This post was originally published in January, 2010.
It is not lost on me that the majority of my acquaintances – family & friends included – do not approve of my chosen ‘vocation’. We live in a world where getting paid to nourish or care for other people’s families is a respectable position. But if we do that work for our own loved ones instead of earning a paycheck, well then it is drudgery and we have either been coerced into it or are perceived as too stupid to know better.
Maybe you’re a mama who spends her days cooking, washing dishes, folding laundry, and teaching her children. Maybe you’re a keeper of the home and your morning "commute" involves heading to the goat pen to collect milk. Maybe you’re a farmer’s wife who keeps the home fires burning while he plants the field for 12 hours a day.
Maybe you’re a midwife who delivers babies, but is glad to never see a hospital. Maybe you’re a father who is tired of leaving your family every day so you give up worldly praise and possessions to work from home.
If you are any of the above then you’ve probably heard some interesting ‘comments’ flung in your direction. Here are a few of my favorites:
- But, what do you do all day?
- Aren’t you bored? (hahahehehoohoo)
- Aren’t you just wasting your college degree? (now there’s a chicken or the egg kind of question)
Whenever I hear these things I’m a little taken aback. Of course it stings a little, but what do you say; "Yep, I’m bored – just not enough soap operas or bon-bons to fill my day." (That’s even funnier because we don’t own a tv and I don’t know what a bon-bon is).
It’s true, I probably spend at least 60% of my days feeding my family – from gardening and preserving to cooking to dishes. (The other 40% is spent washing the other half of the dishes. just kidding. sort of.)
What’s scarier than that is that I actually love what I do and if you’ve chosen a different path then you probably do too.
Maybe none of the above applies to you, but instead you receive a low-level condescension for the things that you value and work for.
If you’ve faced this kind of negativity then I want to encourage you. What you do matters…
If you’re that husband who has chosen a simpler life to be with his family over any of the trappings of this world, then your family is blessed.
If you have turned down a paycheck to nourish, educate, and care for your family then you’ll see the grace that every small moment of the day can bring – through your children and your husband.
If you help a woman deliver a baby in her own home then I wish there were more caregivers like you.
If all you do in a 12 hour period is nurse and rock a baby then, my dear, you are the one thing on this earth keeping that baby loved and alive.
If you help people because you are tired of watching them get sick when they are lied to (often out of ignorance) by food companies, corporate farms, health care professionals, and even our own government (gasp!), then please keep helping people.