Thursday, November 3, 2011

Woman's Work

Always one more meal to get;
one more train which must be met;
one more hopeless sock to men;
one more invalid to tend;
one more salve for one more knee,
one more visitor to tea;
one more future bruised and scarred;
one more drop of spikenard;
one more problem, one more doubt;
one more mood to be smoothed out;
one more smile and one more kiss—
Ah, but ministry like this
will outlast the radiant sun.
Woman's work is never done.

- Fay Inchfawn -

Housework and raising children are jobs that have no end, but who really wants it to end.  Not me.  My sons will always be my babies no matter how old they are, and I will always feel a sense of accomplishment and comfort when my house is clean.  No one can clean it better than me; at least, that's what  I like to tell myself.  It's just so hard for me to delegate jobs that I feel can only be done right by me.  But, this is my choice, and I am lucky to live in an age where I have a choice. 

The Women's Group I run at work is my favorite group; it is also the most difficult.  These women have been beaten down so low, it is hard to instill a sense of empowerment in them.    Convincing them  that they are in control of their lives and that things that happen to them  only happen because they have allowed it, is a big realization.  When a woman becomes empowered, she gains considerable strength and  courage. 

Historically, women have always been viewed as the weaker sex.   In the Middle Ages, a woman's place in society was determined by her husband, father, or brother's standing, and when she lost her male protector, she often lost her identity as well.  Choices for women were very limited.   The noble woman had it much easier than her peasant counterpart.  Her main concern was coordinating the work of her many servants and overseeing the upkeep of the manor.  Her great value was her dowry, and many marriages were founded on economic gain and not to please the lady.  Very few marriages in the medieval times were made because they loved each other, but they were marriages made for gain.  I have to believe it was a terribly unhappy and unfulfilling life. 

The peasant woman, on the other hand,  worked alongside her husband in the fields and for supplemental income would take up other jobs in shops or in nobles' homes as domestic helpThese women often worked in the fields just as hard as the men, but because she lived in a male dominated society,  she earned significantly less than a male counterpart. She was also personally responsible for the maintenance of her household.  Aside from labor, her other  main role was bearing children, and with poor medical care, women often died in childbirth.  Women of the past led difficult, painful lives, and it is not surprising that they had such a short life to live...from twenty to forty.

As a modern woman, I take pride in  my accomplishments and  am truly grateful for all of my life’s blessings, that I live in an age where women, although not equal to men,  have choices in how they want to live their lives.  I also have a loving family and a supportive husband who has always encouraged me to be the best that I can be. I wear many hats... I am a counselor,  a teacher, a  caretaker,  nurse, writer, daughter,  mother, wife, lover and friend. I take pride in everything I do, and I am blessed to live in an age where, although women's work may  never be done, it is done out of love and not because I am forced to do it.

The most common way people give up their power
is by thinking they don't have any.

~ Alice Walker ~


  1. You have so much to offer - especially to the women in your group. Empowerment. That was the first gift I received from The Craft. I was one of those beaten down women and the empowerment I found through goddess groups and witchcraft was beyond measure. It changed me and changed my life.

    I love "women's work." I love the domestic arts. It feels valuable - much more valuable than most paid jobs for me. I am glad that women have more choices now, but in the process of obtaining these choices, "women's work" anything inherently feminine seems to have been devalued. That saddens me.

    I like when I see women valued for WHATEVER they do, whether it's a traditional role or a role most often held by a man. Sadly it seems like more and more women are the ones who do not value the feminine anymore, so anxious to prove that they can do anything.

    We can do anything - but what makes our soul sing is varies from woman to woman. Thankfully now women have more choices. I hope that one choice a woman will make is to support other women and their choices.

  2. Wonderful post, Mary. Your contributions to our world are varied and important. To be able to lead women to empowering realizations is tremendous!! You are also a great source of enlightenment for those of us who follow your blogs. Women have come a very long way from the Middle Ages, but there always seems to be roadblocks for many of us. I agree with Aine, that women must be the support for our sisters as we all make our places in this world.

  3. This post makes me want to burn my bra and take to the street! You go girl!

  4. Lovely post.

    Great last quote!!!

    Interesting yes? That the Middle Ages were when trubadores (spelling???) and the (big) idea of romantic love began. Yes? No wonder, with all those married women wandering around, with unfulfilled angst!

    Gentle hugs,
    "It is a joy to walk in the bare woods. The moonlight is not broken by the heavy leaves. The leaves are down, and touching the soaked earth, Giving off the odors that partridges love."
    ~ Robert Bly, Solitude Late at Night in the Woods

  5. I have always felt women are not the weaker sex. We are much more resilient than men.

    They may be physically stronger, but we can handle almost anything that comes along with the grace of a goddess.

    huggies Sharon

  6. one more drop of spikenard.. I wonder what that means.. Spikenard was the herbal oil that Mary Magdalene used