Work, Identity and Womanhood

I am a WOHW, a Work Outside the Home Wife. Many of you are probably incredibly blessed to be a WAHM or just an M or W, which is a life-calling as it is. For this season, I have a job. It isn’t a career nor do I  have illusions as to attaining a career over and above my husband and family life. Most likely, over the course of my life, I will earn aggregately less than my husband. Even if we have the same job description; men just earn more. Unfair? I don’t think so, but you can haggle over it in the comments.

Our plan is for Jeff to return to school in August for a year-long computer training program. He’ll become a certified nerd. 🙂 This will allow me to quit. QUIT working. I love that q-word right next to quiet. God allows certain times when Quitting is good. Quit willful sinning. Quit complaining (guilty). Women to quit trying to be just like men.

I want to take care of my home (which is a disorganized pack rat nest) and husband (who loves being cared for!) and children (God-willing.)

Right now, my work is causing me turmoil. (If you can guess from the last few posts.) I won’t air the particulars but I am sure you can understand frustration. Pray that I can gain character through this process. There is a time limit, glory to God!

How many of you are WAHM, WOHW, or WOHM? How do you think your identity is tied to paid employment? Do you want to Quit, too?

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6 Responses to “Work, Identity and Womanhood”


  1. 1 mamajuliana June 15, 2007 at 6:50 pm

    I recently returned to work after being a homeschool/SAHM for almost 17 years! My job, like yours, is not a career. We just need me to work right now-the $$ situation at our home is tight.

    The workplace is trying to change me-I know that! I seem to be the weird one there. BUT what helps is that I pray this prayer every morning:

    O Lord, grant me to meet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely upon Your holy will. In every hour of the day, reveal Your will to me. Bless my dealings with all who surround me. Teach me to treat all that comes to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words, guide my thoughts and feelings. In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by You. Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering or embarrassing others. Give me strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring. Direct my will, teach me to pray, and You, Yourself, pray in me. Amen.

    I wrote that all out because I used to pray it when I stayed at home too…but I means MORE to me now that I am out in the work world.

    My identity is not tied to paid employment-that I know, but my identity as a Christian Mother/Wife is not lessened by getting a paycheck…it is just a bit harder…

    Praying for you!

  2. 2 cara michele June 16, 2007 at 1:42 am

    “Most likely, over the course of my life, I will earn aggregately less than my husband. Even if we have the same job description; men just earn more. Unfair? I don’t think so, but you can haggle over it in the comments.”

    I would (seriously) like to hear your thoughts on why it’s fair for men to be paid more than women. My views on gender and employment are fairly conservative (my friends say VERY conservative.) But when it comes to the reality that there are men and women working identical jobs but being paid unequal salaries solely on the basis of gender, I can’t imagine how anyone could argue that it’s fair to do so. So I’m curious… (Not judging… but disagreeing… and curious… and listening… :))

  3. 3 cbrunette June 16, 2007 at 2:20 am

    Cara Michele,

    The tradition of men being paid more than women in the private sector is based on men having to support more than themselves. Yeah, this isn’t the case anymore! I know, believe me, I’ve worked payroll for a major defense contractor. I’ve seen the salaries, side by side.

    Let’s think about what would happen if women were paid the same amount as men. Do you think this would lower everyone’s wages or raise some and lower others? There is only so much to go around.

    Would single mothers benefit, who usually do not take the same jobs held by men? How would women use this increased income? Purchase short-term goods(to support the family), or invest?

    Those are some questions to ponder for this subject. Now, I work at a state agency where there is no gender gap. We ALL earn pitiful wages. I mean really pitiful. We can moan equally. 😉

    I’d also encourage ladies to read The Midwife’s Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. It is a history of a family in the new United States. The story is a very excellent picture of economic interdependence between a husband and wife.

    ~Anna

  4. 4 bk2nocal June 17, 2007 at 1:17 am

    I think women who choose to work at home and are lucky enough to be ABLE to make that choice are certainly important. But, I think that we oversimplify the picture when we claim that men make more because they are expected to be supporting more than themselves. If this were the case, then starting salaries out of college would be equal for singles, as those men aren’t supporting anyone else….but, that isn’t the case. I am obviously a lot to the left of you ideologically speaking, so I’m sure that my opinion is a reflection of that. I think its sad that women can perform the SAME duties as men and not make as much in compensation because some men have to support their families.
    I also think that it is equally a reflection of women’s lack of interest in negotiating salaries, etc. I am reading Suze Orman’s new book (which I’m sure goes against many of your beliefs) Women and Money and in it she states that women view negotiating “like going to the dentist” while men view negotiating “like a sports game to be won or lost.” I think that men are more likely to ask for raises and more likely to get them than women are, and I, for one, don’t think that is fair.
    But, I also think that women need to be able to live independently of their husbands IF NECESSARY. I think we do a disservice to ourselves when we fail to realize that reality may force that situation on some…and then what?
    As far as Anna’s comment that it would result in everyone’s salaries being lowered, I have a couple of responses. First, I’m not sure this is true – I would like to see some proof, as it seems that companies can expand payrolls and often do. Second, I’m not sure why this isn’t good. If people are getting paid more for doing the same or less, why shouldn’t their salaries be lowered?
    I like Cara Michele am not judging, just trying to invoke some thought, as your more conservative views do in me at times!

  5. 5 cara michele June 17, 2007 at 4:51 am

    >> “Let’s think about what would happen if women were paid the same amount as men. Do you think this would lower everyone’s wages or raise some and lower others? There is only so much to go around.”

    I don’t know. But I think that’s irrelevant. To me, it’s a justice issue.

    >> “Would single mothers benefit, who usually do not take the same jobs held by men? How would women use this increased income? Purchase short-term goods(to support the family), or invest?”

    I think that’s even less relevant. And it seems to imply that men are inherently better stewards of their resources than women (or at least “single mothers.”) That supposition makes me cringe, quite honestly. I think it’s untrue and unfair. But perhaps I’m misreading your meaning. (If so, my apologies!)

    >> “I’d also encourage ladies to read The Midwife’s Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.”

    I just did an online transfer request from the central library in my town. I should have the book in a day or two. I look forward to reading it. Thanks for suggesting it. And thanks for the discussion. We may disagree on this particular issue, but based on our “feminism” scores, I suspect we’re in harmony on many others! 😉


  1. 1 Economics and Women « Veiled Glory Trackback on June 18, 2007 at 12:47 pm

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