More Than A Keeper

Dear sisters,

I hope this pre-Thanksgiving note finds you all well today and that our Beach sisters along the Eastern Seaboard are getting the relief they need from the wrath of hurricane Sandy not to mention the ” no name ” Nor’ easter storm we are smack dab in the middle of. We’ve lost power twice today and many more North Eastern communities have been hit with record snow fall over the last two days. MaryJanesFarm has created a Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief fund and offering a percentage of all sales to the victims of Hurricane Sandy and this Nor’easter! High winds and heavy rains are my sound track today but snow is not predicted for us further up the coastline. I think it’s going to be a doozy of a winter! That being said, seasonal changes abound for better or worse. After all, as a “stay at home mom” I take my role as “the keeper” of our home pretty darned seriously! It’s part of my job description to shore us up during stormy weather and to do my best to keep things running smooth as the bay on a flat calm day. Come on in out of the sleet and snow for a hot drink and a nice long chat about keeping the harbor light burning in a modern world.

I know, I should probably be showing you the latest, greatest Thanksgiving tablescapes, or sharing a favorite family recipe but, something else is on my mind and I just can’t seem to shake it. Here it is…Have you ever noticed that even in today’s modern world many women who stay home with their children either full time or part time will still say when asked what they do, ” I’m ” JUST ” a stay at home mom?” Are you guilty of this too? I recently attended a B.I.G. ( believe, inspire, grow ) women’s networking meeting where women gathered to meet and greet and to share what they do. Most of the women there were mothers of children ranging from under a year old to college age who also work part time at businesses which allow them the freedom to be at home with their families and still earn an income.

I attended the meeting thinking I might get a spark about moving forward with my budding backyard blossoms flower business ( and I did ) but something else began to flicker too! Don’t you just love when that happens? As the meet and greet portion of the night progressed, I couldn’t help but notice that many women still say “I’m JUST a stay at home mom “when asked what they do even if they work part time while raising their children. Think about this for a minute…

When a woman say’s, “I JUST stay home with my children”, it sounds like an apology rather than an exclamation! This just can’t be sisters! The women of today in our country are luckier than in any other time in history. We can choose how we will shape our lives around our families and our work. The trick is being at peace with whatever that decision is. And that’s different for every woman. What a clever, enterprising, creative, ambitious, savvy, and talented bunch of women we are! We can “bring home the bacon” (Some Farmgirl’s raise their own) when and if we choose too and feel proud doing it!

It’s inspiring to think about the many enterprising women and accomplished writers that have been born while keeping the home fires burning. Our very own, MaryJaneButters, the late Tasha Tudor, Ree Drummond ( Pioneer Woman )and the Goosberry Patch Girls just to name a few.

So, why aren’t we ” ‘ JUST ‘  as proud when we say we are SAHM’s? Why do many women still say I’m ” JUST “ a stay at home mom instead of, I’m a homemaker and I work part time selling, painting, crafting, speaking, writing, blogging, knitting, farming, making soap, teaching, tutoring, taking photos, making jewelry, sewing, cooking…Well, you get the idea. Doesn’t that phrase sound more confident, and empowering?

I’d like to think the word ” just” when used with the phrase ” a stay at home mom ( or mom ) ” isn’t intentional, but rather an unconscious use of the word similar to the way we use” like” in our vocabulary today. The difference being, the word “like” is just a lazy filler with no real consequence of changing or effecting ones opinion of themselves or others. But the word, ” JUST” when tied to the phrase a stay at home mom ( or a mom ) says to the world ( and to yourself) that your station in life is diminished, nominal, insignificant, small, minute, trifle, reduced. Maybe you don’t really believe it but, the word is used often without even thinking about it. I believe the phrase “JUST” a SAHM sank into our vocabulary during the 60’s and 70’s when it wasn’t cool to choose a domestic lifestyle. Grown women were running away from home, burning there bra’s and sleeping under trees! It was a crazy and radical time to grow up in as young woman. I think 40 years is long enough for the idea that women are less than successful and less valued if they don’t work part time or full time outside of homemaking. I say we ship that old idea out to sea right here and now!

