A Real Job

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I’ve had it suggested that I write about motherhood a bit; be careful what you ask for.


….Yeah, I’m posting on that.  Some idiot talking head makes a slam at a grandmother with MS and everyone has to comment about it.  I think I have something worth saying, though, rather than just talking about it because it’s big.


I’m a stay at home mom.  A home-maker.  A house wife.


I have worked outside the home, before I got married, in a very similar field—I was a Petty Officer in the Navy, specializing in calibration. (Making sure things that measure are accurate enough.)  Before that, I was in another similar field, at least sort of—I was a ranch kid.


Perhaps some folks look at those things and are curious—what on earth is the connection between being a mother, working with cows and fixing stuff that’s used to fix planes and ships?

The hours, for one.

All of those jobs are 24/7 on-call, with holidays usually meaning that there’s more work to get done.  Cows don’t stop eating just because it’s Christmas, after all.


The job description being woefully incomplete, for another.

I was a “calibration technician,” as I described earlier.  I also did janitor work, was a security guard, maintained a half-dozen different collateral duties that included things like “mailman” and customer service.


How serious the situation is, for another.  In all of these jobs, if I screw up, a life might be lost—and it’s almost always a hurry-hurry-hurry and wait situation.  The way that if you do it for the pay, there’s a screw loose somewhere.  Probably several more, though I’ll try to avoid making jokes about uniforms.


I don’t know what other folks “hear” when I say I’m a housewife, so I’ll try to lay out what I do, trying to stick to jobs where I actually do everything a civilian counterpart would be expected to do:

Day care, house keeping, laundry lady, cook (not chef— I’m not that good), handyman, secretary, inventory management and procurement.  (explaining that last one: part of managing the house is making sure we never run out of anything, and we don’t pay too much for anything.  I just know about what the normal price is for most of the stuff we use, and I keep our chest freezer nearly full with stuff that’s on sale, be it hams for 99c or frozen veggies for a third of the normal price, knowing what brands are cheap at twice the price and which ones are over-priced if you get them free.)


After the stuff that I do, there’s the stuff we don’t do:

We don’t have to have a second car, or any of upkeep that requires. (It’s a nice-but-not-required.)

We don’t have to eat out or get takeout. (Yes, my husband brown bags it, although he does eat out to socialize sometimes.)

We don’t take days off for appointments or illness, unless TrueBlue is deathly ill.

We don’t fight over who cleans the house.  (unless I need help moving stuff)

We don’t need daycare.

We don’t fight about yard work. (Unless I need Big Strong man to move things or kill a spider)

We don’t fight over laundry and such, or pay to have clothes cleaned.

We don’t have to worry about our kids getting “quality time.”  They get all kinds of quantity time—which also lets us have mom-and-dad time without as much guilt. (Hey, rule #1 of parenting—you will probably find a dozen things to feel guilty about before breakfast.  Not counting breakfast itself.)

We don’t have nearly the stress that double income families seem to have—when TrueBlue gets home, I can give him time to decompress; when I’ve had a horrible day, it’s horrible in different way than he’s had, so my venting doesn’t add to his work related stress.  (Digression: ever notice folks that complain about stay-at-home only talking about kids only want to talk about the office?)

I didn’t take six months off from work to give birth and bond.


K, you’ve made it this far.  Notice something missing?

I didn’t make any judgments about moms who get paychecks.

I bet I still get at least one comment from someone that claims I did, though.  There’s a LOT of guilt tied up in the topic—I’d guess it has to do with the BS we’re told about being able to do everything and do it well.  Every mom I know that doesn’t have a full time paid job sometimes feels guilty about it; every mom I know that spends any time focused on anything that isn’t the kids feels guilty about it.  “Why” is a psychology type question I don’t care to look at too closely, since it’s broad enough to say more about the questioner than the topic.


Being a house wife is a job.  The lack of a paycheck doesn’t change that in the least.  I suspect that if someone looked at the background and prior statements of the woman that started this whole kerfluffle, you’d find a lot of things that are a rejection of her notion of The Way Things Were as represented in the form of whatever she’s rejecting.  Think something like the famous line about hating what they think the Church is about, rather than what the Church actually is.

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  1. My wife stayed home with the kids Foxfier until they were in highschool and now helps me out at the office while they are in school. (Our oldest is finishing up his sophmore year at the University of Illinois.) I have always thought that I work so that she can do the important work of the family in being the mom of our kids.

  2. I have always thought that I work so that she can do the important work of the family in being the mom of our kids.

    Hey… maybe part of the problem is that “produce high quality adults” isn’t the main purpose of a family anymore? It’s about Husband and Wife, not Mom and Dad…. A sort of sister problem to the whole removing-reproduction-from-sex thing.

