoyed me working outside the home and bringing in an income. I know from the previous replies that you have husbands/fathers who enjoy having you home. But that is honestly not the way the world is run anymore. In this day in age, men enjoy the freedom from responsibility of being the full breadwinner. I am not saying that they are bad men, but I AM saying that they enjoy the peace of mind that comes from there partner helping with the financial responsibility.

I have been out of work (unfortunately I have been laid off) for a couple of months now. Even though I have been able to help my mother during this time (she is still VERY ill), I can see the frustration from my husband that comes from me not bringing in an income. To him, having me work is better than having a clean house or a home cooked meal. You may think my story is sad, but I can name countless women who have partners of the same mindset. Having a man who wants a woman at home is the exception not the rule. And it saddens me that this is not recognized when I read posts like these. It hurts me when I am made to feel that it is my responsibility to come home, especially when my husband (and others husbands for that matter) do not want woman there. After all, if it is important for the women to be at home taking care of there husbands and children, shouldnt we teach the men that this is of value? Shouldnt there be letters, bloggers, and post telling men that this is what is needed and they have part of this responsibility for woman working outside the home right now?

Once again, I have no ill will to women who stay at home. I feel that you are very lucky and fortunate to have someone in your life who accepts that, maybe even expects that. What I am saying is that men who are like that are few and far between. And now, right now, the roles of most women have changed to the point that men would see woman at home as a liability. In truth, I have not met a man who would enjoy a woman at home. To me, working is just a fact of life unless you are to sick to do it.

I hope you do not find my words to harsh. It just hurts me when I read post like this because it makes it feel as if it is my fault that I work (or want to work) and men do not have any responsibility for it at all.

Thank you.

Lydia said...

Camille you are right: the men and boys need to be taught a different attitude about it. One young man told me that it begins from youth and then in college they tell the young men that they should expect women to pull "their share of the load." The trouble is, they give the women a double load. Women will naturally want things done at home, and end up doing a large share of the work at home, as well as repairs and other home maintenance. Some men do help at home, but they don't all feel as natural at it as women do, as it has been a natural inclination in women for generations, whether they want to deny it or not. We do need to start with our boys and teach them what is right, because they are so immersed in the current culture that they really think it is good for a woman to work outside the home. The problem with that is, that when they get sick, or have children, they begin to have terrible feelings of conflict if they can't earn money.

Mrs Pilgrim said...

Mrs. CD,

You're right. Teaching our sons to respect traditional womanhood is even more important than ever.

I noticed, while I was doing online "matchmaking" services, that there were too many youngish "men" (not really deserving of the word) who contacted me not because we had things in common (they valued nothing I did, and vice versa), but because my education reflected being an attorney. I can't tell you how many mid-20's "boys" tried to court me, whose profiles showed that they neither had prospects of their own nor wanted them, but would dearly love to be my "lapdog" because I theoretically could pull down a six-figure income!

Even after I put into my profile that "I don't intend to work; you have to support ME," the vultures continued to circle.

So I went to (Shameless promotion of a great service here!) My husband was the first match the service made for me. I put into that profile that "I don't want to be 'co-president'; I want to be a wife. If you're willing to be the man of the house, then you're the man for me." My husband liked that; I was JUST what he was looking for.

(For some stupid reason, -I- got sucked into the old "You can contribute monetarily to the household" mentality recently. But that ends with this year, because I just can't take all this stress anymore. Wimpy? Not really. My line of work puts me in the way of dealing with stubborn, self-defeating people who think they know the law because they watch Judge Judy--and don't listen when I try to correct them.)

I think the problem with the "boy-men" we have these days is that their mothers sometimes browbeat them into accepting the "working mama" as the only right way. But I believe in an old saying, "If enough women expressed fascination with men who stood on their heads, in short order half of the population would be upside-down."

What will happen when girls decide they'd rather be women than sexless machines? Maybe the boys will change, too.

(Btw, Mrs. Sherman, did you put out a request previously for referrals to a service to find wives for your sons? Worked for me and my husband. Pricey, but excellent, especially for the "picky".)

Mrs. Bartlett

Anonymous said...

Where my husband works, he is the only male that feels good about me staying home. The men sort of notice and like some of the good things that come out of my husband's life, like a bit more care for him, but, that is fleeting. They see a woman at home as about useless, otherwise. There must be a peer pressure among men,now, that they should have their wives working. They complain if she only works 30 hours a week!
It is getting much harder now, for the stay at home wife in many more ways.
I am very thankful to be home, but, it is tight financially. If my husband expresses a need for more finances at his job, (His raises are quite small), their atttitude is, get your wife out there! A man has less bargaining power at his job now, as well.
Today, men seem to believe that a woman is suppose to work, and if she doesn't there is something wrong with her. My husband's co-workers don't know how we do it. Yet, we have our needs, up till now. Going without just doesn't seem to "build character" in children anymore, it just seems to make them angry. At least this is what as been my observation.
But, still, I cannot get myself to run out there and find a job. It will be very hard for me to do so if I ever do.

