I don’t think he ever thought his working every day gave Mama a lavish lifestyle. Back then there was only a handful of jobs open to women. And even then it took money for additional schooling. Most families couldn’t afford to send their daughters to college. Most girls either got married, became secretaries, or schoolteachers. How different our world is today. Women have prominent roles in government, corporations and even own their own businesses. As far as I’m concerned, there is no greater or noble profession as being a simple housewife. The term has changed to “Domestic Goddess,” but it still means the same.
Mama was a genuine housewife; she stayed at home. The Bible speaks of women being keepers at home. This kind of responsibility is challenging at best. I stayed at home with my boys when they were little, and it was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I worked just as hard as my husband, just in a different capacity. A good mother and wife’s work is never done. I won’t even attempt to name all the chores that awaited me every day. If someone asked me, “What do you do all day?,” I would just smile, but secretly think about a passage in Proverbs: “Answer not a fool according to his folly.”
When I was little, my third-grade teacher told me, “Kaye Ella, you should become an actress when you grow up; you have what it takes.” But, all I became was a homeroom mother, and I even list it as a former occupation on my Facebook profile. I recently received a letter from a friend who grew up with me. She had read my book, and it stirred memories in her heart. Her mom worked at Hardwick Woolen Mill just like Daddy. She had to make the living for her two children as their daddy was not always around. The letter was so poignant and sweet it pulled at the very chords of my heart.
Part of her letter read, “Kaye, I was a latchkey kid and came home every day to a cold and dark house. We couldn’t afford to keep the Warm Morning stove burning all day. I loved coming to your house because your mom was always there. I could smell food cooking even as we walked up the long driveway. I tried to pattern my life after your family. I decided to be a stay-at-home mom after I got married. You didn’t know it back then, but your mom and your house made an impact on my life.”
Kaye Steadman lives in Chickamauga. She is a storyteller, published writer and author of the book “My Name's Not Verly.” She can be reached at email@example.com or follow her on Facebook.