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Is A Woman's Place In The Home?
You may be shocked at the answer.
“People are more important than the problem. Too many sacrifice relationships and potential relationships in their efforts to be right. That’s a life less fruitful, and far less fulfilling.”
One of my favorite pastimes is to sit down and have conversations with my family.
Not usually at once, it’s too hard to get all of us together with our schedules, but one on one. This is especially true with my oldest son, whom I affectionately describe as the ‘evolved Pokemon version of myself’. We both have strong convictions in similar areas of life, and we have burned those things of great import into the very core of my son’s foundation.
We also make fun of the stupid things people do and say.
The best part about talking with my boy is that through our conversations, we dig for the truth of a thing. We don’t always see eye-to-eye, but through honest conversations, we come to the same (or similar) conclusions at least 90% of the time.
No fear, mercy, hesitation, and no worrying about hurt feelings or residues of resentment. When I want to perform a thorough analysis into any thought, intending to lay another brick of truth to my character, my son is the perfect sounding board.
Today was that day.
I wanted to know, once and for all, if a woman’s place was actually in the home?
Before You Get Pissed, Hear Me Out
When my wife and I were about to get married, she pulled me aside just before the ceremony, telling me we ‘needed to talk’.
“Now?” I panicked.
Everyone had fought against us, except for my own parents. All I could think about was getting through the vows, packing our bags, and getting away from the people who hated my guts. She’d been the princess of the community, raised in the same area since she was three, while I was the black sheep. Well, wolf would have been a better description if you asked any of her family or friends.
But she chose…me.
“I need to tell you something,” she insisted. Her eyes were wide as saucers. She grabbed my hand and pulled me into a side room. It was there, alone, that I discovered a shocking truth about the woman I fought the entire world to secure as my own.
I was marrying a unicorn. That exceedingly rare female only spoken of by men in reverent whispers.
“I want to have twelve children.”
All I could hear was the clicking of the hands on the clock fastened to the wall overhead. I’m not sure what expression I had on my face, because she nudged me. “Did you hear what I said?”
I nodded. Not like twelve kids sounded so baffling — I was the oldest of ten children in my family — but I didn’t reply.
“And I want a promise from you,” she continued, “That when I have our first child, you’ll support us. I want to work until the birth, but more than anything I want to be a mother. To raise our children and be there for them, like my mom was for me.”
In that blissful moment, the butterflies settled in the bottom of my gut, and I gave her hand a warm, gentle squeeze. I couldn’t help but smile.
As of this writing, that was nearly 33 years ago. When our twelfth child was born, I kid you not; we gave one another a high five. Four years later, we had number 13, a baker’s dozen, when my wife turned 47.
We’ve had a rough go at life, and there were times so lean that I had to beg my darling to have more faith, more confidence, and more patience, so I could keep my word to her. She did, and so did I.
My wife is, and has always been, the beat of my heart, and the finest human being I have ever known. We entered into an agreement with one another, which has allowed us to work together to build a beautiful family of epic proportions. Together, we entered the world of parenting, taking on the responsibility of shaping the minds and hearts of a future generation.
From the moment our first child was born, we knew we had to be the guiding forces in their lives. It became our dedicated mission to mold and nurture them with love, care, and a little touch of chaos. To train those little souls to think for themselves, ask questions without fear, and to seek for the truth in all things.
Us Against The World
I’ll be the first to say that today’s world is batshit crazy.
Too many people don’t know who they are. Others don’t know what they believe. No one seems to take responsibility and accountability for their own choices, and instead point fingers at one another. Spend enough time on social media and you’ll overwhelm yourself with emotional vomit, spewed out by people with too much time and too little respect for others.
Why do so many prefer a shouting platform to be heard, instead of forming a community to have meaningful conversations?
I don’t know, but it seems sad to me.
It’s also one of the main reasons my wife and I knew our children needed to be shielded from the world around them. Not to prevent total exposure to ideas and experiences, but to meter them through principled filters. To prevent growing minds and tender hearts from being bombarded with issues and concepts that twist and corrupt even the oldest among us. Especially when in today’s society, you can find an ‘expert’ to back any side on any subject, regardless of your personal agenda.
