Month: June 2014

The Undertaker’s Wife

Does it

bother you, his

hands I mean, the way they

touch and glide, as they have touched

Bodies, death,  and made it new in his way. Do

You think of it at night? The way he breathes besides

you as if – New life he breathed- In a way. And

When he turns to you for comfort, a touch in a

fallen world, do you wonder what he has

seen? And your skin so pale and smooth

does it chill when hands skilled and

deceptive, working against death’s

effects, pull you towards his

chest? For such a life you

live breaking daily bread

in the bitter sweet

shade of death.

To the Mother of the Toddler my Toddler Hit

My two year old hit your twenty- five month old babe.

Whilst holding my infant and shooing my brood

I lost track of one little one (tall for her age)

Her actions unfounded, impulsive and rude-


I’m sorry my child, just pushing through life,

Went wild it seems- not how she was raised,

But it looks your  tot has survived the strife.

Yes, despite the raucous  your babe seems unphased.


Now when you see me walk in the door: a child

on hip, in hand and in tow, there’s no need

For alarm.  She’s gentle, charming and mild

Violence rather uncommon to her. Indeed,


Our children both dear  yet immature

Could be friends  if we let them, I am sure!


Pius XI in his Encyclical Casti connubii on the economic emancipation of the woman:

“Neither this emancipation of the woman is real, nor is it the reasonable and worthy liberty convenient to the Christian and noble mission of the woman and wife. It is the corruption of the feminine nature and maternal dignity, as well as the perversion of all the family, since the husband lacks his wife, the children their mother, and the entire family her vigilant guard.

On the contrary, this false liberty and unnatural equality with man is harmful for the woman herself, because at the moment that she steps down from the royal domestic throne to which she was raised by the Gospel, quickly she will fall into the ancient slavery of Paganism, becoming a mere instrument of man” (n. 76).



Words have tremendous impact on our actions, thoughts, philosophies. I am very careful not to describe myself as a stay-at-home-mom, or a sahm.  Many women use these terms to describe their occupation as a housewife, but I really don’t see the appeal. I have always thought stay-at-home-mom sounded cheesy, trite, undignified. I was very happy to discover this discussion from the archives of Laura Wood’s blog on this very topic. I decided to post it here in full because many good points were made:

More on Moms, Stay-at-Home Dingbats and Deadbeats

MRS. HAYWOOD writes from Indiana:

I just spent a very interesting evening reading many columns on your website. You represent sanity and common sense on the topic of women and work, which is never allowed in mainstream media.

Just a quick thought/question: Are you as offended by the term “stay-at-home mom” as I am? It seems clearly a feminist linguistic fabrication to avoid the obvious and truthful “full-time mother” (which of course has the corollary that working mothers are merely “part-time mothers.”) “Stay-at-home mom” also implies that it is the mother who stays at home who needs a qualifier, as the one departing from the norm. We used to talk of “working mothers,” indicating they were departing from the norm. Now one never meets that term. Instead, when discussing problems associated with families with working mothers, the ridiculous term “working parents” is used. No one ever speaks up and says: one parent, namely the father should be working, and there is no problem to be solved if he is. The other parent, the mother, should not be working, and if you are going to talk about the problems associated with this, don’t mix fathers into it.

Furthermore, the term “stay-at-home mom” oozes condescension. It echoes the rythm of “stick-in-the-mud;” and to be called a “mom” by strangers is not a sign of endearment but one of disrespect. Like calling a black man “boy.”

Strangely, many full-time mothers have adopted this term to describe themselves, simply because it is all they hear. I cannot believe that this does not make them feel apologetic inside. Which is the reason that this is all they hear.

I have been a housewife all my life, now 73 and widowed, with children grown, and I have watched the steam-roller of feminism take over life. It is very sad, but heartening to come upon a site such as yours.

Whenever the subject comes up, I always reply: “I am happy to say, I have been a housewife all my life.” People are usually a little startled. Not the standard reply.

I also feel that “homemaker” is a term to be avoided, because it is a manufactured euphenism, and a euphemism always signals that someone is ashamed of something.

Laura writes:

Thank you for writing.