Lydia said...

Two good posts on the responsibilty that men have regarding restoring women to the home. Women do motivate them to a great extent. Men tend to do what they are encouraged to do and are admired for. An example is in the 50's how they would comb their hair and tried to impress the girls in high school with their appearance, always being careful to be well-groomed, because the girls tended to go for the guys that looked respectable and avoided the "hoods." Women don't know the power they have and they don't know how to use it to get men to do what is right.

Lydia said...

But it is the same for the men: if the girls knew the guys wanted girls who would stay home and be wives and iron their shirts, the girls would be mad about ironing shirts and conform to whatever the guys wanted. What is promoted though, through posters and images on CD's is the women who are out there in the public, dressed a certain way, etc., and the girls tend to use these as role models instead of the domestic wife at home. They never see pictures on the covers of magazines, of women happily baking or taking care of their husbands, and are impressed with the world's concept of what women should be. The young men could have a great impact on what the young women became, if they would let it be known that they admire women who want to be happily married, and busy at home. The girls would be flocking to do this.

Lydia said...

Where my husband works part time, at the airport, he says his company wanted to hire young people to encourage them. The problem is, that they have not been reliable, and have a lot of problems, so they end up going back to hiring retired people. One young woman they hired, a single girl, called in sick because she had a panic attack. My husband had to substitute for her and ended up pulling a double shift--staying up all night and then the following day, with only a few hours inbetween for a nap. He says they have about given up hiring some of the young women. They are unable to handle the continuous work schedule and the panic attacks tell me something about the effect that work is having on young women. They are at an age that they should be married and having children, and happily at home away from the stress of the world. I don't remember women having panic attacks or it being a big issue with them, and if they did have anxiety, they retreated from the world as best they could, in my mothers day, but they didn't upset anyone's work schedule because for the most part, they were home.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I believe a lot of us women feel like that. I am home now with my children but it is so hard becasue I am not able to relax because of the Outside Pressures to work and pursue a life outside the home. I just told my husband that I am so glad to be home for our 4 children, I know that no one can give my little 1 year old all the kisses and hugs he gets throughout his day! The way he looks and me and presses his cheek against mine, or how he lays his head on my chest, oohhh it is just the most beautiful thing on earth! I really can relate to this letter and I hope she is at home full time with her family now. Thanks for the great post Lydia!

Anonymous said...

What a heart revealling letter to find. My mom worked when I was growing up. At the time I didn't think anything of it, because of all the "free" time I had unsuprivized (not that I got into alot of trouble), but I was a public school student who believed that parents were wet blankets.

But, now, as a stay-at-home mom, I wonder how different my life would have been if my mom had stayed home. I KNOW all the things my children are being protected from because I wasn't and I am ever so thankful that my husband wants me home and trusts me with the great responsiblity and honor of being with our children daily.

I have family where the mama wants to be working and is now in a job which takes her away from home sun-up to sun-down. My heart just breaks for their family.

Lydia said...

Men need to be shown the harm in women working. It isn't just that they won't be able to give their best at home; there are also many hazards at work, both emotionally and physically. It is not natural for women to stay on their feet all day long inside a building with artificial light (or for the men, either, I suppose), but in the past, the women were protected from these things, while the men fought their way in the world. Men do indeed have the responsibity of getting it back on track.

Anonymous said...

I shared with you yesterday that we have decided that I should stay home. I have no-one really to talk to about this as all my friends except one are very career minded and think I am mad - as I had a high flying career. Even the ladies in my church would probably think it strange that I long to be the keeper of my home. So I look to you for mentoring support!! Can I ask did any of you ladies feel guilty? I feel I am being selfish. I must add my husband just wants me to be happy but I feel guilty at work for not being home and guilty at home for not earning money.

Lydia said...

To resolve guilt, just guard the income with your life and don't cause unnecessary expense. Learn to make do, and save your money; soon your friends will be jealous because you have no debt and no heavy obligations. I know in this day and age it is not always possible to do this, so if this is not possible, at least dress up and look like you are enjoying it; be happy and rested and in good health. Have a beautiful clean home and invite these naysayers over for tea. That usually shuts them up for awhile.

Lydia said...

I would hope husbands would read between the lines in letters like this and take charge and see it as a call to the wife to be home, rather than ignore it. It was a cry for help and he was the only one that could help her and put a stop to it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much- I have written out your reply & put it into my house binder - I know you are right - I had already reduced my hours by 50% and tried to be very frugal. My husband was stunned that we had more savings than we had ever had before!
very best wishes and thank you.

Anonymous said...

So I look to you for mentoring support!! Can I ask did any of you ladies feel guilty? I feel I am being selfish. I must add my husband just wants me to be happy but I feel guilty at work for not being home and guilty at home for not earning money.


