Friday, November 13, 2015

Childless Women

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I read an article a few days ago on another blog by a woman who stays at home, yet does not have children in the home.  She never had children or she has no children as of yet.  It was abhorrent to hear of the things this woman has had to listen to because she is practicing the freedom to choose what is right for her.  If you stay at home, I'm sure you can envision what she has had to endure and on what scale.

I think women are supposed to be at home.  I am of the opinion it is what we are made for.  I run across a great deal of women who say things like, "I wish I could stay at home," or "How can you afford to stay home?"  Once in a great while I'll be in a conversation where a woman will tell me, "I don't know how you do it.  I couldn't.  I'd be bored with nothing to do all day."  For the most part, the women I talk to typically feel they should be home.

It is an instinct I think, that God gave all of us.  Wolves hunt in packs.  Rabbits are skittish and get into gardens.  Men provide.  Women are keepers of the home.  When a wolf is shunned from a pack, it will seldom do well or live as long as it could have unless it finds another pack.  Men who have a hard time providing (and it happens to most at one time or another) feel inadequate and sit at home looking for things to do, lamenting the fact that sometimes it's just out of their hands.  A young man who is at home for a long period of time is like a fish out of water.  He isn't really at peace, even if he hated his job.  

Women who work generally feel like they have no control over the housework, or their relationships with their husbands and children.  They aren't generally truly happy.  They may even suffer from depression, or anger or power issues.  They have problems letting go.  They have issues letting their husbands be the head of their household.  They have a whole plethora of problems they generally don't even acknowledge.  Throw me in an office pushing paper all day, and my home becomes a haven for stress and chaos.
 Do women who stay at home suffer from depression?  Sure they do.  They are bombarded with advertisements and television telling them they are supposed to be productive members of society.  Their kids need to be perfectly behaved all the time.  They need to have large, seductive eyes and pouty lips, and they are supposed to be the CEO of McDonalds.  They have no worth otherwise.  They need to bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan.  Maybe if more women stayed at home we wouldn't have feelings of inferiority.  My guess is, in earlier generations, where most women stayed at home, there were less instances of them getting clinical depression.  I further ascertain, that until the advent of commercialism on such an industrial scale as it is today, women were also less inclined to be depressed...period.  Lastly, I think if more women stayed at home, we'd have more of a support system for when our children have wrecked the house, our husbands are in a bad mood, and dinner is burned.  As it is right now, it's hard to find other women like us who have been there, done it, and know it's the right thing to do...even when we're having a bad month.

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This woman who has no children at home has no less of an instinct to stay at home caring for her family than a woman who has children at home.  And I say, good for her for choosing peace and joy.  Throw this woman in an office all day and both she and her spouse will suffer for it.

"But what does she do all day???"  Spoken like a husband who is ungrateful or spoken like a woman who has never been at home for more than a year.  My first year at home was spent finding out who I really was as a person, and what it was I was supposed to be doing at home.

I lost this woman's blog and I wish I hadn't, for it truly touched me, but I don't know what she does all day.  First of all, it's none of my business.  She has freedom and is practicing it.  For that, I am personally grateful.  She is fighting for her freedom.  Something she shouldn't have to do, but if you live in the USA then you're living in a country where slowly our freedoms are being stripped in lieu of "security", so yeah!  Good for her!  Secondly, I'd imagine this woman is about the business of her house.  I imagine she keeps a clean home most of the time, spends a good deal of time on dinner, and perhaps makes beautiful quilts, or cans jelly, or feeds her elderly neighbors, or any number of things.  I imagine a lot of things about this woman for she has been in my thoughts for days now.

At any rate, most people reading this post are probably stay at home women and probably feel the same way.  If you see a woman like this, grant her some encouragement, for she is coming under fire  even more than women who have children in the home.  What she lacks in knowledge of raising children, she has in other areas and I would love to draw upon her knowledge.  She has more time to throw into cooking, cleaning, and other things that maybe we have not even thought of yet and that's the thing that makes me want to find her blog.  I wonder, what haven't I thought of yet?  What else can I be doing to keep my home?

This woman has value.  She has great value to her husband and she has value to me.   I hope she doesn't ever forget that she is worth far more than rubies.  I hope she knows she is valued by those who would learn from her experiences.  I fear one day she will throw in the towel and do the easier thing, the more accepted thing, of working outside the home.

EDIT:  I found it!  Her blog is here and in my list of blogs I keep up with.  And here's a great older article she wrote.

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  1. Wow, what a lovely surprise - another post so soon! Thank you.

