Thursday, April 12, 2012
A Working Woman
Once upon a time, I thought I had it all. I was a wife, a mother and a legislative liaison for a large and flourishing Chamber of Commerce. I immersed myself daily in House and Senate Bills, wading through page after page of proposed legislation to determine their affects on business. I wore snazzy suits and high heels and regularly mingled with political and business leaders to discuss "important" issues of the day. I shook hands with senators and rubbed shoulders with corporate giants. And then, I went home.
During my years as a "working woman" I held the philosophy of most other women I knew. Stay-at-home moms were lazy. They were pathetically dependent upon their poor husband for everything. They did nothing but wash dishes, sweep floors and hang out in their sweats all day. I viewed them as an objects of scorn and derision. While I was making a difference in the world, they were wiping snotty noses and watching "Oprah".
After years of "having it all", doubts began to creep into my subconscious. Why did I feel so guilty when I dropped my little girl off at daycare? What on earth possessed me to want to make my own bread and feed my family wonderful meals when we could order in a pizza? Why would I rather work in the garden than have cocktails with political elites? Something was drastically wrong!
Little by little, I was awakened to the reality that I was designed to be the Mistress of my home. Slowly, the hold of being a "working woman" began to lose its grip on me and the desire to serve my husband, care for my children and manage my own estate took hold.
In the years that followed my exit from the working world, our family changed drastically. We pared down our lifestyle to match our income. We planted a garden, bought a cow and had more children. We looked to our own family for confirmation and encouragement, not some suit in a fancy car with alligator shoes.
And then the real work began. All the years I had worked, I had been positive that at-home-moms were lazy and ignorant. Six months of running (and I mean really running) my own home and I had a new respect for the Mistress of the house. Before I left the working world, I had no idea how many things I had let slide in my own home. My estate was in ruins. I had been so busy working for another man, that I had neglected the one most important to me.
I had to completely regroup. And, I had to completely relearn. I had no experience with being the Mistress of my home. What should I do? Where should I start? First, I had to learn what it meant to manage an estate. Now I know many of you are asking "what the heck is she talking about - does she really have an estate?". The answer is yes. I live in a shop, in the middle of a prairie. That is my estate. I am in charge of managing this entire property. My husband had entrusted me with this sacred duty. It is my job to see that this home runs well, that healthy meals are placed on the table. It is my job to see that my children are loved and well cared for. It is my job to teach my children and train and mold their character. It is my job to see that the buildings, roads and vehicles are well maintained. I see to the gardens, the bees and the building of infrastructure. I attend to the sickness, the scrapes and bruises and the mental health of all of my children and my husband. I manage the estate finances and work with the contractors (most often my children). I also direct the estate businesses (our home businesses). The truth of the matter is that I have never worked so hard in my life!
The reality is that a stay-at-home mother is at the very heart of our great nation. We raise the children, we manage the home, we improve the economy and we shape the souls of the next generation. Just try to find a CEO with that kind of job description!
I have read with great interest the attacks being leveled against Ann Romney (wife of presidential contender Mitt Romney) because she has "never worked a single day in her life". I can remember a time when I would have uttered such an ignorant statement - a time before I realized that I was the Mistress of my home. Now I just laugh at such nonsense. Obviously, the strategist who made those statements has no idea what it means to manage your husbands estate. And therein lies the problem.
And now, I must get back to my soap operas and bon bons....
Until next time.