  3. Donald: You have a blessed family.
    Foxfire: “It’s about Husband and Wife, not Mom and Dad…. A sort of sister problem to the whole removing-reproduction-from-sex thing.” The word “sex” is used to confound the difference between “love” and “lust”. Husband, wife, mom and dad are offices assumed through the exercise of free will, informed consent, and are vocations. Male and female refers to the human being’s gender. Man and woman are human beings composed of body and soul as created by God. To consider the sex of a person without considering the soul of a person is a crime. To place the wife and mom outside her vocation to which she has consented to in an act of free will is a violation of a person’s FREEDOM, a crime against who a wife and mom is as created by God. That Rosen presumes to know the heart of Ann Romney is plagiarism, jealousy. I just realized that the word jealousy ends in the word “lousy”. Rosen was being lousy. With family, husband, wife, children, one learns how to pray.

  4. Found this:
    For thousands of years men were expected to provide for the household and women were expected to manage it. And in Memphis when I was growing up, most of the city commissions that actually ran the city were dominated by married women. There might be a figurehead man chairman, but everyone understood that the power rested with the commissioners, just about every one of them married, educated, and upper middle class. They had the time and interest to participate in self government. And of course most church committees and charitable functions were run by married women who had the time to participate in these associations. That’s not modern, of course. And surely we’re so much more civilized now and the children are so much more civilized since all that changed.


  5. There will be an extra bit of “oomph” in my intentions for you this Divine Mercy Sunday, FF.

    “The Mote In God’s Eye” is an all time classic, BTW.

  6. This whole episode has made me so mad I just want to spit! I work full time and my husband stays home with the children. The very idea that staying with the children is not a ‘real job.’ The thought that my job is more important than raising children. How utterly insane the world has become. I can’t even put together a coherent thought.

    Foxfier, I like your phrase, sister problem. Well this attitude is a sister attitude to what I frequently find at work when having some child issue (like being tired after staying up all night with the baby). The attitude goes something like this, ‘It was your choice to have children, so it’s your own fault. If you don’t like being tired, you shouldn’t have had children.’ There is little empathy or perspective, just blame.

  7. I stayed at home while my four kids were young. It was hard work, and we sacrificed the big house, the second car and many other luxuries for which I have no regret! I almost wanted to go back into the work force to get a little rest! But what I wanted even more was to be with and nurture my kids instead of daycaring them and barely affording the coverage. Lots of women in the mid to late 70?s and a little beyond still stayed home with their kids, as did all of the folks from my parents age group. “Stay at home Mom” should not now be a bad word. For those who can, God bless them- it is far better for your children! For those who cannot, God bless you as well; but please don’t be bitter and envious as some of these shrill women are.
    What is most stunning, is that the left consistently makes these ridiculously thoughtless and most often mean spirited statements, and never has to explain nor apologize for them!!!!

  8. Foxfier—what is so important in your post is the recognition of the unity of the marriage, regardless of whether the mom works. We chose that my wife would “work” at the vocation of family friend, leader, spouse, mom, executive, etc. In so doing, probably like Don, I worked the heavy hours building a practice. There were many scary times along the way. I always find it interesting, as again in the judginess by the left, how a life dedicated to her family as with Mrs. Romney, a noble inspiring vocation, is viewed by polity in a snapshot rather than the video stream of what was, is and will be. It’s the same leftist view of the so called “rich.” The snapshot of what is now in an instant, not the life time of sacrifices, hard work, and purpose undertaken by many of the so called “rich” to achieve something for others.

    I can honestly remember growing up the normality of moms being home, and dads pouring themselves out to provide for the family. In post modernity, this is considered a defect. Strange times indeed.

  9. I think Ms Rosen’s jab was a least in part motivated by class warfare– not only about whether or not working at home qualifies as “working”… some comments that I have read elsewhere are more about having the freedom to choose to stay home– which I know is always subject to what the values of the particular mom/dad are– some think they have to work when others would think they will cut back on their spending– but I do think class jealousy has something to do with the huge reaction.

  10. You know as rich as Jackie Kennedy was, people were proud of her for having a job… the princesses of England are former schoolteachers etc– the class issue is at the bottom of it– the royal family of England knows it is important that the regular folks can identify with them

    Although lots of women don”t “have” to work they just like to get out of the house and use their other talents once in a while

  11. Of course it was class warfare. Same as the old lie about only folks who are really well off can have a stay-at-home parent. Part of why there are so many programs to help pay for working mother’s daycare costs is because it usually doesn’t make economic sense otherwise; if you’re not willing to take handouts you don’t really need….

    While I was obviously not alive then, I get the impression that Mrs. Kennedy would have been lauded for anything she did. She was beautiful, fashionable, charming, married a handsome and charismatic hero that became president and died tragically and early. Any time they come up, my mom tends to point out that there were three pictures on the wall when she was a kid– Jesus, the Pope and JFK.

    Same way we’re supposed to be awed when the Obamas volunteer at a soup kitchen, but the Cheneys giving the majority of their income away is somehow bad; Sarah Palin running for office with kids at home is abandoning them, and Mrs. Romney having been a home-maker is a sign they’re spoiled, rich people.

    Don’t get me started on the “she had help” meme– I have no idea what their finances looked like when the boys were young, I doubt anyone spreading the meme has bothered to look into it, and I’d like to know what the heck daycare is if it’s not “help watching the kids.” Don’t see anyone discounting working mothers because someone else watches the kids part of the day….

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