Thursday, April 2, 2009

Moms, Come Home

1922 Magazine Cover

"The disappearance of homemakers means the disappearance of homes."

Today I read a thought-provoking article in The Family in America by Bryce Christensen. He writes that the number of homeless people on our streets "does not begin to reveal the scope of homelessness in America.

"For since when did the word home signify merely physical shelter, or homelessness merely the lack of such shelter? The desperate people sleeping beneath sheets of cardboard above heating grates, and probing for food in dumpsters deserve sympathetic attention. But those who lack housing are not the only people who lack homes.

"For as long as people have used the word, home has signified not only shelter, but also emotional commitment, security, and belonging. Home has connoted not just a necessary roof and warm radiator, but a place sanctified by the abiding ties of wedlock, parenthood, and family obligation; a place demanding sacrifice and devotion, but promising loving care and warm acceptance.

"Their lives anchored in some place fortified by the ties of marriage and family, the great majority of Americans have—until fairly recently—been able to refer to some special place as home, and to do so with the full and rich meaning of that word. In recent decades a devastating number of Americans cannot claim that secure base of family ties that previous generations recognized as the essence of a home."

Art by Eloise Wilkin

"Once highly honored, the social title of "homemaker" now carries deeply unfortunate connotations of incompetence and backwardness. The truth is that America desperately needs homemakers."

This is a fascinating, but lengthy article. I'm going to quote from it in future posts, but if you're interested in how homemaking makes a difference in society, I encourage you to read the whole thing. HomeLess America: What the Disappearance of the American Homemaker Really Means.

8 comments:

Kay Dennison said...

I've thought this for years. When we got "liberated", it changed everything.

My husband and I agreed that I should stay home with and raise the kids and I enjoyed it. When the therapists decided that I should go back to work after my stroke, it was a disaster and it worked out that between the cost of daycare, clothes and other work expenses, and that we ate out a lot because I was too tired to cook, I really wasn't making any money AND quality time with the kids was difficult. So I quit.

Motherhood has taken a beating and I think a lot of problems in our society are the result of its demise.

Christie said...

It's always been a pet peeve of mine to be dismissed by professionals because "all" I do is stay at home. I think I have the most important job of any others out there.

gab said...

Clicking over right now...

Anonymous said...

I just read the whole article and I agree with it. I used to think my talents were too important to be "wasted" by staying home. We had more money, a bigger house, our kids went to private schools because I worked, but we lost the important things. I was not there for the kids and they got into trouble. I was too tired for my husband and he got into trouble. Now I'm left with a big, empty house, and an empty heart. I wish I'd realized the value of my skills in creating something that would last.

Heather Carson said...

Thanks for this article! I'm heading over to read it now.

Linda said...

I know of no other profession where we have as much control over our personal lives, including those of our family. An awesome and eternally rewarding job.

Linda said...

In this job I can say, "Today I'm pretending I'm in Mazatlan," and turn off the phone, take my diet coke & current library book with me out on the deck to lie in the sun. (Unless it's January. Then I pretend I'm at a cabin retreat.
Can't do that in any other job.

Katie H said...

Are you kidding me?! Moms - or dads - who stay at home have it MUCH harder than those of us who work. You are forming your own little society at home, and that is a 100% on the clock job. I am in awe of stay at home parents...

Reading right now.