A Considered Opinion
In Maria’s blog ( my cyber friend from fullmoonfiberart.com in recapping the story of The Red Shoes, brought to mind the fact that we especially in western societies put an enormous importance on independence. Women today feel they must contribute in meaningful ways to life or to causes that usually equate to money. What we do not consider is that in relationships, intimate or familial, there are those things done that go beyond money and if we are fair and had to buy the services from outside, the cost would be significant.
Even the mundane tasks of shopping for food, cooking the food and putting it on the table takes time and effort. If there are children involved in the relationship, time is required in raising these children and seeing to their welfare. If it means jockeying them to their various activities then the time is incalculable. Of course other activities must be taken into account; when both parties are intent on independence like who is doing the laundry and who is to see to picking up what has waited for weeks to be done. If there are elders to be considered, then of course, more services are required and more time to discern the availability of these services and who to perform them.
But on top of all this we have desires, especially since many women are professionals in the outside world. They are educated and wish to use their education in the work of making a life while making a living. Independence? Why not consider what we each bring to the relationship without thinking what we do to ourselves by sidelining our inner desires? Because when we make commitments, one to the other, we must compromise on things we often have considered necessary. It is not easy to make these decisions because in fairness the each in an intimate relationship must be considered.
Must something die in us to enable us to live in a close relationship with another? I think some things must be shelved for a time while we work out needs related to our commitments. If we as it seems we do, in this western world, put a money value on our services, then when considering how much money we could bring in, we must think seriously about what we can do to prevent monies from going out of the home.
In my personal experience I saved significant amounts that did not go out in services dealing with home maintenance. I grew up with six brothers whose talents spanned construction work of every kind so I learned a lot by observation. When my first wringer washing machine ceased to function, I told my husband and he said to call a repairman. I was puzzled and asked what is a repairman? For never in my growing up years was there a repairman in our house. It was a joke told forever after to show how naïve this girl was with two in diapers and expected a husband to know how to fix a washing machine. I quickly learned who was to be in charge of maintenance and what a drain snake was.
There is value in services performed on the premises that money cannot buy; children brought up in a home where there is value placed on character, on simply being human and good and loving. A healthy home environment has inestimable value. What is done with love in maintaining and allowing families to grow in truth cannot be matched in dollars. In a relationship that helps each to grow in splendor cannot be measured. Is it possible to live with less? Sometimes it requires two paychecks simply to put bread on the table. We did it with 3 children and one paycheck with a week to go before payday countless times. But there was rice and a can of tomatoes and flour and some eggs and I could make drop noodles with milk. Oatmeal always was a good buy. The boys grew to be adults and called their childhood enchanted.
Can it be done in today’s world? It is being done by many but a change in expectations is often needed. To rethink a value system is necessary. How important is the relationship to the each? How important is the Other to me? How important is his or her well being to my own well being? What do we have together that we would not have apart? What do I bring to the table that has importance but no cash value; yet takes time and effort and yields happiness?
We have elevated our independence to such a supreme state that our street corners are filled with homeless children as we strive as their parents to express ourselves. And we as adults often feel deprived when we stand with mop in hand thinking we were educated for this? Keeping the Contagious sign off our doors is important. And keeping our children out of jail and mental hospitals is primary.
I was told that there is time and world enough for all of us. It is time now to enlarge our premises. When the nudge in mind becomes a thud against our heart, it is the God Within urging us to listen.
artwork by Claudia Hallissey