2 July 2014

Defined by my job

I used to hate being defined by my job. If I was anything, I said to myself, I was not a technical writer for the mining industry, I was much more radical and interesting than that. But the truth was that I was indeed that kind of writer and slowly but surely, it made me unhappy. It seems that many of us are defined by our job. What is the first thing many people ask each other, especially men, when they meet for the first time? What do you do? God forbid you should say you're a mother and wife working at home. That's not acceptable, they want to know your commercial value. Mother and wife = zero. 

But I'd like to dispute that because even though I don't get paid for the work I do, I save a lot of money by taking charge of my home and home producing much of what we need here. We don't get paid, but the value of the work we do is significant. We might not earn money in the conventional sense now, but we save money and the work we do here in our home, allows us to live this slow and gentle life.

Now I want to be defined by my job. If someone asks what I do, I could say I am a frugal housekeeper, a cook, baker, a preserver of food, seamstress, knitter, gardener, chook wrangler, cleaner, maintenance woman and oh, I write about it too. But that's not the important part. The significance part of this work isn't the writing, it is the housework that us keeps warm, fed, comfortable and alive. That's the significant part of the equation for all of us but only the commercial value is generally acknowledged as being important. pffffft

The simple work of every home is often work that's been done over the centuries that has been modified for our modern times. It's still the same work, it's nothing fancy, we are carrying on the traditions of our great grandmas and grandpas. And I'm proud that I do that. I am surprised and saddened that so many look down at the work we do because it's honest work that gives us a good life. Isn't that what everyone is aiming for? If you've been reading here for a while you'll know I don't care much about what other people think of me. I want my family and friends to love me but if someone I don't know questions what I do with my days and gives me a disapproving look, who cares.

Hettie catching the last rays of sunshine yesterday afternoon.

Some people in my position would describe themselves as a writer or author and although I sometimes do descrbe myself as such to people when I'm out in the community working, I am foremost a wife, mother, mother-in-law and grandmother. And I write about those important roles. I love the terminology of all of it too. I say I'm a grandma and some people are surprised I'm comfortable with the term. I'll take ten helpings of grandma, gardener, cook and knitter over one helping of technical writer or author any day. Because that is what I am now, I have moved from valuing myself as a commercial entity to believing that my true value is in the simple, ethical qualities I bring to my family and the hard work I do in my home. The life I live now is the golden prize that is available to anyone who wants to claim it and do the work, at any stage of life. I doubt you can put a price on that and maybe it can't be defined by a job title.

Blogger Template by pipdig