If you were an employed mom before having children, I bet you never said, I’m ” JUST” a hairdresser, teacher, marketing executive, editor, writer, waitress, graphic designer, business owner, dental hygienist, veterinarian, Dr. nurse, lawyer, firefighter, grocery clerk, dentist, x-ray technician, electrician, human rescourses director, salesperson, manager, surgeon, interior designer, post master, landscape designer, architect. Etc.

Every mother will have times when she works a lot or a little or not at all while raising her family. In many cases she is the main breadwinner of the family! We mom’s need to stick together and support one another no matter what our station in life is at the time.

Let’s make a pact for the mothers of today and tomorrow to never, ever use the word ” JUST” anywhere near the words mom, momma, mama, mother, me maw from here on out! Deal?

Speaking of amazing mama’s. My cousin Teri ( SAHM of three little darlings all under the age of 6) called me today to tell me about her writers group Write On, Mamas and their collaborative writing project. The group has 13 members, all moms and one sweet dad who writes to keep the memory of his wife (who he lost from breast cancer) alive. They gather monthly, to share, encourage and critique each other’s writing plus they have written an Anthology with the shared goal and vision of getting their stories published! They are currently having a crowd fundraising event at the host site Indiegogo to raise enough funds to have their book professionally edited and published! This is an amazing collaborataive effort and a “girl genius” idea to boot! If you’re a ‘ write’n mama too check out their site. The fundraiser ends Wednesday!

I am utterly convinced that staying home with children can be one of the most fertile growing periods for us as mothers and women. During the eighteen years I worked as a hairstylist it was easy to state my title on a business card. Debbie Bosworth, Hair Stylist/ Salon Owner. Period. Done.

Being an extra- ordinary homemaker has made me into more than “JUST” the keeper of our home. It has stretched “me” far beyond what I ever dreamed I could or would ever be. It was hard to put the old career girl in me out to pasture for a spell. I still had plenty of get after it to spend and my ego wanted the satisfaction of ‘success’ outside of motherhood. Slowly, through my years of mothering, homeschooling and home keeping, I’ve had a coming home revelation! To everything there is a season! Over the years, I have learnt to graciously live each one as it comes. My role as “the keeper” continues to mold and shape me (as I’m sure it does all of you mama’s too) on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. If you rush or crowd your seasons together, you’re likely to create a perfect storm right under your own roof! In a few short years I’ll be an empty nester and I’ve been giving a lot of thought as to what I would put on a business card in the future… I’ll be sure to keep ya posted! In the meantime, hold your stay at home mom heads high and be proud of your good work. The return on your investment is worth every late night feeding, poopie dipaper, temper tantrum, food fight, flu bug,  lost prized lego piece, new puppy, ruined carpet, broken glass and gray hair on your head. ( if you still have hair, that is )
 Don’t take my word for it! Read Betty Crockers Homemakers Creed of the Home Legion.
I would love to hear how you shape your work around keeping your home lights burning bright in the comments below!
 Remember this moms,  you’re ” more than ” a keeper! Much More!
Until our next shoreline visit~

* The Lighthouse images in this post are of the Plymouth ( Gurnet ) Lighthouse and were taken my sweet Yankee, Boz.

  1. Renee Schott says:

    Good morning Deb.
    I was a working mom, and I would have given anything to be JUST a stay at home mom. I feel these woman are the luckiest, because they get to choose what they do. Must of us don’t even get that choice. SO when someone says to me they are JUST a stay at home mom I always tell them you are the lucky ones. Keep up the good work. All of you moms.