One of the first things I wrote, buried somewhere in my disorganized archives, was that I was offended by the term “stay-at-home mom” and also by the popular use of mom, as in “soccer mom,” “hockey mom,” etc., and the everyday third-person reference, as in ”Did you get a permission slip from your mom?”

You write:

Furthermore, the term “stay-at-home mom” oozes condescension. It echoes the rythm of “stick-in-the-mud;” and to be called a “mom” by strangers is not a sign of endearment but one of disrespect. Like calling a black man “boy.”

This is excellent. Far better than anything I have said on the subject.

This stay-at-home mommy-ness is demeaning. It “oozes with condescension,” as you say. I understand many people now use it automatically and, while it is no sin to go along with the flow, I urge them to return to referring to the “mom” as “mother” and the “stay-at-home-mom” as “housewife” or simply “mother and wife.”

I agree, “homemaker” is euphemistic and it also suggests domestic engineering, but it’s better than the alternative. There is another possibility. When someone asks what you do, you can say with a straight face, “I’m just a deadbeat. I do nothing at all.”

“Mom” is an onomatopoetic word invented by infants. “Mmmm, mom.” It originates from the hunger for food. “Mother” a variation on the Latin “mater” and the older, almost universal root of ma for breast, also originates in the desire for maternal food. But in its cultural development through the ages, “mother” means much more and bears the suggestion of maternal authority and almost regal importance. We do not speak of the Blessed Mom or the Queen Mom or Mom Earth, at least not yet.

Only one’s own children should refer to one as “mom.” No one would think of calling oneself a “go-to-work mom,” so why should we speak of a woman at home this way, as if spending time with children makes an adult infantile? Notice the growing use of the term “dad” too. It’s the parent as best buddy.

This is all part of the trivialization of motherhood, which feminism has reduced to a beautiful hobby. When being a mother and wife are merely preferences rather than exalted duties; when they express personal taste rather than one’s fundamental identity in the world, then they have no more dignity than being a nursery school teacher, a dental hygienist or human resource manager. In fact, they have less dignity because mothers and wives at home are not believed to be “working.”

There is another turn of phrase that is common. That is, referring to oneself as “just a housewife.” I have even done this, sad to say.

I was crossing the Canadian border with my family this summer, when the border agent asked me what I do for a living. I said, “Oh, I’m just a housewife.”

The French Canadian agent was possibly – I don’t know for sure – a Thinking Housewife reader.

He said, with Gallic passion, as if he had been simply waiting for a woman to come along and refer to herself as just a housewife, “You must not say that! You are not just anything. You are the mother and everyone depends on you! It is very important!”

I was blown away. I laughed. “Yes, you are right!”

Laura adds:

I should add that the very idea that it is acceptable and necessary to ask what a married woman with children is “doing” is a product of feminism and modern liberalism.

It was once understood what she was doing and a woman was not called upon to explain herself. The very necessity of constantly explaining oneself today is demoralizing and is a result of liberalism’s exaltation of careerism and money. The question, “What do you do?” implies, “What do you do to earn money?” Truthfully, it is a rude and intrusive question.

Mrs. Haywood responds:

You hit upon the fundamental motivation of feminists in this matter: “This is all part of the trivialization of motherhood, which feminism has reduced to a beautiful hobby. When being a mother and wife are merely preferences rather than exalted duties; when they express personal taste rather than one’s fundamental identity in the world. . .”

One thing I forgot to mention in connection with the term “stay-at-home mom” is that it signals temporariness, a temporary accomodation to exigencies. “So long as I’m a mom, that is, until the children enter school…” When well-meaning young women keep repeating this term, it drills into their subconscious that they should go to work as soon as they no longer have children at home all day.

In the Reagan years, there used to be the saying, “Personnel is policy.” I will amend that to say “Vocabulary is policy.” And boy, do the feminists and their allies, i. e. the entire culture, make use of this. And we fall for it by using the enemy’s terminology.

                               — Comments —

Andrew writes:

In doing some genealogical research I’ve perused US Census information about my ancestors from the 19th and early 20th century. For most years, there was an “occupation” field for every adult in the household. For my great-great-grandfathers, the answer was “farmer.” I was struck by the elegant simplicity and dignity of the corresponding answer for my great-great-grandmothers: “Occupation: keeping house.”