Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New Quote

Much of the world would agree that being a housekeeper is acceptable as long as you are not caring for your own home; treating men with attentive devotion would also be right as long as the man is the boss in the office and not your husband; caring for children would even be deemed heroic service for which presidential awards could be given as long as the children are someone else's and not your own.
-Dorothy Patterson

I'd love to get some of your thoughts on what Dorothy Patterson has said about the status of being a homemaker, a wife and a stay-at-home mom...


Cupcake Mama said...

She was a speaker at the ladies tea at Parkway a few years back...our pastor's wife gave me her book when Meredith was born.

[not the] Best Blog Ever said...

Honestly... without giving it much thought... It seems like Dorothy has a bit of a chip on her shoulder. My perception and perspective is that SAH moms, wives and homemakers are not ridiculed in our current society or made to feel like less productive citizens. I think they have found a new, higher place of honor - even in a non-Christian worldview. But that is just my perception. :)

By contrast, sometimes as a working mother (which is by necessity and not necessarily by choice), *I* feel like the one who is chastized - oh, subtly, of course, and sometimes passively-aggressively (which is almost worse)... and made to feel like a less worthy individual and a bad mother.

Interesting perspectives and perceptions, indeed.

Thanks for the thought-provoking post and question this morning.

What are YOUR thoughts, Ashley?

Saundra said...

Dorothy's quote is not necessarily portraying her views, but that of the world and those that agree with it. That, being it's acceptibe, even heroic, if you get paid for or receive public recognition for performing the duties of a homemaker, devoted wife and mother, if it's not for your own family. This way of thinking clearly misses the mark. It takes more work, heart and grace to live this lifestyle and do it well, under God's leading, than anyone who "performs the tasks" for worldly rewards.

Saundra said...

It's a good quote that will make people think. Kudos, Ashley!

Mrs. B. said...

My mom (and her mom and her sisters) have all been SAHM's for most of their mothering "careers." So I know that the feeling of being less-than has not come from my up-bringing. They have always been valued, honored women in our family and never ridiculed for not taking a "higher, more productive path."
Here's another thing I know: I don't feel right when I am asked to write my "occupation" in a medical or other official form. I never quite know what to write. "Homemaker" just seems too shameful and lazy. And if I'm asked, "What do you do?" by a new acquaintance I always feel obliged to qualify my first answer of "I stay home with my kids." with, "...but I'm also in nursing school." Like the staying at home just isn't quite enough. Proving that I do indeed have ambition and another facet to myself instead of being JUST a mother.
Since these feelings definitely didn't come from my family - as I said before - they must have come from somewhere else. I think that source is our society and the stigma they've placed on being a homemaker or a SAHM.

In my opinion, Dorothy's assesment of our culture's feelings on homemakers is accurate and very eloquently related.
I actually love the quote and don't think she's being snippy or bitter in the least. I think she's pointing out an interesting dichotomy that is common to our culture.

I also think it's interesting that the SAHM's feel judged as not doing enough for society - which is actually quite the opposite, we're raising the next generation! And the working mother's feel judged as not being a good mom.
We all feel like we're not doing "enough."

I also wanted to add that we can't "afford" for me to stay at home either. The lifestyle we live is one of daily sacrifice because of my decision to stay at home with my young ones.

Mrs.M said...

I agree with dorothy, 100%. I love that quote. Thanks, Ash!

Alicia Marie said...

Interesting quote. I feel it is pretty accurate.
I feel very blessed to be able to "straddle the fence" so to speak. I went to college, got a degree and was working in my field when i had Jack. I work as a television producer for CBN and love what i do. I was doing what i always wanted to do "when i grew up". My company is amazing and let me work from home and allowed me to bring Jack in to the office when i needed to be there till he was 8 months old. At that point, I found an amazing lady to watch him two afternoons a week. I cut my full time job to part time hours and work 8 hrs in an office and 12-16+ hrs at home. Television is NOT the industry to cut hours. It can be very very bad for your career. I got a lot of negative feed back for staying home with Jack, though 99% of that feedback were single or childrenless people. A mother has never said a word to me about cutting hours and chosing Jack over expanding my career. It is a sacrifice and one that will be needing further consideration come baby #2.
I worked on an international show that reached millions of people for the Lord and took that very seriously. However, staying home with Jack and cutting my hours and influence is equally important to me. Do i miss the travel and production side of my job. Yes. Would I do it differently? No. If I was not able to work part time from home and was forced to make the all or nothing decision, I would stay home.
Ashley, what will you do when you are finished with school?

Akiyo said...

Its a really interesting quote. But I have to ask myself as well as you all ... Why does it matter so much to us what "much of the world" thinks? I have found that working moms are super sensitive to any perceived criticism about their choice (or lack thereof) as well. Its like we can't help it, we're women and we have to feel inferior about something. If there's nothing, we will make something up just so that we feel inferior. We're too fat. We're too skinny. We're too busy. We're not busy enough. Whatever. Lets just resolve to do what we've been called to do and be happy with ourselves and with our sisters. I don't think I'm better than women who work outside the home. I don't think my job is more important. (OK, maybe I do, but I don't think that working moms can't do their mothering just as well or better than I could.) I'm really blessed to be able to stay home. I don't know if that makes me superior or inferior in other people's eyes. I just know it doesn't really matter.

