8/23/09

Feeling Shamed for Working at Home

I had a conversation last night while at the grocery store that gave me cause to ponder my reasons for being a Work at Home Mom. While strolling along with my shopping cart scouting out the spices and olive oil, I heard someone call my name. A lady that I had known while I was teaching Resource at a local elementary school commented that she hadn't seen me for ages. I thought quickly to myself that it probably had been quite awhile since I haven't taught school for the past 4 years and two years before that I had taught at middle schools.

So, she asked me what I was "doing" -- which I knew meant, "where are you working". I happily told her that I was working out of my home. She looked at me funny and said, "doing what?", in which I replied, "Right now I'm making glass jewelry that I'm selling online". Well, I could tell from the look on her face that she was very confused and concerned. Then she asked me, "didn't you finish your degree?". I told her that I had -- and thought to myself, "I finished two degrees and was a project short of my master's" --- but I told her that I felt that I was needed at home right now. She then said, "for your children?" and I said yes.

We then parted --- on to look for the rest of the items on my list -- me with a very pensive attitude and concern in my heart.

I reflected how my mother's generation didn't have to worry about working out of the home -- and if there were those that did, it was against the norm. In her time, you were expected to be home gardening, canning, sewing, caring for the children, working in the community and church, beautifying your home, supporting your husband and family, etc. My mother consistently worked from sunrise to sunset. She wasn't thought weird for staying home and taking care of the home and family.

Even today there are many women who choose to stay at home and raise their children -- and most applaud their efforts -- believing that it is best for children to have a mom raise them rather than daycare facilities. But, for the most part, even in Christian societies, it is thought that a woman should go out and "do something" once all of her children are school age.

On that line of thinking -- when looking a a middle-aged woman whose 3 older children are out of the home and the 2 youngest are in High School, one may truly think that there is something "wrong with her" if she chooses to not work out of the home (I'm talking about me here). Others may wonder how I can find stimulating conversation and something to "keep myself busy" if I'm not busying myself away from the nest.

I hate that sort of thinking --- I love being at home -- I love my nest, my family and creating a great place for us all to be. Of course, we live very frugally. Others may not like that aspect of not working outside the home, but I take it as a challenge. I look at my ancestors and marvel at how they lived on very little means, yet were very happy people.

I'm hoping that my home-based business of creating pieces of beauty for others to wear will progress to bring our level of income to a place where we can have more security and peace -- that is why I'm doing it. But, at the same time I don't what it to take over the position for what's number one and two in my life -- God and Family.

I've still got a lot of rambling in this area to do . . . but not today . . . I'll leave some ramblings on the importance of a mother being in the home for another day.

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