Thursday, January 20, 2005

Why I can't get stuff done

I was bemoaning to DOB last night about the slowness of my progress at such tasks as organizing the house. Just keeping up with the bare minimum of chores fills all my time; I can't imagine having a hobby or going out except for grocery shopping. Why did I have so much less time than everyone else?

Then he reminded me that I do have a part-time job. For some reason it never occurs to me that this factors into my time. I do it at home, and I do most of it before D1 even wakes up in the morning. And I do it for DOB--doesn't every good wife spend a few hours every morning doing data entry for her husband? But it's still time I don't spend on other things. So. It's OK.

I do sometimes remember to mention it to people who ask if I work. Which makes me wonder: why does it make me feel more significant to tell people I work part-time for DOB's firm--a job for which I am, with all due humility, vastly over-qualified--than it would to tell people I am a full-time housewife and mother, a job which I could study for my entire life and not begin to master? Why does our society place value only on activities which lead directly to monetary remuneration?

I think the slighting of the contribution of housewives is just a symptom of a value system that equates productivity with money and leisure with amusement (i.e. mindless self-indulgence). We need to revive an appreciation for leisure as a means by which we can become better people; and a definition of success which only has a small place for money and much larger places for health, good relationships, and a capacity to appreciate what is excellent.


Devona said...

I have that same struggle. I say that I'm a stay at home mom, then i mention that I'm also going to school part time. As though getting my degree were of higher importance than raising my baby.

I'm always sitting around the house with my baby, and thinking of ways that I can get a part time job with out having to sacrifice nursing. I'm always trying to figure out why I have this desire for a job. Do [i]I[/i] value money more than I should? Is this desire just rubbing off on me from society? Or do I really have a genuine longing to work?

I don't know the answers.

Devona said...

That was supposed to be [italics] I [/italics]. It didn't work.

Queen of Carrots said...

I think it should work if you do it in the little "greater than, less than" brackets. Let me see: italic.

On the weightier matters, perhaps it is simply that it's so hard not to pick up on other people's value system, which comes out in such subtle little ways (the way they phrase the question, their facial expression) that we don't consciously notice it. And the expectation is that every able-bodied adult will be out making money, or actively preparing to do so. It's almost the definition of being grown up and mature.

Anonymous said...

Or maybe it's because nowhere in the Bible does it say that moms are supposed to sit home on their behinds and ignore the talents and affinities God gave them in order to raise the kids. Check your Proverbs 31 woman again. Child-rearing is something that God intends to go on as you go about your life, not as the whole sum of it.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, not used to posting on this comment system anymore. The above post is not by anonymous, it's by Auntie M., and any residual snarkiness I have failed to remove from my tone isn't aimed at Devona, sorry.

Queen of Carrots said...

That does not relate to the point of my post, which was why I feel/people seem to perceive me as more significant for doing something that simply makes money--even though it uses far less of my God-given talents than childrearing would. We're talking data entry here. Not thrilling.

And while it may be true that God doesn't require women to ignore their talents and abilities to raise their children, it's also pretty tough to fully realize all your talents when you have a houseful of small children, without neglecting them, which is wrong. Some things just have to wait.

the Joneses said...

Being the definition of American deadbeat -- no college, no job, and babies as old as my marriage -- I've wondered about this perception also. Along with "making money," I think the general public sees success as doing something that not everyone else can do. The more specialized your field, the better. Since our society thinks raising kids and running a household is something anybody could do, as a sideline while you pursue your real life, stay-at-home moms don't garner much respect. -- SJ

Devona said...

This has been good for me. When I don't get my thoughts out of my head, they have a way with running away with me.

I was remembering yesterday, while out to dinner with my husband why it is that I am finishing my degree at all. Since I am an English Major, in all actuality, I could just write and write and write until I get published, and never get my degree. But I'm working towards this for Olivia, not inspite of Olivia. If something were to happen to my husband I didn't have a degree we'd be hard up, but we're considering it insurance.

Same thing with you, Karen, I'd expect. I wager that you do data entry for your husband because in some way it is of benefit to your family. Either now your husband had more free time, or he doesn't have to pay someone else, or some other benefit I'm not thinking of. But I bet it'd be really great if we didn't have to work, and we could put all of our talents towards being better moms!
p.s. Notice I learned about italics!