    Bless you Renee… It’s so true…I know all to well the guilt that plagues many working women with children as I was one of those mom’s too for a time… Let’s face it…Being a mom is no slam dunk no matter where we sit! Thank you for reading and for your kind words… xo Deb

  2. Adrienne says:

    During the 70s, we had a button that said "Every woman is a working woman." It’s true. When people asked what I did, I said I worked at home. A SAHM is a hyphenated position because there is always more to include like raising an outstanding child, creating healthy meals for your family, educating your child, washing, ironing, cleaning, budgeting…you get the idea. If you were to hire a personal assistant who was as qualified as a SAHM or homemaker, s/he would be worth much more than your typical professional athlete or career politician. And look at the difference a preposition makes: Rock on, farmgirl!

     "I work at home" and "I work from home" are both meaningful occupations.

    LOVE IT!!! Thanks so much for weighing in! xo Deb

  3. I love this post and the lighthouses! The entire time I was raising my children, I would call myself a homemaker. Now, I help my husband run our company from our home and this makes me a Managing Member / Homemaker It’s funny, when I fill out those forms that ask what I do for a living, I still long to write homemaker. It is a badge of honor . Many homemakers must also work outside the home, and I am in awe of what they are able to accomplish as well. Daily, I thank God for women who delight in being keepers of the home, whether it is full or part time — it is so important and needed! ~Blessings upon the keepers of the home!

    Thank you Becky! So true.. seasons come and go… best we take each one as it comes and embrace it. Blessings back atch a!

  4. bonnie ellis says:

    Right On girl! I was lucky to be a stay at home mom. In the 60s when I was raising our children the word "just" was used then also. I am sure the label was put there by men who wanted to keep their women out of their business. But my husband didn’t feel that way. Our 50 year marriage attests to that. I’m still a homemaker and I don’t regret it one minute.

    You are lucky! Congrats on the big 50!!  Thanks for sharing and for reading! xo Deb

  5. DrMolly says:

    I agree with Renee – I would have loved to be "just a SAHM" when I was at that stage of my life. But sometimes life doesn’t give us that opportunity. I reared my children with the very best that I had as all loving mothers wiil do. I honor and always have those moms who "keep the homefires burning" – my mom was one & she is still "momming" at 82! Now, as a retired professional I get to be a "full-time homemaker" & I am loving it!!!

    See? We all have to do the best with what we’ve got at the time and that especially includes mothering! Job well done! Thank you for reading as always!

    xo Deb

  6. Jodie says:

    I say this proudly…I JUST became a stay at home mom!!! Three weeks ago! And what a job this is!!! My husband is my biggest fan. Every morning he gives me a kiss and calls me "super mom" and tells me that I’m doing a great job. Unfortunately in three months, I will have to return to the working world (part time, however) to help our family pay off all of the school loan debt I acquired in my pursuit to become a physical therapist. The first week that I was home from work, one week pre-baby, was a hard one for me as I’ve spent the last 8 years building my career. But there is no place I’d rather be than home with my little man. Thanks for the your lovely post and for planting the seed in me to NEVER say I’m JUST a SAHM.

    Congratulations Jodie! I too mourned my job in the beginning, but life with little one’s soon took over and I never looked back…I’m so happy for you and your family! Thank you for reading…xo Deb

  7. Dolly Sarrio says:

    My girls are grown and I was once a low speaking woman who when asked what do I do for a living answered, I am a housewife and stay at home with my girls…Now I would shout it from the roof tops! It is the most important thing a woman can do! I would not do anything different today except to sing with joy for the chance to do that most important thing.
    I lived through the sixties and the seventies…the bra burning days…yes we have come a long way but have we really? Yes we just need to realize it..I wish more women would stay at home and take pride in raising their offspring…

    Staying home isn’t something all women can do or choose to do. After all, we need great women in the workforce sharing their talents and inspiring others too! I just want moms who choose to stay home to realize it’s something to feel good and confident about! Thanks so much for your note! xo Deb

  8. Janine says:

    I LOVE saying, "I’m JUST a mom." I spent so much of my life defined as my job, especially since I started my career at such a young age (10 years old). And even when I retired at age 30 and started a complete different (and relatively successful career), my identity was still tied to my profession. People saw me in terms of what I did for a living. It felt like false admiration.

