I had something of a personal victory this week. I finally finished reading Passionate Housewives Desperate for God. I bought the book not long after my husband and I got married, and while it is not a hard book to read, I just haven't been able to get through it. Tonight I finally finished and I wanted to share a quote that I found in it along with some thoughts.
The quote is from a letter written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Susan B. Anthony regarding her feelings about her life as a housewife.
"I pace up and down these two chambers of mine like a caged lion, longing to bring to a close childrearing and housekeeping cares. I have other work at hand...Oh how I long for a few hours of leisure each day. How rebellious it makes me feel when I see Henry going about where and how he pleases. He can walk at will through the whole wide world or shut himself up alone, if he pleases, within four walls. As I contrast his freedom with my bondage, and feel that because of the false position of women I have been compelled to hold all my noblest aspirations in abeyance in order to be a wife, a mother, a nurse, a cook, a household drudge, I am fired anew and long to pour fourth from my own experience the whole long story of women's wrongs." (Passionate Housewives, pg. 132)
I was thinking just how often we as women look at what our husbands do when they come home from work and we begin to envy them their "freedom". It is easy to think that because our work is of such a nature where we do burst of work through out the day, going from task to task usually with a few moments here and there to stop and read or to catch up on Facebook or email, that our husband should have to follow the same kind of schedule. But while our work may take longer, on an hourly account basis, theirs is the more intensive, packed into a small time sort of work. They do not, for the most part get to take little breaks during the day and certainly they do not get to enjoy the peace of being at home, so they need that time at the end of the day to rest. What we don't see when we are comparing our work to theirs, which is something so detrimental to our contentment at home, is the stress of being in a foreign environment for hours at a time; often berated and belittle for all kinds of things, no comforting hugs or kind words to cheer their day, no sweet moments between children to encourage them to keep going. We have so many things to keep us going emotionally, and while men may not need the same kind of emotional encouragement we do, we need to realize that we may not need the same kind of mental rest that they do. It is a scary thing to begin to compare our roles and situations with others who have very different callings to fulfill. God has given us all a job to do and we should be focusing on the task given to us and learn to do it with a cheer spirit and joyful heart, instead of becoming discouraged and disillusioned with the task God appointed for us.
Resist the very human urge to compare your work with others and focus on serving where ever God has placed you. You will be blessed to find yourself relieved of the stress of wanting what is not yours.