“Why are smart women swapping boardrooms for bunting and bake-offs?” was the question posed in a recent Herald article by Alexandra Carlton.
Carlton went on to explain that to the dismay of many a hard-core feminist, educated women are deciding to leave their high-powered jobs to be homemakers and care for their young children. This new and somewhat unexpected generation of “yummy mummies” think it a noble job (worthy of an intelligent and educated person), and are even finding themselves rather fulfilled.
I think it’s about time that we value all the work done after hours. In my own life, my most valuable efforts don’t earn me a cent.
C.S. Lewis said that, “Homemaking is surely in reality the most important work in the world. What do ships, railways, mines, cars and government exist for except that people may be fed, warmed and safe in their own homes? The homemaker’s job is one for which all others exist.” He was right when he said it and it still stands, as seen at last week’s World Congress of Families.
We all need a home. For this, housework needs to be done and meals cooked. Why shouldn’t a man and woman bring all their creativity and intelligence into the home as well as the workplace? It doesn’t make sense to be an awesome professional, but not even know how to make your own bed!
One rather bitter quote in the article came from feminist and author Anne Summers. She said, “If women want to quilt and craft and sort out their linen cupboards on a weekly basis that is their business. But don’t claim it is a superior way to live.” But why take such offence at housework? Presumably even Ms Summers has to do it herself.
Sometimes I think the feminists of past generations have let their daughters down. I remember going away with a group of friends, and someone spent 45 minutes struggling to cook scrambled eggs. Why had no one taught her this basic skill? Is this a win for feminism? Or just a generation of poorly skilled people?
I want to show my children that these “old-fashioned domestic skills” have value in their lives, and hopefully they will one day feel confident in creating a home for those that they love.
None of this is to say that women shouldn’t advance in the work place, or ever have a career. In Sydney, so many mothers have to work, at least part time. Not so that they can wear designer clothes or travel regularly to Europe – they work to get food onto the table. I’m currently working part-time, and I’m always going to be professional and passionate about my role as a teacher. However – although it may sound old-fashioned – my heart is in my home.
And at the end of my life, I’m never going to regret putting my family first.
Clare Horsfall is a Drama and English teacher and more recently, a new mum. This post was first published on her personal blog, stillreadingbedtimestories.wordpress.com, where she tackles literature, movies, food and the adventure of being a parent.