    Being a mother is different. In this case, my family is a part of my personhood. I’m very proud to that. When I say "I’m just a mom," people still try to find out other information–what was I before?

    But I hold fast. My identity is not where I come from or what I did for a living, my talents, or my job titles. My identity is wrapped up in the love I create around me in my family.

    That is who I am.

    I am just a mom.

    Dear Janine,

    The way YOU say, ‘ I’m JUST a mom " is perfect…! Thank you!!!

    xo Deb

  9. Jan says:

    Right on Deb! I have been caring for folks and their homes for at least 25 years. Twenty years ago I would say, ‘I’m JUST a housekeeper’. Now I say, ‘ I am SELF EMPLOYED and run a custom home care/pet sitting business!’. It has occurred to me that I was able to support myself with a job that allowed me to chose who I worked for and where I worked. I haven’t been without work EVER…
    My own mother was a SAHM until I went to jr high and my dad was always able to be at home with us. And that, my dear, is why we had a loving and close family..

     Hi Jan! Good for you for raising the bar for for yourself! That’s how ya do it ‘farmgirl style’! Thanks for your note, as always…xo Deb

  10. Mary Pitman says:

    I was proud of being a "stay at home mom" when my children were small, and in the growing years of their life. I know it kept us from having enough money for some things that would have been nice to have, but I so enjoyed being with my little ones and teaching them things,etc. Never will regret that.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Love reading your blog!

    Thank you for reading Mary! Glad you stopped by to share here!

    xo Deb

  11. Laura R. says:

    Thank you, Deb, for bringing this important issue to the light. I have never felt ‘career-minded’ like we were brought up to be. I find the most important ‘career’ I have is to be there for my kids. I am by no means a ‘superMom’ but my kids love and respect me and like having me around. I do work part-time as a bookkeeper but always feel the unspoken ‘just a bookkeeper’ when asked ‘what I DO’. The ‘what I do’ thing has always seemed more important than ‘who I am’. And ‘who I am’ is very complex and deep and cannot be defined by my ‘occupation’. I know this but always hate when in a social situation the question comes (and it ALWAYS does !!!) so..’What do you do?’
    Thanks for reminding me that what I do and who I am is valuable and it is I that need to feel that and appreciate it, so my answer can feel good, no matter what it is.

    Dear Laura,

    So well said… Mothers simply can’t fit all that we are and do on one card! LOL!  Thank you for reading Laura! xo Deb

  12. Dolly Sarrio says:

    I wanted to clarify something from my previous statement above. I didn’t realize at the time it sounded derogatory towards working women. I was trying to make a point to those who choose to be stay at home moms. That they should not feel like their job is not an important one. I have been fortunate enough to have had both choices, stay at home mom and then to work at very fulfilling jobs. Thanks

    Thank you Dolly! I knew what you meant!!! 🙂

  13. Sarah says:

    Woohoo! I 100% agree with you Deb. Being a homemaker i serious business, and it takes time and effort that most people never realize, unless they do it. 🙂

    Hi Sarah! So true! Thanks so much for reading and your note!

    xo Deb

  14. Joan Marie says:

    Ditto on the lovely notes sent by all our farmgirl sisters. Loved being home with my 3 children, loved working part time as they grew, loved working full time for 20 years since then AND now i’m trying to love being home again (laid off for over a year). Home is never boring or dull – I’ve been busy being handyman/woman, writer, property manager, crafter, seamstress, knitter, farmer and teacher. A few of these titles even paid a little stipend. And how lucky am I to now have time to join a book club, a local organic gardening club and the American Sewing Guild’s local chapter, SewFriends. I’m businer than ever!

    Hi Joan Marie!, " Home is never boring or dull"… so true… sounds like you’re one  busy farmgirl!  Thank so much for reading and your note too! xo Deb


  15. Lori wallingford says:

    I like to say, ” I am an investment broker…. I am investing in my family and broker because of it:)

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