Feeling More Like a Maid than a Wife and a Mother?

I’m still absolutely loving my Christmas vacation, but I thought I’d take a moment and link to a great excerpt of my book To Love, Honor and Vacuum that was just published at Power to Change.

Here’s a bit of it:

To Love, Honor and VacuumI laughed when I read a recent study done in Europe about women’s time commitments and how these commitments affected their sex lives. In Italy, women have made great strides in the workforce. Yet their progress at home has lagged behind that of other Western European nations, mostly because their culture is one in which men tend to take their wives for granted. So today, when an Italian woman comes home, she still does most of the housework. She is run off of her feet, and the end result is that she spends less time on sex than do women in Finland, Sweden or England. Italian men, who are known for their machismo, aren’t actually getting as much loving as English men are, largely because culturally they have not yet learned to respect women’s contributions.

We may not be as undervalued as our Italian sisters are, but we’re still often taken for granted.

It’s hard for many men to respect what we do because they themselves aren’t reared for it and would never do it. Women typically do the lion’s share of the housework, so it’s assumed we’re not as important as the men are, since they’re able to escape the drudgery. You may even buy into some of this mentality, wondering who you are since you’re “just a mother’” or “just a wife.” Ultimately, though, everything will pass away except people. The impact we have on our kids or our neighbors is perhaps even more important than any job we could have, and this impact is only possible because of the work we do at home, whether or not we also have a job.

If you husband diminishes the value of what you do, then he perceives value outside of Christ.

Have a family meeting and talk about where you’re going as a family. How does he want the children raised? What does he want for the family in the long run? What values does he want your children to have? How are they going to develop them? Many people have never answered these questions. They go through life working at their jobs without asking the reason behind what they’re doing. Throw everything on the table: his job, your job, your kids’ schooling, all your commitments and activities, and ask God for a vision for your family. Once you both have one, it’s easier for you as a couple to see how everyone’s labor, wherever it’s done, fits into that vision.

Even if your husband isn’t a believer, you can still discuss where your family is heading. Brainstorm about how you can make sure your family meets the goals you set. Chances are this will involve valuing the typical things we women do, like creating a comfortable home and nurturing the children. Once you’ve verbalized the importance of your contribution, it’s easier for him to want to be involved around the house, or, at the very least, to be grateful that you are!

Pick up the book here, and get your year off to a good start!


  1. >Great post Sheila. I really want my boys to understand all that I do…but guess what? As great as Mike is he doesn't help unless I specifically say "Will you do X" so why am I so surprised that the boys are the same way?

    anyway, that's something we are working on.

  2. >I can only sigh and tell: wish never had married… some man (not quite Italian, but culturaly close) just feel entitled to good life – life of pleasures. And consider work is burden, which they wrecklessly throw to wife. So they are burden to everyone else. Takl? Negotiate their good position? Why should they? They can throw tantrum and make children suffer. Wife will end that misery for the sake of children, but misery goes deep into the marriage that has no more value for woman. I am just mistreated and blackmailed – because I have children I love. And guess what – who taught my husband to demand everything for him? Mother. Why? Have no idea.

  3. >I guess I am only of the lucky ones. My husband helps alot around our house without me asking him. Sometimes he does it when I have said "No, I'll do it tomorrow." I tend to do most of the housework because I am a stay at home mom and try to keep busy.

    However, though my husband does help alot, I think sitting down and asking those questions is a great thing to do. It helps me, when in times I have no idea where we are headed, to know where we are headed

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