Thursday, November 16, 2006

Happiness found in an unexpected place

Wow, life has been odd lately.

It feels like I haven't posted anything in ages, and there is a reason for that. I've been a bit busy preparing a court case, getting ready for Christmas, and generally getting things done. I am, in other words, completing my transformation into a Catholic housewife. There is, however, one problem with the situation

No one warned me this life would be so good.

I know writing about things going well isn't nearly as interesting, but this is honestly something that I don't think gets enough press. Being a full-time wife/mother/member of the community is far more pleasing and rewarding than any leftist/feminist/metrosexual would have you believe.

Granted, I am lucky in that I have Chris and friends to help take the load off when I need it, and I am grateful that Chris's income more than covers our expenses so I can DO this. However over the past couple of months I've met more women like me who make do with much less, and are just as happy with their circumstances, if not more because they don't have spiteful ex-husbands and court cases to deal with.

Forget what everyone learned in the 80's and 90's, that money is power and money is the only truly "fulfilling" pursuit. Money is a tool to alleviate worry, nothing else.

Over the past couple of months I have almost completely taken on the lifestyle of a Catholic housewife. I've been taking care of the household and my usual duties taking care of the family, participating and helping in church and school functions, and being a better mother than I have ever been. I've been doing something far more fulfilling than any work I've ever done, I've been raising my kids and involving myself in the community. And it's been GREAT.

Has there been any monetary reward for all of this work? Well, no, unless you count the money I save by not working elsewere. The rewards are much more intangible amd incalculable.

Now my mother was a stay-at-home mom until I reached grade school, and when I originally stopped working I thought my life would be more like hers. Except my parents were always short on money, and for some reason short on friends, and I always considered my mom's time staying at home to be a rather lonely and stressful affair. I couldn't understand why all of these "overly religious" full time mothers were so happy. I honestly thought they must have been brainwashed. Now I know better.

What a stay-at-home mom with a religious community nearby gains is incalculable. And when I say community, I really mean it. What is gained by having multiple families who send their kids to the same school, go to the same church, and engage in the same charity work together is a sense of community I've never had before. Even in the small town where I lived (and my parents still do) the community isn't nearly as tight knit. I now understand why the Amish and Quakers are so happy with their life; it's the same concept, and the same feeling of belonging. It doesn't matter how you feel about their beliefs, there is something to be said for the lifestyle.

Religion isn't even a necessary part of the lifestyle. The sense of community I get through helping the school and getting to know the other parents is immensely gratifying. We all have something in common, that we're sending kids the same age to a private school and we're all heavily involved in our kids' education, and therefore everyone else's kids' education. That alone ties us together in a way I never experienced in a public school. If I had to work as well, I would miss all of these opportunities to get involved and miss the community as well.

Do I think more women should take on this sort of lifestyle? If they can handle it and their spouses can handle it, yes. But it's not for everyone. That being said, I don't think enough good things could ever be said about how fulfilling the life of a full-time mom and member of the community can be. For decades the media has told us that stay-at-home moms are downtrodden and miserable. And like in most things, the media is wrong. I'm not downtrodden or miserable, and I've never been happier.


Just call me Mel, everyone else does.