Apologies again for a somewhat lengthy absence; the baby is becoming more mobile and getting into everything! What a joy.
Babyface and I went to Post to eat lunch with Daddy the other day, and he had to run off to answer a call, so we were alone in the conference room for a little while as I finished eating. A detective and friend of ours was working on a case and he came in and started visiting.
We talked about how important it was to be near family, and he asked if we had any leads to possibly moving soon to be nearer ours (we don't presently, but you could pray for that!) and then he asked an interesting question.
"When you guys do move, do you think you'll get to go back to work?"
You have to understand, his wife works full time and they have a baby just three months younger than Jamesy. I know from previous conversations with his wife that they never even really considered her staying home. They have a house payment and she loves her career and they are well-connected to the community here--and it sounds like they have a great setup with daycare, etc. that they really like. I'm glad this works for them, but I can't even imagine it - and I'm inclined to make some self-deprecating comment about how I am not a tough enough woman to work and raise a kid (which I really do believe in a lot of cases--especially the ones where there's no other option--it does take a much stronger woman than me!)
And he made some remark about wasting my degree, to which I said I would consider working after the kids all go off to college, and he joked that there was an awful lot I could forget between now and then. The conversation turned to other channels, and eventually I finished eating and came home. But that part of the conversation stuck in my head.
In fact, the only two responses to those kinds of questions posed to "full-time housewives" that I usually hear are mine kind (a non-committal reference to career options I could have, were I so inclined) or a very righteous indignation at the implied belittling of the role of homemaker (which is how I actually feel when questioned thus, but I don't like getting into it with people who are just trying to make casual conversation.)
I wish I could communicate better a more middle ground - there are careers I am qualified for; I paid big bucks to get those qualifications; it would be entertaining and perhaps fulfilling to pursue those careers; my husband and I have chosen this path; staying full time with my son (and any future kids we may have) is a higher priority in our family than more money or my career; I consider educating my children from 0-18 an excellent and fulfilling utilization of my degree - I think career women are great, I'm proud of my friends who are doing that very thing. But it is not for me.
I could even go so far as to say that being a church lady and homemaker has been my dream all along - but then, I've had many dreams. Spy, actress, event planner, fashion designer, author, politician, adventurer...and some of those have or will come true yet, and some of them will not. And that is life.
But it also brought to mind a quote I've been seeing around lately that is attributed to C.S. Lewis:
The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only - and that is to support the ultimate career.
But of course, the internet being what it is, this quote is a loose replication of what Lewis actually said on the subject:
I think I can understand that feeling about a housewife's work being like that of Sisyphus (who was the stone rolling gentleman). But it is surely in reality the most important work in the world. What do ships, railways, miners, cars, government etc exist for except that people may be fed, warmed, and safe in their own homes? As Dr. Johnson said, "To be happy at home is the end of all human endeavour". (1st to be happy to prepare for being happy in our own real home hereafter: 2nd in the meantime to be happy in our houses.) We wage war in order to have peace, we work in order to have leisure, we produce food in order to eat it. So your job is the one for which all others exist..." (pg. 447, Letters of CS Lewis, 1988 ed.)And I think that he puts it beautifully. For though there is deeper meaning in many jobs, that deeper meaning still yet goes back to that idea of home...home...home.
And I thought of one particular friend; a hard-working, delightful woman--and when she gets home from her job, she has a darling apartment with a fluffy cat. She cooks herself gourmet dinners and buys fresh flowers at the farmer's market. I just love that!
Anyhow, that's what I've been pondering of late.