This is a guest post by Joanne Miller. She is my wife and is affectionately known as Queen Mother in the 48Days community. She writes, serves the needs of others and spends time with her grandchildren. Her newest book is titled Be Your Finest Art and that’s also the name of her group here in this community. She doesn’t use Twitter or Facebook but has more connections than anyone I know. If you’d like to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
I had a “friend” once ask me how on earth could I be content with being just a housewife? She and her husband ran a successful business together and they had raised one “perfect” son who didn’t interfere much with their daily schedules. I have to admit I was a bit put off by her question and probably stammered a bit as I tried to answer nicely (our husbands were friends) without punching her lights out. The truth is, I sometimes, just briefly, for a minuscule minute, wondered the same thing myself.
When people ask me what was my career I proudly say, house wife, mom, supporter and cheerleader for the family. I’m not at all embarrassed, ashamed or put down by that title. Somewhere along the line, the women’s liberation movement did a lot to create unrest, resentment and a feeling of unfulfillment in women for staying in the home and taking care of a family. Really, it doesn’t seem complicated to me to think that if a couple decides to have a family that someone has to take care of said family. Funny, when you think about it, how many parents have the conversation with their child who wants a new puppy…. “Now, Ian, if you want a puppy you have to be responsible to feed it, exercise it, train it, discipline it, take care of it all the time!” yet when it comes to taking care of their own offspring, that responsibility is handed off to others to take on those very roles. (Let me add a caveat here. I know there are plenty of single-parents who don’t have the luxury of staying home to play “Susie Homemaker”. And I know for most of those homes, the parent would love that scenario. Please know my heart goes out to you.)
Dan just attended a conference in Boston where Martha Stewart was one of the speakers. He said she made no apologies for lifting homemaking to an ART. I like to think I did the same thing. I always felt someone had to be the stable influence, especially in the entrepreneurial, often chaotically unpredictable home. Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote about motherhood in her famous book, Gift From The Sea, “We do not see the results of our giving as concretely as man does in his work. In the job of home-keeping there is no raise from the boss, and seldom praise from others to show us we have hit the mark. Except for the child, woman’s creation is so often invisible, especially today.” Those words were written in 1955 and still have relevance. Yet, just as the child who takes his responsibility seriously and raises that rambunctious puppy to be an obedient, loving household pet, the proof is in the pudding. Schools are in a mess today largely because parents have abdicated their responsibility in teaching respect, honor and a love of learning….things kids used to receive from parents who looked at child rearing and homemaking as a serious career, teaching their children how to live responsibly in the real world.
I will refrain from getting on my soapbox and spare you my rant on this issue. I do know, however, that in the early days of building the 48 Days business, I would often assure women that the most important career they will ever have is raising responsible children and creating a haven of peace for their family. Invariably I would have women weeping as they told me they so needed to hear that. If you are a mother, I hope you realize childrearing is for a season. Mothering is forever. Just as that little boy grows up with a well-behaved and much loved family pet, your family and your community will honor you for the effort and time you put into creating a home you can be proud of and children who become responsible citizens giving back to the world in their own way. Mom is the most influencing person in their world all their formative years. Regardless if you are a full-time stay-at-home mom or have another career outside the home, you have a very important role to play in your family. I hope you will wear your motherhood badge with pride and the knowledge you are the hub around which family and home revolve and you will reap great rewards in seeing your children, and your spouse become people of influence and success.