I’ve always been fascinated by the generational differences that can be seen in women throughout the ages. Technology and life events over the past several decades have dramatically changed the definition of a woman’s role in society (for good or for bad, depending on who you speak to). When I reflect on three generations of women in my family, though, I am perplexed as to why certain people in the media are doing so much to disparage the roles of wife and mom.
My grandma lived from 1906 until 1993. I will always love and greatly respect the way my mom describes how HARD my grandma worked. She raised seven children and toiled alongside my grandpa on their farm. She would work in the garden for hours on end so she would be able to can enough vegetables to last their large family through the winter. She would cook all the meals, hang all the clothes on the line to dry, clean the house, etc…. Once my grandpa killed the chickens, she actually had to pluck all their feathers and clean them before cooking (something I cannot even fathom)! All the while, she cared for all seven of her children as well as her husband. My mom is always quick to share that even though my grandma worked so hard, she always sought out joy in her life. She never doubted for a minute that she was doing what she was called to do. I must admit, growing up and hearing these stories, I always felt like they came out of scenes from Little House on the Prairie. And when I think of that show, I always think about how difficult it was for everyone just survive. It was a kind of work that I don’t believe many now-a-days would want to even consider doing–I know I don’t.
My mom was born in 1943. Needless to say, there was a HUGE contrast between my mom and her mother. You see, my mom was of the generation when women were just beginning to try to prove they could have a full time job, and fulfill the roles of wife and mom, too. Did she work hard? You bet she did! In fact, one of my very first blog entries, A Day in the Life of My Mom, describes just how hard she worked.
I tried for many years to follow in my mom’s footsteps. It’s pretty shocking when I think of how similar our paths were. I taught full time for several years, am a wife, and a mom of three children. But in all honesty, I was an exhausted, short-tempered woman with a NOT-SO-JOYFUL HEART while working full time. I struggled greatly to balance my roles as wife, mom, and teacher. This was partly because I ended up putting the teacher role before the others. You see, my family life was falling apart. Working full time wasn’t working for our family. Through my own trials and struggles, the Lord has shown me, that I need to be who HE has called me to be. When I started listening to Him, do you know what happened? My heart became much more joyful!
Being a wife and mom plays such a vital role in building and maintaining the strength of our families. I have been extremely frustrated by all the news lately that has brought people to the point of openly diminishing the magnitude of work that is done by moms working inside the home. It is such HARD, yet important work that has a lasting impact on generations to come! Why are so many so set on defiling these roles?!
I will always be grateful for my mom, and other women of her generation who “did it all.” They paved the way for women in our society to have the CHOICE to work outside the home. I made that choice at first, and I am so thankful for the experiences and opportunities I shared. However, it’s important that we be reminded that with CHOICE, there is also the option that my generation and more should be able to freely CHOOSE NOT to work outside the home. And that should be okay, too! It shouldn’t be an all or nothing situation; because as you look at the different generations–much hard work was and is still needed for our families to survive!