Burkinator said...

I'm not any kind of mother yet, but I think it's true that people can feel guilty for just about any reason.

It would be so much better if I could spend less time worrying about the world's opinion of me at any life stage or judging other people's choices. In the end, God's opinion is the only one that matters ... and still, I use all the wrong measuring sticks to sum up my worth.

Lyndee said...

If you believe what you are doing is worthwhile, that your children are worth an investment in time and money and your have found the favor of God in doing it what can the world say to make you feel you are worth less?
I work with foster kids on a part time basis and I see what the other end of the spectrum is like. I also understand there are those who believe paying others to care for their children while they continue to work is a valid choice with no reproach. I also know that some parents work opposite shifts to raise their kids and still earn what they need to live.
I know what my choices were and why I made them and how it turned out. I am satisfied.

Anonymous said...

Many good thoughts. I pray each Christian mama will seek God's grace and guidance, not only to raise her kids (obviously) but also in respect to her fellow mamas. Let's be far away from judging each other's choices. Let's assume everyone is doing the best she can with what her situation has allowed. Let's come alongside each other and offer support, not criticism for someone's choices which might be different than ours.

I love love love being a SAHM. I do not feel any judgment from society about it. I think people perceive judgment, then get defensive, as a result of their own inner twinges of guilt. I have never felt guilty for not "contributing" more. Perhaps that's why it means nothing to me when I hear things about SAHMs being "less than" - and why I kind of disagree with Ms. Patterson's quote.

I also know of SAHMs who can get so caught up in her own things that her kiddos could be starved for real loving attention. I know of working moms who make the most of every second they're able to spend with their munchkins each day.

A great discussion here, Mrs. B. I hope everyone will be encouraged and encouraging to their mama sisters. :)

-from a fellow Mrs. B. :)

The Arnold Family said...

I do agree with her. If you are out there taking care of others...not your own family...that is where the reward in and of public opinion seems to be.

When you take care of your house, husband and children, you make others look bad. You strike (unintentionally) a bad chord with women because they are not doing the same. Or they cannot do the same. It is an insecurity on their part.

But that is just the world's view. We know better. ;)

Laura said...

I think Dorothy's quote is really insightful about how today's society views women. But what it really comes down to for me, is how Elijah will view me when he is old enough to understand. I'm sure he'll know that even though I worked part-time, everything I did was with his future in mind. I stayed home with him (and travelled with him... hehe) until he was almost 2 years old and I think the mornings he spends at his play school now have been extremely valuable for his social skills and development. I don't think it's appropriate for anyone to judge another's situation because no one knows the ins and outs of each family.

When I was a nanny, I worked for some families where the parents were extremely ambitious couples with full+ time jobs. It was difficult for both families, but at the end of the day, all of the kids and parents treasured the time that they actually DID get to spend together. I think that's what's really important. Having our own lives is important for our well-being as women and healthy as mothers. But for those of us who do work, having that extra bit of energy to take care of our homes, partners and little ones as well, will leave the biggest legacy.

We've had mixed reactions to me teaching part-time and still doing theatre work (sparsely). People who don't have kids find it hard to put themselves in that situation. There's a good chance that they'll find themselves in that situation someday too.

I also agree that being a mother or a woman in general is a warrant for feeling guilt all the time about anything that they can convince themselves to be guilty about. Luke keeps telling me to stop saying sorry. I say sorry about EVERYTHING and I know it's psychotic. It's just a reflex. I'm working on it.

Good convo, Ash.

Mrs. B. said...

I think many of you girls hit the nail on the head in saying that the opinion of others should not concern us. It's all about judgement and one-upping when we start to think about what someone else is doing in comparison with us.
At our church service last night, Pastor was talking about being in the will of God - which is a really Christianese thing to say - but he was saying that when you find that perfect will of God for your life it fits you like a tailor-made suit. It might not fit others, but for you, it's the path that was formed just for you, your personality and your God-given talents.
It spoke to me about this issue. Some families work in perfect harmony with a mother that works away from the home. Some families work in perfect harmony with a mother that is always in the home with her children. And some work with a combination of the two...or a total diversion from those "norms."
It's okay. The life we're intended to live does not look the same on all of us. I wish the culture would take a clue from their "accept all lifestyles" attitude when it comes to stay-at-home-parenting.

As far as the question about when I finish my nursing degree - ideally, I'll be going to work. I'd love to work in a hospital where I can work flexible nighttime/daytime hours and the husband can be home with little ones while I'm at work. Mr. B.'s job will be much more disposable and flexible when I'm working more. We'll see exactly how it works out when we get there.

But I am SO grateful to be able to be at home and available to the kids while they're so young. These early years are important and I, personally, feel very convicted about and called to stay home with them in these years before they attend school (or we start homeschooling).

Thanks, everyone for your input. This was a bit of a touchy subject but everyone handled themselves with grace and class.

I am going to work hard at not judging my fellow mommies. We are all giving our children our best - how could we not?