Thursday, October 18, 2007

Older Women at Home

A reader asked me for my thoughts on an article about the value of ladies staying at home even after their children are grown. In our utilitarian society, anyone who is not bringing in an income is considered to be wasting time. Homemaking is not regarded as having any value. However, we need to look at the things that are beyond price. An older lady who is able to be at home has the spare time to do volunteer work, to aid the poor, to advise younger women, to help with grandchildren, and maintain a home that is a refuge for the extended family.

My grandmother did all those things in her old age; she devoted herself to making clothes for us, to knitting sweaters and caps for family and for charity. She joined Catholic Daughters and worked very hard for the various causes supported by that organization. She also was available for long chats, in which she shared family history and anecdotes from her life. My other grandmother did the same. Most of all, older ladies often have more time to pray, to assist at Mass, and to become involved in church activities.

It is also wonderful for a woman who has a vocation as a nurse, a doctor, a teacher, a writer, an artist, a counselor, taking up such work on a deeper level once the children are gone. Other older women may enjoy working in a department store or even starting their own shop or a business of some kind. It must likewise be remembered that many older women are compelled by necessity to work outside the home, sometimes even past the age of retirement, whether they want to or not.

The important thing for a mature lady, whether she is at home or working in the world, is to conduct herself with the dignity and wisdom gleaned from her life experience. It is vital for the older generation to give a good example to the young, even if does not seem to be appreciated. Too often now we see retired people indulging in a second adolescence.

Some older ladies have boundless energy. My mom is almost seventy but she still works, maintains an immaculate home, cooks delicious meals, helps us with our homes and families, paints, and is always there when we need to talk. I do not know how she does it. Share

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

"In our utilitarian society, anyone who is not bringing in an income is considered to be wasting time. Homemaking is not regarded as having any value."

I think this societal thought, of homemaking being a waste of time, has contributed to the decline in family life.

Thank you for this piece.

elena maria vidal said...

You are welcome, SF!

Anonymous said...

I hope that I am not forced to work outside the home when I am an older lady; I would like to be free to help my family, friends and Church if anyone should need me.

This is actually a ongoing problem for our family; rather than spouting off here, I have written a post about it. :)

Anonymous said...

Just as they say that the main "work" of children is play, I think that the main "work" of older people is prayer. Or, at least, it used to be. Maybe that is part of the problem with the world today -- we don't have as many older people praying for us any more?

elena maria vidal said...

I agree, Georgette!

I look forward to reading your post, Margaret!

Wendy WaterBirde said...

I echo Georgette. It really bothers me when folks think the way to prove being home based is worthy it is to show how energetic you are and how much you outwardly "do". The subtle stuff, like living a more low key quiet live, like prayer, like creating a peaceful haven, like being a comforting presence to turn to...well i feel these things are every bit as valuable as the bustling around sort of offerings (be they workwise or volenteerwise). The world needs not just Marthas but also Marys too don't they...of all ages : )

Peaceful Weekend,

Wendy

elena maria vidal said...

Hi, Wendy! That is pretty much my take on things, too.....

Alexandra said...

Our parish ministries would be devoid of volunteers if it were not for our retired members. I plan to do the same when the children are gone out of the house. Their collective wisdom is so important to the health of our communities. I value them. :) Great post.

Lisa said...

I overheard a conversation at the store the other day between two women who were no older than late 40's early 50's. Essentially it was about how one was "so happy" that she'd gone back to school, and now she's involved with "other people's children" at the school where she works. That she'd be so bored otherwise, and it gives her something to do. The other talked about how she didn't know if she'd ever see two of her grown children again....while another adult child calls her every day....I imagine this poor lady is more working class and probably has always had to work.

It was really depressing. ....a few weeks before, even older women were sharing words about how it was good to have work to do so that it wouldn't give them "time to think." And all the merits of distraction and busyness..

What a world....

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, really....