Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Gift

A homemaker/housekeeper is a priceless gift and since Women's Liberation in the sixties, devalued even more than she had been before the sixties and by our own gender! At least, this is how I see things.

Several days before Christmas I pulled out my sewing machine, which I hadn't used in three years. I had just finished taking care of an enormous hair clog in the bathroom sink by taking out my trusty pliers and making a long hook with an old wire hanger. As I plugged in plugs, threaded the needle, placed the bobbin and began to sew I thought:  How many people can go from being a plumber to being a seamstress from one moment to the next? The answer is--most homemakers/housewives.

Most homemakers are Janes (or Jacks!) of many trades and even masters of some. A homemaker can go from cleaning the gunk off the grout to teaching his or her son to throw a ball or cast a fishing line. We can cook for small parties or big families, sew well enough to mend torn jeans and ripped seams. We can budget, inventory, shop and do basic bookkeeping. Many of us can knit, crochet, embroider, tat, and wield a glue gun like nobody's business. There are those who can take the plumbing apart and fix leaks or even install a garbage disposal. Often you will find us digging in the garden both for necessity and pleasure. Some of us can change the oil in our cars or if nothing else, at least check it! We are interior decorators, part-time counselors, emergency medical technicians and even minister to our family's spiritual needs.

Before the sixties and Women's Liberation women were pretty much unpaid labor and not truly thought about by the male half of the population. Once Women's Liberation went into full swing, us females put our two cents into the pot and made it well known that the woman who stayed home was not looked upon favorably. We gave the ones who worked outside of the home bad names, although I've never figured out why.

Over the years, I've noted that the view has changed, although last I heard there were still two camps with regards to women's liberation. The one that put down the homemaker and the one that empowered women for whatever choices they made in life.

There are so many women who have found themselves forced into a workforce they weren't prepared for and for a variety of reasons. Perhaps their husband of many years died or left them and they had really done anything except run a household for ten or twenty years. Or maybe they were in an abusive relationship and finally found the courage to leave, but leaving left them unable to provide for themselves and their children. Or, maybe they want to leave, but how would they eat? While the Employment Development Department insists a resume can be tailored to make it sound like a homemaker has many skills to impress an employer with, my experience has been very different.

So women, don't settle. Don't buckle. Don't listen if you feel like you aren't skilled enough or experienced enough to handle a job. If you have run a household successfully and raised children then you've been in the trenches and gotten your education by doing while others were studying. The only way to make a change in the world they say is to be the change you want to see. Let us support each other as we give our homemakers/housewives a voice.

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