"She hasn't worked a day in her life." I am sure plenty of you read those headlines. They were all over the media today. The voice trying to silence that sentiment was louder by afternoon. Hilary Rosen accused Ann Romney of never working a day in her life. Ann Romney raised five children, battled MS and breast cancer and I assure you she knows what hard work is. I am also sure Hilary Rosen does too. It's interesting what we all think counts as work- even other women speaking on women.
It is not uncommon in the normal course of my day ( and in all of our lives) to have all sorts of people ask me "if I work" and since I know what the official answer they are looking for is, I purse my lips and wag my head back and forth and reply 'nope'. What they seem to mean, I have figured out over the years is "do you collect a paycheck for what you do" and so my 'nope' is actually the accurate answer they seek. But not collecting a paycheck doesn't mean I don't matter. And it doesn't mean I have no opinions or thoughts. And it doesn't make me out of touch with the real world. And it doesn't mean I am old fashioned or dumb. And it certainly doesn't mean Fred tells me what to think. But that is often what people believe it to mean. They are wrong.
Most of what I do daily is drudgery. Wiping noses, sweeping floors, and washing the 8 billionth dish is more a form of slow torture than work, at least for me. It is very sacrificial in nature. Raising children is difficult but also incredible rewarding and joyful as well at times. Those parts don't really feel like work, even though parts of it involve work. Enjoying days that are sunny, and pool time in the summers, driving kids to the park and teaching them to read, those are awesome parts that don't feel much like work at all. Playing with children, or teaching them how to use the kitchen is fun, truly. I like it. Lots of people like their jobs. That is considered a blessing through all societies I know of. I have no boss. The only people I answer to for how I spend my days are Sophie, Sarah, Mary, Michael, Thomas, Joseph, Matthew, John-Paul, Peter, and Andrew. (Fred and I are so in sync we don't answer to each other at all- it is more one body in two places most days.)
I never felt capable enough to decide if I believe all women should or shouldn't do anything. Same goes for men. I also don't feel qualified to tell you all how to raise your kids, if you should have another right now, whether you should home-school them, or even what choices you should make when it comes to laundry detergent. We are, all of us, different. We get at life in different ways with different thoughts and approaches. I think that is not only OK, it's actually good. But I do think its very important we don't judge one another. We are likely to look like fools if we are sure we know the answer to what all things 'should' be.
At the end of most days I am happy to be a 'non-working woman'- but I am also very,very tired from all that non-work. Go figure.