Does anyone call home makers domestic engineers anymore? Instead, they are just referred to as stay at home partners. I have to wonder why. It is as if the art of maintaining a household has become a lost art form and bears little value to the real world. Why is that, this lack of appreciation for stay at home spouses, when marriages are ending in divorce at a continued high rate and the pace of our society is accelerating at such a speed that time literally flies by?
What they are not doing is as important as what they are doing. To date, I have no friends or relatives that do not work outside of the home that watch soap operas regularly. In fact, the only ones I know that watch it tape it during the day, while working and sit on their couch watching them in the evening. They are not also spending a mint on fancy clothes or gasoline or four star lunches. Most unemployed spouses live a very frugal lifestyle infact and save their working partner tons of money by staying put!
Spouses that have small children and are homebound are doing the job child care providers do, that is, attending to the needs of their children. Between changing diapers, feedings and teaching life’s lessons (e.g. sharing toys, learning limits, etc) there is really no such thing as a fifteen or half hour break. This break only comes in the form of a quiet hour or two, naptime, when the spouse home runs around like a manic cleaning house as quickly and quietly as they can! They are masters at scheduling, listening to conversations simultaneously and often times, handling finances. They are counselors for their working spouse’s issues that are brought home daily. Their rate is free and they do not cut you off when your hour is up!
Engineers’ forte is planning and designing. They guide the course of what they are creating and are trouble shooters as well. Show me one stay at home spouse that does not do this as well. They plan the household events, design the schedule and make sure everyone is in sync. They look for issues and dispel them before they become an issue, e.g. having the laundry done before everyone in the household is out of socks, suits and worse yet, soap to bathe with before heading outdoors
Not to belabor the point but it does bear repeating, stay at home partners are domestic engineers. They do have value and they do enrich the lives of their family and friends. Their benefit may not correlate directly with a paycheck but more so with a reduction in household spending. They contribute in a different way. Some are at home not by choice, but more so due to a sluggish economy and job market. Others choose to put their career aspirations and love of being out with others on hold to focus solely on their children and marriage when they can afford to do so. Maybe we all need to sit back and recognize, though times have changed, the art of having someone in our world dedicated to our homes is a blessing indeed.
How you pick those that you choose to associate with affects you deeply. If you surround yourself with healthy personalities, you are more inclined to have a healthy outlook on life. On the other hand, if you choose to associate with mean spirited, condescending people who look down on others, be careful. You can get desensitized to this type of attitude and worse yet, find it rubbing off on you.
I have always found it amazing how some folks give off such a positive energy. They go thru life smiling, laughing at so many things, including themselves and are just a continual joy to be around. Emulating these type of people in your day to day life is a great precursor to happiness and self satisfaction at the end of the day.
On the flip side of this, though, are the negative energy folks. These people always seem to be surrounded by drama. When it is not there, they create it. They go from one problem to another without ever looking at the common denominator. They are also the type, when given good sound advice from friends on how to change things; they merely pay lip service to suggestions and keep right on trucking down the wrong road.
The key to relationships with these types of people, if you feel inclined to have them in your circle of friends, is detachment or better said, boundary lines clearly drawn. Make sure lines you set are firm and enforced. Their problems cannot become yours as it is a losing proposition. You can quickly fall into an enabler, someone who unknowingly is helping them continue. There is less of a motivation for change when you are totally acquiescent of their choices in life. Also, if they don’t want change enough to make it happen, you will drive yourself nuts trying to convince them of the need. We all must accept responsibility for our actions or lack of initiative to create change. You can be a role model for others by how you live your life.
When it comes to family, the same principles apply. We can choose, as adults, who we want in our inner circle of life. There is the family of origin and there is the family of choice. Blood relations can be held at bay if they are negative energy sources. The type of family members who constantly take you back to feeling as if you are a children again that feels bullied by their wicked tongue, avoid whenever possible. God put you on this earth and wants you to enjoy it and make the most of it. Someone who constantly demeans you is not someone you need to have regular contact with. Try to be less reactive to these types. It matters not whether it is family or friends. These types are crossing into your boundaries and are creating hurts. We must consider the source of criticism before taking it to heart.
Some of us are blessed with family members that truly practice unconditional love. They give without the hope of receiving. They love and pray for others, even those people in their lives that are more fortunate than they themselves are. They feel a sense of pride in other’s accomplishments and no real sense of envy. They celebrate other’s good luck and promote good will to others. These family members are to be treasured. There are not hidden agendas going on in their heads where they are playing games to try to get closer to you only to use you or make others think they care. These people, whether family or friends, are the real deal.
Hold closely in your life positive people. In a world full of negativity and a crowd of insecurity, personal strength and perseverance is vital. This comes from within but also can be compounded by the inner circle of friends and family you create. You are the one that draws the line in the sand; you are the one that decides who you let in that inner circle. Choose wisely.
At the end of the day, ask yourself are you producing light or darkness in your life and others? If you are unsure of how to respond, do a reality check. At the end of the day, do you like the image of what you see in the mirror? Is it someone who emits goodness and joy into our world? Can you think of others that you touched with your kindness, consideration or your smile? Who are you emulating?
If you are producing darkness, change does come from within you but strength can be built from a good support system. You can draw strength from others and use them as a healthy point of reference, mentor their spirit. It is often said in sports, if you play with stronger players, you will, in turn, find your game improves. In the game of life, you only have one shot at getting it right. Why not improve the odds and hang out with winners? Ask yourself if you and your circle of friends and family truly make this world a better place for everyone? If you do but find yourself around others that do not, be mindful and wary. Do not let anyone dim your light, it is meant to be fueled and shining!
The other night, I was involved in an interesting conversation about children. A group was discussing why everyone says a son leaves his family for his wife but does not say the same about a daughter. Marriage is a bond that is above all others; a commitment to the spouse is first and foremost, even above children and parents. Thus, it is really the same, for both sexes, or it should be.
A marriage is a celebration of a new blended family, not the desertion of the origin of family for either individual. Being involved or uninvolved with in laws is a personal choice. Each individual and couple must make this together. I have always felt the family of origin made it possible for this man or woman to be able to commit. The parents of both sides of holy matrimony contributed and helped form the person saying “I do.” Thus, in-laws are part of the union, a small part but they are most definitely a contributor.
Everyone hears the stories of the wicked in-laws. The jokes abound! In my experience, parents of married individuals want their children’s marriages to work out. Most parents want their children happy in marriage, their grandkids raised in a loving home and with their natural biological parents whenever possible.
It is not easy on either side of the page, to be an in-law or bond with a parental figure that is not from your family of origin. When it does happen, it can deepen the commitment made in marriage. It can widen the legs of support for the relationship to prosper and grow. It can unite two families into one. In spite of the differences between in-laws and ones natural parents, there can always be found some commonalities, if one just looks hard enough. Those commonalities can begin to help forge a bond, one that can prosper and grow much as the marriage does. This is important for the family unit at large. With unity, love abounds.
Sharing your life with others that have created your spouse can open doors of growth within yourself. Sharing your life with a parental figure that helped create your spouse can give you a glimpse into your partner’s past, present and future. Working the bond can be a foundation that can make a marriage stronger, hardier and happier. Marriage is tough work. Why not reach out and build that bond of support?!
Spring is in the air and is a reminder of the growth of all living things,
Get outside; enjoy it and may you shine as the flower that opens its petals to the sun’s rays so that all those around you will want what you have!