Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Since When

Somebody finally had the guts to say it.

With the closing of our office coming up, the only topic of water cooler conversation at work these days is, What are you going to do? The answers run the gamut: transfer to another state, start a franchise, send out resumes, go back to school. Some of us still haven't got a clue. But finally somebody said what so many of us are thinking: "What I really want to do is to stay home and just do nothing."

We all laughed, of course. And then we started to tick off the things we'd do if we didn't have to have jobs. We'd be with our kids or grand kids so they didn't have to go to daycare. We'd volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, join the Red Cross, head the fundraising committee at school. We would keep the house clean and neat, shop for bargains, and cook homemade food every day. The laundry would actually get folded and put away. We'd garden, and some of us would even can vegetables. The artists among us would paint, sew, sculpt, write, design, play music.

In other words, we would do what our mothers and grandmothers did as a full-time job, back before "housewife" became a dirty word.

It was a long, hard-fought struggle for women to be able to have careers outside the home. When I was a girl, women were officially excluded from all but a few traditional fields, and from many top colleges. And to put it succinctly, that just sucked. Nobody wants to go back to that.

But why did all those warm, womanly, traditional, home-centered things have to become "doing nothing"?

11 comments:

Wildeve said...

I often wonder the same thing. I do more in a day when I'm not working than when I am. And I really enjoy it.

donna said...

The laundry does not get folded -- mine is still in my dryer. Have been out playing in the garden all afternoon, tho.

Sylvia K said...

Yep, I'm with you, I wonder the same things. Of course with me it's a little different because I'm too old to work anymore so I do stay home and do many of those things. But I worked until I was 67 and had the company survived the Japanese financial disaster in 99 I'd probably still be there -- there truly was no age discrimination with that company. So I have enjoyed the best of both since I didn't have to work while my kids were little -- I had four. Well, you know what I mean -- I didn't work outside the home, still plenty to do inside!

Liz said...

After being forced into an early retirement, and even though I have no money now, I am really enjoying being at home and doing what I want to do. Eventually, I will want to find something part time, but for now, after 30+ years of working, I am just chillin'!

ramblingwoods.com said...

It's funny because I grew up in an odd house because my mother was going to grad school and my father did all the typical house stuff. When it came time for my mother to defend her dissertation, her dept head told her that they weren't ready for a woman to get a Ph.D in that department yet. It sent her over the edge..

MyMaracas said...

Wildeve, isn't that the truth? My "day off" is always packed.

Donna, atta girl. I like a lady who has her priorities straight.

Sylvia, it sounds like you had the best of both worlds. I did too, for a while. I stayed home with my kids for the first few years, then worked from home for a while before having to go back into the "real" world. I never ran out of things to do.

Liz, I envy you your freedom. I'll be forced out, but will fall nine months short of qualifying for early retirement.

Michelle, your mom's predicament used to be common, unfortunatley. I wanted a career in science, but all my advisers told me that as a woman I'd never be hired, regardless of how well I did in school. Your dad must have been a real keeper to support his wife that way.

MyMaracas said...
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MyMaracas said...
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Small Pines said...

Ain't it the truth. And coming atcha from a same-but-different perspective: Ours is a two-male household, and the same applies. If we wanted to keep a perfect (or even decent) house, one of us would have to not work. It's a full time job. And we don't even have kids.

~ Lor said...

I know what you mean. Taking care of your home is more important than anything in the end - and it's a full time job in itself. Somehow, we've all been sold this bill of goods that we're not contributing if we don't also bring home the bacon.

MyMaracas said...

Hi, Small Pines and Lor. I agree; at least, I know it would take ME all day to really keep up with it. Why, I'd need a whole day with a vaccum cleaner just to get ahead of the cat hair alone.