I understand exactly how you feel, because I feel the same way also. I do not feel content because I am always thinking that I should be working and bringing in an extra income, I am in such turmoil within myself that I am often anxious, nervous, and stressed because I am not sure if I am doing what's right. My husband seems confused also, he wants me to stay home in one turn but in the other he wants two incomes so that we may have a better life. I often find myself wanting to just scream and cry because I am just so confused. I also am responsible for paying the bills and etc. and this causes stress because my husband tends to spend money we really don't have so then I have to do juggling acts to try to pay the bills (What a mess) I also had things from him because I am scared that he will see that things are alot worse then what it appears to be. We really don't have money to go out shopping whenever we feel like it, but I let him because I feel guilty about staying home and him working so hard and him wanting to buy the children new clothes and there is really no money! I just let him do whatever and then I just keep it to myself that our Gas Bill is $400 and that our light bill was $300 (paid it off) and that our Mortgage payment is late and our association fee is late. He has no clue, and I am STRESSED! because I don't want to go to leave my kids but I don't want him to feel like it is just a burden for me to stay home! Wow did I get off subject or what! Sorry! I needed to vent and thanks for letting me!

Isabella in the 21st Century said...

To Lynn and Anonymous

I have every sympathy with you and indeed I can empathise. I was in your situation until roughly 6 months ago. I felt terribly guilty for leaving my career and I was in a financial mess and I had a lot of pressure from all sorts of people to go back to work (I was a High School teacher). However, things worked out just fine in the end...I (and my husband) just had to get used to it.

My advice is to read about homemaking and read a lot! Go through the archives of this blog, look at Mrs Catherine's xanga site, go to LAF and Above Rubies. Often these sites recommend books, but if your financial situation is tricky *use* blogs.

You're doing the best thing, but it takes time to get the rhythm of homemaking going.

Also, if you want to earn money sell stuff. Start ebaying off gadgets and old clothes and have a garage sale. Is their a home business you could do? (I home tutor for 10 hours a home with my kids in the room too). Could you clean, or take in ironing? Growing your own veg helps with the finances too. There's so much you can do to help with the finacnes and the best thing is to guard your husband's pay like a dog would a bone, squeeze the life out of it. Blogs will help you do this...have fun and enjoy your new life! It gets a lot better, honestly!

Jenny said...

I agree with so much that has been written. As a SAHM whose children are all at school I know many people wonder why I am not at work.Even my husband and children ,although they appreciate all that I do, sometimes talk about what we could do with the extra money if I would go back to work. The truth is when I did work( only ever part time and for as shorter period as possible)the money was frittered away and we were no better off financially we just bought more things.
If you really embrace your job/vocation as homemaker and do everything in your power to be a success at it you can make it work and learn a lot about yourself in the process.
Women seem to think they can do everything and most will try their hardest to manage a home AND work outside of the home even though their physical and mental health may suffer.

My husband told me about his friend who was complaining that his wife was at home all day and didn't seem to get much done yet most women manage a home and work as well. He thought she was lazy. That was my wakeup call. We are doing ourselves an misjustice by appearing to be superwoman. The more we do , the more we are expected to do and often we are not particlarly happy doing it. I handed in my notice the next week and I have now been home for three blissful years. Our children go to private school, our house is almost paid off and we have no credit card debt. My husband earns an average wage. We don't have much surplus cash but somehow we get by.
Live within your means, save for what you need/want,live a rich and full life by living in the NOW rather than dreaming of the future. Love and care for your home and family. Work outside the home if you have to but realise that there may be alternatives that you hadn't thought of. You are giving a greater gift than money to your family if you make them your focus.

It has never been harder to be a homemaker.What we do appears to hold very little monetary value. The majority of women run a home and work.Those of us who choose this life don't do it for public accolades, we do it because we feel it is right for our families and society as a whole. When you decide to step outside of "normal" behaviour you have to accept you will be seen as abnormal. Hold your head up and know in your heart that you are doing one of the most important jobs in our society.

Mrs Pilgrim said...

After having read a couple of comments, I must admit to being very fortunate in my husband's workplace.

He works as management (and I mean REAL management) in the biggest plywood mill in the country. The folks who run these kinds of companies tend to be very conservative, so while most of the other men who are in management have wives who work, they are massively impressed by my husband. After all, he must be some kind of "real man" for a licensed attorney to want to give up her career just for him--and stay home and cook and clean! (Most of them have met me, so they know full well this is not exaggeration on his part.)

They really listen to him there, although not nearly as much as they ought (because he's the boss when it comes to safety). But I flatter myself that they would listen even less if I had remained an "independent" type.

I guess the "status effect" of marrying a domestic type doesn't always apply in every industry--but the more you have a company which deals directly with manual labor (i.e. mostly men), the more conservative they're apt to be.

(Btw, I'm feeling much more sanguine today. I apologize for "going off" yesterday.)

Mrs. Bartlett