    YES, the housewife has value! Great value!! No matter what stage her life or how full or 'empty' her 'nest' is. It's true we can learn so much from each other and be a support and encouragement just by knowing others are 'out there' gently, peacefully working and caring in/for their home. (And it's not all about accomplishing because a sick/disabled woman may not be able to do much but her presence in the home is just as vital.)

    Thanks for being that encouragement to us, Peace At Home.

    P.S. I've been wondering if you plan to ever reveal your Christian name or you have a reason for being only known as Peace At Home? - ( which is beautiful 'name' I must say).

  2. LoL Of course, Linda. My name is Michelle. And you are so right. It's not how much we get done in a day. And I'm thankful for that, for some days I just don't get anything on my list done LoL! But I am in my home and I think I'm where God wants me to be, even if the dishes sit all day long. So, I absolutely agree. If a woman is elderly or disabled, she has great value to her family. For even just being in the home and not gone at work blesses them greatly.

  3. Hello Michelle :)

    You are so good with words because that is exactly what I was trying to say about just being available in one's home. "For even just being in the home and not gone at work blesses them greatly."

  4. Hi Michelle! I used to be a public school teacher before we had children. I have been home 13 years and I am SO grateful for my time home. I have periods of anxiety since my husband's layoff 3 months ago. This layoff is by no fault of his own(he's done contractual work in Human Services for the State of IL for 24 years. The State still has no budget which should have happened July 1st. No budget = no job). This has never happened before. I am SO worried I'm going to have to leave my home to go back to work. My husband hasn't asked this of me, but I feel like my position is being threatened. I just want to continue to be home where I belong and love to be.

    1. We have been monitoring the state of things in Illinois for a while now. We even seen a couple of people not paid lottery winnings.

      During my husbands first layoff I also battled with, "I'm his helpmeet. I need to be helping! We are a team! He is stressed. I can help!" In the end it was Daniel who told me vehemently that I did not have to work. We were probably going through a test or series of tests, and we needed to figure out what our priorities were. Turns out, our priority was me staying home and we would do anything to keep my here. I wanted to work, but I didn't. I wanted to help, but I love being home.

      I'm hoping you find a way to keep being at home no matter the cost, for in you staying home you are practicing a freedom that is very hard to attain in these times. I absolutely won't think less of you if you have to go back to work. I think you are a caring and giving mother and wife. Homeschooling is not for the lazy or faint of heart. I'm just trying to encourage you to practice your freedom of staying home, for once you go back to work, it might be a long time before you are able to be home again.

  5. Oh, absolutely if I go back to work I may never return home! My field of education is something I no longer believe in.. Imagine trying to do a job that you think has no value! Thank you for your encouragement, it means so very much to me!

    1. Yeah, I've been there. And I can see how you probably feel because you were a teacher who now homeschools. Anything I can do to help. I wish I could do more. Whatever you decide, I know you are a good wife and mom. Good wives work, too. It's just harder on them and their families when they do. For now though, enjoy your at home job! :)

    2. This is Daniel. May heart goes out for your situation. For us I feel like we were being tested at multiple levels all at the same time. Many things converged.

      Firstly, I was laid off shortly before Christmas and Michelle and I elected to put the severance pay into bills rather than presents. We chose peace of mind over materialism. I know Christmas is not supposed to be about gift giving, but from a man's point of view it hurts bad when your wife has nothing under the tree to open.

      At the same time we suffered a massive and catastrophic power surge. Surround sound (I list this first cuz it is the most important lol), fridge, and water heater all gone in an instant in the middle of winter.

      We do not believe in debt so there was not turning to a credit card for help, we have none.

      Around this time I was really feeling under the gun and my admittedly deep reservoir of "redneck rigging" to get things up and running again was running dry.

      I was stressed out to say the least and though I tried to shelter Michelle from that stress as it was my responsibility, it had effects on our relationship anyway.

      Around this time Michelle started having conversations about going back to work to help out. It wasn't that she wanted to, just that she felt she needed to.

      At first I was weak and entertained the idea a bit. Justifications started playing in my head. Rationalizations started popping up. After all, it was only for a little while right?

      In the end I formed an iron resolve that until that moment I did not know I had. Michelle was not going back to work under these circumstances. If she wanted to, like really wanted to, then sure. But not like this. Politicians and bankers 3000 miles away were not going to dictate what happened inside our home. We were not going to compromise on our values or our priorities under any circumstances.

      So we resolved to cut our bills. And by cut I mean we dropped $600 /month worth of junk we didn't need. Every penny that we spent was spent with the thought in mind that "do I need whatever I am buying enough to jeopardize my wife being able to be home?" The answer was always no I do not.

