Breaking the Glass Ceiling
Much is being said about equal rights for women in the workplace. I support this. However, I hope our society will not create an environment where two incomes are required to support a family. My mother chose to be a homemaker, and our family was blessed by it.
Marie Hafen said, “There is no career more meaningful, no calling more divine, than being a person who truly makes a home in the sense of creating and maintaining an environment of human warmth, intellectual stimulation and spiritual strength–someone who sees the wellspring of personal meaning that lie beyond a first glance at a diaper, a frying pan, and a worn tennis shoe.”
During my first year of marriage, my Dad told me that he believed that he and Mom each had important roles in the family. He was the provider and Mom the homemaker. He said that no amount of money could compensate for contributions Mom made to the family as a homemaker. Over the years I have come to see the wisdom of his advice.
Each morning Mom entered our rooms singing to invite us to cheerfully greet the day. While we prepared to leave the home, Mom was making a hot breakfast that we all ate together around the table. Our home was modest, but clean and orderly. When we came home from school Mom was sitting at the table ready to hear about our day while we ate our “after school snack.” We took for granted that she was (and still is) intensely interested in our accomplishments and struggles. After we children had our time to “decompress,” Dad came home and they chatted with hor d’oeuvres. Rather than having two tired parents coming in at the end of the day, Mom created a peaceful refuge from the world. The evening meal was thoughtfully prepared and was a time for conversation and laughter. We had a regular bed time, and fell asleep to the sounds of our parents popping popcorn and enjoying their evening.
Dad insists that the money saved through Mom’s creative homemaking more than made up for money she could have earned outside of the home. Our lunches were packed, we picked out the fabric for the clothes Mom sewed, we worked together in the garden and preserved foods. Yes, when we traveled we camped, and our big adventure was the out-door-movies with a bag of popcorn; but we never felt that we went without. In fact, we felt bad for our neighbors because their mother worked outside of the home. When we came home from school we played with our Mom but they had to go to the babysitter. Yes, we made our doll houses out of scrap fabric and shoe boxes and Mom helped us sew our Barbie clothes, while they had the “store bought” Barbie-Houses and clothes, but we had the companionship of our Mom while they didn’t see their Mom until the day was far spent. We witnessed her acts of compassionate service to people in our community and were aware that she took time for activities that interested her. I wish I had space here to list the gifts of time and service Mom gave us to enrich our lives, teach us how to live happily, and give us a feeling of being cherished.
When our first child was a year old, I was offered a job in an attorney’s office. I accepted and took my son to a home day care. I spent the day amid the leather bound books, taking calls, interacting with professionals and enjoying lunch at a restaurant. However, when I picked up my son, the look of betrayal in his eyes ended that career plan. No, I realized that no work outside of the home was more important than being a part of his day. I was tuned into when he needed a walk, when it was time for stories and snacks, when it was time to be wrapped tightly in a blanket and lulled off to sleep with a song in the rocking chair. Building high towers and knocking them down, looking into each other’s eyes and laughing-nothing the world offered could compare. The time savored as a homemaker with each of our children has been precious beyond any price.
I don’t imagine I can compare myself with my Mother, but her example of setting aside a career outside of the home to magnify the role of homemaker and mother of four has inspired me and my siblings. I hope that when young girls are thinking of possible careers, they don’t overlook the role of homemaker.
I close with a thought from Neal A. Maxwell: “When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses? When the surf of the centuries had made the great pyramids so much sand, the everlasting family will still be standing…the act of deserting home in order to shape society is like thoughtlessly removing crucial fingers from an imperiled dike in order to teach people to swim.”
I can vouch for Vicki.s description of her mother as I had the pleasure of living for 64 years with her and could add much more about her as a mother and wife.