R's oldest sister is now living in a very small local council house, like tiny. She is so happy. She has a place she can call her own. She can live out the rest of her life in security. We are happy for her. If there is trouble with her present husband, she can ask him to leave as the house is in her name.
But excuse me, why didn't she get up at 4am to get to work on time like I have? Why didn't she be out working at 3am on New Year's eve like I did.Why didn't she make sacrifices to buy her own home? Well she did that, but it was lost upon her divorce and has since lived in private rental accommodation.
She has put in some very hard yards over the years. She has brought up a couple of children who seem to almost like her. She has been a carer for nieces and nephew at different times. She had her mother live with her in the last years of her mother's life. Who could begrudge her some security in her old age, remembering too that she still has to pay rent, when she has contributed so much to society and still does.
Mother visited the very expensive female gerontologist, who turned out to be very unhelpful with a parting remark, there is really nothing I can do for you. I think it relevant that the specialist was female, otherwise there was no need for me to mention that it was a she. You decide after reading.
With great incredulity and disbelief, if they aren't the same thing, at the reply, the specialist asked what sort of work she used to do. Mother said she had never done paid work. The specialist was more than surprised. She then asked what had Mother done during her life. Mother's only response was, raised a family. Mother felt that she was being very disapproved of by the specialist and was later a little upset. Actually Mother did work for a year or so after leaving school in a plant nursery.
So, my mother is lazy and been sponging off the taxpayer for years!
In the early 1960s credit squeeze, my father could see no future in building houses. No one could borrow money to have them built, so with money from Mother's father, he bought a dairy farm. Mother was taken from her nice new home with modern appliances to a run down country house, with only one tap with running fresh water at the sink (often with mosquito larvae in the water), no hot water service apart from a chip heater over the bath, a black wood burning stove.
For some years she pumped water from the well into buckets for washing and bathing for us all. The water for clothes washing was heated with an immersion heater into the washing machine tub. While her cooking was of a simple style, to feed a family of 7 or 8 day in day out is something to be recognised. Sometimes my grandparents were there too, even more cooking. Although they tried to help, they really just got in the way.
By the age of 35, while the house had become more modern, Mother was cooking, washing, cleaning, making beds and shopping for and clothing four children, her husband and our Uncle, with often another Uncle resident who later after an accident became disabled and she looked after him too.
Post divorce in her early forties she was resident housekeeper for a man on a farm with two teenage sons. I had left home by then, but she managed another family with my siblings living there too. She had free keep and all her expenses and my siblings paid for. Father paid his obligatory dues for the children, which was really the only cash Mother received. Occasionally her parents would slip her some extra money. That all came to end when the bloke she was housekeeping for put the hard word on her and after her refusal he subsequently treated my siblings badly and refuse to pay for their expenses. Mother left, taking her three children to her parents two bedroom house. Tradie Brother at about 10 was traumatised and behaved very badly. He does not have the fond memories of his grandparents that I have.
There was nothing for my grandfather to do but buy Mother a house for her and my siblings to live in. While somewhat altered now, she is still there at the age of 81, nearly forty years later.
Yep, my mother may not have ever really been in paid employment and well may the gerontologist raise her eyebrows. My mother worked very hard for many years to bring up a family and care for an extended family. She was lucky in that her father had enough money to buy her a house.
I could go on. In summary, I reckon a male gerontologist might have been more understanding than a career female doctor who also perhaps brought up children while working.
It is a woman's right to work and raise a family, but never ever should a stay at home mum be dismissed because all she has done is raise a family. Goes for men of course too if they take on that role. Long after whatever job, high flying or not, you have done is forgotten, your children will survive to represent you. Think about that.
This post is a bit raw and probably needs editing and certainly typos corrected, but publish and be damned.