      When there was nothing left to cut I went to Craigslist to take on side work.

      When the sidework would occasionally dry up we'd strip our food budget down to beans, potatoes, and rice.

      Even after all these drastic measures our way of life was under fire daily. Friends and family, both mine and hers just couldn't understand. "Why don't you send her to work?" "You know, my wife works and we don't have those problems." I heard things like this on a daily basis. I feel for you and your husband Tricia and I hope you can pull through without being forced to compromise. It is all well and good to say "never" but when there's no food in the fridge, you've got to eat.

      I pray you two can hold fast, because you both deserve to live the life of your choosing and that right is under threat by powers that are largely out of our control.

      I hope that if you are ever forced to compromise it will be as an action of last resort.

  6. Thanks for your lovely post and links! I will link your blog to my blog. What do I do all day, well these past few years have been filled with weddings, blogging, doctor appointments, cooking, cleaning, shopping, vets, cats, moving, travelling, answering my critics, entertaining, singing, playing the piano and teaching music when I find students. Right now I don't work, I am back home for I don't know how long. I am also an accomplished opera singer, pianist and violinist.

    1. I had read some of that when I finally made it back to your blog. I love your posts. It sounds like you are extremely busy, and even without teaching. I've been reading and clicking the "more posts like this" at the bottom of each. If you have something I could listen to, I would absolutely love to! I gave up the violin long ago, but the music it brings forth is my favorite.

      Thank you for your comment. I am grateful for it and love reading all about what you've been up to!

  7. Hello there Michelle,
    I'm really enjoying your blog posts and love the fact that even as a recently turned 50 year old woman, I can still learn new things. I am an American, but I live in Scotland with my Scottish husband.
    I have been a stay at home lady off and on through-out my life, but early last year, gave up my secretarial position to assist my husband in his small architectural practice (There's only one employee-him, and most recently, me!) .
    Because the office is run from home, we work from home. I have found however, that I stay pretty busy running the home part of things, and am not as much of a help as I'd hoped to be for his business.
    Recently, I have been worrying an awful lot about retirement.. In a nutshell, because of life changes, relocations, self-employment, and lay-offs, we are in no way prepared for that time that is creeping up on us. My husband is several years younger, but I still think about this every day.
    I keep thinking if I just go back to work a few days a week, that money could be saved for the future. Unfortunately, several things keep holding me back. One, my belief in being here at home for my husband, second; that I have some physical issues that take much of my energy just to manage our home, and lastly, for some reason, there seems to be very few of the jobs I would be qualified for available just now with the hours I would be looking to work.
    I would be very interested in hearing your suggestions regarding this issue, as I have been "ruminating" long and weary over it.
    To let you also be aware, stay at home women are very rare here, so I cannot look for support in my small circle. My husband is very supportive, but I still feel that I need to be "responsible" and try and help our futures.
    Apologies for the length of this post!

    1. I love your comment! Please don't apologize for the length of it. It doesn't cost either one of us anything but time, and for me it was time well spent reading it.

      I was just going to put what I have experienced and thought in this comment, but I think a post is more fitting as there are a lot of women in your boat. It probably doesn't feel like it, because all the women you know work.

      Being 43 and watching my parents try to deal with retirement weighs on my mind. Especially since our government has recently at last admitted that we can't depend on Social Security anymore. With all the layoffs and such, we do not have savings. We do have some plans though. I wonder sometimes what God has in store for us.

      I'll make a post on this tonight after everyone has settled down and it is quiet.

      Lastly, it does my heart good to hear your husband is so supportive, especially when you have few others to really lean on.


  8. Housewife from FinlandJanuary 27, 2016 at 9:56 AM

    I had missed this great post and conversation. Luckily I noticed it now. :)

    I did get clinically depressed when I was at workforce. So I totally agree with you, Michelle. For me going back to work will never be an option; my mental health just could not cope with it.

    And here in Finland going back to work after five years would be practically unpossible, since I do not even have children to "excuse" myself. I should get a new degree at least. We have very high unemployment rates here and you need a special degree if you want to do cleaning job.

  9. I'm glad this post found you, Housewife. I don't know how I would cope if I absolutely had to go back to work. I guess I would, for we all do what we have to do...and I do know there are women who absolutely have to work, and I know there are women who work a few hours a week because they want to. That's okay, too I think.

    I'm just all for freedom, and it seems the freedom to be a housewife is slowly, but surely, being taken away.