So when I heard, “None of this would happen if women knew their place,” I had to jump into the conversation.
My son, sitting across from me, was grinning from ear to ear. He knew I’d take the bait.
“Wait, he actually said that?”
“Like it was one of the Ten Commandments. ‘A woman’s place in is the home.’”
I sat back and took a sip of my coffee. “You didn’t let that go, did you?”
My son stared at me over the rim of his own mug. “Would you?”
“Oh, hell no.” But there was more in that grin, so I prodded. “So, what did you tell him? If he was a co-worker, and he knows who you are, surely he had some misconstrued inkling of what your views were.”
That got an open chuckle.
“It shocked him when I told him I was going to have to disagree with him.”
What you should know about my oldest son is that he also found and married a unicorn, equally rare as his own mother. A young woman of traditional values, with a desire to bond with a husband to raise a family together.
“Tell me,” I said, setting my coffee down. After all, it was the perfect opportunity to make fun of a stupid statement.
“The confusion was priceless. He thought I would side with him.”
“I started by telling him I believed that a woman was more naturally suited in the home, but not that she belonged there. That it was more natural, though there are always exceptions, for women because of their kind and caring dispositions. Men don’t always have the virtue of patience. ”
“But the trouble with that statement was he missed the actual point. It’s about what you agree to in a marriage, between yourself and a spouse.”
Now it was me who grinned. “Go on.”
“We all have unique talents and personalities, but it's important to have a plan when building a relationship. When I got married, we talked about what kind of family we wanted, and what it would take to make that happen. For us, we decided I would do whatever it took to provide for the family, to make sure we had a home, food, clothing, and, as best I could, the comforts of life.”
“You both agreed on this?”
He nodded. “My wife agreed to make our house into a home, and to love and nurture the children.”
“I can imagine your friend getting more confused with such a statement.”
“Oh, he was. But I told him that in those discussions, we both came to the understanding that the care of the home was both of our responsibility. The care of the children was both our responsibility. That the bills were both our responsibility. We used our abilities and what we had to make a peaceful family home.”
It made me happy to hear him speak of the agreed cooperation and if you watched my son’s family, you’d know for yourself it had been the right decision. But there’s so much more to my son’s experiences.
“That’s when I explained why I had to disagree with him about a woman’s place being in the home. When my wife got sick, whose responsibility was it to take care of the children?”
“Exactly. She almost died, and more than once, dad. You remember the stress and strain, and how we had to change our lives. I had to be both dad and mom to the kids for a long time. All she could do was breathe in and out and stay alive.”
The changes had affected more than just my son and his family. We merged our households, so that if needed, we could use every available hand for survival. Thinking back, it was hard, but the residual blessings and experience made all of us better people. The bonds we’ve created are still growing to this day.
“I switched the circumstances, too,” my son continued. “If I was in an accident at work, and say I broke my back, I wouldn’t be able to pay any bills. That responsibility would then fall upon my wife.”
“Did your friend say anything to that?”
My son nodded. “He sobered up and said he hadn’t thought about it that way.”
“I wonder how many people do?”
IS A Woman’s Place In The Home?
“I believe it’s the wrong question to ask,” was my son’s conclusion. “It’s about what you have agreed to as a couple.”
In that, we agree completely.
To say that a family structure and how you craft a life together has to be a certain way isn’t for anyone else to determine but you. Only you know the just wants and needs of your family, or the family you want to build. What works for my wife and I won’t work for my son and his wife. What works for me doesn’t work at all for my two best friends and their families.
Does that matter in the least — especially if they’re happy?
Not one bit.
So why are we listening to the stupid statements of ignorant people, or a society trying to force you into a specific box that’s ‘acceptable’ to those who have a zero investment in your future?
I don’t believe you should. At least not the way others think you should.
Tell them to mind their own damn business.
…and you stay focused on minding yours.